South Scotland

Galashiels textile school job fears raised

Borders campus
Image caption Heriot-Watt University shares campus facilities in Galashiels with Borders College

A union has raised concerns over "drastic" cuts in staff numbers at Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels.

It is feared 10 jobs could go at the institution which dates back to 1883.

The University and College Union said it would have an impact on the local economy and on the textiles industry.

A Heriot-Watt University spokesman said it was working closely with staff and unions to make any redundancies on a voluntary basis.

He added that the moves were part of a five-year plan to ensure the financial sustainability of the textile school.

However, Mary Senior, Scottish representative of the UCU, questioned the need for the cuts which she said amounted to 25% of staff at the school.

"This will have a severe impact on Galashiels in terms of job losses, but also because textiles are so important to the local economy," she said.

"The textile college merged with Heriot-Watt to help it survive, but the university is again attempting to cut jobs rather than develop the staff."

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame has voiced "serious concern" about the situation.

She has arranged a meeting with a senior staff member at Heriot-Watt which she said she hoped would have a "positive outcome".

The School of Textiles and Design is the second oldest textile institution in the world.

It shares campus facilities in Galashiels with Borders College.

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