Inverness college 'needs to make' £800,000 in staff savings

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Inverness College and campusImage source, Google
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Bosses at Inverness College UHI said it was facing significant challenges because of rising costs

Inverness College UHI has said it must make about £800,000 in staff savings over the next year.

Bosses said the site, like other Scottish colleges and universities, was facing "significant challenges" because of rising costs.

They said this included increases in staff pay and pension contributions.

The college added that the impact of Covid-19 had only "heightened an already precarious financial environment".

The site is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands - a network of 13 colleges and research institutions.

Bosses are looking at voluntary severance schemes and other alternatives to avoid having to make compulsory redundancies.

Principal Prof Chris O'Neil said: "We recognise this is a particularly challenging time for everyone and we are committed to working with our staff to achieve these savings in a way that minimises impact on them and our students."

'Bombshell announcement'

Highlands and Islands Students' Association Inverness president, George Gunn, said the body was "wholeheartedly against" compulsory redundancies for any frontline or "student-facing" staff.

He said: "We understand the need for savings given the dire financial situation but would encourage the board to look at the dozens of senior managers employed across the university.

"At a time of financial crisis for both the college and university sectors and the wider world, the university should be doing everything it can to save its staff and preserve the standard of the student experience."

A lecturers' union leader at the college described the site's announcement as a "bombshell".

Andrew Chatterton, EIS FELA branch secretary said the timing could not be worse as staff were dealing with a significant work load towards the end of term, which had been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.