More than 400 jobs are under threat at colleges and universities across the West Midlands as the recession impacts on higher education, union leaders have warned.
The University and College Union said higher education is in the midst of an economic crisis.
It fears that almost 6,000 jobs are at risk from cuts throughout the country which would, in turn, affect more than 100,000 students.
Union leaders said more than a third of the job losses would be felt in London, but the West Midlands is facing the loss of 403 employees, they added.
Regional spokesman Martin Machon said: “There are clear risks in the West Midlands and the institution we are most concerned about is Coventry University where they have already issued redundancy letters.”
The union, which represents lecturers as well as admin staff, researchers, librarians and computing staff, last month staged a one-day strike at City College Birmingham over the proposed loss of 76 jobs.
A spokesman for Coventry University said: “I can confirm that there are up to 37 staff potentially at risk of redundancy at the university as a result of individual departmental reorganisations due to external funding coming to an end or because of process and efficiency improvements.
“As far as the university is concerned, these changes are just part of normal business; indeed the university continues to be successful and will be declaring a surplus this year. We also continue to create new posts or fill vacant ones where appropriate.”
The spokesman said they had embarked upon a “rigorous consultation and redeployment process” as fully agreed with all their unions and were making every effort to find alternative jobs for as many of the staff as possible.
Figures published by the UCU reveal that 5,891 jobs are at risk in the UK - 4,593 in universities and 1,298 in colleges, affecting around 106,000 students.
The union warned that job losses will be felt in every university, including the leading research-intensive Russell Group institutions, and claimed the figures may be the “tip of the iceberg” because institutions are not consulting with the union properly over job cuts.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “We have been warning for months of the potential damage unnecessary and swingeing cuts would do to post-16 education.
“All institutions that are considering slashing jobs need to make a clear, transparent case for the losses and start speaking to us immediately.”
But the Universities and Colleges Employers Association said the union’s list of at-risk jobs contained a number of “highly speculative” figures, some of which were based on rumour.
Organisations make redundancies as a “last resort” and consider alternatives, such as recruitment freezes first.
Chairman Professor Sir William Wakeham said: “Despite the current financial situation and expected ongoing pressure on funding, the sector will do its utmost to preserve the student experience.”
He said the predicted job losses would be 0.8 per cent of total higher education staff, whereas the normal annual staff turnover rate within universities is between six and 10 per cent.