Cambridge academics offered redundancy

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The Independent Online

Cambridge university is offering all its employees the chance to apply for voluntary redundancy to ease the pressure of budget cuts. All those accepted under the plan will be given a lump sum equivalent to one year's salary.

So far university bosses have not drawn up a target for the number of posts it wants to cut. It has asked would-be volunteers for the axe to make an application by 18 March. However, both Oxford and Cambridge fear they may lose money in the wake of the Coalition Government's decision to make significant savings in capital costs for the upkeep of buildings.

A spokesman for the university said: "The scheme will allow approved applicants to leave the university and will assist the university in supporting any restructuring activity during these times of financial constraint. The scheme is just one of a number of ways in which the university is seeking to control costs whilst adapting to ever-changing research and education needs. The university does not have a targeted reduction in posts or a set amount of money to save through this scheme. Any savings that can be made will contribute to the university's long-term sustainability."

University bosses said the voluntary redundancy scheme does not rule out the prospect of compulsory redundancies in the future.

Its website says that a Voluntary Severance Scheme (VSS) "can facilitate... change but it does not preclude the need for specific redundancy programmes in parallel with a university-run VSS scheme".

If the university does opt for compulsory redundancies, they would be fought by the university lecturers' union, the University and College Union (UCU).

The university has already warned that it may have to cut back on its one-to-one tuition scheme as a result of Government spending cuts. A university working group has indicated it could save £600,000 a year by extending the tutorials to two or more students. Around 13 per cent of Cambridge's tutorials at present are one-to-one.

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