UNISON has pledged to “robustly defend” its members’ interests at the University of South Wales Group after the employer started formal consultations with staff unions last week on options to cut costs, including possible job losses.
The university has campuses in Pontypridd, Cardiff and Newport has already announced budget cuts as it responds to financial pressures and is conducting a financial review.
Its most recent financial statement showed a 3.3% drop in income after a number of European funded research projects were completed.
But UNISON points out that reductions in spending meant an operating surplus of £13.7m – £8.4m higher than the year before.
The union says it will work with the university to identify savings if they need to be made, but that should not be at the cost of frontline workers.
It says the university has created a staffing “imbalance” of more managers and fewer staff delivering services and teaching students.
And in response to a recent UNISON Freedom of Information request, USW Group said it spent of £487,000 on agency staff.
“‘Given the continuing operating surplus and increased reserves, our members will want to fully understand the need for potential job losses,” says branch secretary Dan Beard.
“Our members deliver the student experience. and staff and students want to know that jobs are secure.”
The union says members at the university have had years of constant restructures, redundancies and uncertainty over long-term job security.
“Caerleon campus was closed last year, ending our presence in the town,” noted Mr Beard. On the current review, he vowed: “UNISON will robustly defend our members’ interests and will be ensuring that any proposals from the university are subject to scrutiny by the trade unions.
“UNISON will consult members once the full facts of the proposals are disclosed, to consider the next steps that may be necessary to defend jobs.”