Union calls off university strikes after threat of redundancies 'withdrawn' 

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) had planned to start six days of strike on March 12 at the University of Aberdeen.

Union calls off Aberdeen university strikes after threat of redundancies ‘withdrawn’ Getty Images

A strike by staff at the University of Aberdeen has been called off after the threat of compulsory redundancies was withdrawn.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) had planned to start six days of strike on March 12 at the University of Aberdeen.

The strikes were due to a dispute around the university’s decision to cut single degrees in modern languages.

The redundancies put 26 members of staff at risk of losing their jobs, but the university has said this is no longer the case.

The university has been running a voluntary severance scheme, and the union said that, while it was sad to see people leaving the university, the fact that no-one is being forced out was a win for members and their willingness to take strike action to stop compulsory redundancies.

Aberdeen university UCU branch chair, Dr Rachel Shanks, said: “I want to thank every single member of our UCU branch who voted for strike action and who stood firm against the university’s threat to force colleagues out of the university.

“It’s good that, in the end, university senior managers listened to staff, students and the wider community, and have withdrawn the threat of compulsory redundancies.

“Hopefully university staff can now focus on teaching and supporting students, carrying out research and knowledge exchange and all the other activities that our members do.”

Professor Karl Leydecker, senior vice-principal of the University of Aberdeen, said: “We were able to take this step after receiving a strong set of proposals from staff in Modern Languages to grow income and reform the curriculum.

“Together with clear signs of progress towards cost savings, we see a sound basis for future academic and financial sustainability, which we will continue to monitor for effectiveness.”

“We would like to give our thanks to our many colleagues who worked so hard to formulate these comprehensive proposals, with actions already underway to ensure that the plans are implemented at pace

“This includes continuing to offer a full range of undergraduate Joint Honours degrees in Modern Languages, Translating & Interpreting, including Gaelic, together with taught and research postgraduate programmes, and continued support for research.

“New interdisciplinary undergraduate degrees are also planned that will incorporate languages and be an exciting and competitive offering for our future prospective students,” Professor Leydecker added.

“We know that the ongoing uncertainty has been extremely difficult for staff affected, as well as for our wider community.

“The conclusion of the Modern Languages consultation and the removal of the risk of redundancy and the end of this dispute with UCU, provides an opportunity to move forward positively as a Modern Languages community of staff and students,” Professor Leydecker said.

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