Heriot-Watt staff set for strike action if talks stop

Staff at Heriot-Watt University – which has a campus in Galashiels – are ready to strike if talks to avoid compulsory redundancies break down.

Heriot-Watt University campus in Netherdale, Galashiels.
Heriot-Watt University campus in Netherdale, Galashiels.

The university plans to cut 130 jobs due to problems stemming from Covid-19, and 77% of members of the University and College Union (UCU) Scotland who voted in a ballot, voted for strike action, with a 66% turnout.

UCU Scotland official Mary Senior said: “By voting in these numbers UCU members at Heriot-Watt university have made it crystal clear that they have no confidence in the university’s plans to cut jobs. The ballot result is a clear mandate for industrial action and to oppose job cuts.

“The employer has made good progress on seeking volunteers and should now take compulsory redundancies off the table, to give staff some job security and stability, and students the reassurances they need on the learning environment. It’s not too late for the university to avoid strike action but they need to act now.”

A spokesperson for the university said: “The UCU has notified us of its intention to take industrial action if we are unable to reach agreement in relation to our current dispute.

“The university leadership has always stressed its aim of avoiding compulsory redundancies wherever possible. We remain fully committed to achieving savings through voluntary redundancies and non-pay routes.

“We continue to have positive and constructive dialogue with union representatives and hope to find a way to resolve this matter ahead of any industrial action taking place.”