Strikes and next steps in the disputes First of all, huge thanks for your strike action over the past four weeks. We have shown university managements across the UK that staff are not prepared to put up with precarious contracts, gender and race inequality, excessive workloads, and effective pay cuts through below inflation pay rises and increases to pension contributions. Special thanks to everyone who has joined the pickets, rallies and teachouts, and made them a joyful, determined and supportive experience. We can go back to work on Monday with our heads held high and the knowledge that our actions have moved the negotiations forward. See the latest negotiators’ update on the Four Fights dispute at https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10783/Negotiators-update-on-Four-Fights-11-March-2020/pdf/Four_Fights_negotiators_update_11_March.pdf). On USS there is encouraging progress on underlying issues, and signs of frustration with USS from employers, but we still need an improved offer on contributions. We really need our VC to put pressure on USS to make a better offer on contributions rather than refusing to tell us what our university’s response has been on this. Negotiations will continue on both disputes, but sadly it looks as if further industrial action will be needed to get a decent resolution to both disputes. A … continue reading
Leeds MPs have written to the vice chancellors of University of Leeds and Leeds Trinity University expressing their full support for the demands of UCU members and asking for universities to act positively to resolve the dispute. Professor Margaret A House Sir Alan Langlands 12 March 2020 Dear all As Members of Parliament in Leeds, we are writing to express our full support for the University and College Union (UCU) in their ongoing disputes over pay, conditions and pensions. In particular, we would like to make it clear that we support the UCU demands for universities to address the 17% decline in the value of pay in real-terms since 2009; the increasing gender pay gap and race pay gap; the rise in unsustainable workloads; and the increase in casualisation and insecure contracts. We also support the UCU campaign to reverse the changes made to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), which would leave a typical member of staff around £240,000 worse off in retirement. Our university staff do incredible work, and failing to meet the UCU’s reasonable demands for fair pay, secure contracts and reasonable workloads undermines that work. We believe that universities must always put the interests of hardworking staff … continue reading
Leeds UCU at our General Meeting on 22nd January agreed to work with the Equality Trust to develop and run a survey of Leeds UCU members, to provide evidence supporting our negotiations with the university on pay gaps. See http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/members-make-dispute-decisions-at-extraordinary-general-meeting/ (motion 3). A working group is being set up for this, co-convened by Dima Barakat Chami (our branch Equality Officer) and Jane Holgate. If you would like to join the working group, please contact Jane Holgate (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You’ll have seen from your email on Monday from the UCU general secretary Jo Grady that UCU have announced 14 more days strike action during February and March. Our negotiating team and elected Higher Education Committee think that, despite some real progress in the negotiations, the employers are holding back and are not taking the concerns of staff seriously enough. Leeds University UCU is therefore called to strike on these dates in pursuit of two legally distinct disputes: USS, and #FourFights (see: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10621/UCU-announces-14-strike-days-at-74-UK-universities-in-February-and-March ) The dates are: Week one – Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February Week two – Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 February Week three – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March Week four – Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March This is such a crucial moment for higher education in the UK, and every member is needed to make this action successful. Employers have moved a bit in negotiations as a result of our actions so far. We need them to move further, and to put decent, trustworthy offers on the table to resolve these disputes. We know some VCs are already shifting. We need … continue reading
Members of UCU University of Leeds Branch met today (22 January 2020) to discuss and make decisions about the current disputes. Members agreed on the following motions: USS pensions dispute and ‘Four fights’ dispute Motion 1 This branch acknowledges the need to fight back against increasing casualisation, damaging workloads, antiquated gender and race pay gaps and a decade long erosion of our pay. This branch notes the decision of the HEC to coordinate ballot distribution and strike days for the Four Fights and USS disputes. This strategy allowed for UCU’s most successful ballot turnout results on pay ever and led to eight days of impactful strike action which is empowering our national negotiators. This branch recognises the need to increase pressure at this point and that in order to win we have to move towards escalating our industrial strategy. This branch supports this existing strategy towards our two ongoing disputes in HE, and believes that strike action in pursuit of the Four Fights should continue to escalate simultaneously with action over USS, beginning with the 14 days endorsed by HESC in December 2019. Motion 2 Motion about the Formulation of Strategy for the Next Round of Industrial Action This branch … continue reading