UNION representatives have been barred from a meeting to discuss the fate of professors at Teesside University.

The university is facing mounting anger over contentious plans to make 27 research professors reapply for their jobs.

In what has been called a bizarre and strange performance audit, the academics would have to justify their research and any funding bids.

According to the plans, those who do not take part will be offered a severance package of nine months’ salary to leave.

The University and College Union have now criticised the university for banning their representatives from a meeting called to discuss the controversial proposals on Friday.

While welcome to attend individual consultation meetings, union reps were banned from the meeting, despite the majority of affected professors being UCU members.

Instead, two individuals were selected to represent them, who are now expected to share information with colleagues.

UCU’s regional official Jon Bryan said the university's decision denied professors the ability to call upon the expertise and experience of trained union officials at the meeting and put pressure on the two people selected to represent the professors. at the meeting.

He said: “We advised the representatives but this is the sort of thing we are there to do and they would have benefited from our professional representation and experience.

“Our members have officially asked us to be that representative body but the university said no - the whole issue is quite extraordinary.

“Banning UCU from a meeting about the future of 27 professors flies in the face of fairness and decent practice and risks doing serious damage to the university’s reputation.”

A spokesman for Teesside University said the consultation was currently in its early stages, adding: “The university remains committed to building on its research excellence and believes the proposed new professorial role will play a significant part.”