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Lancs uni students give letter of condemnation to VC over victimisation of staff

There were over 400 signatures

An open letter of condemnation, organised by Lancaster University students, was delivered to the interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve Bradley, today.

The letter expressed solidarity with Dr Julie Hearn, Branch President of Lancaster UCU trade union, who has faced victimisation from university management because of her trade union activism.

The letter also condemned Lancaster University’s culture of bullying and intimidation, especially towards staff who are trade union activists. There were over 400 signatures, including students, alumni, academics, and trade unionists from Lancaster and universities across the UK. Other signatories include the President of Lancaster University Students’ Union, and several Lancaster City Councillors.

The Unison and Unite trade union branches have withdrawn from Lancaster University’s joint union committee in protest over Dr Hearn’s treatment. UCU members will be going on strike later this month over disputes regarding pensions, and the ‘Four Fights’: Pay, equality, workloads, and conditions.

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Labour city councillor, Jack O'Dwyer Henry said upon delivering the open letter: "The rights to organise your workplace and withhold your labour are inalienable. Attempts by university managers to undermine these fundamental rights is simply unacceptable, and shall be met with unwavering resistance until it is stopped.

“To avoid thousands of students’ studies being further disrupted by the second wave of strike action this academic year, the onus is now on university managers to immediately resolve their ongoing disputes with the UCU, and start treating all their staff with the respect they deserve. Management must also take meaningful action to address Lancaster University’s endemic culture of bullying. Until then, I’ll be joining students and staff on the picket line.

“The University’s refusal to declare a Climate Emergency, attempt to shut down the Sugarhouse nightclub against students’ wishes, and now the victimisation of trade unionists, clearly demonstrates that Lancaster University is being run like a profit-obsessed business, with complete disregard to its wider social responsibilities. The overpaid senior managers of Lancaster University repeatedly act as if they do not care about students’ education, welfare, or futures.”