Manchester university staff in strike ballot over job cuts

Manchester University front
Image captionMore than 250 staff fear for their jobs, say union leaders

Staff at the University of Manchester are being balloted on strike action over redundancies.

The University and College Union says more than 250 staff are in fear for their jobs after managers ignored agreed procedures.

“We now feel we have no alternative but to ballot for industrial action,” said UCU regional official Martyn Moss.

A university spokesman said management had offered “further discussions to try to resolve any issues”.

The dispute began in April, when the university announced 37 staff who had been on its redeployment register for three months or more could face redundancy.

“The move was a dramatic departure from the university’s policy of allowing staff to remain on the register until redeployed in a new role without fear of redundancy,” says the union.

Jobs at risk

It says university managers rode “roughshod” over agreed procedures while the redeployment policy was in the process of being revised.

The union is angry that instead of waiting for the revisions to be finished, managers “simply went ahead and issued 37 ‘at risk of redundancy’ notices”.

The dispute intensified in July, when 219 staff in the computer support and maintenance team were told the university wanted to cut 68 jobs.

“Out of the blue, 37 people who thought they were safely on the books of the university suddenly faced a redundancy process… to make it worse, another 219 staff are also at risk of losing their jobs,” said Mr Moss.

But the university denies anyone will face compulsory redundancy – and says the letters were in fact requests for volunteers.

Talks broke down last month, and UCU members now have until 20 November to vote on industrial action.

Both sides say they are committed to more talks, possibly through the arbitration service, Acas.