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Protests ahead of governors' meeting in jobs row at University of Portsmouth

8 July 2019

Staff and students will be protesting at the University of Portsmouth from 12pm on Wednesday over plans to cut jobs in the faculty of science. Protestors will be lobbying members of the board of governors as they arrive for their meeting at 2pm at the St Andrew's Court building.

UCU said it wanted the board of governors to use its influence to halt the planned science department job cuts. There are 123 academic posts at risk in the faculty of science and the union fears up to 50 jobs could go.

Last month the union declared an official trade dispute with the university over the plans to cut jobs. UCU said it wanted the university to rule out compulsory job cuts and implement a voluntary redundancy scheme.

Following protests at the start of June, the university proposed an increase in severance for staff being made compulsorily redundant. However, union members overwhelmingly rejected that offer and warned a strike ballot was likely if the university did not remove the threat of compulsory redundancies.

UCU said students would ultimately be hit hardest by the loss of experienced staff. It said that the strong link between teaching and research had always been one of the university's strengths and was central to its gold ranking for teaching excellence.

UCU regional official Moray McAulay said: 'UCU members have made it quite clear that they do not accept the university's plans for compulsory redundancies and overwhelmingly rejected a tweaked severance deal from the university.

'If the University of Portsmouth does not rule out compulsory redundancies then it is difficult to see how we can avoid a ballot for strike action amongst UCU members. The ball is in the university's court and staff and students want to impress the urgency of the issue on the governors this week.

'The decision to cut experienced staff will hit students and risks damaging the university's reputation. The link between teaching and research has always been one of the university's strengths and is central to its gold ranking for teaching excellence.'