MORE than 100 jobs could be be lost as a Southampton university attempts to resolve a multi-million pound black hole in its finances.

Solent University has revealed that it could be making a number of redundancies following a £10.5m forecast deficit for 2020 to 2021.

The announcement has been branded “disappointing and deeply unsettling” by a Southampton MP, who linked the plans to the current problems brought with the coronavirus pandemic.

An email to UCU members seen by the Daily Echo says that the university intends to make “substantial pay savings” though a two-phase redundancy process.

Solent University has since confirmed that there are 109 positions at the university that are at risk.

Unison's south east regional secretary Steve Torrance said: “Support staff have been working flat out to keep the university going and, considering the pressures they’re under, doing a remarkable job.

“Administrators, cleaners, catering staff and security officers already know they’re facing a pay freeze. But have continued to go above and beyond – in hugely challenging circumstances – to keep students safe, fed and courses running.

“Now many face losing their jobs. It’s essential the government steps up with a proper support package for universities and ends this avoidable crisis.”

MP for Southampton Itchen Royston Smith told the Daily Echo he was “very disappointed” to learn that the university may be making staff redundant.

He added: “I know this will be a deeply unsettling time for all of those employed at the university. This is sadly likely linked to the pandemic and is a startling reminder that we need to follow the guidance to get coronavirus under control so things can get back to normal as quickly as possible.”

A Solent University spokesperson said: “In response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and wider changes and challenges across the higher education sector, Solent University has committed to making financial savings over the coming academic year.

“As a result, we can confirm the Solent voluntary severance scheme opened on 26 October 2020, and at the same time we have moved to an ‘at risk’ of redundancy situation for a proposed number of 109 posts across the University and are currently going through the collective consultation process.

“Our focus throughout this process will be on ensuring we retain a skilled and agile workforce that can meet the evolving needs of the sector and continue to grow our excellent and distinctive offer into the future. We also remain committed to maintaining and improving our reputation, and will continue to invest in our University and in our exceptional student experience.”