STAFF at the University of Winchester will strike next month over job cuts.

The strike will be on Tuesday, June 4 after 79 per cent of University and College Union members voted to back action, with a turnout of 59 per cent.

A further 93 per cent voted for action short of a strike, which will begin on Wednesday, June 5 and will include working to contract and refusing to cover for absent colleagues.

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The dispute is over plans to cut approximately 40 academic staff, and changes to workloads which the union fears will lead to unhealthy and unmanageable working hours.

Hampshire Chronicle: The University of WinchesterThe University of Winchester (Image: University of Winchester)

Staff have faced regular rounds of redundancy since 2019 with staff morale at an all-time low. A Winchester UCU spokesperson said: “Members are in constant fear of losing their job. We’ve had half a decade of attacks and job cuts which needs to end.”

Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, said: “Striking is the final resort for our members, University of Winchester management now has two weeks to begin meaningful negotiations to improve on the threatened punitive workload allocation model, to avoid compulsory job losses and help preserve the reputation of the institution.

“We want to get around the negotiating table and avoid disruption. The ball is in the employer’s court.”

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A University of Winchester spokesperson said: “Universities across the country are facing very serious financial challenges, with real term cuts of £6bn in tuition fee income since 2017 and sharply rising costs. Within this context, the University of Winchester is acting responsibly in its use of public funding, by considering all cost-saving options whilst maintaining the high quality of its student education and support.

“Every effort is being made to secure savings through all means possible. It is important to emphasise that the proposals upon which we have consulted reflect the challenging financial circumstances facing the university sector as a whole and are not a reflection of the dedication and performance of those affected.

“The University of Winchester is having to take action to ensure that it can continue fulfilling its mission to deliver transformational education in Winchester and Hampshire. The University of Winchester is one of the largest employers in the region, contributing nearly £300m to the regional economy each year. It provides thousands of people across Hampshire access to university, graduate careers, and continuing professional development. The University is in the top 10 universities in the country for graduate success, producing outstanding graduates including nurses, teachers, police officers, and other professionals in business and the creative arts who make such a difference to the region in which we live.”