University of Liverpool to face three weeks of strike action

UCU members will strike during students’ assessment period, unless the university halts planned job cuts  

The University of Liverpool says it is “disappointed” that University and College Union (UCU) members will be on strike during its students’ assessment period.

Nearly 1,300 University and College Union (UCU) members are expected to refuse to work every working day during the following periods, in a row over job cuts: 

  • Monday 24 May – Friday 28 May 
  • Tuesday 1 June – Friday 4 June 
  • Monday 7 June – Friday 11 June 

 

The strikes will coincide with the university’s end-of-year examination period. 

Today’s announcement follows a ballot last month in which 84% of members voted for strike action in response to the university’s plans to cut teaching and research jobs in the faculty of health and life sciences.

The university originally intended to make up to 47 staff redundant. It has responded to the UCU strike threat by revising this figure down to 32.

It has also changed the original selection criteria it had intended to use to make decisions, although UCU says the criteria “remain opaque, lack transparency and the university has refused to tell staff what data it is using to choose who to sack”. 

Action short of strike also begins today, which includes only working to contracted hours and boycotting all voluntary activities.  

Industrial action will be a cause of concern for staff and students alike, and we are particularly disappointed that it has been called during our students’ assessment period, after this already challenging academic year – The University of Liverpool

A University of Liverpool spokesperson said:

“The University is engaged in collective consultation with UCU, over proposed redundancies in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (HLS).

“A revised process announced last week, reduces the number of colleagues potentially at risk of redundancy from 47 to 32. The University’s total workforce is approximately 7,000.

“Making proposals of redundancy is a difficult decision for any organisation and we are working hard to limit the impact, including offering potentially affected colleagues a significant voluntary severance package. We believe the amended process and criteria demonstrates a considered response to the representations made by UCU, which represents around 20% of the University workforce, and it is regrettable that industrial action has been called before this consultation process has even concluded.

“We recognise that industrial action will be a cause of concern for staff and students alike, and we are particularly disappointed that it has been called during our students’ assessment period, after this already challenging academic year. The University has processes in place to help keep any disruption to a minimum and is prioritising this. Every effort is being made to resolve the dispute with UCU and we will continue to keep colleagues and students updated.”

University of Liverpool UCU branch president Anthony O’Hanlon added: “While we welcome the abandonment of the doomed journal citation metric, and the protection of 15 jobs as a result of the work of the branch, the situation remains equally dangerous for our members and for the sector more widely. 

The criteria have been designed to place maximum discretion in the hands of managers to attack jobs and threaten livelihoods in the midst of a pandemic. There is no economic or moral justification for these redundancies. To prevent a campaign of sustained industrial action, all the university has to do is withdraw them.” 


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