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University of Liverpool staff vote to strike against job cuts

12 April 2021

UCU members at the University of Liverpool voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over job cuts. 84% of members who voted supported strike action, with 90% backing action short of a strike, which could involve a marking and assessment boycott.

The university is planning to slash up to 47 teaching and research jobs in the faculty of health and life sciences, with world-leading academics - including those doing work on Covid treatment - at risk of being made redundant.

The proposed job cuts follow a long-standing dispute between UCU and university management over the use of flawed data on research and grant income to assess performance. These metrics are now being used to select for redundancy. This practice has been widely criticised by experts, including by the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and the authors of the Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics.

UCU said that the job cuts are shameful and unnecessary, and ridiculed university management's claim that slashing staff will improve research performance. The union said it is united in anger and opposition to the cuts, and that the overwhelming vote in favour of strike action shows its members at Liverpool are prepared for sustained industrial action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This outstanding ballot result shows that our members at the University of Liverpool are ready to strike in solidarity with those whose jobs and livelihoods are at risk, and they now have an overwhelming mandate to do so.

'These job cuts are shameful, unnecessary and completely self-defeating. The university's claim that slashing staff will improve research performance is absurd, and shows how detached management has become. It's not too late for the university to reverse these plans for compulsory redundancies, avoiding strike action and further damage to its reputation. We urge it to change course.'

University of Liverpool UCU branch president Anthony O'Hanlon said: 'This is the largest industrial ballot action turnout in the history of the branch and sends an emphatic message that this brutal and senseless attack on jobs will not be tolerated. There is still time for management to step away from these disastrous proposals. If it fails to do so, there will be sustained industrial action.'

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