Fears for jobs if uni joins forces

OPINIONS are divided over whether talks about “greater collaboration” between Lancaster University and the University of Liverpool will be positive or negative for jobs in the local area.

A new internal document has suggested that the two could join forces and become known as “Liverpool-Lancaster University” if they want to be in the “global elite” and grab a lion’s share of funding council research income.

When the Lancaster Guardian revealed that the two universities were in merger talks three months ago, outgoing vice-chancellor Prof Paul Wellings described our report as “erroneous speculation”. Lancaster University continues to stress that the collaboration would not be an outright merger, and this has been backed up by Steve Benner of the University and College Union (UCU), who is based at the campus.

But Michael Gibson, managing director of Lancaster based Fat Media, which works with Lancaster University on various projects, is not convinced.

He fears that the university, which is responsible for much of Lancaster’s prosperity, could potentially face large scale job losses if any merger took place.

He said: “A merger could be highly detrimental to Lancaster, and our civic and business leaders need to grasp the implications quickly and start acting.

“We’ve taken both universities for granted for too long and we’re in danger of losing significant numbers of jobs from both of them and many more in the service sector that relies on it.”

See the Lancaster Guardian (29-09-11) for full story.