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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Redundancies Feared As UoA Moves To Close Campus Print Shop

Updated: May 23

Job cuts to be avoided "where possible," University says

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

The University Print Shop. Photo: UoA
The entrance to the University print shop.
The University print shop. Photo Credit: UoA

Workers in UoA's print shop fear they could be made redundant, after the University informed them that the future of their department is “financially unsustainable.”

An email sent to UniPrint staff revealed that printing demand had reduced by 75% in recent years.

Equipment costs, refurbishment of printing facility, and “the need to make savings” promoted the proposals to shut the shop, according to the email.

Under the proposal, UniPrint would close and “an alternative printing service” would be begin in July.

As for the current staff, five in total, it remains unclear if they will be made redundant.

One new position has already been created, and the University is looking to redeploy others through the estate.

However, for staff, some of whom have worked in the shop for decades, the end seems “inevitable.”

One source told us that the workers were determined to resist attempts to close the shop, noting: “Athough it seems that the fight is lost we are determined to fight till the end.”

The print shop currently serves a number of functions; including the printing of business cards, fyers, and booklets, the soft and hard binding of dissertations and theses, and the production of large scale posters.

The potential cuts come as the University attempts to save millions of pounds in costs over the next few years.

A lull in international student admissions led to shock pronouncements of financial challenges last autumn.

The University's voluntary severance scheme has already seen more than 150 academics and professional services members leave the institution in recent months.

As The Gaudie reported last week, fears over possible forced cuts have spread across campus in recent months.

One member of Professional Services told us: “It’s really scary being in this vague situation where it feels like my job could be axed at any point, but nobody knows for sure.”

Academic union UCU has pledged to take industrial action if the University introduces compulsory redundancies.

A staff open session to discuss recovery plans is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

In a comment, a University spokesperson said:

“A 45-day consultation period has begun over a proposal to close the University’s printing and binding service UniPrint following a 75% drop in demand over the last five years.

“With our move towards being more sustainable resulting in more people printing less and reading material online, UniPrint has been loss-making for some time.

"Other factors such as the printing finishing machinery reaching the end of life have also led to the proposal.

“Under the proposal, while staff and students would still be able to print inhouse, an alternative external printing service would be secured for our higher volume, but significantly reduced printing requirements.

"The aim would be to have this in place in a timescale to ensure no loss of service to staff and students.”


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