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Anger at Brunel job cuts

PROTESTORS turned out at Brunel University to show their anger at proposed job cuts.

This Is Lancashire: Protest: Staff make their stand against job cuts at Brunel University Protest: Staff make their stand against job cuts at Brunel University

Union members, students and other supporters used the opening of Brunel's new Bannerman Centre by Labour peer Melvyn Bragg on Thursday, February 24, evening to hold a public demonstration about the university's plans to axe 60 academic jobs because they are considered by management to be "research inactive".

The Association of University Teachers (AUT) general secretary Sally Hunt condemned vice chancellor Professor Steven Schwartz's handling of the dispute.

She said: "The AUT is pressing ahead with its ballot of members at Brunel, but it's still not too late for Prof Schwartz to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies.

"That threat in a British university is almost unprecedented and Prof Schwartz should be under no illusion as to the depth of anger and dismay that his actions have caused."

Prof Schwartz said: "Whilst we appreciate the AUT's concerns regarding academic restructuring, I am disappointed that this has turned into a personal campaign, rather than a constructive dialogue.

"It is important to note that both the senate and council of the university, which include both academic and student members, have approved the restructuring exercise in support of our research-led strategy."

A spokesman for Brunel University's council said: "The council the governing body of Brunel University formulated the strategic objective of creating a research-led university.

"It furthermore recognised the necessity to make changes in the research profile of the academic staff in order to achieve this objective.

"The research-led strategy was put in place prior to the appointment of the current vice-chancellor.

"The academic restructuring exercise, which includes the redundancy consultation, has been approved by both the senate the academic decision-making body and the council of the university.

"The council endorses the actions of the vice-chancellor and senior management in implementing all aspects related to this strategy."

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