Dundee UCU votes for strike action over job losses

Members of the University and College Union at the University of Dundee have voted to strike in protest at the threat of compulsory redundancies

April 16, 2015

On a 42 per cent turnout, 72 per cent of members supported strike action, and 88 per cent backed action short of a strike.

The ballot was held as the institution looks to cut costs by removing approximately 35 academic posts across its School of Medicine and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and by cutting about 50 administrative roles.

The university said it was “absolutely committed” to making the targeted savings through voluntary redundancies and by not filling vacant posts, but warned that it may have to look at compulsory redundancies “if the necessary savings are not reached”.

The union believes that approximately eight compulsory redundancies will have to be made in the School of Medicine, and fears that more could follow.

Carlo Morelli, vice-president of the UCU branch at Dundee, said members could not stomach a fourth round of job cuts in six years.

He claimed that the university’s hope of accumulating investment funding by cutting costs was misguided, since staffing reductions lessened the amount of teaching and research income that the institution attracted.

“This is the last straw for staff,” Dr Morelli said. “It is quite evident from the strength of feeling in the ballot that staff are at the end of the line in terms of patience with university management.”

A university spokesman said Dundee needed “to achieve financial security” to achieve its ambition of becoming “Scotland’s leading university”, stating that the institution had budgeted for a deficit of £2.7 million in 2014-15. Efforts would also be made to increase income, he said.

“We are aware of the result of the UCU ballot but at this time we have not been informed what form any industrial action may take or when it will take place,” the spokesman said. “We are disappointed in the move by UCU towards industrial action. This will do nothing to resolve the pressing issues which the university faces.”

The ballot came as the University of Aberdeen considers plans to cut 150 jobs in a bid to save £10.5 million.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

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Reader's comments (1)

Resistance must multiply because hardly a day goes by and information on sackings of academics in the UK becomes out-dated. My count of announced redundancies within 2015 from only five institutions is six hundred and fifty eight colleagues are losing their positions. The five institutions are Queen's University Belfast, London Metropolitan University, University of Aberdeen, University of Surrey and University of Dundee. Warwick University was on the news just before Christmas for doing the same thing. https://fanismissirlis.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/academicslaughteruk/

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