Bangor’s UCU (University & College Union) has partnered with two other trade unions, Unite and Unison, to demand talks with the university under threat of strikes. UCU members have also passed a motion of no confidence in the university’s management. These actions have been taken in response to Bangor University’s plans to cut 200 jobs.
The three unions yesterday provided the university with a joint letter, laying out proposals which would satisfy their demands. Most significant among the proposals sent to the university management is the potential of pay cuts across the university to avoid job losses. The Unions have also requested increased financial transparency from the university, as well as a seat on the University Council. The UCU estimates that the proposal for pay cuts alone could save between £5m to £5.4m.
“You will, I’m sure, have seen news reports that the UCU branch at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh have today voted to take strike action. It is entirely possible that we will be forced to follow suit here at Bangor, unless there is an immediate and fundamental change of direction,” said Bangor UCU President Dyfrig Jones in a letter to the university.
Professor Doris Merkl-Davies, Bangor UCU committee member and Bangor Business School UCU representative, said that members were ready to fight for their colleagues’ jobs.
The three trade unions have proposed the following alternatives to job cuts to the university:
- Temporary (1-2 year) pay cuts across the university, scaling with salary sizes from a minimum of 0.5% to a maximum 15%.
- Extending the voluntary redundancy scheme to January 2021, and allowing staff to choose a leaving date within the next two years.
- Free university courses for staff accepting voluntary redundancy.
- Discounts on university courses for the families of staff.
The trade unions have additionally demanded:
- Monthly written financial updates from the university.
- Union seats on the university council.
This is the fourth round of cuts in Bangor within five years, and Dyfrig Jones has described the effect on staff as “destroying morale”.
“University executives have been shedding staff for three years and they still haven’t achieved financial stability,” said UNISON Bangor branch secretary Christine Lewis, earlier this month.
90% of Bangor’s UCU members have voted to reject the budget solutions currently proposed by the university.
Students can provide feedback, comments or concerns they have regarding the situation to Undeb Bangor on firstname.lastname@example.org.