Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Manchester Metropolitan University will be on strike at both the Manchester and Crewe campuses tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday.
On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings staff will be on picket lines in Manchester from 7am outside the Benzie Building at the junction of Boundary Street West and Higher Ormond Street. In Crewe, UCU members will be outside the main entrance on Crewe Green Road from 8am.
On Tuesday there will be a rally at the Deaf Institute Cafe on Grosvenor Street in Manchester from 12pm. Speakers at the event will include UCU general secretary Sally Hunt.
In Manchester on Wednesday striking staff will be speaking to parents and prospective students as they attend an open day at the university. UCU members will be explaining why they do not believe Manchester Metropolitan University should be rushing through job cuts when it has healthy reserves in the bank.
The row centres on job losses arising from the closure of the university’s Crewe campus and the fate of the 160 academic staff based there. UCU says strike action is a last resort, but the university has rejected its request to postpone redundancies planned for this summer, snubbed its offer of further talks and even turned down an offer to involve the specialist conciliation service ACAS to try and resolve the dispute.
The university has almost £400m in reserves and UCU says it sees no rationale for refusing to pause on this summer’s job losses or rule out compulsory redundancies. The university confirmed on 10 February that the Crewe campus will close in August 2019 after the students currently enrolled on courses there have finished their studies.
UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: ‘Strike action is always a last resort, but members at Manchester Metropolitan University have made it quite clear they are prepared to take action to defend jobs.
‘We have made a number of attempts to try and resolve this dispute at the negotiating table, including suggesting we get outside help from the specialist conciliation service ACAS but the university has refused.
‘We want the university to postpone the redundancies planned for this summer and to come back and speak with us with a view to resolving this dispute.’
Four-fifths of members who voted in the recent ballot (79%) backed strike action. Two days’ strike action were originally planned for 24 and 25 May, but were cancelled after the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena.