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UHI staff overwhelmingly back industrial action in row over £3million cuts and job losses

20 September 2023

Staff at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) have today backed strikes in a dispute over plans to slash £3million from the university's staffing budget and cut up to 44 roles.

In the ballot of UCU Scotland members, 77% of those who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 86%.

The university is proposing to cut up to 44 roles and has confirmed its intention to use compulsory redundancies. The union says the proposed job cuts are rushed and alternative savings haven't been properly explored.  The union said losing so many staff in such a short timescale was bound to impact on both the student experience, the university's reputation and the future of tertiary education in the highlands and islands.

The union said it wants to work with the employer to avoid the need for compulsory redundancies and to find alternative savings. The local branch is due to meet later this week to consider its next steps.

UHI branch president, Dr Heather Fotheringham, said: 'By voting in these numbers UCU members at UHI have made it absolutely clear that the university needs to think again about its plan to cut jobs. The ballot result is a clear mandate for industrial action and to oppose job cuts.

'UHI is an important employer in the highlands and islands and cuts of this scale will have a disastrous impact on the local economy, the student experience at the university, and the future of tertiary education in the region.  It's not too late for university managers to work with UCU, and others and to find alternatives that don't involve such drastic cuts and job losses.'

Last updated: 20 September 2023