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PRESS RELEASE: September strike at University of Leicester

Published: 7th September, 2018


6 September 2018

September strike at University of Leicester

Lecturers, researchers and professional services workers – including librarians, IT specialists and counsellors – at University of Leicester have just voted to take industrial action in defence of their jobs.

With 55% of eligible members voting – a high turnout given the ballot took place across just three weeks during the summer holiday – almost two-thirds (63%) voted in favour of strike action, and almost four-fifths (78%) in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

The ‘University Leadership Team’ (ULT), led by vice-chancellor Paul Boyle, is attempting to impose a programme of compulsory redundancies and other attacks on staffing. They have put forward a ‘case for change’ – without any conversation with employees whether the direction they wish to take is the right one for the institution. Leicester UCU believes this is a kneejerk reaction, which threatens not only the livelihoods of many staff but also the future of University of Leicester. Leicester UCU firmly believes that a university that recognises its staff are its biggest asset makes a university that will offer a richer experience to students as well as producing better research. It is the sort of university we would want to send our children to.

Dr Ken Weir, a lecturer in accountancy in the School of Business, said: “Looking at the figures I can’t see any pressing need to cut costs. The staff costs to income ratio the leadership team cite as being too high has actually fallen in recent years. The University also ‘cut the cloth’ two years ago, citing the same need to reduce staff costs. This resulted in a fairly high-profile cost-cutting exercise to ‘trim’ 150 posts. As a prospective lender I’d be pretty spooked by what looks like another unjustified attempt to cut staff costs and jobs.”

Strike action will commence in the last full week of September – just as new and returning students start the new academic year.

According to Dr Sarah Seaton, co-chair of Leicester UCU: “It doesn’t make sense. A university is made by people – by lecturers and researchers, by librarians and IT specialists, cleaners and cooks, time-tablers and technicians. Why get rid of your most important resource? We don’t want to strike – we are still paying for the last one – and we are keen to work towards a resolution, but we will strike, if necessary.”

The strike can still be averted and Leicester UCU has made it clear to the University’s leadership team what is necessary. The ball is now in their court.

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