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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Language Lecturers SAVED as Management Removes Redundancy Threat

Strikes Called Off as Staff and Students Rejoice 

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

After more than three months of uncertainty, modern language lecturers at the University of Aberdeen are NO LONGER at risk of redundancy. 

Previously, a meeting of the University Court indicated that most lecturers would remain on redundancy watch, prompting anger from staff and students. Strike action was set to go ahead, and all indications pointed to a long and drawn out process. However, on Thursday, 7 March, University management officially told staff that they were no longer at risk of being forced from their jobs. 

In a statement to staff, University Senior Vice Principal Karl Leydecker said: “The decision to end the possibility of redundancy was taken in the context of endorsement by the University Court last week of the outcomes of the Consultation on Modern Languages, and clear signs of progress towards cost savings and income growth.

“This includes continuing to offer a full range of undergraduate Joint Honours degrees in Modern Languages, Translating & Interpreting, including Gaelic, together with taught and research postgraduate programmes, and continued support for research. New interdisciplinary undergraduate degrees are also planned.

Professor Leydecker also confirmed that strike action would not go ahead, writing:

“Aberdeen UCU has confirmed that the planned industrial action due to begin on 12 March will now not take place, with the dispute now at an end.

UCU branch chair Rachel Shanks also reacted to the news, commenting: “I want to thank every single member of our UCU branch who voted for strike action and who stood firm against the university’s threat to force colleagues out of the university. It’s good that, in the end, university senior managers listened to staff, students and the wider community, and have withdrawn the threat of compulsory redundancies.  

“Hopefully university staff can now focus on teaching and supporting students, carrying out research and knowledge exchange and all the other activities that our members do.”

“The conclusion of the consultation, the removal of the risk of redundancy and the end of this dispute with UCU provides an opportunity to move forward positively as a Modern Languages community of staff and students.”

The decision comes after a months-long pressure campaign by staff, students, and the public. A series of rallies and protests were held over the winter months, with the aim to force University management to remove the redundancy threats.

Despite the ebullient mood, student leaders have urged caution before absolving University management of its responsibility. Questions remain about how the department will look next year, how many lecturers have left voluntarily, and whether or not single honours language degrees will return. 


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