Lecturers vote for strike action over potential job cuts

Staff at Heriot-Watt University voted for strike action over claims 130 jobs could be at risk.

Lecturers and other staff at Heriot-Watt University have voted for strike action over the prospect of cuts that a union claims could put 130 jobs at risk.

The University and College Union (UCU) said the rushed timetable for compulsory job losses means alternative options for savings have not been sufficiently explored.

Should the cuts go ahead, the first staff will be due to leave at the start of November.

In a ballot of UCU members at the university, 77% of those who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 66%.

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said: “By voting in these numbers, UCU members at Heriot-Watt University have made it crystal clear today that they have no confidence in the university’s plans to cut jobs.

“The ballot result is a clear mandate for industrial action and to oppose job cuts.

“The employer has made good progress on seeking volunteers and should now take compulsory redundancies off the table, to give staff some job security and stability, and students the reassurances they need on the learning environment.

“It’s not too late for the university to avoid strike action but they need to act now.”

A spokesman for the university, which is based in Edinburgh but also has campuses in Orkney and the Scottish Borders, said: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the ballot.

“We will continue to work closely with our staff, our unions and our governing body to find the best possible way through the current financial challenges so that we can continue to deliver the changes needed to protect our future success as a university.

“We are continuing to work through staff applications for voluntary redundancy, and remain committed to achieving savings through this route wherever possible.

“We continue to meet regularly with our union colleagues in open dialogue.”

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