Members of UNITE and the Queens' Solidarity Campaign outside the CollegeEwan Hawkins

A proposal “could result in the redundancy of 32 employees” from Queens’ College according to leaked documents seen exclusively by Varsity.

The documents reveal that 93 members of staff at Queens’ are at risk of redundancy with 32 of these workers being laid off if the college follows through on the proposals.

The 32 redundancies will come from exclusively non-academic positions in six departments: Alumni & Development, Catering, Housekeeping, IT, Maintenance and the, Porters’ Lodge. Twenty-four of the 32 proposed job cuts come from the Catering department (8) and Housekeeping (16).

A worker at the College facing redundancy anonymously told Varsity “It's very stressful and emotional, the feeling amongst staff is that they have already decided who’s going and now they’re just playing the necessary game. In the middle of a global pandemic, losing your job with a months notice is so scary. The students have been amazing, it means so much to us all when we see students fight on our behalf.”

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Queens’ College is the fourteenth richest Cambridge College with endowment and investment assets that have grown from £69.09m in 2015 to £91.23m in 2019. According to the College accounts, the three highest earners in Queens’ - The President, the Senior Bursar, and Senior Tutor - in total earnt £315,000 in 2019, up £10,000 from the previous year.

In response to the redundancies, a Queens’ Solidarity Campaign has been launched alongside the trade union UNITE.

The Queens’ Solidarity Campaign will be holding a “covid-safe tea, coffee, information stall” outside the College every morning and evening of this week to “distribute information about the campaign and chat to staff who are losing their jobs”. This will “build momentum for a virtual meeting on Friday to discuss how to stop the redundancies”.

The redundancies come nearly six years after Queens’ was awarded a “special plaque” for being the first Oxbridge college to be accredited with the Living Wage Foundation.

The Campaign told Varsity “It is disgraceful that the first action of Queens’ is to sack the lowest paid workers who cook the food, clean the floors, maintain the buildings and hold the college together. The pandemic has shown that these jobs, while they may be paid the least, are ultimately the most essential to the functioning of these colleges.”


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“This college has a plaque boasting of its good working conditions, yet still resorts to sacking 32 of its staff six months into a global pandemic. These actions could have dangerous consequences - not only for the livelihoods of those workers, but for the safety of the students returning.”

These revelations come after Queens’ emailed students, suggesting the College was considering redundancies on the basis of an anticipated aggregate deficit of £6 million for the financial year just ended and next year owing to the financial impact of Covid-19.

In response, an open letter from Queens’ students and alumni demanding that Queens’ “assure staff that there will be no redundancies” received 170 signatures. The organisers of the letters contacted College management three times and are yet to receive a response.

Queens’ College did not reply to a request for comment.

Update (06/10/2020): Since publication Varsity have been contacted by Queens' and advised that Queens' are not making any compulsory redundancies