Leeds University Union will not support upcoming UCU strikes

LUU released a statement to announce it will not support the UCU strikes scheduled for December

Leeds University Union (LUU) has announced it will not be supporting the upcoming strikes proposed by the University and Colleges Union (UCU).

In a series of tweets posted to the Leeds University Union Twitter account, LUU explained that: “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.”

Earlier this month, The University of Leeds UCU branch voted in favour of strike action this semester. The University of Leeds joins 57 other higher education institutions who have also voted in favour of strike action. Overall, 76 per cent of UCU members backed strike action.

Members of the UCU are striking in dispute over pensions, pay and working conditions. The strikes will take place between Wednesday 1 December and Friday 3 December.

LUU stated that: “The right to strike is a universal democratic right that we defend” and that it supports “the right to fair pay, decent working conditions, a secure retirement and contract terms and conditions that reflect the work of teaching staff.”

However, they claimed that the problems discussed were not “new ones and have been going on for years.”

It also cited two years of Covid-19 disruption and previous strike action leading to “added stress, lost learning and delayed teaching” for students. Additionally, LUU said those most affected by strikes would be marginalised students: “specifically our disabled, international and working class students” and that “students are exhausted, experiencing increased mental health problems and wanting as little disruption to this year of study as possible.”

If students have concerns, they can voice them to the LUU Student Executive on Tuesday 23 November at 4pm in Room 2 in the union or they can contact LUU via email at [email protected].

A University of Leeds spokesperson told The Tab Leeds: “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.”

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