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Humanities faculty to cut DKK 25 million in payroll

Savings plan — The Faculty of Humanities is to go through a new round of cuts. Layoffs cannot be ruled out, says the Dean.

The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is to go through a new round of cutbacks, with salary costs to be reduced by DKK 25 million by 2020.

The dean of the faculty Jesper Kallestrup has informed the faculty’s staff in a newsletter.

He writes that a total of DKK 37 million needs to be cut, and that earnings need to be increased by DKK 10 million up to 2022 for the faculty to remain economically viable.

According to the dean, DKK 7 million can be saved by moving out of building 27 on South Campus and DKK 5 million by shedding various common expenses.

Layoffs cannot be ruled out

This leaves DKK 25 million – the equivalent of 5 per cent of the total salaries – which can only be found by cuts to payroll.

“We hope that the savings can be found through natural wastage, by not filling expired positions, and by lowering the expenses to temporarily employed instructors. But we cannot rule out having to dismiss employees through the course of 2019. This is regrettable,” writes Jesper Kallestrup.

He adds that the cuts are a consequence of the Danish government’s resizing, so-called dimensioning, programme, which started in 2014, and of the reallocation contribution, which since 2016 has year-on-year cut 2 per cent off the universities’ government grants for education.

Affects the working environment

Jørgen Staun, union representative for academic staff and vice-chair of the collaboration committee at the Faculty of Humanities, says that the cost reduction plans will inevitably have a negative influence on the working environment.

The members of the faculty’s collaboration committee have known for some time about the coming cutbacks, according to Jørgen Staun, and they now appear to be significantly less than originally expected.

… we cannot rule out that we have to dismiss employees in the course of 2019. This is regrettable.
Jesper Kallestrup, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities

The representatives hope that layoffs of full-time researchers can be avoided completely through resignations, delayed appointments, etc.

“The union representatives are alarmed, of course, and we expect layoffs among part-time employees. It is worrying that the number of part-time academic personnel is expected to be reduced,” he writes.

To examine all options

Dean Jesper Kallestrup says that part-time academic employees cannot bear all the burden of the cuts, and that management is doing everything possible to find other savings and new revenues.

The management sees potential in providing teaching across related areas within the faculty, so that departments can draw on each other’s teaching capabilities. They are therefore also trying to make it more attractive to offer joint teaching modules, says the dean.

In addition, management sees a strategic opportunity in procuring new revenues from, say, continuing education, and through applying for research funds from private foundations.

“These revenues cannot offset the decline in funding from government, and we will therefore be forced to reduce our payroll costs,” he writes.

Dean to take part in department meetings

Jesper Kallestrup writes to staff that management does not, at present, know how the cuts will affect the individual departments and sections. This is to be decided in cooperation with the heads of department around New Year.

“It is frustrating, of course, but we, in management, found it appropriate to state what the economic situation is as soon as we knew about it,” it says in the letter to employees.

The dean writes that he will participate in the coming departmental meetings, where he will be ready to answer questions.

The scheduled meetings will be announced in the departments’ newsletters.

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