Winchester union members back strike action over job cuts

University says it hopes to avoid compulsory redundancies

May 13, 2019
Strike placards

Members of the University and College Union at the University of Winchester have backed strike action over job cuts.

The university is looking to make financial savings, citing pressures including increases in employer contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. The union said that 55 jobs were set to go.

A ballot of UCU members was held at Winchester, with a turnout of 58 per cent.

There was 80 per cent backing for strike action and 93 per cent backed action short of a strike.

Members will finalise details of the industrial action in the coming days with options including strikes, working to contract, not covering for absences and boycotting open days.

Moray McAulay, the UCU regional official, said: “There is no need for this knee-jerk reaction to changes to pension costs and the overwhelming support for industrial action should act as a warning to the university.”

He said that nobody wanted to see disruption, but UCU members at Winchester “feel they have been left with no other option”.

“The ball is now in the university’s court and we hope they will come back to us with proposals that rule out the need for strikes,” he said.

A Winchester spokeswoman said that it was “on course to achieve the financial savings target – of between 30 to 40 full-time equivalent posts – through voluntary severance, redeployment and agreed reductions in contracted hours, without the need for compulsory redundancies”.

“We hope to be in a position to confirm this very soon,” she said.

The voluntary severance scheme, which was announced in March, reflects the need to rebalance staffing, alongside other financial pressures, including changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, said the spokeswoman.

nick.mayo@timeshighereducation.com

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