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University of Liverpool staff to ballot for strike action

19 June 2013

University under fire for breaking redundancy protocols and threatening to sack staff if they don't accept worse conditions • University's largest faculty has already rejected the plans and called for union negotiations

Members of UCU at the University of Liverpool today voted in favour of holding a ballot for strike action in response to a threat to dismiss them unless they accept weekend, evening and Bank Holiday working without recompense.

At a meeting today, UCU members voted unanimously in favour of a motion calling for a ballot on industrial action. A 'yes' vote in the ballot could see an escalating programme of strike action and action short of a strike, which could involve things like refusing to work unpaid overtime.

The controversial changes, which would increase staff working at weekends, evenings and Bank Holidays without the appropriate time off in lieu, had been subject to long-running talks between the union and the university.

The university's proposals affect 2,803 staff in roles such as student recruitment, clerical posts, librarians and computer staff. In a letter to staff the university warned that unless the trade union agrees to the changes staff face three months' notice of dismissal and then being rehired on the new unfavourable conditions.

The university's plans have already been rejected by the institution's largest faculty - the faculty of health and life sciences. At a meeting last week, the faculty's staff backed a motion that said the plans risked damaging the reputation of the university, the morale of its staff, and harmonious industrial relations. It also called for the university to withdraw the threat of dismissal and engage in meaningful negotiations with the union.

The university is also under fire for breaking its own redundancy protocols. It announced it is serving notice to staff of a 45-day consultation period. However, the agreement it has with staff and the unions is a 90-day consultation period.

UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said: 'It's no surprise that staff voted unanimously to be balloted for strike action.  We don't know of any other university that has attacked its staff's terms and conditions in such a deplorable way.

'The threat to dismiss more than half the staff risks doing serious damage to the good reputation of the University of Liverpool. Ripping up the protocols we have agreed with the university and slashing the consultation period will do nothing to improve the morale of staff.

'Unless the university withdraws the redundancy notice and agrees to sit down with us to try and resolve this, strike action early in the autumn term looks a very real possibility.'


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