Belfast Telegraph

Open University staff to strike over regional centres closure plans

Staff at the Open University are to strike in a row over plans to close regional centres.

Members of the University and College Union will walk out on November 25, followed by a series of regional stoppages from the end of the month.

The union is campaigning against plans to close seven regional centres, which it says puts more than 500 jobs at risk.

UCU Open University branch president Pauline Collins said: "Nobody wants to take strike action, but we feel this is our only alternative. The closures have been criticised by staff, students, former students and politicians.

"Our senate, which is the academic body of the university, rejected the plans as high-risk and failing to support the mission of the university.

"The ball is now firmly in the university's court and we hope they will see sense and reject these plans."

UCU said that to lose expertise would be a "devastating" blow and has questioned why so many centres are being hit at the same time.

Staff in the local offices evaluate and support students with disabilities, provide course materials, assign tutorial groups, run examination arrangements, advise on study options and manage degree ceremonies.

UCU members at the Open University have previously taken strike action in national campaigns over pay and pensions, but they have never walked out in a local dispute.

Strikes will be held on:

Birmingham - Monday November 30

London - Tuesday December 1

Oxford - Wednesday December 2

Leeds - Thursday December 3

Gateshead - Friday December 4

Cambridge - Monday December 7

Bristol - Tuesday December 8

Nottingham - Wednesday December 9

Manchester - Thursday December 10

Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Milton Keynes national offices - Friday December 11


From Belfast Telegraph