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In the news this week: 29 January 2016

29 January 2016

A look back at some of the week's news.

Monday deadline to avert strike action at the Open University

The Open University has been warned it has until Monday evening to come up with a fair offer for staff affected by a recent restructuring, or face strike action on Tuesday. The row centres on the university's failure to deliver guarantees for 500 staff at seven regional centres affected by a massive restructure.

Open University branch president Pauline Collins said: 'The Open University risks losing the experience and expertise of hundreds of staff members if it does not sort out transitional arrangements for its restructure plans.'

Downing Street demo against Esol cuts

UCU's London Region led a demonstration on Wednesday evening against cuts to funding for English courses. Dozens of protestors braved the terrible January weather after the prime minister announced controversial plans to force Muslim women to learn English last week.

UCU had pointed out that the prime minister's plans were at odds with his government's actions when it comes to providing English classes for speakers of other languages, known as Esol.

A UCU spokesperson said: 'The government has slashed funding for Esol, so for the prime minister to come out and start accusing people of refusing to learn English is quite incredible.  It is vital that people are given the opportunity to learn English and that requires sustained funding.

Cost of living crisis for academics

Times Higher Education this week looked at how properties in some key university towns around the world are forcing academics to consider moving elsewhere. London, Cambridge and Oxford all score badly for England.

One academic says she may have to leave Oxford and her 'dream job' to afford somewhere to live. A former human resources director at the university says that it was rare for a full shortlist of people turn up for a job interview and said many were put off when they started investigating the cost of housing.