Page last updated at 00:06 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 01:06 UK

Union anger over uni jobs threat

Lecture generic
The UCU represents lecturing and research staff

Almost 300 jobs are under threat at two Scottish universities, a lecturers' union has warned.

A report by the University and College Union said the jobs were at risk at Stirling and Strathclyde Universities.

They have also accused universities of failing to consult adequately on staff cuts, leading to fears that such losses could be the tip of the iceberg.

The organisation warned staff losses could jeopardise Scotland's global reputation for higher education.

The UCU, which represents lecturers and research staff, said in its report that up to 6,000 jobs across the UK were at risk, or were being cut, in higher and further education.

The Scottish Government has said that higher education is a funding priority - but that extra funding has not materialised
Lesley McIntosh

In Scotland a total of 280 workers could lose their job - 140 each at Strathclyde and Stirling universities.

UCU Scotland president Lesley McIntosh said: "We have been warning for months of the potential damage that unnecessary and swingeing cuts would do to post-16 education.

"These figures offer a worrying snapshot of what is happening in Scotland's universities and even more worrying is the fact that many institutions have not set out their financial plans as yet.

"The Scottish Government has said that higher education is a funding priority - but that extra funding has not materialised, resulting in funding cuts."

Full consultation

Ms McIntosh said the Scottish Government must make higher education a priority in the next spending round if Scotland's "world class reputation" for further education was to be maintained.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said that despite "the tightest financial settlement since devolution", about £5.24bn was being invested in universities and colleges over three years.

She said: "We are also investing a higher proportion of our spending in our universities than the previous administration.

"In relation to job prospects for those in the sector, while colleges and universities are autonomous institutions and ministers can't interfere in their affairs, we have made clear that we expect unions to be fully consulted in any decisions around job losses or staff restructuring programmes."

Stirling University confirmed last month that it was looking to make £4m of savings.

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