Union leaders have rejected any compulsory job losses at the University of Birmingham and could call industrial action amid growing fury at cuts which could see more than 100 staff go.
The Birmingham branch of the University and College Union (BUCU) has agreed a motion protesting at compulsory job losses and called an indicative ballot to gauge possible support for action.
The union's motion said: "This branch rejects compulsory redundancies at the University of Birmingham.
"This branch calls on the university management to abide by the existing agreement on the avoidance of compulsory redundancies and thereby avoid compulsory redundancies and to enter into negotiations with BUCU."
A BUCU source added: "We have started an indicative ballot asking our members whether they would be in favour of industrial action over the issues around redundancies but also grant capture targets, disciplinary procedures and performance management. The ballot will end on July 8."
It is understood BUCU has also approached management with plans to avoid compulsory redundancies in neuroscience and pharmacology, one of the areas targeted for cutbacks.
The Post revealed last week more than 100 University of Birmingham academics and support staff had been placed at risk of redundancy including "high-calibre" scientists.
A total of 49 staff at the neuroscience and pharmacology department at the Medical School and 59 engineering staff were are at risk although the university insisted the number of actual redundancies would be "very small".
A BUCU source told the Post last week: "The members of staff placed at risk of redundancy, however, contributed substantially to teaching, have brought in more than £8 million grant money and have published more than 350 research papers over the last five years.
"We are at a loss to understand how this can be seen as inadequate performance. This creates an atmosphere of fear as no-one can feel their jobs are safe any more."
The University of Birmingham said in a statement: "The university has and will abide by the terms of our agreement with BUCU on seeking to avoid compulsory redundancies arising from our restructuring proposals.
"Life sciences and engineering are priority areas for the university and the proposed changes will ensure investment is targeted in these key areas of research excellence.
"Like all other universities, Birmingham faces a challenging environment over the next few years and we will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of our students, collaborators and staff.
"With more than 7,000 members of staff, we invest heavily in our employees. Initiatives such as our Birmingham Fellows programme...and our Global Ambitions, Global Talent project...underlines our continued commitment to recruiting and retaining outstanding employees.
"Our £500 million capital development programme will ensure we have the right facilities to harness that talent and place us at the helm of research excellence, innovative teaching and the very best student experience."