Thursday, 5 February 2009

Islington Gazette: University staff stressed out over job cuts

From the Islington Gazette:

TWO London Metropolitan University workers a week are suffering from stress as they wait to see whose job will be axed. Others are on long-term sick leave as they struggle to cope with an increased workload.

The low morale has blighted the university, which has campuses in Holloway and Highbury, after it emerged in meetings with trade unions that 320 posts are to go.

Trade union UNISON believes about 220 of the redundancies will be support workers - including receptionists, porters and technical staff.

Alan Pike, secretary of the London Met branch of UNISON, said: "In the past two months, we have had about 20 support staff come to us with stress. I work for the estates department, which has been 'under review' for the past six years. People go and are not replaced or are replaced by private contractors. In the student services department, four members of staff have been on long-term sick leave because of stress - and this has contributed to it. Some staff have gone to the senior managers for support and help but it seems that they are not getting any assistance."

According to UNISON, the university claims it is suffering financial problems because the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has provided £38million in funds to which London Met was not entitled, and as a result, HEFCE is reducing next year's funding by £18million.

The trade union wants London Met to provide staff with more information about the proposed job losses to help ease fears.

Regional organiser Harry Lister said: "We would have expected to have a formal notice that indicates the posts that are to be cut. We are still waiting."

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