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University of Winchester staff to strike over job cuts

University of Winchester Image copyright University of Winchester
Image caption The university claimed to be facing a "serious financial challenge", the union said

Academics and managers at the University of Winchester have voted to strike over planned job losses.

The University and College Union (UCU) said a walkout could be called later this month unless a threat of compulsory redundancies was lifted.

It said the university planned to cut 55 jobs - a tenth of the workforce - because of the increased cost of staff pensions.

The university said it hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Strike action was supported by 80% of members who voted, according to the UCU. It said 48 of the affected jobs were classed as academic or research posts.

'Knee-jerk reaction'

The union said the university had explained it was "facing a serious financial challenge, arising mainly from the unexpected large increase in employer contributions to the Teachers' Pension Scheme".

Regional official Moray McAulay said: "There is no need for this knee-jerk reaction to changes to pension costs."

She said the strikes would affect lectures while staff could also boycott open days and refuse to cover absences.

The university said it was on course to achieve its savings target of between 30 to 40 full-time equivalent posts through "voluntary severance, redeployment and agreed reductions in contracted hours, without the need for compulsory redundancies".

"We hope to be in a position to confirm this very soon," it added.

The union has previously accused the government of failing to protect modern universities such as Winchester from the rising costs of the Teachers' Pension Scheme, despite giving £940m to support schools and colleges.

Older universities operate a separate pension scheme, the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which was the subject of strikes by lecturers in 2018.

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