Union threatens strikes over university's plans to resume face-to-face lessons despite Tier 3 rules

Dominic Penna
·1 min read
The Birley campus at Manchester Metropolitan University - Peter Byrne/PA Wire
The Birley campus at Manchester Metropolitan University - Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A union has threatened strikes over a Manchester university's plans to resume face-to-face lessons amid Tier 3 restrictions.

The University and College Union (UCU) described plans by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to provide as many as three hours of in-person teaching from Monday as “unacceptable”.

The UCU has said that it will consult its members regarding industrial action unless the university reverses its decision, which will apply to most degree courses.

MMU moved its teaching online from October 7 amid a rising caseload in Greater Manchester, but following three weeks of virtual classes there will be more face-to-face teaching from next week.

“Manchester Metropolitan University’s vice-chancellor wants to undermine the city’s sacrifice, and risk the health and safety of staff and students by urging them to return to campus,” said UCU regional official Martyn Moss.

Last month MMU ordered as many as 1,700 students to stay in their rooms for a fortnight at the Birley campus and Cambridge Halls after 127 tested positive for coronavirus on returning to university.

MMU said that its decision to resume face-to-face teaching was in line with local and Public Health England recommendations, and reflected the “wishes and needs of many of our students”.