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Staff vote for more strike action at the University of Central Lancashire

17 February 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

More strikes at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) look likely after UCU announced today that its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a row over job losses, and changes to agreements over pay and grading for academic staff.

Over four-fifths (81%) of members who voted backed plans for strike action. The university has already seen staff walk out six times this academic year through three full strike days and a series of two-hour stoppages in a national row over pay

UCU says it hopes the strong support for more industrial unrest will lead to the university seeing sense and working with the union to resolve the current impasse. UCU warned that threatening to axe 75 posts will actually leave over 400 academic staff at risk of redundancy. The union said the university had failed to make the case for redundancies and, financially, is enjoying a healthy surplus.

The union wants the university to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies and scrap plans to alter job descriptions for academic staff and create more posts below the agreed grading arrangements for lecturing staff. UCU added that changing job descriptions goes against agreements already in place between the university and the union, and is little more than an attempt to get teaching done on the cheap.

UCLan is also under pressure to reveal the true cost of a series of foreign investments UCU has described as disastrous. A recent report (.pdf) details how UCLan's 'overseas misadventures' have received some very high profile critics, which include Amnesty International and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. It also asks if the plans to axe 75 posts and downgrade some teaching posts at the university in the UK are to free up resources for more international investment.

UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said: 'We hope that such an overwhelmingly mandate for more industrial action at UCLan will encourage the university to sit down with us and try to resolve the dispute.

'We fear the university's plans are little more than an attempt to get rid of experienced senior academic staff and replace them with cheaper options and casual contracts. UCU members have made it clear with this ballot result that they will fight compulsory redundancies and take further strike action to defend their jobs and conditions.'

'We still have concerns about the large sums of money being spent on a series of international investments and want the books to be properly scrutinised. When the UN and Amnesty International are drawing attention to your activities, it is surely time for greater transparency?'

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