Manchester University is set to axe up to 171 jobs in order to make cost savings and ensure the “financial sustainability” of the university.
Around 140 academics and 31 professional support staff will lose their jobs in the cuts, according to the University and College Union (UCU), with 900 staff left uncertain about their futures following the announcement.
A spokesperson for the university said the cuts were being made to fulfil Manchester’s ambition to become “a world leading institution, with a reputation based on academic excellence”.
“In order to meet this ambition, we must improve the quality of our research and student experience in some areas and ensure the financial sustainability of the university,” they said.
While the university has proposed a voluntary redundancy scheme, it has not ruled out compulsory job losses.
Manchester University currently employs more than 11,000 people.
It is believed that cuts will be made in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures and the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health.
The Alliance Manchester Business School is also set to see redundancies.
Union bosses slammed the decision, claiming there is a “lack of economic rationale” for mass redundancies because the university is in a “strong financial position”.
According to the UCU, Manchester University recorded a £59.7 million surplus for the year in 2015/16, after a £19.6 million deficit the year before (2014/15).
The union argued that the uni has reserves of £1.6 billion, £430 million of which is immediately available.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said the university was using recent government policy changes, such as the new Teaching Excellence Framework, and Brexit as “an excuse to make short-term cuts that will cause long-term damage”.
Hunt said: “It takes a lot longer to rebuild a department than it does to dismantle one.
“If the university wishes to maintain its position as one of our leading institutions it needs to rethink plans to sack large numbers of professors, lecturers and support staff to create what it has called ‘financial headroom’.”
According to the BBC, union members are set to meet on Friday to discuss the proposed cuts.