MMU staff balloted for strike action over Crewe campus closure job losses

Members of the University and College Union at Manchester Metropolitan University are to be balloted for industrial action in a row over compulsory redundancies as a result of the closure of the Crewe site.

The union says it has been forced to ballot members for strike action after the university has "consistently frustrated efforts" to resolve the dispute that centres on the future of over 160 academic staff based at the south Cheshire site.

The university confirmed on 10 February that the Crewe campus will close in August 2019 after the current courses based there finish.

UCU has claimed the university’s representatives have appeared to be willing to work towards compromises in meetings and then managers renege on promises just hours later.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: "It’s a scandal that the university is prepared to throw years of academic talent and experience on the scrapheap without proper consideration of alternatives. We believe that there needs to be a pause on proposed job losses for this summer as we try and work through the issues.

"We thought that was the university’s position as well. Members have had enough of being messed around and feel their only option is to ballot for industrial action – something which is always a last resort. We hope the university will now engage in meaningful negotiations with a desire to resolve the dispute without the need for any strike action."

The ballot opens tomorrow (6 April) and closes on Monday 8 May.

A Manchester Metropolitan University spokesman said: “The University and College Union (UCU) has given notice to the University that it intends to ballot its members on industrial action.

"The difficult decision to withdraw from the Cheshire campus was taken with deep regret to ensure the University’s sustainability following a large drop in student numbers. Sadly, some jobs will be at risk but the University will do its utmost to minimise the impact.

"We will continue to work closely with the UCU and campus unions to support staff who may be affected, in addition to the redeployment schemes that are in place while also maintaining a strong staff base for students.”

The university says staff are being given preferential access to roles in Manchester, salary protection for redeployment to lower-grade roles, and a significantly enhanced voluntary severance scheme.


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