Strikes loom as Middlesex cuts up to 200 jobs

June 27, 2011

The threat of up to 200 compulsory redundancies at Middlesex University may lead to a ballot for industrial action, a union has warned.

Jenny Compton-Bishop, branch secretary of Unison at Middlesex, said the situation mirrored that at London Metropolitan University, which has seen industrial action and protests against plans to cut courses and jobs.

“We’re looking at job losses that are possibly on the same scale as London Met,” she said. “We’re really very angry about it. If our demands are not met, we will be looking to ballot for industrial action.”

Both Unison and the local branch of the University and College Union have entered into a dispute with Middlesex over possible job losses and outsourcing.

The unions have asked for an improved redeployment policy, a recruitment freeze on external appointments, a “meaningful” redundancy-avoidance package and an improved voluntary redundancy package, as well as an agreed procurement policy to minimise outsourcing.

Ms Compton-Bishop also said that the unions would want a full financial briefing.

“We want to scrutinise the accounts and look at other ways of cost-savings other than job cuts. We’re not convinced they have explored all other possibilites,” she said.

She added that she did not believe that the university would be able to operate efficiently if the full number of redundancies occurred. “We don’t see how the university can maintain the same level of service and range of courses with 10 per cent of the staff gone.”

A spokesperson for Middlesex said that providing the best possible experience for students would remain a top priority for the institution, but blamed government cuts for the need to make savings.

“We remain committed to avoiding the use of compulsory redundancies and have reopened a voluntary redundancy scheme. However, if voluntary redundancy and other cost-cutting measures can't fill the funding gap, then we regret that compulsory redundancies are an option.”

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