By Sophie Squire
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Protest at Roehampton over university jobs cuts

Workers at Roehampton university are fighting against job cuts, bosses at Queen Mary university have launched a massive attack on pay
Issue 2813
A crowd shot of the UCU protest and Roehampton university

UCU union members protest outside Roehampton university (Picture: Brighton UCU on Twitter)

Around 150 UCU union members and their supporters rallied outside Roehampton university, west London, on Saturday to protest against job cuts.

Workers are now preparing to ballot for strikes. Staff and students held signs that read, “Stop the cuts,” and, “Roehampton is losing its faculties.” 

UCU members from Brighton, Kingston, Goldsmiths and Royal Holloway universities and Croydon City, City and Islington and Hackney colleges brought solidarity to the protest.

Linda Cronin, Roehampton UCU union branch chair, told Socialist Worker they decided to hold the protest on a university open day. “We were approached by would-be students who want to apply for a course that will no longer exist anymore,” she said.

Linda added that the cuts are ideological. “We’ve looked into the universities’ finances,” she explained. “We don’t see any need for them to make anyone redundant. These cuts follow the Tory ideology that some courses don’t matter and others do.”

In May, 226 workers received a letter from university management saying their jobs were at risk. Some workers have already taken voluntary redundancy. Others have been told they will have to reapply for their jobs in a shameful fire and rehire move.  

Bosses have targeted courses in the arts, education, humanities and social sciences, life and health sciences, and psychology. The university has also announced several courses will be closed. Workers should vote yes to strikes—and other trade unionists should build solidarity with the fight at Roehampton.

Meanwhile, bosses at Queen Mary university in Tower Hamlets, east London, have threatened to close courses in retaliation for workers staging strikes and a marking and assessment boycott. 

Principal Colin Bailey said he would close the film studies course at the university in an email to workers. Bailey explicitly wrote that Queen Mary university “can’t take new students onto programmes where staff refuse to deliver the promised education.” 

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