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
Negotiations are at a crucial stage. We need pickets out in great numbers. Thank you so much for all the strength you have put into the action over the last few days. The weather has been shocking, public transport a nightmare, and yet we have seen lots of cheerful and, most importantly, determined picketers every day – and many more a visible presence online. We need to keep up the pressure and grow the action. Because of what we have done so far, UCU’s negotiators were back in negotiations with the employers’ body UCEA today, on the anti-casualisation, workloads, equal pay and pay dispute. They are back in ‘without prejudice’ talks which means they are not able to share details about what was discussed, but we understand the meeting went on much longer than it was supposed to, which has to be a good sign! The next couple of days are, therefore, crucial. Please come out to picket if you can – if you don’t live in Leeds you can give support to a picket at a university closer to you. Here’s the picket sign-up form (for University of Leeds branch). If you can’t picket, please be as loud and … 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