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University staff evicted from university pickets in extraordinary dispute

24 March 2011

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Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is under fire today (Thursday) after its security evicted staff members from picket lines across the university's buildings this morning.

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is under fire today (Thursday) after its security evicted staff members from picket lines across the university's buildings this morning. UCU members at MMU are on strike as part of UK-wide action in a row over pensions, pay and jobs. More on the strike action can be found here.

The University and College Union (UCU) said it could not recall another university ever taking such 'drastic and petty action' and warned the institution risked earning an unfortunate reputation and becoming a 'pariah institution'.
 
University security patrolled the buildings of MMU today and removed staff on picket lines. UCU claims that the university has ignored the government's code of practice on picketing which states that a picket can stand 'at or near his own place of work'.
 
Many universities in the UK are similar to MMU in design with buildings and entrances spread across a city. The union said that picketing universities is not as simple as just standing outside a factory gate, but that there had been no other incidents where security moved staff from picket lines.
 
UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said: 'I was on the picket line at MMU today and absolutely astounded to have been told by the university's security to leave the premises. I am not aware of anything like this happening elsewhere and I fail to see some leaflets being handed out to staff, students and visitors can be anywhere near as damaging as this incident will be for the university.
 
'Aside from the drastic and very petty nature of the university's actions, the bigger issue here is the damage to MMU's reputation. The academic world does speak to each other and the university runs the real risk of becoming a pariah institution if it thinks this kind of behaviour is acceptable.'

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