London Met University staff vote to strike over cuts

By Abigail Simmons
Education reporter

Image source, Getty Images

Teaching and support staff at London Metropolitan University have voted to strike in protest over 165 job cuts.

Campaigners have asked the university to reconsider the move, highlighting its "strong record" in educating people from disadvantaged groups.

But the university says it needs to reduce costs in line with its student numbers.

University and College Union (UCU) members will meet later to discuss what form the action should take.

Two-thirds (67%) of UCU members voted for strike action.

Members of its sister union UNISON are voting in a separate ballot, closing on 22 May.

Both academic and professional support workers' posts will be closed under the university's proposals.

Staff and students will also lobby the university's board of governors at their general meeting on Tuesday.

Investment urged

Campaigners argue that the university has a track record in "providing educational opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged groups in society".

They say in the academic year starting September 2012, nearly half the students at London Met were from minority ethnic groups, compared with 16% of university students nationally.

In addition, about half were from the poorest groups in society.

UCU's regional official Barry Jones said: "Nobody wants to be on strike and we remain open to sitting down to explore a better way forward than these job losses.

"Far from further cutbacks, this university is in desperate need of investment to expand access to education."

A university spokesman said its costs were too high.

"We therefore need to reduce our cost structure to be more in line with our student numbers, as well as universities in the capital similar to London Met," he said.

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