Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Legal action over university cuts

Stirling University
More than 100 staff members protested on the campus last month

Stirling University is facing legal action over planned job cuts.

The University and College Union, which represents lecturers, said it has begun employment tribunal proceedings.

According to the union, the university has "flagrantly breached" employment law by failing to consult properly with trade unions over proposed job losses.

The UCU said the cuts would affect 190 people. The university said it had not breached legal requirements and that it had a series of meetings with unions.

The union said it was taking the action because it believed university managers were presenting them with a fait accompli.

If the claim is successful each affected employee could receive a payout equal to 90 days' pay.

We are no longer projecting a budget deficit and have made good progress towards securing funds for investment
Professor Neil Keeble
University's senior deputy principal

But the university's senior deputy principal, Professor Neil Keeble, said: "We've not seen any details from the employment tribunal about this claim.

"We refute the assertion that the University has breached its legal requirements and we have held a series of meetings with the joint unions over the required 90-day period, at the end of which there were no redundancies.

"This was a voluntary severance scheme."

Professor Keeble said the university was facing a budget deficit of £4.4m for 2009-10.

'Deeply disappointed'

He added: Over the summer the university community has worked together to avoid compulsory redundancies through cost-saving and income-generating measures and a voluntary severance scheme for staff.

"Through these measures we are no longer projecting a budget deficit and have made good progress towards securing funds for investment."

But Mary Senior, UCU'S Scottish official, said: "UCU is deeply disappointed at the University of Stirling's failure to engage in any form of meaningful and timely consultation over job cuts.

"UCU has been left with no alternative but to seek a legal remedy to this flagrant breach of employment law, and has lodged proceedings in a bid to protect our members at Stirling."

Last month, more than 100 staff protested on campus against the potential cuts.

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