Academic staff at London Guildhall University have voted to strike in protest against compulsory redundancies and a proposed pay freeze. A ballot, concluded this week, found 55 per cent in favour of a strike and 77 per cent for action short of striking. Around 60 per cent of those eligible voted. Non-academic staff organised by Unison are also expected to ballot on possible action.
The university governors met this week after the results had been announced and re-endorsed the recovery plan under which six compulsory redundancy notices were issued last month. "The recovery plan is on track in every respect," said Roderick Floud, provost of LGU.
All six who received redundancy notices, issued with one year of notice, have exercised their right of appeal to the governors. "This will take a few weeks. Natfhe are seeking advice and the matter will be handled with all due deliberation," said Professor Floud.
Alan Lafferty, Natfhe convenor at LGU, said staff were disappointed that compulsory redundancies had been implemented. "We had hoped to convince the management that there are other ways of saving money. Half a dozen redundancies will save only around Pounds 200,000 in a budget of Pounds 45 million. One area where the institution loses quite a lot of money is students who drop out for academic reasons. All that further reducing the number of staff is likely to accomplish is to increase that leakage, costing even more."
Natfhe will be discussing possible action options over the next few weeks. One idea is setting up an independently-chaired inquiry to look into the institution's finances.
Professor Floud said he was always ready to listen to union suggestions on savings, but saw no need for the inquiry. "We have had rather a lot of inquiries in recent years and I can't see the need for another one."