A SERIES of strikes over job losses at Musselburgh’s Queen Margaret University (QMU), starting today (Thursday), are going ahead.

That cames after the University and College Union (UCU) said that talks with QMU had "ended without a satisfactory resolution".

If the dispute cannot be resolved then staff are due to walk out again on Monday and Wednesday next week.

UCU members say tehy are are angry at the loss of about 35 jobs, which represents a loss of seven per cent of the university’s total workforce.

The union argues that these job losses were unnecessary and will increase the workloads of remaining staff who will need to do more with less resources.

In the recent strike ballot, two-thirds of UCU members (64 per cent) who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 72 per cent.

Oonagh O’Brien, QMU UCU spokesperson, said: “Nobody wants to take strike action but the way the decisions to make cuts were made has angered staff and risks damaging the university’s reputation and the student experience.

“The level of support for strike action shows the strength of feeling about the cuts.

"The university needs to recognise how unhappy staff are and work with UCU to sort out a mess they’ve created.”

A spokesperson from Queen Margaret University said: “We advised all staff and students on Monday that we have reached a position where we have been able to achieve the level of cost savings required from the university’s transformation project without the need to make any compulsory redundancies.

"We are pleased that, as a result of this, Unison agreed to withdraw planned strike action, but are disappointed that another trade union, UCU, has decided to proceed with strike action today (Thursday).

“We plan to operate classes as normal as far as possible today and on other proposed dates, and to minimise any disruption to students. Indeed, many of QMU’s staff are not members of UCU.

“UCU’s action is in response to the university’s transformation project plans, which are designed to ensure that we can continue to lead in providing relevant teaching and research, and in providing the supportive and stimulating learning environment of which we are so proud.

"The transformation project plans take account of extensive consultation with staff and trade unions over a number of months, and reflects their input wherever possible.”