Manchester staff ballot for strike action

Staff at the University of Manchester will be balloted for strike action by the University and College Union (UCU) after bosses at the university disregarded employment procedure. Instead of waiting for the current review of redeployment procedure to be completed, the university issued 37 at risk of redundancy notices, leading the union to ballot for strike action. UCU members now have until the 20 November to vote in favour of action.

Industrial relations at the university have worsened considerably in recent times, with the union being given just 40 minutes notice before 219 IT staff were sent notices informing them of potential redundancies. UCU claims that the institution previously prided itself on maintaining good relations with the union, especially under former Vice-Chancellor Alan Gilbert. However, things are evidently changing.

Attempts to go through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) have so far been unsuccessful. The ongoing disputes have left UCU “with little alternative but to ballot members for industrial action”, however, efforts to resolve the situation through arbitration will continue.

This situation is indicative of the sharpening class struggle throughout the UK. Those, such as university staff, who in the past may have considered themselves relatively protected from the day-to-day class struggle because they were working in established and respectable institutions are now finding themselves in a position that requires them to fight for their jobs. As the crisis deepens more and more people will find themselves dragged into the struggle against the ruling class. This is a key way in which new layers of the working class are being radicalised and driven towards revolutionary alternatives.

The Manchester Marxists stand 100% in solidarity with our staff whose jobs are threatened. If staff choose to go on strike we will join them on the picket lines and do everything we can to build support for the strike among students.

by Ed Rosier, Manchester Marxists