Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Leeds University staff back strike action over jobs row

University of Leeds
The union is angry over what it describes as "savage cuts"

Workers at the University of Leeds have voted in favour of taking strike action if a dispute over job losses and funding cuts is not resolved.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are campaigning against compulsory redundancies and planned savings of £35m.

The UCU said 66% of its Leeds membership took part in the ballot, with 64% in favour of strike action.

The University of Leeds said was trying to "mitigate" the effects of the cuts.

A UCU spokesman said 54 staff had already lost their jobs and up to 700 more were at risk.

Industrial action, unfortunately, is not going to make the problem go away
University of Leeds spokeswoman

He said the plans had to be "shelved" to allow the union and the university to work together, and called for fresh talks to be held.

The spokesman said strike action would go ahead if "progressive and beneficial" talks did not take place.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "The bottom line is that serious job losses will impact massively on the institution's ability to function as a leading university in the region, let alone globally.

"The university should be working with us to oppose the government's savage cuts to higher education and must immediately put plans to axe 700 jobs on hold."

Formal discussions

A University of Leeds spokeswoman said: "We have had more than a dozen meetings with UCU in the last month, including formal discussions through Acas and we have made a series of proposals on how we can work with the union to mitigate the effects of cuts on staff and the university.

"We look forward to receiving any proposals that UCU has to make.

"Industrial action, unfortunately, is not going to make the problem go away."

She added that another meeting with Acas was scheduled for Thursday.

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