UCU Stranmillis branch 'deeply concerned' about implications of proposed merger with Queen's University

23 June 2009 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU's Stranmillis branch has said it is now 'deeply concerned' about the proposed merger with Queen's University, in the light of the academic plan as revealed by Queen's last week, and following today's meeting with the Employment and Learning Committee at Stormont.

The academic plan lays out Queen's proposals to slash academic posts - in particular positions held by teaching fellows, as the University aims to dismiss by redundancy, academic staff who are not research active at international level. On that basis, most of the teaching staff at Stranmillis are likely to be affected following the merger.

UCU's Stranmillis branch secretary, Denise Mitchell, said: 'We were told in discussions regarding the proposed merger with Queen's that lecturing staff were in no danger of compulsory redundancy.

'Now - out of the blue and with negotiations at an advanced stage - we learn about Queen's academic plan.

'This plan clearly sets out Queen's proposal to dismiss by reason of redundancy, a substantial number of academic staff who are not research active. The group specifically targeted to be 'culled' by Queen's includes Teaching Fellows - the category most of our members would fall into post-merger.

'So where do lecturers at Stranmillis now stand within this plan? How can we, as a trade union branch, have any confidence in a merger which could result in redundancy for our members? And how can we now accept at face value assurances which may transpire to be empty promises?

'We feel strongly that this UCU branch has been misled. We feel that the Stranmillis governing body, our employer, has also been misled. Clearly this academic plan was not dreamed up overnight - but has been a while in the making; being devised parallel to the Stranmillis-Queen's merger negotiations.

'Stranmillis University College has a proud record of service and achievement across many generations to the Northern Ireland community. As educators, we are proud of our role.

'This branch has been lobbying MLAs and MPs, and asking them to seek answers from Queen's as soon as possible.'

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