Socialist Worker

Heriot-Watt strike ballot over threat of 130 job cuts

Issue No. 2724

Heriot-Watt workers picketing in March

Heriot-Watt workers picketing in March (Pic: @UCU_HWUBranch on Twitter)


Members of the UCU union at Heriot-Watt University based in Edinburgh are being balloted for strikes over compulsory job losses.

The cuts would see more than 130 jobs at risk.

The union argues that there has been a rushed timetable to cut jobs—with the first staff due to leave at the start of November.

This means that alternative options have not been sufficiently explored.

The union said that losing 130 members of staff would have a drastic impact on education offered to students. 

Classes

Remaining staff would also be left with higher workloads and less contact time with students, who would be taught in bigger classes.

The university carried out a round of redundancies in 2017, when 70 staff lost their jobs and recruitment was frozen. UCU’s Scotland official Mary Senior said, “This decision to cut jobs at Heriot-Watt will add to the worry and upset among staff and students.

“The news comes when staff have worked tirelessly to keep the university running during the Covid crisis and when the chances of finding other work will be hard.

“That these cuts come so soon after jobs losses in 2017 raises questions about the university’s management and whether managers are using the Covid crisis as a smokescreen for unjustified job cuts.”

The UCU at Heriot-Watt said, “We will not tolerate our members being forced out of their jobs during a pandemic.”

The voting opened on Tuesday and will close on Tuesday 20 October.

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