Socialist Worker

University workers rally and protest against mass job cuts

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2718

UCU members on a protest in June

UCU members on a protest in June (Pic: Guy Smallman)


UCU union members held protests and an online rally on Thursday of last week over job cuts.

Workers at Soas University of London gathered to oppose 150 job cuts. Unison and UCU union members there are balloting for strikes.

UCU president Vicky Blake told the online rally that people had to “fight for every job as if it was our own job”.

Yasmin from Soas student union said students “are completely behind staff”.

“This is disproportionately affecting women of colour, LGBTQ+ members of our community, black teachers,” she said. “We urge you to take action.”

Rally

UCU member Peta brought solidarity from a Liverpool protest to the online rally.

Robyn from the University of Sheffield said workers there face “dismissal and ­re‑engagement on worse terms and conditions”.

“Universities are hiding behind claims of deficits,” she said. “My university has doubled its savings target to £200 million. Why? Because they’re trying to justify attacks on staff.”

She added, “Local branches are fighting for their lives. But what’s missing is a central campaign.”

George Bruce from Heriot‑Watt University in Edinburgh said “people on precarious contracts and with protected characteristics” are being targeted. “This is not down to Covid,” he said. “It’s down to a long term mismanagement and drive to marketise universities.”

At Kent university, an e-ballot on whether to ballot for strikes over compulsory redundancies, saw 84 percent vote yes on a 51 percent turnout.

 


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