Union welcomes reprieve over UK physics cuts

Union welcomes reprieve over UK physics cuts

Prospect has welcomed news that the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has agreed to halt plans to restructure its research facilities until the Wakeham and McKillop reviews of UK physics have reported.

Prospect national secretary Tony Bell said: "This is very welcome news, not least for the hundreds of scientists who faced redundancy as a result of those decisions. This is the common-sense approach, and one that the union called for in all its discussions with the STFC Council and the Commons’ select committee for innovation.

"We always acknowledged that the budget allocation for 2008-11 meant hard choices would have to be made. But staff felt that the process leading to the Council’s decisions over the cuts was secretive, non-consultative and put their science and sites at risk. They just did not understand the Council’s vision for the future.

"This reprieve will allow now for a measured and transparent consultation, rather than the original opaque, knee-jerk reaction that would have crippled the UK’s scientific capability."

Prospect, which represents scientists and engineers across the STFC, will be putting forward the views of its members as evidence to the consultation process.

UK sites at risk because of the STFC cuts include the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxford), the Daresbury Laboratory (Warrington) and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh.