Staff at University of South Wales set for strike action

Union members at the University of South Wales are set to strike in a row over job cuts

October 22, 2014

The University and College Union said its members would walk out on 13 November in protest at compulsory redundancies resulting from the planned closure of the institution’s Centre for Community Learning.

This offered courses designed to help people without formal qualifications get into higher education through community venues, workplaces and campuses around south Wales.

UCU members are to start working to contract this week, and the union said the strike would go ahead unless the university reconsidered its position on redeployment or offered improved severance packages.

“Striking is always a last resort for members but, faced with the compulsory redundancy of hardworking and committed staff and a failure by university management to properly consider alternative proposals, they have been forced to take action,” said UCU Wales official Margaret Phelan.

“We hope that the university will reconsider its position in the coming weeks and work with us to find a solution so that strike action can be avoided.”

Working to contract means that UCU members at the university will work no longer than their set hours, will perform no voluntary duties such as covering for colleagues, and will set and mark no work beyond their contractual obligations.

Staff will be handing leaflets to students to explain why they are taking action.

A USW spokesman said similar access courses would still be offered, but that they would be administered differently.

“We are disappointed that a small number of members have called for industrial action in one part of the university over the exact level of enhanced redundancy for two UCU members whose roles have come to an end. However, the university does not anticipate any major disruption as a result of this action,” the spokesman said.

“USW took a sensible decision some months ago to change the administrative model of the Centre for Community Learning, which was a poor use of public money and relied on a number of fixed and short-term funding streams that have now ended.”

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