Aberdeen University staff vote overwhelmingly for industrial action in row over job losses

8 June 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Staff at Aberdeen University have today backed plans for industrial action in a dispute over 150 proposed job losses.

In the ballot of UCU Scotland members, 73% of those who voted backed strike action.  Four fifths (80%) of members also voted for action short of a strike, which could see staff working only contracted hours or refusing to set and mark additional work.

The university is proposing to cut 150 jobs and has refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. The union argues that compulsory redundancies on this scale are wholly unjustified because the university has strong reserves and part of the £10.5m savings will be used to boost surpluses. UCU also warned that severe cuts will have a damaging impact on the university's reputation because they will lead to an increased workload for remaining staff, bigger class sizes and less contact time for students.

The next stage is for the union to decide the next steps in the dispute. Members have already agreed to hold a lobby of university court on 30 June and to speak to students and ask for their support at the university's graduation ceremonies. 

The overwhelming level of support for strike action reflects the anger amongst academic and support staff about the university's ill thought out proposals. Over 2000 people have already signed a petition opposing the job losses.

Andrew MacKillop, Aberdeen UCU representative, said: 'Members of Aberdeen UCU have made it quite clear today that they reject the job losses proposed by the university, including possible compulsory redundancies.  The level of support for taking industrial action shows the strength of feeling amongst staff and that any move to make staff compulsorily redundant will be strongly opposed.  Strike action is always a last resort but we can't sit back and see jobs lost with the accompanying damage to the student experience and the reputation of the university.'

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