“We’re not putting up, we’re not shutting up”

Unison members have been protesting at the University of East Anglia (UEA) over possible cuts to staff.

UEA has confirmed it is launching a voluntary redundancy scheme that could see more than 100 colleagues lose their jobs.

Amanda Chenery-Howes, UNISON’s UEA branch secretary said, “The university aren’t really interested in what is happening.

“They are more interested in doing the cuts.

“The simple fact is, bosses can’t cut their way out of this crisis.”

The ongoing dispute over cost-cutting measures continue because the university is looking to make £45 million savings in the next three years to fill a financial black hole in its budget.

The university has said that the financial crisis has come from expensive renovations, frozen tuition fees and the effects of covid on the entire sector.

Provost and deputy vice- chancellor Christine Bovis-Cnossen wrote in an email, “Over the next two weeks we will work through what this means for those individuals affected and what their options are.

“This means that some staff members are going to be hearing difficult news in the coming days.”

However, today at the protest, Sam, a UNISON member, made a speech regarding the treatment they have received from the universities executives.

He said that the executive team has refused to look at the situation from a human standpoint, and only recognised its staff as numbers on a spreadsheet.

“The executive team have no answers to how they have gotten themselves into this mess.”

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, attended the protest to support staff.

The MP said that today had been one of the saddest rally’s he has attended at the university and that he is disappointed with how things were turning out.

The union told UEA Journalism that the bulk of the job losses were coming from the lowest paid, such as cleaners and caterers.

During the protest, members chanted “shame on them” when talking of the over 60 academics who are on six figure salaries a year.

Teresa, representative of cleaning staff, said that they were the ones who kept UEA going through all of the bad times, especially in Covid, so cutting their pay was unfair.

Save UEA said that a university is defined by all of its staff, and the students needed the staff they were cutting.

Next week, staff are having one-to-one meetings with the university to discuss their futures at UEA.

We contacted the University for a statement but it made no comment.

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