MORE REDUNDANCIES – MORE PROTEST
UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM 10TH FEBRUARY 2016
A few days after the announcement of the next 32 members of staff at risk of redundancy, now in the department of Modern Languages, members of BUCU, the recognised trade union for academic and academic-related staff at the University of Birmingham, organised another protest action.
This time, in honour of the forthcoming Valentine ’s Day, the theme was “Can you feel the love?” The protestors met at the stairs of the main library to split into groups which were walking towards the affected departments of Engineering, Neuroscience and Pharmacology in the Medical School, Hydrogeology in Geography and Earth Sciences, and Modern Languages, while distributing leaflets and flyers.
At present, about 90 staff members from 4 different units are at risk of redundancy at the University of Birmingham. At least 26 of them will lose their jobs.
“We cannot see any economic or acceptable academic reasons for these redundancies” said a BUCU spokesperson. “The University made a surplus of £ 45M last year and pays the Vice-Chancellor an annual salary of £410,000. This would pay the salaries of the English and the French prime ministers.”
A BUCU official said: “We surely cannot feel the love of our employer who claims to care about us and to make important things happen at our University. It seems the only important thing the Vice-Chancellor wants to make happen is the dismissal of staff who worked very hard for our University for many years. Some of the individuals at risk of redundancy have worked at the University for more than 30 years and some are world-renowned high achievers in their fields.”
BUCU members will decide in their next members meeting whether to ballot for industrial action. The branch has already decided to ballot for continuous industrial action as a last resort if the University does not change direction. The branch president, Dr Roland Brandstaetter, said: “We cannot see an end of this avalanche of proposed redundancies. Every few months, the University adds another unit. While we are negotiating on the avoidance of redundancies more and more individuals are added to the list of proposed dismissals. We are exhausting all negotiation options and soon we will have no other choice left than to ballot for industrial action. The stress levels staff members are exposed to are not acceptable any longer. I am seriously worried about the wellbeing of staff at the University of Birmingham.”