Aberdeen University staff vote for strike action amid row over cuts to modern languages staff and degrees

More than 17,000 people signed a petition opposing the cost-cutting plans

Staff at the Aberdeen University have backed strike action in a dispute over cuts to modern languages degrees and staff.

The University and College Union (UCU) Scotland said 80 per cent of those who voted supported the move, on a turnout of 60 per cent. It comes amid a row over plans to end single-honours degrees in modern languages and put 30 staff at risk of redundancy.

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Bosses at the ancient institution sparked a backlash in November when it was announced the existing provision of modern languages was “unsustainable”, following a “steep fall” in student numbers.

Aberdeen University King's College buildingAberdeen University King's College building
Aberdeen University King's College building

More than 17,000 people backed a petition against plans to axe courses, but management agreed in December to move forward with an option that would end single honours degrees in modern languages.

Aberdeen UCU branch chair, Dr Rachel Shanks, said: “By voting in these numbers, UCU members at the University of Aberdeen have made it abundantly clear that senior managers need to rethink their plans to cut jobs and cut the university’s offer in languages.

"The ballot result is a mandate for industrial action and to oppose job cuts. It is not too late for university managers to work with UCU, and others and to find alternatives that don’t involve such drastic cuts and job losses.”

The university previously said it understood many people care passionately about languages, but in a “challenging financial period” for many universities, the “high cost of running programmes with an average in each of just one new student a year is unsustainable”.



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