Friday, 7 October 2011

Save Middlesex University! Oppose the job cuts!

I feel Middlesex University is a very undervalued asset to Barnet. I know some of the local residents near the Hendon campus are disturbed by the traffic, lack of parking space, etc. But the students and staff bring money into the local economy.

We are also surely missing a big trick if we don't look for ways to tap into the knowledge contained within the Middlesex walls, and make more of the chance to meet young people, particularly the overseas students, who spend three years in our midst.

Middlesex is one of the universities that is particularly feeling the squeeze of reduced budgets. That is behind management's attempt to cut 300 jobs, around 15% of the staff!

They have opened campuses in Dubai and Mauritius; and plan to open a campus in India. In one nightmare scenario one can imagine a privatised Middlesex Uni deciding it would be better off closing its UK operation and shifting overseas totally. We would miss it if it went!

We should support the staff and students union in their bid to defend the quality of teaching at Middlesex and oppose the job cuts.

Below are some press reports of the UCU and Unison strike at Middlesex University on Tuesday.

Times series - "Strikes and pickets welcome students to Middlesex University"

Barnet Press - "University staff strike in battle over job cuts"

The UCU branch issued the following strike leaflet:
University and College Union Middlesex University - 4 October 2011 strike

Join local academics in saying:

  • No to £10 deficit budget savings

  • No to staff cuts

  • No to compulsory redundancies

  • Support the strike!

  • Protect future academic provision!

  • Help protect the quality of students' higher education!

  • Save Middlesex University!

  • Staff at Middlesex University are taking strike action on Tuesday 4 October in an increasingly bitter dispute over job cuts and changes to staff terms and conditions.

    Members of UCU have called on vice-chancellor, Professor Michael Driscoll, to meet for urgent talks in an attempt to avoid disruptive strike action.

    UCU members are joined on the picket lines by their colleagues in UNISON, who have also voted for strike action today.

    Staff are furious that the university wants to introduce cost-cutting measures that will result in up to 300 redundancies, with half of the savings to be found by cuts to academic staff.

    UCU said the job losses would have a devastating effect on the quality of academic provision and the student experience.

    The university is refusing to rule out increased workloads for staff who survive the jobs cull, which the union believes is in breach of nationally-agreed conditions of service. Next year, Middlesex University will charge some of the highest tuition fees in the UK (£8,602, after financial support is taken into account).

    UCU branch chair at Middlesex University, Arthur Husk, said: 'It is a shame that things have had to come to this but the university's cost-cutting measures will have a devastating impact on academic provision, the student experience and staff morale. We still want to avoid any disruption, but the vice-chancellor needs to get round the table with us and genuinely look at ways to resolve the dispute.'

    UCU general Secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'UCU members at Middlesex want a negotiated settlement, but unless the university is willing to shift its position staff will take the appropriate steps to defend their jobs. I urge the vice-chancellor to get around the table and work positively with us for a resolution.'

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