UCU members at Salford University surprised to see managers joining picket lines as ‘marshals’


Bosses at Salford University this morning tried to intimidate striking lecturers by donning high-visibility jackets and describing themselves as ‘picket marshals’.

The bizarre tactics employed by senior university managers, including the pro-vice chancellor, backfired with striking UCU members saying how seriously the institution was taking UCU’s action.

This is not the first time Salford University has been caught up in a row on the picket lines. Last year it prevented Unite members picketing during a strike because the university leases one of its buildings from a private landowner.

Today’s dispute centres on moves by the university to place staff in ‘redundancy pools’ with dozens of jobs at risk. In the past year the institution has announced seven lots of redundancies. Talks last week aimed at resolving the dispute broke down on Thursday and the union said members were left with no choice but to continue with the strike action.

Salford students have backed the lecturers’ campaign to save jobs, with the students’ union saying redundancies negatively impact upon the student experience. The students’ union added that the university’s lack of communication and consultation with students had lead to a ‘culture of misinformation’.

UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: “The last thing anyone wanted today was disruption, but the university has to understand the anger felt by members who have faced round after round of job cuts.

“The campus is very quiet with very little activity. We had well-attended pickets, despite the university resorting to the quite bizarre, and clearly intimidating, tactic of deploying senior staff, including the pro-vice-chancellor, in high-visibility jackets as so-called picket marshals. Although this was a deliberately intimidating tactic, I guess it highlights just how seriously the institution is taking our action.

“Although the talks broke down so disappointingly last week, the door remains open for the university to sit down with us to resolve the dispute. We hope they will accept this offer and that there is no need for further action.”


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