Strike ballot opens at Manchester University

UCU Manchester Met strike

UCU Manchester Met strikeThe UCU today opens a ballot for strike action at the University of Manchester where there are plans to make up to 140 staff redundant by September 2018. 

The union says there is no economic rationale for job cuts on such an enormous scale and has rejected the university’s claim that it needs to create “financial headroom” in light of an increasingly uncertain climate for universities.

In its initial letter to the union announcing the redundancies, the university cited new government legislation and Brexit as underlying reasons for the cuts. But then six days later it denied Brexit was a factor.

The union says that the university is looking for reasons to justify unnecessary cuts. It is in a strong financial position having recorded a £36m surplus last year (2015/16) and its financial statement for the same year revealed it is sitting on £1.5bn of reserves.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: “These job cuts are on an enormous scale at a university that is not currently experiencing financial difficulties. We do not believe creating “financial headroom” is a valid justification for laying off such large numbers of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and non-academic staff. The university has already u-turned on the reasons behind the cuts.

“We have tried our hardest to engage with the university management and will continue to do so but so far they have refused to back down on these massive compulsory job cuts so we have had no option but to call on our members to vote to strike.”

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