Union claims Leeds Beckett Uni ‘culling’ languages department while staff are on holiday

A union has accused Leeds Beckett University of waiting until staff were on their summer holidays before telling them that they wouldn’t have jobs next year.

The University and Colleges Union has condemned the decision to close down its modern languages department, and its timing and called on the university to halt the plans.

Read More

Read More
Cash-laundering kingpin who recruited Leeds women jailed over £100m scam

The university itself has argued that it doesn’t run dedicated modern foreign languages degrees, and that participation in the classes had reduced by 80 per cent in five years.

Leeds Beckett University is planning to scrap its modern languages department.

But a statement from the UCU said: “The move to intentionally wait until the end of July when many academic staff are on leave is cynical, leaving staff completely uncertain of their futures and knowing that their chances of seeking other employment is severely impacted.

“The university is blaming insufficient student numbers as grounds for cuts to courses but staff have been prevented from advertising and recruiting to courses for the next academic year and say that the decision has been made without thinking of the consequences for staff, students, and wider community.”

UCU general secretary Jo Grady added: “It is deeply concerning to see the university cutting its modern language provision without consulting staff and trade unions. It is particularly cynical to do so as staff go on leave. UCU is calling on the university management to rethink its decision, and to get around the negotiating table, and look at other options that can prevent course and job cuts.

“Modern language at Leeds Beckett is a renowned department and culling it would be devastating to students.”

A LBU spokesperson said: “The university does not offer degree-level modern foreign language courses and our undergraduate and postgraduate courses are unaffected.

“Over the last five years, there has been an 80 per cent decrease in the number of participants in MFL classes. This means that despite best efforts, the classes operate at a large deficit. We are committed to ensuring our core offer of degree level education remains sustainable, therefore we are considering a proposal to cease provision of MFL classes.

“In line with the university’s policies and processes for managing change, we are consulting with relevant colleagues and engaging with the recognised trade union on the proposal. Any decision on the enrolment of new learners will be taken once this process is complete.”