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Staff to be offered just FOUR MONTHS of severance

Details of the University's redundancy package for modern languages staff have been revealed

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Staff accepting voluntary redundancy from the University of Aberdeen will recieve four months of severance pay, The Gaudie can reveal.

Staff in the University's modern languages department were sent 'risk of redundancy' letters last week, after senior management announced a consultation to determine the future of UoA's language provision.

The consultation's "default option" would see the closure of all of the University's language degree programmes.

According to the University's official severance policy, the maximum redundancy package available to staff is 12 months of pay or £100,000; whatever is lower.

In this instance, ALL staff will receive a lump sump of four months pay.

However, the payment will only apply to staff employed at UoA for longer than two years. Staff over fifty-five may choose to use the severance to fund their pension benefits..

It is unclear how many staff will take up the offer considering its low threshold, especially for long-time employees of the department. Modern language staff have five weeks to express interest in the scheme.

A 'Restructuring Committee' made up of Senior Vice Principal Karl Leydecker, Vice-Principal Research Nicholas Forsyth, Chief Financial Officer Mark White, and Director of People Debbie Dyker will consider each individual application to the scheme.

The University is looking to wrap the process up quickly, according to the redundancy document, which states: "The proposed effective date of severance/early retirement should be no later than 29 February 2024."

Initial reactions to the annoucement were very negative, with one staff member describing the offering as "very bad" and another labelling it as "absolutely vile."

According to the Press and Journal, the University spent nearly £3.4 million pounds between 2014 and 2019 in severance payments to 122 staff.

It was forced to return £119,000 to the Scottish Funding Council after granting former Principal Ian Diamond a controversial 'golden goodbye' of nearly £300k in 2018.

An Aberdeen UCU representative said:

"We think it is a poor offer; especially for the large number of staff with over 15 years’ service; that we suggested yesterday the amount should be relative to years of service, up to a maximum of a year to give it parity with previous schemes, and that we have today been advised via the clerk of JCCRA that they are not willing to raise the amount offered, although they have extended the deadline into the new year."

More to come.


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