Manchester Metropolitan University staff back strike action in jobs row

10 May 2017

Manchester Metropolitan University staff back strike action in jobs row

From UCU

9 May 2017

UCU members at Manchester Metropolitan University will be on strike later this month after they overwhelmingly backed industrial action.

Four-fifths of UCU members who voted (79%) backed strike action in a ballot which ran from Thursday 6 April to Monday 8 May. The first strike days will be Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 May. The action will hit both the Crewe and Manchester campuses.

The row centres on plans to close the university’s Crewe campus and the fate of the 160 academic staff based there. The ballot was held after the university refused a proposal from UCU to postpone the 16 redundancies already scheduled for this summer to allow both sides time to consider redeployment options.

UCU said it has been frustrated by a lack of good faith from the university in meetings. The union said that the university’s representatives had appeared to be willing to work towards compromises in meetings but then managers would renege on promises just hours later.

The university has almost £400m in reserves and UCU says it sees no rationale for refusing to pause on this summer’s job losses or rule out compulsory redundancies. The university confirmed on 10 February that the Crewe campus will close in August 2019 after the students currently enrolled on courses there have finished their studies.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: ‘UCU members at Manchester Metropolitan University have made it quite clear that they are prepared to take strike action to defend jobs at their university. The ball is now firmly in the university’s court and we hope they will respond positively.

‘Strike action is always a last resort, but members will walk out later this month if the university refuses to address the jobs issue.

‘Manchester Metropolitan University is wrong to try discard years of academic experience as it closes the Crewe campus and we want to properly explore all available options. The university needs to stop rushed plans for 16 job losses this summer and work with us to reach a fair resolution.’

The dispute took a bizarre twist last month when the university slapped a last-minute ban on UCU holding a union meeting on campus. The union described that move as “an unprecedented attack on academic freedom”.

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