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UCU members to lobby governors over future of Manchester Metropolitan University Crewe campus

9 February 2017

UCU members at Manchester Metropolitan University will lobby university governors tomorrow (Friday) as they arrive for a meeting to decide the future of the institution's Crewe campus and its staff.

Staff will be outside the All Saints Building from 8:45am as the governors arrive for the 9:30am meeting. The university confirmed it was consulting on plans to withdraw from the Crewe campus at a board of governors' meeting in November. A final decision on the future of the university in Crewe is expected at tomorrow's meeting.

Around 400 members of staff are faced with an uncertain future due to the proposed withdrawal as the university has refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. UCU's general secretary Sally Hunt will be among the speakers at the lobby from 9am. Other speakers include local UCU reps from both the Manchester and Crewe campuses.

Last month members from both the Manchester and Crewe sites backed a motion* that called on members to proceed to an indicative e-ballot and then a ballot for strike action if staff are threatened with compulsory redundancy as a result of the plans for the Crewe campus. The motion said that, with almost £400m** in reserves, the university should commit to avoiding any compulsory job losses.

The union said it was keen to continue to work with the university to avoid compulsory redundancies. It said it was happy to explore transferring courses from Crewe to Manchester and to look at redeployment opportunities or a voluntary severance scheme for Crewe-based staff.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'We will be speaking to governors as they go in on Friday to make clear our opposition to compulsory redundancies. We are happy to continue to work with the university to explore alternatives, but the governors need to be aware that members have backed plans to trigger strike ballots if they do not rule out compulsory redundancies.'


* Motion in full

1.This branch condemns the moves to close the Cheshire campus by the vice-chancellor and the board of governors. We believe that this is unjustified and goes against the stated aim of the university to widen participation to potential students who may not usually access higher education.

2.  We believe any closure will lead to a potential loss of unique and distinctive provision which produces positive outcomes for students and benefits for the academic life of the university as a whole.

3.  Around 400 members of staff are faced with an uncertain future due to the proposed withdrawal from the Cheshire campus. The university has at this stage refused to rule out compulsory redundancies.

4.  We recognise that the employer has engaged with the recognised trade unions in order to try to find alternatives to compulsory redundancies and has agreed to continue these discussions and efforts after the end of the legally defined collective consultation.

The branch negotiators will continue to pursue options which will avoid compulsory redundancies including:

-                developing arguments for courses/programmes to transfer to Manchester

-                Redeployment, with priority going to MMU Cheshire members at risk for all available vacancies

-                Voluntary severance and extension of voluntary severance to Manchester, where colleagues in Manchester wishing take voluntary severance would create a role for a Crewe-based member of staff.

6.  This branch reaffirms its opposition to compulsory redundancies.  We believe that an employer which has £378.9 million total reserves (2015/16) can and should commit to avoiding any and all compulsory redundancies.

In the absence of such a commitment this branch therefore agrees to:

i.              Ask the national union to organise an indicative e-ballot of all members of MMU UCU with the following question: "In the event that any member of UCU is threatened with compulsory redundancy, would you be willing to vote in a statutory industrial action ballot for action up to and including strike action and to take part in such action if the result of the ballot was affirmative?"

ii.            The branch also agrees to urge members to vote yes to the question and urges all members to argue for a positive vote.

iii.          The branch further grants the branch committee the power to determine when the point has been reached whereby (assuming a positive outcome to the e-ballot) the trigger point has been reached to necessitate a request be made to the national union for a statutory industrial action ballot.

iv.          The branch committee will be mindful of the fact that the closure process will be spaced over a number of years so will look to re-affirm its mandate at future members' meetings if required by the passage of time.

7.  In campaigning for support of the policy of no compulsory redundancy the branch agrees:

i.              to respond to any threat of compulsory redundancies by immediately lodging a dispute with management

ii.            to continue with a lively campaign with regular and open campaign group meetings at both Manchester and Crewe

iii.          to call a lobby of the board of governors' meeting on 10 February, calling on other local branches, students, TUC and other campaign groups for support

iv.          to keep under consideration possibility of calling for future greylisting of MMU

v.            to raise the issue urgently in the press and to request direct intervention from the general secretary

vi.          to raise the issue of MMU Cheshire redundancies as a "local dispute of national significance", as per UCU policy.



Last updated: 9 February 2017