Fighting fund banner


Northumbria UCU declares dispute over failure to rule out compulsory redundancies

15 February 2024

UCU members at Northumbria University today announced they have declared an industrial dispute over the refusal of senior management to rule out compulsory redundancies as part of a planned £12.5 million reduction in 'staff costs.'

Earlier this week, Vice Chancellor Andy Long wrote to staff telling them that cuts would be necessary 'in order to ensure we are able to meet our shared strategic ambitions and remain competitive in an increasingly challenging sector.' 

The UCU branch at the university, after overwhelmingly declaring a dispute at an all-member meeting yesterday, said staff shouldn't have to suffer for the mistakes of senior management. They added that industrial action is inevitable unless management backs down and negotiates seriously. 

The university has indicated that they will push through huge reductions in spending on staff, and have failed to rule out compulsory redundancies, even while insisting that the institution's 'underlying financial position remains very strong.' 

Northumbria management have suggested, moreover, that compulsory redundancies could be linked to sham "departmental performance metrics."  

UCU and Unison issued a joint statement in response to the VC saying that compulsory redundancies must be avoided.

Jon Bryan, UCU Regional Support Official said: 'Jobs are being put at risk  in a crisis that staff did not create. Northumbria senior management paid bonuses out of deducted strike pay, wasted money on futile partnerships and consultancies, and spent millions on vanity building projects that have benefitted nobody.  

'Instead of punishing staff and students for its mismanagement, The University Executive must show some humility and integrity in trying to rectify this situation. If cuts need to be made, they should begin at the top rather than targeting hard-working staff who are the backbone of Northumbria.  

'No-one wants industrial action, but unless the University Executive back down from compulsory redundancies and engaging in serious, constructive dialogue, it is inevitable.'

Joint statement agreed by UNISON and UCU 

The first duty of any trade union is to protect the jobs and livelihoods of its members.  UCU and UNISON stand united in our opposition to any compulsory redundancies at Northumbria University.  We recognise that the University faces considerable financial challenges, but we, the staff, are the University's most valuable assets and we are essential to the continued success of the University.  We will be holding the Vice-Chancellor to his word when he says "We will be doing all that we can to avoid compulsory redundancies."  UNISON and UCU are clear that compulsory redundancies must be avoided. 

Last updated: 15 February 2024