Leeds Uni to be hit with three days of strikes in December
The University of Leeds will be one of 58 institutions to strike for three days
The University of Leeds will be one of 58 universities to hit students with three days of strike action this December.
UCU confirmed that strike action will occur at Leeds between Wednesday 1 December to Friday 3 December.
76% of UCU members who voted backed strike action and 88% voted in favour of action short of strike.
The University of Leeds UCU received a 60.8 per cent turn out, with 75.2 per cent voting in favour of taking industrial action consisting of strike action.
1,848 ballots were mailed out, with 1,124 turning out to vote. 843 members are prepared to take industrial action consisting of strike action.
Out of 68 universities, 37 of those met the 50 per cent threshold required to legally hold a strike, and UCU will now meet with its members to discuss a course of action.
As well as the three day strike, staff at 64 other universities have a mandate to take action short of strike.
This involved working strictly to contract and refusing other duties, and is set to go on indefinitely for the five months staff have a mandate to take industrial action for.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “Strikes over three consecutive days are set to hit university campuses next month unless employers get round the table and take staff concerns over pension cuts, pay and working conditions seriously.
“UCU has repeatedly asked employers to meet with us to try to resolve these disputes. But while we set out pragmatic solutions that could halt widespread disruption to UK campuses, university bosses refuse to revoke unnecessary, swingeing pension cuts or even to negotiate on issues like casualisation and the unbearably high workloads that blight higher education.
“A resolution to this dispute is simple. But if employers remain intent on slashing pensions and exploiting staff who have kept this sector afloat during a pandemic then campuses will face strike action before Christmas, which will escalate into spring with reballots and further industrial action.”
A University of Leeds spokesperson told The Leeds Tab: “Our priorities are to protect the interests of students, including minimising any disruption to them; retain the cohesion of our community; and protect the standard of Leeds degrees.
“The future of the USS pension scheme (Universities Superannuation Scheme) can only be resolved at a national level. It cannot be solved by this or any other university alone, and we hope that all parties remain open to talking, despite the outcome of the ballot.
“Many of the other issues in dispute are within our gift to tackle and we are already taking action to address UCU’s concerns about workload and casualisation.”
A spokesperson from Leeds University Union provided a statement to The Leeds Tab:
“The right to strike is a universal democratic right that we defend. We support, without question, the right to fair pay, decent working conditions, a secure retirement and contract terms and conditions that reflect the work of teaching staff. We believe that happy supported staff will be better able to teach and support our students.
“The challenge we face as student leaders is that we don’t believe this current strike action is in the best interest of students, and our focus has to be what’s in the best interest of our members. In light of the past two years of COVID disruption, previous strike action and ongoing variations to teaching because of COVID concern, strikes right now will inevitably lead to added stress, lost learning and delayed teaching.
“We know that students are exhausted, experiencing increased mental health problems and wanting as little disruption to this year of study as possible, rather than spend another year disrupted by strike action. This decision has been made without student input or consultation.
“LUU is committed to supporting all of its members and ensuring that students have all the right information and would ask that you join us on Tuesday 23rd November at 4pm in room 2 of LUU to voice any concerns to us, your Student Exec.”
You can read the full statement here.