Heriot-Watt job losses blamed on Brexit

Written by Tom Freeman on 6 March 2017 in News

Post-Brexit uncertainty blamed for unexpected announcement of job losses at Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University by duimdog

Around 100 jobs are to be cut at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh in the wake of a decline in applications from international students for postgraduate studies, the institution has announced.

In its revised financial forecasts, Heriot-Watt says it needs to make £14m savings after post-Brexit uncertainty over immigration and research grants led to a shortfall in applicants.

It also blamed year-on-year reduction in teaching funding from the Scottish Government.


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Both academic and support staff are expected to be affected by the announcement, and the University has said it will work with trade unions to ensure it is managed through a voluntary redundancy scheme.

"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,” said principal Professor Richard A. Williams. “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.”

The trade unions said there had been no advance warning of the cuts.

Gillian McKay, Unite Scotland official, 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.”

University and College Union (UCU) Scotland official Mary Senior said the institution should be looking to invest rather than cut staff.

“Heriot-Watt University has healthy reserves and already spends proportionately less of its overall budget on staffing than other universities,” she said.

“We will be working together with the employer in the collective consultation and asking them to look at other options to make savings, rather than cutting jobs.”

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