Another group of workers whose vital work in the struggle to fight the coronavirus is being rewarded with the sack can be found at Imperial College, working in the department of information and communication technology (ICT).
The Covid-19 response team based at Imperial has been central in advising the government on how to deal with the pandemic, and members of the team have pointed out that their globally important work relies upon the support of the ICT staff.
Covid-19 response team member Dr Samir Bhatt, who is advising the state of New York as it comes out of lockdown, stressed: “For weeks now, all of our Covid-19 response work has had to be done remotely.
“It goes without saying that our work is of significant public health importance, both within the UK and around the world, and it would have been impossible without the Imperial ICT staff and their heroic efforts in the midst of incredibly trying circumstances.”
Yet, incredibly, on 3 June, bang in the middle of the pandemic, Imperial College dropped a bombshell. According to the college union, UCU: “Imperial College told 281 staff in information and communication technology (ICT) that 156 of them were at risk of losing their jobs.
“The college says it expects 75 staff to be made redundant, meaning more than a quarter of the department will go, with the first jobs expected to be axed in July. However, UCU fears the losses may be higher. Imperial says the cuts will save £2m and the restructure will take eight months.” (Covid-19 scientists’ outcry at Imperial College’s plans to axe vital staff, UCU, 8 June 2020)