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Student protest at University of Chester over 27 job cuts

26 April 2021

Students held a protest against 27 job cuts at the University of Chester outside Chester Town Hall. They were joined by university staff opposed to the cuts.

The protest was over claims by the University of Chester that it needs to cut 27 staff in the English, humanities, history, archaeology, engineering, geography and media departments by July (2021) because of student enrolment issues. The university originally announced 86 redundancies, but negotiations with trade unions have led to a number of posts being saved.

University of Chester students have also launched a petition against the cuts, saying the job losses would damage student learning.

Over 150 University of Chester staff attending UCU Chester's biggest ever branch meeting voted overwhelmingly (96%) to pursue all means necessary to oppose all compulsory redundancies.

UCU said it would resist the cuts and that the proposals were completely unacceptable after staff had spent the year working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support students. It added that the university had refused to share any financial information about why the cuts are needed and that trust was at an all-time low due to a history of bad financial management by university bosses. The university has had to close a £120m campus built next to an oil refinery because it poses a death risk to students after losing an appeal against the local council. It also had to close its seven-school academy trust in 2018 because it was unable to operate financially.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Students are protesting these vicious cuts because they know how damaging redundancies would be for their learning. Staff and students at the University of Chester are completely united in fighting against the 27 compulsory redundancies. For the university to try to sack staff after they have worked tirelessly to support students throughout the pandemic is utterly callous.

'Trust in senior management is at an all-time low after millions have been poured down the drain on a deadly campus and a failed academy chain. UCU members have voted overwhelmingly to pursue all means necessary to oppose these cuts. If it wants to avoid further disruption, the university needs to step back now and work with us to halt these redundancies.'

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