UCLan staff 'ready to strike' over job cuts

UCLan staff have warned bosses they are serious about going on strike if the university does not lift the threat of redundancy from six teachers.
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And a Preston official of the University and College Union (UCU) says a walkout would have a significant effect on students whose lives have already been disrupted by Covid.

The warning came after members of UCU voted by 79 per cent for strike action in support of colleagues in the award-winning Faculty of Culture and Creative Industries.

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The ballot was the final straw in what the union sees as a cull of staff across the university - more than 250 have been axed in the past 18 months in a cost-cutting exercise.

Staff cuts at UCLan have seen one in 12 staff leave.Staff cuts at UCLan have seen one in 12 staff leave.
Staff cuts at UCLan have seen one in 12 staff leave.

"We are urging the university to sit down with us and continue to talk to us to avoid any industrial action," said Martyn Moss.

"We believe there are ways of avoiding these job losses. Over 200 staff have already left through voluntary redundancy.

"It is really disappointing, considering the university's financial situation, to see them pushing ahead with these six job cuts.

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"We have had a very, very decisive ballot result. What is happening is our members are standing up for their colleagues in that faculty and have decided to support them with industrial action if necessary if the university doesn't shift it position on this.

"We now have a mandate to take industrial action which we will do if we need to."

The Faculty of Culture and Creative Industries has 6,000 students studying for degrees in subjects such as art, design, fashion, journalism, media, law, social sciences, humanities, language and global studies.

But strike action is likely to affect all departments across the University of Central Lancashire which has around 38,000 students in Preston, Burnley and Westlakes in Cumbria.

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A spokesperson for the University said: “We are aware of possible industrial action by UCLan UCU members and will continue to do all we can to avoid it.

“While student applications and recruitment numbers have increased during the last few years, staff costs have also disproportionately accelerated. We therefore took steps to proactively correct this position through a restructuring process while continuing to support and invest in course areas of student demand.

“Our approach to the restructure has been carefully considered at every stage with over 250 staff having already left on voluntary redundancy terms from a staff base of 3,000.

"Now, as we near the end of this process, we have reduced the number of staff at risk to 6.5 full-time equivalent roles (all based within the Faculty of Culture and Creative Industries) from an initial 67 and we are now in active discussions with individuals to reduce this number even further.

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“If industrial action is called we will put measures in place to minimise its impact on students by communicating any changes to the academic timetable in advance of any UCU action.”

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