King’s College strike to coincide with royal visit

Princess Anne to open new neuroscience building as staff take action over job cuts

July 3, 2014

Academics at King’s College London will strike next week in a row over job losses – the same day Princess Anne opens a new neuroscience building at the institution.

From the day of the strike – 10 July – members of the University and College Union will also begin working strictly to contract, and to boycott performance development reviews, the union said.

More than 80 per cent of UCU members who voted in a ballot last month backed strike action.

The institution wants to cut staff costs by 10 per cent in the schools of medicine and biomedical sciences and at the Institute of Psychiatry, which could see up to 120 academics losing their jobs, the UCU says.

Staff who do not meet a threshold value for research income or who teach fewer than a specified number of hours will be at risk. Notices of dismissal will be issued on 15 August, according to the UCU.

UCU regional official Barry Jones said: “Strike action is always a last resort, but King’s has left our members with little alternative.

“We are unimpressed with the college’s efforts to rush these redundancies through during the summer, but we remain committed to dialogue with college management to work to resolution of this unsatisfactory situation.

“Sacking 120 staff will do absolutely nothing positive for King’s College’s academic reputation.”

The union said staff had not ruled out a marking boycott or further strike action. 

A spokesman for King’s said when the strike ballot results were announced that the issues raised by the UCU were “being addressed” in a collective consultation process while the college was “committed to continuing to engage in constructive discussions”.

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