Union members and students protest against Wolverhampton University cuts

University of Wolverhampton staff and students helps a protest against planned cuts.

UCU members from across the Midlands joined their Wolverhampton colleagues
UCU members from across the Midlands joined their Wolverhampton colleagues

Lecturers and students attended the protest outside Wolverhampton Civic Centre on Saturday in response to the university's plans to axe over 130 courses and cut 250 jobs.

The protest was organised by Wolverhampton University and College Union (UCU) and was backed by the Trades Union Council.

The UCU is in dispute with the University of Wolverhampton over the suspension of student recruitment onto 146 courses and redundancies.

UCU president Janet Farrar, UCU president elect Justine Mercer and UCU West Midlands chair Rhiannon Lockley all spoke at the protest.

UCU staff are preparing to strike over low pay

Ms Farrar said: "This protest is sending a message to Wolverhampton University how unpopular these cuts are.

"Wolverhampton UCU has the backing of branches across the country and we stand in solidarity with those staff fighting these cuts.

"The support has been amazing from across the union and across the movement."

She said: "What Wolverhampton University has done is an attack on students, and the working class. Youngsters from Wolverhampton take humanities and performing arts, they will not have that choice.

"It was great seeing so many people from other colleges and community group saying this is not on."

"I can understand how upset people in Wolverhampton are I've come here today to promise the UCU will fight these awful cuts and employment practices."

Wolverhampton UCU protesting against cuts

The UCU has balloted university and college members for industrial action after rejecting a 2.5 per cent pay offer. The university staff result is due in October but college staff voted in favour and are planning national strike days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ms Farrar said: "Now is the time to fight back. Now is the time to make a stand. We have had a fantastic campaign across the country to get UCU members to vote Yes for industrial action."

In May, the university announced recruitment for 138 courses had closed, many of which were in the arts or performing arts, for the following academic year.

Up to 250 jobs are at risk due to restructuring, with 100 staff expected to leave through a mutually agreed resignation scheme (MARS).

David Stevens, a former Wolverhampton University student, attended the protest after reading about it on social media.

He said: "I noticed the course which I went on has been cut by Wolverhampton University,. As well as supporting all the lecturers who are losing the jobs I am really sad local students will not get the opportunities I had.

"They already have to pay huge fees which I never had to pay and now any student who wants to stay at home in Wolverhampton have had their choice of courses massively reduced."

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