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Strike confirmed at University of Winchester over 'vicious job cuts' and 'unhealthy' workloads

21 May 2024

The University and College Union (UCU) today announced that University of Winchester staff will strike on Tuesday 4 June over drastic job cuts, unless the university halts plans to get rid of staff and impose excessive workloads.

An overwhelming 79% of members who voted backed strike action, in a ballot that closed last week with a turnout of 59%. 93% also voted for action short of strike, which will begin on Wednesday 5 June and includes working to contract and refusing to cover for absent colleagues. 

The dispute is over plans to cut around 40 academic staff, and unfavourable changes to workloads which the union fears will lead to unhealthy and unmanageable working hours. The university claims it needs to make the cuts because of a £6m structural deficit and UCU fears there will be further cuts down the line. 

Staff have faced regular rounds of redundancy since 2019 with staff morale at an all-time low. A Winchester UCU spokesperson said: 'members are in constant fear of losing their job. We've had half a decade of attacks and job cuts which needs to end.' 

In 2021, the university installed a statue of climate activist Greta Thunberg as part of a £50m development and described itself as "the university for sustainability and social justice". The threatened closure of the climate and the social justice institute as well as the centre for religion, reconciliation and peace comes just three years later. The institute is led by Professor Robert Beckford, the university's only Black professor, whose job is now being made redundant. 

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Striking is the final resort for our members, University of Winchester management now has two weeks to begin meaningful negotiations to improve on the threatened punitive workload allocation model, to avoid compulsory job losses and help preserve the reputation of the institution. We want to get round the negotiating table and avoid disruption. The ball is in the employer's court.' 

Last updated: 24 May 2024