Staff concerns grow over planned Birmingham merger

October 20, 2000

Support staff have joined academics and students in raising concerns over merger talks between Birmingham and Aston universities, which started today.

Members of Birmingham University's joint union committee, which represents nearly 3,000 support staff, are calling for "close consultation and negotiation" over the proposals for "full institutional integration" that are being considered by a joint strategy group.

David Westwood, secretary of the committee, said there was little question that a merger would mean rationalisation of support services - a view already expressed by Aston vice-chancellor Michael Wright.

"With proposals to dissolve the two universities to create a new one, there will be little protection for existing staff," he said.

Aston staff are part of the national negotiating forum for pay and conditions, but Birmingham has local bargaining.

The Association of University Teachers urged senior management to keep them better informed about developments, and Aston students union leaders warned of opposition among incoming students.

Alistair Rae, Birmingham AUT vice-president, said: "We have been frustrated by the lack of consultation on this. Although we have continued to press for more information, so far it has not been forthcoming."

The joint strategy group is expected to report by the end of the year.

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