Aberdeen university lecturers to vote on industrial action

Lecturers at the University of Aberdeen previous voted in the summer. Picture: Geograph
Lecturers at the University of Aberdeen previous voted in the summer. Picture: Geograph
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Lecturers at the University of Aberdeen are to be balloted on industrial action over fears of redundancies.

It is the second time this year that members of the University and College Union (UCU) have been asked to take industrial action over redundancy proposals.

In June, members voted for strike action but it was called off when university managers and union leaders opened negotiations on how to make financial savings elsewhere.

The university said it needs to save £10.5 million in order to “invest in future growth, protect against rising costs, and ensure we can meet the increasing challenges and competition within the sector”.

UCU said the university has already made £8 million of savings but will not rule out compulsory redundancies.

Union members will receive ballot papers on Wednesday.

Dr Andrew Mackillop, Aberdeen UCU representative, said: “Nobody wants to take industrial action but having had an agreement for no compulsory redundancies, to see university managers now moving ahead with plans to make staff redundant leaves us with no option but to ballot.

“Aberdeen UCU has worked hard over the summer with the employer to help identify the savings the university say are necessary.

“To now go ahead with plans to sack staff, having praised them in September beggars belief. We are asking the university to continue talking and to commit to no compulsory redundancies.”

A university spokesman said: “The University of Aberdeen continues to have constructive dialogue with representatives of all of our recognised trade unions and we are disappointed to see UCU balloting its members on industrial action.

“In March the University identified the need to save £10.5 million in order to invest in future growth, protect against rising costs, and ensure we can meet the increasing challenges and competition within the sector. We have made significant progress in achieving this with £8.6 million of savings achieved through a Voluntary Severance and efficiencies programme.

“There are no plans to introduce a scheme of compulsory redundancies across the University. We have consistently said this and, as previously agreed with unions, where savings are required in individual schools these will be implemented using natural staff turnover and our normal redundancy avoidance procedures.”