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COVID-19 – open letter to all Leicester UCU members

Published: 27th March, 2020

It’s hard to believe how much the world has changed since we returned from the picket lines a couple of weeks ago. Whilst we knew the threat from COVID-19 was serious, hence our revised activities and guidance on our final strike day, most of us did not anticipated a lockdown situation within such a short time frame. We’re now reaching the end of our first working week within this reality – but it feels like much longer.

I know that many people are now facing incredibly difficult situations. Most of us are working remotely, scattered across the city and country, and unsure when we will be in the same room as our colleagues again. Some of us are ill or isolating because we have health conditions. Many of us have families to support, children to teach, clinical services to perform, and our ‘day-jobs’ to continue in the best way that we can. I was pleased to see our VC, NishanCanagarajah, acknowledge that at times like this we can all only do our best. I echo that sentiment whole-heartedly. We know that our members regularly go well above and beyond, but right now take care of yourselves and your loved ones first and foremost – in many ways this is what ASOS was always about.

Even for those of us with no ‘responsibilities’ at home, this is still not an easy time. Some will find familiarity and comfort in continuing their work and that is fine. Others will find it impossible to cope or concentrate on anything right now. Be kind to yourself, these are unsettling times. You are allowed to be upset, I certainly have been.

We are doing what we can to work with the University to promote the needs of our members and indeed all staff and students. The upcoming weeks will see some changes to how Leicester UCU operates. We’ll be holding more virtual meetings – potentially even our AGM – and we’ll be in touch with details soon. But, just because you won’t “see” us as much, we will still be there to provide whatever support we can.

In solidarity,


Co-chair, Leicester UCU