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Fury as bosses ban a UCU union meeting at Manchester Metropolitan University

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Issue 2552
UCU union balloons on a protest marking pensions strikes on 30 November 2011
UCU union balloons on a protest marking pensions strikes on 30 November 2011 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Workers at Manchester Metropolitan University were furious after bosses banned the UCU union from holding a meeting on campus last week.

The union said the ban was an “unprecedented and worrying move”. The student union stepped in to host the meeting.

UCU members are fighting plans to slash jobs at the university.

Over 160 academic staff at the Crewe campus could lose their jobs as bosses want it to close in August 2019. They have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies.

UCU members at the university’s Crewe and Manchester campuses are balloting for strikes. The ballot ends on Monday of next week.

The UCU has pointed out that the university has nearly £400 million in reserves.

Planned strikes in Brighton push bosses back

The UCU union called off a planned two-day strike at the University of Brighton last week.

Union members were in dispute over attacks on jobs, pay, conditions—and their union. Bosses had said that they would choose which issues to negotiate with the union on, effectively derecognising it.

The union said it now believes it has succeeded in defending agreements already in place and the right to negotiate over future changes.

Bosses have committed to reinstating some promotions and to commission an external review into planned demotions in the School of Computing, Engineering and Maths.

The deal also removes the threat of compulsory redundancies at the Grand Parade site.

An e-ballot of workers ends on Friday.

The union’s coordinating committee is recommending acceptance.

HE bill poses privatisation threat

The government rushed through the Higher Education and Research Act last Wednesday. The bill paves the way for privately-run universities in Britain.

The government accepted changes to its plans to open up the sector to new providers. But the Act still means that private providers could offer qualifications using public funds.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said the concessions represented a “minor detour” for the government. She said that “long term plans to marketise the sector” and to bring in “for-profit colleges” were still in place.

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