Redundancies 2022

226 Academic Jobs Under Attack, but No Managers Under Threat

In yet another shocking move on Tuesday 17 May, the academic community at Roehampton was informed that almost half the university’s academics (226 to be precise) were now “at risk” of redundancy, that they will be dismissed and if they wanted to keep working they would have to compete with each other for fewer posts or apply for some fixed-term positions (instead of permanent contracts). This attack follows on from the round of redundancies that culled approx. 60 academic jobs at the beginning of the pandemic.

The Schools of Arts, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Life and Health Sciences, and Psychology are all being targeted: the University has announced the closure of many programmes, contraction of many others and a new focus on vocational, skills-based courses and apprenticeships that they believe will meet the government’s employability agenda. Many subjects will no longer be taught; others will have severely depleted staff numbers, which will further increase the workloads of those staff lucky enough to keep their jobs.

This brutal move harms not only academics but also students and society at large. The university claims the changes “aim to support an excellent academic experience for all current and future students”; however, students will come back to an unrecognisable university in September 2022 with many of their lecturers, supervisors, and academic guidance tutors gone, while new coming first year students will join an institution very different from what was advertised to them. Importantly, working class and ethnic-minority students from our local area, who constitute the majority of Roehampton students, are being deprived of the opportunity to study subjects that become more and more a privilege of the elites: subjects that train in critical thinking.

Management is also telling students that these changes are essential due to financial reasons, as the university needs to cover its costs. This comes after spending on additional new buildings that was followed by a “restructuring” and two rounds of voluntary redundancy in 2020 and 2021, via which many good academics left Roehampton. Senior managers however continue to be paid six-figure salaries.

After two difficult years during which academics put in vast amounts of unpaid overtime, working extremely long hours to keep the university going amidst a global pandemic, and after the University claimed credit for their research in order to advertise itself as Research Intensive, management is now showing its academics the door in a process designed to circumvent proper scrutiny. Senior Management is offering two options: a voluntary redundancy scheme with extremely tight deadlines or a process of re-applying for one’s own job and competing with colleagues for fewer positions, which one of Roehampton Students has likened to a scene from the Hunger Games.

See a list of relevant FAQs here.

See the Voluntary Redundancy Scheme advice here