Result of ballot for industrial action over restructuring of the University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Staff who are members of the University and College Union have voted in favour of industrial action/ Action short of a strike (ASOS) in relation to proposed redundancies in the University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. We recognise that potential action will be a cause of concern and worry for students but we would like to reassure you that plans will be put in place across the institution to ensure that the impact of any action is kept to an absolute minimum.

Professor Gavin Brown, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, said: “We fully recognise that this is already a difficult and stressful time for students and the news of potential industrial action may be an additional cause of worry and concern.

“While the University and College Union (UCU) has a mandate for industrial action, they have not yet indicated whether industrial action will be taken. We are continuing to work hard to resolve the dispute and will do our utmost to ensure that the impact of any industrial action is kept to minimum and that students will progress as planned following their assessments.

“Should industrial action be called by UCU, we have well-established and robust mitigation measures that take account of a wide range of scenarios to minimise disruption to our students. We have done our utmost to support students during COVID-19 and will continue to do so if any industrial action takes place.”

Collective consultation

The University does not make proposals of redundancies lightly and the project to restructure the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (HLS) has been carefully considered over an 18-month period. The formal process of collective consultation with our trade unions about the proposals began in January 2021 and remains ongoing.

Collective consultation is a process where we expect to discuss ways of avoiding, mitigating and identifying alternatives to redundancy. The University is not required to reach agreement with our trade unions in relation to the proposals under discussion, but both parties are required to engage in meaningful consultation and the University is committed to this. The 30-day minimum consultation period has already been extended to allow for further discussion.

Further information about the restructuring of HLS and the University’s recent statements, can be found here.

Next steps

The industrial action ballot is valid for six months and trade unions are obliged to provide the University with 14 days’ notice of any strike dates. We are planning for every eventuality and our absolute priority is to minimise any disruption to your studies. It is far from clear how many staff will take strike action, given that only a minority of our academic, professional and managerial staff are members of the UCU, which has called the strike and not all of them support this action.

We will be in touch with more detailed information very soon.

If at any time you feel you might benefit from some extra support, please access our wellbeing drop-in, located in the Alsop Building. Our teams are available via phone and email between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Information on all other support available can be accessed here.