Aberdeen University lecturers ballot for industrial action after university refuses to rule out compulsory job losses

1 December 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Lecturers at the University of Aberdeen will tomorrow begin to receive ballot papers asking them to vote for industrial action. UCU is balloting members after the university refused to rule out compulsory redundancies despite having made around £8 million of savings.

The ballot is the second time this year that members have been asked to take industrial action over redundancy proposals. In a previous ballot in June 2015 members overwhelmingly voted for strike action but the action was called off after university managers agreed not to make compulsory redundancies over the summer and to continue negotiations with the union to find alternative savings. However, despite finding savings of around £8 million so far and another £1.5 million of savings next year university managers are again looking to bring in compulsory redundancies.
 
The union argues that the further job losses are a kick in the teeth for staff who were being praised for their work by the university principal only a couple of months ago. Welcoming the news that the university had jumped six places in the Times Higher Education world ranking of universities to 172nd position the university principal, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, said that the result reflected strongly on each one of his colleagues in the university. The union said that praising staff one day for their efforts and then planning to sack them the next is no way to run a university.
 
Dr Andrew Mackillop, Aberdeen UCU representative, said 'Nobody wants to take industrial action but having had an agreement for no compulsory redundancies, to see university managers now moving ahead with plans to make staff redundant leaves us with no option but to ballot.
 
'Aberdeen UCU has worked hard over the summer with the employer to help identify the savings the university say are necessary. To now go ahead with plans to sack staff, having praised them in September beggars belief. We are asking the university to continue talking and to commit to no compulsory redundancies.'

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