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Lecturers vote for strike over threat to 550 university jobs

PUBLISHED: 23:41 30 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:19 05 October 2010

LECTURERS at London Metropolitan University have voted overwhelmingly for a strike or other industrial action. They are stepping up their fight to stop 550 posts being axed

By Mike Brooke

LECTURERS at London Metropolitan University have voted overwhelmingly for a strike or other industrial action.

They are stepping up their fight to stop 550 posts being axed.

The university, which has major campuses in London’s East End at Aldgate and Whitechapel as well as its main site at Holloway, has been hit by funding cuts following alleged inaccurate reporting’ of students completing courses.

CASH CRISIS

Its annual Whitehall cash was cut by £15 million, with a further £36.5m having to be repaid to the Government for previous years’ over-funding.

The university’s response to the crisis was announcing plans to axe at least 550 posts, equal to 800 staff actually at risk—a-quarter of the workforce, according to the lecturers’ union.

The situation came to a head when the university said it was pushing ahead with a voluntary’ redundancy scheme.

The University & College Union argues it was left “no option” but to ballot members for industrial action

because there were no guarantees those not volunteering would be sacked anyway.

NIGHTMARE

“The situation at the university is an absolute nightmare,” said Union general secretary Sally Hunt.

“We will fight the dangerous redundancy plans all the way. Announcing a poorly thought-through redundancy scheme in the middle of talks aimed at avoiding redundancies was insensitive and downright stupid.”

The vice-chancellor, Brian Roper, quit Last month, but remains on the payroll until the end of the year.

The ballot result was 64 per cent for a strike and 71 per cent for other industrial action. The union is now deciding what action to take.

Meanwhile, lecturers and many of the London-Metropolitan’s 34,000 students plan to march through north London on May 23.


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