Page last updated at 21:43 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

King's College London staff vote to strike over jobs

Staff at King's College London have been balloted for strike action in a dispute over possible job losses.

The University and College Union (UCU) said 205 posts at the college are at risk while several departments have been threatened with closure.

The union claims that the management has cash reserves of about £180m and therefore should "defend" staff jobs.

The college said it was "extremely disappointed" by the ballot, adding a strike could have an impact on exams.

The UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: "There is no logic behind these cuts whatsoever.

"Management has the cash resources to defend jobs and should actively be doing so.

"Staff are the most important resource at any institution and it is highly distasteful for the college to find the funds to purchase the East Wing of Somerset House at the same time as it is looking to get rid of staff."

'Students will suffer'

A spokesperson for the college said: "Following discussions between UCU and King's College London on 22 February, the college formally reiterated a desire to respond to the concerns raised by the UCU and to continue discussions.

"The college believes a ballot on industrial action before these discussions have concluded is ill advised.

"There is particular concern that industrial action will impact on exams and that our students, who have worked so hard towards these, will suffer as a result."

The college's equalities and diversity department has been reduced in size and the union said the 170-year-old engineering department is set to close.

The philosophy, information resources, American studies departments and the chair of palaeography are also under threat.

The ballot will close on 22 March.

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