Wales politics

University cuts 'not seen since 80s', says Carwyn Jones

Cardiff Campus Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption The University of South Wales' campus in Cardiff

Planned cuts by two Welsh universities are on a scale not seen since the 1980s, the first minister has warned.

The University of South Wales (USW) has announced up to 139 jobs could go and the University of Wales Trinity St David has said it must also cut posts.

At First Minister's Questions, Carwyn Jones said it was "not quite clear" what sort of jobs would be lost.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said there was "contradictory information" on who would be affected.

USW has said it expects Brexit to affect student recruitment from the EU.

It is also concerned about the lifting of the admissions cap on UK universities limiting applications from home students.

It has been suggested that senior management at USW would be proportionately more affected, but the university is not giving a breakdown of how many staff in different areas will be cut.

Trinity St David has denied a claim by Unison that its cuts will affect 10% of staff and involve the possible merger of sites.

Image caption Carwyn Jones said a drop in overseas applications could be affecting universities' incomes

During Tuesday's question session, Ms Wood told Mr Jones: "I've had contradictory information on these job losses.

"On the one hand we were told that many of the roles at risk will be managers.

"But from the trade union I've been told the roles to be cut could include jobs in IT, library staff and student services as well."

Ms Wood asked whether Mr Jones thought the job losses were "normal house keeping" or a "sign the two universities are facing a difficult future".

Mr Jones responded: "I've not seen anything on this scale since I was in university myself in the 1980s and that is concerning.

"It's also correct to say it's not quite clear what sorts of jobs would be lost.

"That's why of course we expect there to be that period of consultation so that there is greater clarity for both institutions over what they are proposing."

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