Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

University of Reading plans to cut 37 jobs

University of Reading
The university recently axed its social care department

Up to 37 jobs are set to be axed at the University of Reading as part of efforts to save £10m.

The posts are likely to go in computer science, electronics and cybernetics. It comes after the government announced a £1bn cut in higher-education funding.

The university said the savings were needed to ensure it "emerges stronger and more competitive".

But the University and College Union has accused the university of "taking a wrecking ball to the sciences".

It comes after the School of Health and Social Care closed with the loss of 35 jobs, despite warnings that it would lead to a shortage of social workers, nurses and counsellors in the surrounding areas.

'Rash decisions'

The university defended the latest cuts.

A spokesperson said: "As part of the University of Reading's response to the major economic challenges facing the higher education sector, we have been working with our staff to save £10.6m while ensuring that the university emerges stronger and more competitive as a result.

"Part of this process has involved a review of the School of Systems Engineering, which performed disappointingly in the latest Research Assessment Exercise but which also boasts areas of individual and collective excellence."

The University and College Union (UCU) has called for the introduction of a voluntary redundancy scheme instead of compulsory job cuts.

Tim Astin, UCU branch president at Reading, said: "These plans make no sense whatsoever and will take away huge bodies of knowledge from the university.

"Even by management's own standards these decisions are rash and will come back to haunt the university.

"The vice-chancellor has failed to make a coherent academic case for taking a wrecking ball to the sciences."

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