Lecturers from one of Scotland’s leading universities have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over job cuts.
The move, by academics from Glasgow University yesterday, means there could be a summer of disruption to student admissions and the marking of resit exams.
A ballot was held by the University and College Union (UCU) after the university management refused to rule out compulsory redundancies in ongoing plans for job cuts.
The university has targeted up to 80 jobs in a number of different academic disciplines, including archaeology, biomedical and life sciences, and the education department.
The union argues job losses are unnecessary because the university is heading for a £6 million surplus and will do lasting damage to the university’s academic reputation.
However, the university argues the job cuts are necessary because of specific financial issues in some of the departments, while also warning of future threats to public funding of universities generally.
The announcement on the result of the ballot comes on the eve of a meeting of the univer sity’s ruling court, which will decide on whether to pursue compulsory redundancies.
Mary Senior, UCU Scottish official, said: “There is a clear mandate for industrial action, but we hope the dispute can be resolved without recourse to strikes. The Glasgow University Court cannot ignore its staff and must agree to work together to resolve the situation without forcing job cuts.”
She added: “We are calling on the Court to end the uncertainty for staff in the threatened departments or risk damaging the university’s proud international reputation.”
However, a spokesman for the university said: “We are disappointed at the UCU ballot result as industrial action will only harm students.
“We continue to consult with staff and their unions and Glasgow University will do all in its power to minimise the effects of any action on students and the university as a whole.”
Earlier this year, the university announced plans for up to 80 job cuts in a number of different departments, including the Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (Guard).
Established in 1989, Guard is a commercial enterprise run by university academics which provides archaeological services to businesses and public bodies across Scotland.
It is best known for its work on Time Team, presented by Tony Robinson, and BBC2’s Two Men In A Trench, co-presented by Neil Oliver and Tony Pollard, head of Guard’s Centre for Battlefield Archaeology.
After the plight of Guard was featured in The Herald, the university’s ruling court gave it a temporary reprieve to allow for closer scrutiny of its finances.