Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams and Welsh Assembly Member Sian Gwenllian have called for an urgent meeting with Bangor University about the threat of compulsory redundancies.

The university needs to save £5m this academic year, which has been blamed on the rising costs of pension provision, pay increases and the impact of falling enrolments.

Staff in some departments at the University received a Section 188 ‘Potential for Redundancies’ letter last week and unions fear that up to 60 jobs could be lost.

The university also announced this week that the Vice-Chancellor, Professor John G. Hughes, who was due to retire next August, would now be leaving the at the end of December.

In a joint statement Hywel Williams and Sian Gwenllian said: “Bangor University is a major employer in Arfon, providing work for 3,000 people in both academic and ancillary positions.

“Many local businesses depend on the university and it’s students.

“The £5m cuts will have a profound impact on the local economy and every effort must be taken to avoid compulsory redundancies.”

“News that the vice chancellor is to leave before the end of the year rather than at the end of the present academic term has sent further alarm bells through the institution.

“We need to understand the significance of this and so will also be raising this with the Chair of the University Council, Marian Wyn Jones at the earliest possible opportunity.”

A spokesperson for Bangor University said: “Bangor University, like many in the UK higher education sector, is facing a challenging financial landscape as a result of many factors including intense competition both at home and internationally, and a substantial demographic downturn in the 18-20 year old population.

“To ensure the long-term financial health of the institution, Bangor University’s Council has approved a number of business cases for consultation.

“These plans are currently under discussion with Trades Unions, and the University has entered a formal consultation period with the affected staff and students.

“As previously announced, the university will shortly be advertising for a successor to Professor John G Hughes, who will be retiring at the end of the month.

“In the meantime Professor Graham Upton will be appointed as Interim Vice-Chancellor from 1 January.”

Hywel Williams and Sian Gwenllian have requested an urgent meeting about the cuts and possible redundancies