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Staff at Aberdeen University to walk out in dispute over job losses

5 December 2016

Members of UCU Scotland at the University of Aberdeen will walk out on Wednesday 7 December in an increasingly bitter dispute over job losses, downgrading of staff, and job security.

The dispute centres on four members of staff at the university's medical school who, following protracted negotiations, have been offered the choice of either being made redundant or accepting new contracts on reduced terms. The jobs offered are demoted posts and three are guaranteed for no more than two years.  If the affected staff don't accept the reduced terms, the university is expected to begin making redundancies on 16 December, just days before Christmas.  All four members of staff under threat are of Asian ethnic origin which the union says raises the question of whether the process has been discriminatory.
 
The union criticised the university for pressing ahead with the cuts while recruiting staff in other areas and inviting 400 staff to a free Christmas dinner.
 
In a ballot for industrial action, three quarters of those voting backed taking strike action over the job losses, indicating the strength of feeling against the university's action.
 
Ahead of the strike, UCU Scotland members will join students at the university on Tuesday 6 December to hand an 1,800-strong petition against the job losses to the university's governing body.*
 
Aberdeen UCU spokesperson, Derek Dawson, said: 'It is hard to comprehend why the university is pleading poverty and going ahead with these job cuts while recruiting staff in other areas.  The strength of feeling amongst staff was clearly reflected in the ballot, and UCU will continue to fight any job cuts or the erosion of members' terms and conditions.
 
'Making people redundant should always be a very last resort but for the university to be doing this now, just before Christmas, while inviting 400 people to a free Christmas dinner is enough to make you choke on your turkey.'
 
*UCU members will join Aberdeen University students at 8.30am on Tuesday 6 December 2016 outside Elphinstone Hall where they will hand in a petition protesting against job losses to the university's governing body.
 
The next day, Wednesday 7 December 2016, UCU members will be staffing picket lines from 8.00am at the Foresterhill Road entrance to the Suttie Centre.

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