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MP and former Manchester Metropolitan student says university must halt redundancies

20 June 2017

As staff walk out on strike, Laura Smith MP urges Manchester Metropolitan University to halt redundancies and get back round the table with UCU

Former Metropolitan University student and new MP Laura Smith has today (Tuesday) urged managers at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to get back round the negotiating table with UCU to resolve a dispute over job losses.

UCU members at the university walked out on strike today, and will be out again tomorrow, in their fight to save jobs at MMU. In a message of support to the strikers, the newly-elected MP for Crewe and Nantwich said:

'I send my support and solidarity to striking staff at MMU. I know they would not have taken this decision lightly.

'As the Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich I am especially concerned about the fate of the 160 academic staff who are currently in limbo. I urge management to hold off with the proposed redundancies and engage in a meaningful discussion with trade union representatives to explore all viable alternatives.

'As a former MMU student who graduated with a degree from the Crewe campus, I know how important it is for many prospective students to be able to access higher education closer to home.

'It concerns me that the decision by MMU management to close the campus could remove this opportunity from prospective students in my constituency, create uncertainty for existing students, and have a negative effect on the local economy.'

The row centres on job losses arising from the closure of the university's Crewe campus and the fate of the 160 academic staff based there. UCU says strike action is a last resort, but the university has rejected its request to postpone redundancies planned for this summer, snubbed its offer of further talks and even turned down an offer to involve the specialist conciliation service ACAS to try and resolve the dispute.

Both this morning and tomorrow staff are on picket lines in Manchester from 7am outside the Benzie Building at the junction of Boundary Street West and Higher Ormond Street.  In Crewe, UCU members will be outside the main entrance on Crewe Green Road from 8am.

There will be a rally at the Deaf Institute Cafe on Grosvenor Street in Manchester from 12pm today where speakers at the event will include UCU general secretary Sally Hunt.

Tomorrow in Manchester (Wednesday) striking staff will be speaking to parents and prospective students as they attend an open day at MMU.

The university has almost £400m in reserves and UCU says it sees no rationale for refusing to pause on this summer's job losses or rule out compulsory redundancies. The university confirmed on 10 February that the Crewe campus will close in August 2019 after the students currently enrolled on courses there have finished their studies.

Last updated: 20 June 2017