THE University of Central Lancashire’s vice-chancellor has spoken of his ‘surprise and disappointment’ after a union began balloting for strike action.

Gerry Kelleher wrote to staff at the university, which has a campus in Burnley, after the University and College Union (UCU) said it was lodging a dispute’ over job losses and changes to job descriptions, which it argued was ‘an attempt to get teaching done on the cheap.’

He said: “This notification is very disappointing news, as I know the vast majority of colleagues want a succesful and thriving university which gives students the best experience possible and would not wish to risk this by taking action to undermine this.”

Up to 75 jobs are under threat under cost-cutting proposals, the university confirmed, although Mr Kelleher said he hoped most would be resolved voluntarily.

Union members have already staged a walk out at the university in the dispute over a national pay offer of one per cent.

The latest ballot, on job losses, closes next Friday and union members have been urged by UCU general secretary Sally Hunt to vote for strike action.