Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh plans to cut 100 jobs

Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh Image copyright Google

Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh has said it plans to cut about 100 jobs.

The university is blaming several factors including the uncertainty caused by Brexit for the decision. The proposed job cuts could affect both academic and support staff.

The university said it hopes to cut the posts by finding volunteers, but trade union Unite fears there could still be compulsory redundancies.

As well as its Edinburgh campus, it has two sites in Scotland and two overseas.

The university said Brexit had created uncertainty for prospective postgraduate students from EU countries.

'Difficult time'

Gillian McKay, Unite regional officer, said: "Our members at Heriot-Watt are in a state of shock.

"We know that every university in Scotland is facing a difficult time, but there was no indication that the situation at Heriot Watt was so desperate.

"We are extremely angry that the university decided not to give any advance warning to Unite or the other unions about these cuts.

"We have a recognition agreement in place with Heriot-Watt, and the management have a legal duty to properly consult with us.

"That simply hasn't happened - and we've been handed a decision that looks as if it's already made."

Financial forecasts

Professor Richard A Williams, principal and vice-chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, said: "The need to change our financial forecasts are as a result of a number of factors - both at home and abroad - coming together this year.

"We are immensely proud that for the last 15 years we have always worked within a financial surplus, but this year we need to re-adjust our financial forecasts, and that will require savings to be made.

"Heriot-Watt University is distinctive by being a global university.

"The major downturn in the oil and gas sector has had an impact on us, and on some of our activities.

"But we are focused on working across our five campuses in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia to maximise our opportunities in each of our distinct locations."

He added: "The strategic development of the university will continue to ensure delivery of key plans that are already in place that support our distinctly global offer, including investment in new student facilities, enterprise and research infrastructure.

"Our commitment to enhancing our students experience while studying with us will see the £10m investment in improving our teaching and learning facilities progress as planned this summer in Edinburgh, and a new Student Support Centre recently opened in Dubai."

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