LECTURERS at a North-East university yesterday went ahead with a one-day strike over the threat of compulsory redundancies.

Members of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (Natfhe) were protesting over planned cuts, which now amount to three possible compulsory redundancies at the University of Sunderland.

A rally held outside the Edinburgh Building, in Chester Road, Sunderland, attracted up to 80 protestors.

A Natfe spokesman said: "Today's picket has been very successful.

"We are hoping that the demonstration of support will persuade the university it is rather silly to have this going on when we are looking at only a handful of possible redundancies.

"We are hoping they will sit down with us and withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies."

The dispute started over the loss of 46 jobs - 31 of them academic. All but three have now gone through voluntary redundancy or natural wastage.

The spokesman added: "These losses are because of financial mismanagement.

"We are not impressed with the fact that a significant number of lecturers are losing their jobs and yet no one in management is going."

A university spokesman said: "The measures we are taking are to ensure that we continue to provide a high quality of teaching and research.

"While student numbers are buoyant in the vast majority of subjects the university offers, there are a few where demand has been falling for some time - a trend mirrored across the UK.

"Therefore we must make staff reductions in some of these areas. We have 1,500 staff and need to reduce this complement by approximately three full-time posts.

"We have to make provision for compulsory severance although we continue to seek to achieve these staffing reductions through voluntary measures."