ACADEMIC staff at the University of Winchester have passed a vote of ‘no confidence’ in senior managers due to a lack of job security and an “unbearable” workload.

While the university considers a further 40 redundancies to cut costs, members of the University and College Union (UCU) passed the motion of 'no confidence' at a large meeting on Friday, March 9.

The union says its loss of confidence and trust is due to years of job losses, through voluntary and compulsory redundancy, with another round of cuts threatened this spring.

Over the same period, the UCU accuses the executive leadership team of remaining protected and even expanding. The university said: "Every effort has been made to secure savings through all other means possible." However, more employees are at risk of losing their jobs this year.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Winchester UCU on strike last yearWinchester UCU on strike last year (Image: Newsquest)

Dan Varndell, UCU branch officer, said: “After a decade teaching at Winchester, what made this institution such an inspiring place to work is slipping away. I have never known a more dispiriting, demoralising and disincentivising time. An already burdensome workload is now becoming unbearable and unsustainable. What’s most demotivating is that we will soon be asked to work still longer hours in order to do the work of colleagues being made 'redundant'. All of this is bad for our students.”

Simon Boxley, branch secretary, said: “Members are fearful for their jobs, their families, their futures in this increasingly insecure and intensified work. It’s no wonder that they have lost confidence in their leaders.”

Mr Boxley said the ‘no confidence’ meeting was one of the largest branch meetings they have had and there was a strong majority opting to pass the vote.

In response, the university released a statement: “Universities across the country are facing very serious financial challenges, with real term cuts of £6bn in tuition fee income since 2017 and sharply rising costs. Within this context, the University of Winchester is currently considering all cost saving options while maintaining the quality of its student education and support.

“Every effort has been made to secure savings through all other means possible, including voluntary severance. Regrettably, we are now consulting on proposals, including up to 40 redundancies, from a staff base of over 900 people. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and consultation will be ongoing with our recognised Trade Unions in the coming weeks.

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“We are committed to supporting affected staff members throughout this process, including taking measures to mitigate the potential impact of redundancies, where possible. It is important to emphasise that the proposals we are consulting on reflect the challenging financial circumstances facing the university sector as a whole and are not a reflection of the dedication and performance of those potentially affected.

“The University of Winchester is having to take this action to ensure that it can continue fulfilling its mission to deliver transformational education in Winchester and Hampshire. The University of Winchester is one of the largest employers in the region, contributing nearly £300m to the regional economy each year. It provides thousands of people across Hampshire access to university, graduate careers, and continuing professional development.

“The university is in the top 10  in the country for graduate success, producing outstanding graduates including nurses, teachers, police officers, and other professionals in business and the creative arts who make such a difference to the region in which we live.”