Strike date announced at King's College London
Strike action next Thursday coincides with Princess Anne opening new building
Members of UCU will be on strike next Thursday (10 July) at King's College London in a row over job losses to fund building programmes. The day's action coincides with a visit to King's by Princess Anne at 2pm to open a new neuroscience building.
From next Thursday staff will also begin working strictly to contract, and to boycott performance development reviews. They have not ruled out a marking boycott or further strike action.
King's plans to cut academic staff costs by 10% in the School of Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences and the Institute of Psychiatry. Academic redundancies have also been announced in the Department of Education and Department of Professional Studies. The institution is currently planning a £400m infrastructure investment programme.
King's intends to rank academics on the basis of their research grant income and teaching hours when deciding which staff will lose their jobs. UCU says that there was no prior consultation with students or staff over the plans.
Despite the late time of year, staff overwhelmingly backed industrial action in the recent ballot. 81% of members of UCU, who voted, backed strike action and 89% supported action short of a strike.
Eminent Professor of Psychiatry, Sir Robin Murray, is among the critics of the plans and has said that the loss of 120 jobs would damage the institution's reputation. In a recent article, Sir Robin criticised King's College's financial judgement and said other universities were not axing staff, despite financial pressures.
UCU regional official, Barry Jones, said: 'Strike action is always a last resort, but King's has left our members with little alternative. We are unimpressed with the college's efforts to rush these redundancies through during the summer, but we remain committed to dialogue with college management to work to resolution of this unsatisfactory situation.
'Sacking 120 staff will do absolutely nothing positive for King's College's academic reputation.'