Education & Family

Open University staff suspend strike planned for Tuesday

UCU members at the picket line outside Cintra House, Cambridge Image copyright Open University UCU
Image caption University and College Union members staged a series of strikes in November and December

Open University staff have suspended strike action planned for Tuesday.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) were due to walk out in protest at the university's plans to close seven regional centres.

The UCU said it had suspended the action "as a gesture of good faith" while negotiations continued.

The union fears the loss of 502 jobs under the plans but said it hoped the talks would "address members' concerns".

The university wants to axe centres in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Gateshead, Leeds, London and Oxford in an attempt to streamline student support.

It has said these centres are not used predominantly as teaching centres and affected staff would need to relocate, take voluntary redundancy or early retirement.

But the union says the loss of the seven centres would harm the OU's ability to provide local support to students.

Some 72% of staff who voted in the strike ballot backed the action.

Staff staged a one-day strike across the university on 25 November 25, and a two-week rolling programme of regional walkouts followed in December.

The UCU's Open University branch president, Pauline Collins, said she felt "significant progress had been made" in continuing talks with university management.

"As an act of good faith, we have cancelled tomorrow's strike action to build on what has been achieved so far," she said.

'We hope we can continue to work with the university to address members' concerns about job security and working conditions.

"Any final deal will be put to members for their consideration."

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