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STAFF at the University of Leicester have overwhelmingly supported a vote of no confidence in its vice-chancellor and board following the threat of 145 redundancies.
The University & College Union (UCU), which announced the decision today following a meeting of staff, called the plans for widespread redundancies “cruel and divisive.”
Union members also unanimously passed a motion declaring thier willingness to ballot for sustained industrial action to stop the job cuts.
University managers, led by vice-chancellor Nishan Canagarajah, have said that up to 145 staff are at risk of redundancy, with about 60 likely to lose their jobs, according to the union.
The UCU said that the cuts would not only risk the livelihoods of staff but also damage academic freedom and worsen students’ learning conditions.
University leaders are targeting particular subjects for cuts, including early modern and medieval literature, pure maths and political economy, the union said.
A freedom of information request shows that between March and September last year, the university made 162 redundancies, many of them hitting casualised staff.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “Axing jobs is wrong at the best of times, but for the University of Leicester to do so in the middle of this pandemic is particularly vindictive and self-defeating.
“After working flat out to keep the university running throughout the Covid crisis, 145 staff are being rewarded with threats to their jobs and livelihoods.
“In planning to shut down entire courses, the university is also imperilling its international reputation.
“Singling out specific disciplines for cuts harms academic freedom and will diminish both teaching and research.
“The vice-chancellor and executive board must withdraw the threats of redundancies and guarantee the job security of all staff in affected departments.”
The university has been contacted for comment.
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