Results held in jobs row

June 11, 2004

Lecturers at Northumbria University plan to withhold students' exam marks as the latest step in their protest over redundancies.

Last Thursday, about 200 lecturers attended a one-day strike and rally after the university announced that 58 academic posts were to be axed.

Martin Levy, branch chair of lecturers' union Natfhe, said he was sorry it was necessary to withhold the results. But he blamed the university for forcing the union's hand.

"This action will impact directly on the assessment process as marks will not be available for examination boards," he said. "We regret any impact this may have on students, but our hand has been forced and the university management needs to recognise the strength of feeling among staff and withdraw unreservedly the threat of compulsory redundancies."

The university said the redundancies were necessary because its staffing costs were too high. But Mr Levy pointed out that increasing amounts of cash were earmarked for central support instead of frontline teaching.

"Schools are allowed to spend only 45 per cent of their total budget on staff, while 40 per cent is going to central support," he said. "The priorities are all wrong," he said.

At last month's annual Natfhe conference, members voted to impose an academic boycott on Northumbria for the duration of the dispute. The student union has condemned the withholding of marks.

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