UCU to ballot for strike action at Middlesex

Lecturers at Middlesex University are to be balloted for strike action in a row over jobs.

August 22, 2011

According to the University and College Union, the university wants to introduce cost-cutting measures that will result in up to 300 redundancies, with half of the savings to be found by cuts to academic staff.

The union has today informed the university that its members will be asked to vote on industrial action in a ballot that opens on 30 August, with the result expected on 21 September.

It warned that job losses “would have a devastating effect on provision and risks doing lasting damage to the institution’s academic reputation”.

The UCU cited figures from the Office for Fair Access suggesting that Middlesex would charge among the highest tuition fees in the UK (£8,602, after financial support is taken into account) when the new fees regime comes into place in 2012.

A spokesman for the university that in the face of “unprecedented” cuts to public funding, “we have no choice but to take prompt action to ensure that Middlesex continues to remain in a strong and sustainable financial position”.

He added that providing the best possible experience for students remained a “top priority” and that the university remained committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies.

“However, if voluntary redundancy and other cost cutting measures can't fill the funding gap, then we regret that compulsory redundancies are an option,” the spokesman said.

The university added that it was “very unfortunate” that the UCU was balloting for strike action before the voluntary redundancy scheme had ended.

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