Dundee University has been urged to withdraw the threat of redundancies amid concern major changes to the institution are being rushed through.
The educational hub recently revealed controversial plans to merge academic schools which would see 34 jobs cut.
Councillors Richard McCready and Fraser Macpherson have called on a rethink and have asked the Scottish Government to look at the issue.
Dundee University says it is doing all it can to reduce compulsory redundancies but must address a forecasted annual loss of £15 million.
Job losses during pandemic ‘particularly unwelcome’
Both councillors say they have recently spoken with Dundee University Students’ Union (DUSA) and the local University and College Union (UCU).
Mr McCready said: “I am always very concerned to hear about threats of compulsory redundancies.
“As a trade unionist I am calling on the University of Dundee to withdraw this threat and look to come to a settlement with the workforce rather than get involved in a damaging dispute.
“The threat of 34 job losses in the middle of a pandemic is particularly unwelcome.”
He added: “‘I am appalled at the threat of compulsory redundancies – this is not the way to negotiate with trade unions.”
The overhaul would see the Schools of Education & Social Work, Humanities and Social Sciences merged, saving £3 million annually.
That would mean 34 fewer posts than the current staff roll of 227.
The proposal would be formally approved by the university court and senate on April 27.
That meeting will be preceded by updates to the senate meetings on February 3 and March 24.
Mr Macpherson said: “I have real concerns over the speed and transparency of the process.
“This has all been rushed through with indecent haste and I know there is significant unease in how feedback from staff and students can really help to shape the proposals being suggested given this alarmingly short timescale.”
Bosses also plan to tackle the dire financial position by increasing international student recruitment.
It is hoped plans for commercialisation and changes to degrees could also help.
Dundee University say the proposal is part of a long-term plan to improve the university’s financial position by £56 million.
A spokesperson added: “The university is committed to its Redundancy Avoidance Policy and we will do all that we can to avoid compulsory redundancies.
“However, to make the necessary savings it may also require a compulsory redundancy programme. For the moment these still remain proposals.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Universities are autonomous bodies and are responsible for their own staffing decisions.
“While the Scottish Government therefore has no locus in this matter, any job losses would be regrettable and we hope that every step will be taken to keep these to a minimum.”