The Unite trade union claims its members have been informed of almost 200 redundancies at the University of Ulster and closure of the Coleraine campus Modern Languages school.
Unite’s officer with responsibility for the union’s membership at the University of Ulster, Sean Smyth, has condemned the NI Executive budget which he claims has forced brutal cuts on the Higher Education sector and made necessary almost 200 job losses.
“Higher Education is vital to efforts to transform Northern Ireland’s economy onto a higher value-added basis.
“By deciding to slash funding for Higher Education, the NI Executive risks undermining our ability to compete in the global market.
“The short-sightedness of Stormont policies is exemplified by the fact that the cuts will force the closure of the Modern Language School in Coleraine.
“It isn’t that long ago since we lost the German Department in Queens University. How can Northern Ireland develop an outward-looking economy without an adequate supply of people able to communicate in modern languages like Chinese and German?
“Cuts to Further and Higher Education are a false economy. Stormont needs to look at expenditure on Further and Higher Education as an investment for a better future instead of as an easy target for austerity targets.
“Approximately 30 per cent of the job losses announced will be in grades represented by Unite, with the remaining 70 per cent being in academic grades.
“The impact on reduced numbers of student places will push the entry requirements for both local Universities even higher and lead to ever greater numbers of students to seek degrees outside the region, and at greater cost.
“Unite will work with other unions in the workforce, such as the UCU, to campaign to protect expenditure to support Further and Higher Education.
“We will also continue our direct engagement with political leaders.
“Only last week, Unite brought a staff delegation to meet with the leadership of the UUP to raise their concerns directly over the impact of funding cuts and outsourcing”, Mr Smyth concluded.
The University has stated: “The university is now advising those individuals who are likely to be affected.
“Until this briefing process has completed, it would be inappropriate to confirm any speculation around decisions relating to specific courses or subject areas.”