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Middlesex University staff back strike action in row over job losses

21 September 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Members of UCU at Middlesex University today voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in a row over job cuts and changes to staff terms and conditions.

Four-fifths (80%) of union members who voted, voted for strike action and a whopping 94% backed action short of a strike. The union will meet tomorrow (Thursday) to decide the next steps and dates for any industrial action.
The row centres on the university's cost-cutting measures that will result in up to 300 redundancies, with half of the savings to be found by cuts to academic staff.
The union said the job losses would have a devastating effect on the quality of academic provision and the student experience. The university is refusing to rule out increased workloads for staff who survive the jobs cull, which the union believes is in breach of nationally-agreed conditions of service.
Next year, Middlesex University will charge some of the highest tuition fees in the UK (£8,602, after financial support is taken into account).
UCU branch chair at Middlesex University, Arthur Husk, said: 'The overwhelming backing for industrial action reflects the anger staff feel about the university's savings drive. These plans will have a devastating impact on academic provision, the student experience and staff morale.'
UCU general Secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'UCU members at Middlesex have the full support of the national union. Middlesex University will charge some of the highest tuition fees in the UK next year and we do not see the need for making such large scale redundancies at this time. This is not the way to attract students to a university. Industrial action is always a last resort. However, unless management gives serious consideration to alternative savings our members will be left with little choice.'