LECTURERS have called off strike action planned for next week over job cuts at Winchester University.

The University and College Union this afternoon said the action had been suspended as Winchester University had agreed to rule out compulsory job cuts.

Five days of strikes had been due to start on Tuesday May 28 with members also walking out on Wednesday May 29, Monday June 3, Tuesday June 4 and Wednesday June 5.

Staff were also going to start “action short of a strike” from Thursday May 30, working to contract, not covering for absences and boycotting open days.That has also been suspended.

The university had said it wanted to shed 55 posts, of which 48 were academic or research, around a tenth of the workforce citing increased costs in pensions as a reason.

Students had expressed their support for staff and held a demonstration in March.

The university had also come under fire for its handling of the process, having revealed all the staff at risk of redundancy in an email.

UCU regional official Moray McAulay said today: ‘We are pleased the university has belatedly ruled out compulsory redundancies and we are now in a position to cancel next week’s industrial action. It is of course frustrating that it took an overwhelming mandate for action that forced this decision, but now we look forward to working with the university.

"This dispute should act as a warning to universities not to rush into making dangerous knee-jerk decisions when faced with difficulties, but instead to work with us."

In a statement the university said this afternoon: "Following the launch of a voluntary severance scheme in March, the University of Winchester today confirmed that the necessary savings have been secured through the voluntary scheme, without the need for compulsory redundancies.
"The voluntary severance scheme aimed to reduce between 30-40 full-time equivalent posts, as the University looks to rebalance its portfolio and associated staffing and resources, and respond to financial challenges affecting the higher education sector.