Labour Research November 2015


Industrial news

The UCU lecturers’ and university staff union is balloting members at the Open University over plans to close down seven regional centres with the loss of over 500 jobs. Staff in these centres support disabled students, provide course materials, assign tutors, run examination arrangements, advise on study options and manage degree ceremonies.

The plans would see centres in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Gateshead, Leeds, London and Oxford close, leaving only the main Open University site in Milton Keynes along with regional centres in Manchester and Nottingham, and national ones in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.

The strike ballot will close on 5 November.

Meanwhile, PCS members at National Museum Wales undertook further strike action in October in a long-running dispute over weekend working payments.

A series of strikes has been held by PCS members at museum sites since July, and a new round was launched in October following Acas talks, with management refusing to back down on plans to scrap anti-social hours’ payments for the lowest-paid staff.

PCS members at London’s National Gallery returned to work at the beginning of the month, following continuous strike action since 11 August.

The PCS said agreement had been reached with the gallery and contractor Securitas, involving protection of terms and conditions and a return to work for senior union rep Candy Udwin.

An interim employment tribunal in June found that Udwin was likely to have been sacked unlawfully for trade union activity.