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Christmas deadline to resolve job cuts row or strike action at University of the Arts London

11 December 2009 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today gave the University of the Arts London (UAL) a Christmas deadline to step back from making job cuts. The union said that the institution faced likely strike action in the new year if it pressed ahead with controversial plans to axe jobs and courses at its London College of Communication (LCC) site.

UCU members at UAL voted unanimously to give the local branch a mandate to ballot for industrial action if the threat of compulsory redundancies is not lifted by 23 December. Sixteen courses are to be slashed from the School of Creative Enterprise, with the loss of 38 jobs.
 
The union said the planned closures and job cuts have been announced without proper consultation. It warned that the university's reputation as a centre of excellence for the arts was already being put at serious risk. Following the announcement of course closures in the School of Creative Enterprise, first year students have discovered that their courses have been listed for closure and many final year students have been left without a dissertation supervisor.
 
UCU fears the cuts will be the first of a series of job losses across UAL and said that it had serious concerns about the disproportionate impact of the cuts on students from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
 
Richard Osborne, chair of the UCU co-ordinating committee at UAL, said: 'Courses at the School of Creative Enterprise generate a lot of money for the university, so in basic financial terms there is no logic to the cuts. I am particularly worried about the impact the cuts will have on non-traditional students. Compared to the university as a whole, the courses attract a large number of students from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.'
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Industrial action is a last resort but UCU members at UAL have made it quite clear that they will take whatever action is required if management pushes ahead with its deeply flawed strategy. If the university pushes ahead with these plans it will be putting its reputation as a centre of excellence for the arts severely at risk.'

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