Liverpool Hope strike: ‘standstill’ or ‘business as usual’?

Striking lecturers are pledging to bring Liverpool Hope University to a “standstill” today, although managers claim two-thirds will turn up to work as usual.

April 8, 2011

The strike by members of the University and College Union has prompted Liverpool Hope to cancel all classes on what is the last day of term. But the university says assessments will be going ahead and key services such as libraries will be open.

The UCU says that more than 90 jobs are at risk, after the university announced plans for compulsory redundancies earlier this year. The union has also reacted angrily to the news, revealed by Times Higher Education, that vice-chancellor Gerald Pillay enjoyed a 21 per cent pay rise in 2009-10, taking his salary to £199,077.

Liverpool Hope said it would lose 97 per cent of its teaching grant over the next three years in government funding cuts, leaving it with no option but to reduce staffing.

It says it cannot commit to a policy of no compulsory redundancies, but is gradually bringing down the number by talking with unions and agreeing voluntary severance deals.

Martyn Moss, a UCU regional official, said: “UCU members here have no faith in how the university is handling its funding problems and will do all it takes to defend their jobs and the education of their students. The fact that Liverpool Hope has been forced to cancel all lessons underlines the strength of feeling here against the cuts.”

Graham Donelan, university secretary, said: “Liverpool Hope will not be at a standstill. The two-thirds of academic staff who will work normally and all the support staff will ensure that most of the university’s services will continue to operate normally.

“The university took the decision to cancel all lectures on what is the final day of term as it did not want to inconvenience students, many of whom travel long distances to the university each day and some have already left for the Easter break, because of UCU’s precipitous strike action.”

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