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University staff to stage walk out

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University of Brighton lecturers are walking out on strike

HUNDREDS of lecturers will go on strike today in a dispute over compulsory redundancies.

Thousands of students at the University of Brighton are expected to be affected.

Members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) will form picket lines at building entrances from 1pm and all day tomorrow.

This will be followed by a work to rule from Monday.

The union says unless a settlement is reached the dispute will escalate with a two-day strike next month and further action from January.

The action follows a ballot of UCU members which returned majorities in favour of action of more than 85 per cent.

The union says the threat of dismissing staff is unjustified.

Ninety staff left the university in September under a voluntary severance scheme.

The union said some of those who volunteered did so under threat of being made redundant if they did not.

Union co-ordinating committee chairman Mark Abel said: “The UCU objects to more staff being forced out of their jobs given the number that have already left.

“The university is not overstaffed.

“In some cases the work of those who have left is now being done by temporary hourly-paid lecturers.

“It is a casualisation of the teaching staff with adverse effects both for students’ education and for the contractual terms of staff.”

The action will lead to lectures and seminars being cancelled and no pre and post-essay tutorials.

Many of the university’s research seminars will also be affected.

A university spokesman said he regretted the direction the union had chosen to take and the university would be open as normal.

He said: “Members of the university executive board met with UCU as part of ongoing discussions regarding two members of staff who are regrettably at risk of redundancy.

“It is clear from their actions that UCU has been intent on taking industrial action for some time despite the good progress in discussions which has reduced the numbers of staff at risk of redundancy from 22 to two.

“This unjustified industrial action is counter-productive, will only damage the experience of students.

“We have acted in good faith throughout and remain open to dialogue at any time.”


Source: The Argus