‘Savage’ Staffing Cuts at UHI: Petition Backs a Rethink

A public petition calling for University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) management to rethink savage staffing cuts had been backed by over 1000 people within days of being launched.

On 14 August university management announced £3million cuts to the staffing budget which the University and College Union UCU) says will lead to significant job losses.  The university has confirmed that the proposed budget cuts means that 44 roles are at risk of redundancy in UHI’s executive office. Staff at UHI’s executive office work in critical areas like student support, finance, and ensuring academic quality as well as academic and research functions in areas such as nursing, optometry, history, biomedical sciences, and rural health and wellbeing.  The union said that this meant there will be a profound impact on the student experience.

Many of those signing the petition are current or former students at the university.

The union branch said that the support of students is hugely important and comes from them being best placed to understand what such savage cuts would do to the student experience at the university and to the delivery of higher education in the highlands and islands.  The union said that the speed with which the petition reached 1000 signatures shows the strength of feeling against the cuts.

Comments from those signing the open letter included a former student of the university, Andrea, saying “As an alumna, I know only too well how crucial UHI is for the entire highlands and islands region. Staff always go the extra mile and are so passionate about helping their students, they really don’t deserve to be treated with such utter contempt.”

The union is currently balloting members for strike action and action short of strike.  The ballot is due to end on 20 September.  The ballot could lead to the university facing strike action for the first time in its history.

University of the Highlands and Islands UCU branch president, Dr Heather Fotheringham, said:

“The level of support for our call for the university to rethink these cuts has been overwhelming.  Past and present students and staff, and people across the highlands and islands area know the value of this university and the value of accessible education to the region.  They also know that you can’t deliver a first-class student experience without the staff. 

“University management need to listen to what they’re being told, and bring everyone together to find a sustainable solution that doesn’t involve mass redundancies or disruption to the university and our students’ education.”

Click on this link to access the petition: Stop Staff Cuts at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)

a group of people with placards protesting the staffing cuts at UHI

Leave a Reply