Members of the University and College Union are taking all out indefinite strike action in response to the University of Leeds Management decision to deduct 100% of pay for staff participating in the marking boycott. The picket lines were lively and staff were determined to make a stand in their campaign for fair pay. Lecturers said they had been forced to take the action and that management were adopting a damaging approach with regard to employee relations. The UCU lecturers had a group of joggers visiting picket lines with flags, to applause and cheers from strikers and the general public tooting car horns. Many striking lecturers visited the Junior Doctors picket line at the Leeds General Infirmary to show solidarity with them.
Lecturers were critical of the lack of investment in staff compared to buildings and University grounds. Some managers were paying themselves excessively and claiming thousands in expenses.
The UCU demands are simple:
1. A fair pay deal
2. Action on equality pay gaps
3. The elimination of casualisation
4. Action on workloads
The UCU statement reads:
“The strike could continue for months unless management stop docking staff pay. UCU said pay deductions of up to 100% are utterly unacceptable as staff taking part in the marking and assessment boycott continue to teach, lecture and support students as normal.
The boycott covers all marking and assessment, including in writing, online, or verbally at 145 UK universities. It will continue until employer body the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) makes an improved offer in the ongoing pay and working conditions dispute, at which point UCU will decide whether to continue the action or call it off.”
Speaking with strikers it was clear that the staff are passionate about supporting students and determined to defend the quality of service that students should receive. The reality being that overworked, underpaid and little job security is a barrier to delivering the best outcomes.
This is an important dispute that must be won- the 100% pay deductions is an appalling attack on workers taking action short of strike action.
The UCU has set up a fighting fund for more information follow the link at: UCU – Donate to the fighting fund
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