Reading University staff in vice chancellor no-confidence vote

Sir David Bell Union members at Reading University will take part in a vote of no confidence in vice-chancellor Sir David Bell, who has presided over a service review that has cost £20m

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Staff have begun a vote of no confidence in Reading University's vice-chancellor over a review that is set to affect 1,500 jobs.

The vote against Sir David Bell comes after he led the review, allegedly costing £20m, to restructure administrative services.

Union leaders have called on bosses to find alternatives to cutting jobs.

The university said cuts will save £15m a year and at least £10m will be reinvested in teaching by 2020.

'Reinvest in research'

The review of professional and administrative services (PAS) has been conducted by management consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers.

UCU union bosses claim it has cost nearly £20m, and resulted in plans to centralise administration into hubs by 1 August.

University of Reading Reading University has said it will try and keep voluntary redundancies to a minimum

A university spokesman said: "All our major decision-making committees, which include student and staff representation, have scrutinised these plans in detail.

"These changes will move our finances onto a solid footing, saving £15m overall a year and generating £10m a year surplus in our operating budget by 2020 to reinvest in frontline research and teaching.

"We are aiming to keep compulsory redundancies to an absolute minimum."

UCU branch president Dr Paul Hatcher said: "We call on the university to listen carefully to staff and student concerns.

"UCU is willing to talk and negotiate to find alternatives to downgrading redundancies wherever possible."

The vote, which is anonymous and open to all staff, will end on 11 April.

Regardless of the result of the vote, it will not compel Sir David to step down, but it is hoped senior managers will consider alternatives to implementing the changes in the PAS review.

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