LOCAL MP and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner urged Manchester University to “get its house in order” yesterday as lecturers prepare to walk out in defence of their jobs.
Ms Rayner expressed her “solidarity and support” to University and College Union (UCU) members striking on Monday and Tuesday, after which they will work to rule, over bosses’ plans to axe 140 lecturers’ jobs.
Pickets will be in action from 7.30am at entrances to the university on Oxford Road. UCU president Joanna de Groot will be among the speakers at the students’ union building at 11.30am on Monday.
Ms Rayner sent a message of support to the lecturers, accusing management of having “no convincing rationale” for the job cuts.
She said bosses’ claims that they need to “create financial headroom” were “not a convincing argument when [the university] recorded a £36 million surplus last year and is also sitting on £1.5 billion of reserves.
“I hope that management will get their house in order and give the UCU workers the respect they deserve.”
UCU regional official Martyn Moss said members were “delighted” to have Ms Rayner’s backing.
“We hope her strong words will focus the minds of the University of Manchester management team.”
He added: “The proposals are the result of a management strategy that ignored staff and they lack a convincing rationale. Staff are not confident that the process will be fairly and consistently implemented.”
A massive 87 per cent of lecturers backed strike action in the ballot.