Ulster University says it has no plans for redundancies at its Magee campus after Foyle People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann claimed it was planning to shed “57 Derry jobs.”
An Ulster University spokesperson told the Sentinel: “We are not planning for redundancies at the University’s Magee campus and are committed to realising its full potential.”
The University issued the assurance after Mr McCann raised concerns about the potential for job losses in Londonderry.
“There has been much talk about a proper Derry university acting as an engine for growth,” said Mr McCann.
“But the opposite is happening at Magee and there’s hardly a word about it, except from the unions. The Universities and Colleges union (UCU) has conducted a series of strikes and works-to-rule in recent months a last-ditch effort to save the pay and conditions attached to the jobs,” he said.
“Magee is being proportionally hardest hit of the four campuses of Ulster University.
“The plan is to get rid of 57 Derry jobs . Again, why don’t we hear louder complaints - even from some of those calling regularly for the expansion of Magee. Magee is not expanding but contracting.
“We need many more voices raised to tell UU management that we want new courses brought to Derry, not existing courses and functions taken away.
“But we haven’t seen any demonstration of the sort of public anger which would be necessary to have a chance of bringing this about.”
In relation to the industrial action, the Ulster University spokesperson, said: “On May 25 and 26 the UCU nationally held two days of strike action in relation to the National Pay Negotiations currently taking place between the unions and the employers’ representatives, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).
“The University did not experience any significant disruption as a result of the action.”
Meanwhile, speaking in the Stormont Assembly, former nuclear submarine commander, Steven Aiken, warned of a “brain drain”, which is not being helped by a lack of investment in third level education.
The UUP MLA, who is former CEO of Dublin City University Educational Trust, said: “One of my major concerns is the considerable under investment in our higher and further education sectors. I am an ex-CEO of a major Irish university, and it is an issue that our universities, our business sectors, our unions and I are very acutely aware of. Indeed, to quote the noted academic and commentator Deirdre Heenan of Ulster University: ‘Almost uniquely in the developed world, Northern Ireland is disinvesting in higher education’.”