Sussex strikes as Glasgow staff consider action

June 17, 2010

The wave of industrial action over job cuts at UK universities has continued as plans for two one-day strikes were announced at the University of Sussex.

However, action at King's College London has been suspended by the University and College Union after management agreed to review planned cuts.

UCU members at Sussex have agreed to strike on 18 and 21 June as part of an ongoing dispute with the university over plans to make about 100 redundancies.

The union, which also held strikes in March and May, added that "further targeted industrial action ... aimed at fundamentally disrupting the administration of examination boards" will be announced shortly.

Sussex UCU is also balloting its members over plans to implement an academic boycott against the university, which the union has described as the "ultimate sanction".

It would see the UCU calling on academics to observe measures such as not giving lectures at Sussex nor applying for jobs there.

Sussex's council has approved plans to make 107 redundancies in a bid to save about £5 million a year. Since the council's decision, about 80 staff have agreed to accept voluntary severance packages.

Sussex says in a statement that in most areas it expects to "achieve change without any compulsory redundancies", adding that strike action called by one union will "not influence our approach, nor ... offer positive ways ahead".

A ballot is also under way at the University of Glasgow, which wants to cut 50 jobs in its archaeology, biomedical and life sciences, and education departments.

At King's College London, the UCU has suspended industrial action after the college agreed to a four-month review of the consultation over its plans to cut 205 jobs, during which time there will be no compulsory redundancies.

King's says in a statement that it has agreed with the UCU "a set of measures including a change-management protocol and redeployment policy that enables ... concerns to be addressed while allowing King's to continue to focus on reducing costs and protecting quality".

The UCU has also ended its dispute with the Institute of Education after compulsory redundancies at the institution were ruled out.

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

Update

Both days of scheduled strike action at the University of Sussex have been called off by the University and College Union. The union says in a statement: “After a series of talks and significant progress towards avoiding any compulsory redundancies, the action has been suspended while [we] consider proposals from management."

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