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UCULecturers strike against cuts

Hundreds of lecturers and students marched past Parliament yesterday protesting against massive cuts in education to a rally at Westminster.

At the heart of the demonstration were striking academics from the prestigious King’s College, London university. The University and College Union (UCU), which represents them, says that a £27m cuts programme being implemented by management “presents the biggest threat to educational standards that King’s has ever seen”.

Members of the union voted 85% to take industrial action to protect their jobs and departments in an unprecedented move.

“Senior management”, King’s College UCU says, “have put the livelihoods of 164 staff at risk. Whole departments, including Equality and Diversity, Dental Microbiology and Engineering are to close”.

Staff are enraged by the high handed arrogance of the College’s senior management team, who introduced closures and cuts without prior consultation with staff or student representatives. Engineering department staff only discovered that their department would be shut via the college website. Consultations were “little more than a farce”, say the lecturers.

King’s College principal Rick Trainor has estimated that the cuts to come could be the equivalent of 700 lectureships.

Also on the Westminster march were students from Middlesex University who have occupied an executive boardroom at their Trent Park campus in protest against the decision to close down the university’s renowned philosophy programme. A Facebook support group now has 9,454 members.

In Brighton University of Sussex UCU members and students joined University of Brighton and City College students to protest plans to cut 112 jobs.

6 May 2010

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