Staff and students set to protest at the University of Portsmouth over science faculty job cuts
STAFF and students will protest at the University of Portsmouth over plans to cut jobs in its science faculty.
The University and College Union fears as many as 50 jobs could go as the institution looks to ‘achieve a better balance’ of students and staff.
Protesters will lobby members of the university’s board of governors as they arrive for a 2pm meeting at St Andrew’s Court building on Wednesday.
The trade union declared a trade dispute with the university over its plans last month, calling for compulsory redundancies to be taken off the table and a voluntary redundancy scheme to be set up.
UCU’s 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.’
A spokeswoman for the University of Portsmouth previously told The News: ‘While some areas in the Faculty of Science have grown in popularity, others have declined, despite sustained efforts to recruit adequate student numbers.
‘As a result, there is an imbalance that needs to be addressed in order that we effectively resource the disciplinary areas that are growing and have potential for future growth that will strengthen the position of the faculty.’
Protests will begin at midday on Wednesday.
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