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Lecturers threaten to strike over brutal Oxford Brookes cuts

UNIVERSITY and College Union (UCU) members have threatened to strike if Oxford Brookes University does not withdraw cost-cutting plans for up to 48 compulsory redundancies.

They also passed a vote of no confidence in vice-chancellor Alistair Fitt — whose is paid £253,000 a year — after management threatened to axe academic staff in mathematics, social sciences and arts and humanities as soon as next January.

The union said there was no rationale for the cuts, which Oxford Brookes claims will save £2 millon a year, adding that the university is in excellent financial health, with cash reserves of £127m. 

UCU branch chairman Dr Alan Reeve said: “Only a few weeks ago we were told there were no financial problems in the institution.

“The cuts have been announced as a fait accompli. Recognised staff unions and indeed colleagues in the affected departments have thus far had little involvement in the so-called consultation process.

“And staff facing the sack have been given only a few days to voice suggestions for cost-saving measures to avoid redundancies.  

“The university must now work with us to avoid all compulsory redundancies if it wants to avoid potential strike action.”

A spokesperson for Oxford Brookes University said: “Like many institutions across the sector, the university is experiencing increasing financial challenges due to a range of external factors, such as inflation, flat student fees for UK undergraduates for over a decade and increases in staff pay and employer pension contributions.

“We remain committed to all of our current students and will ensure that changes to staffing do not interfere with our students continuing and completing successfully their programme of study.”

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