Leeds University UCU has today written to the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands, in relation to the University of Leeds’ response to COVID-19 and we will be meeting with him tomorrow, along with representatives from Unison and Unite. We have been increasingly dismayed and distressed by the nature of the University’s response, and know, from the many communications we have received from members, that both staff and students are as well. We are calling for the University to close in order to give us the opportunity to consider what needs to be in place for staff and students to work and live safely. A move to online teaching and assessment needs time to effect. Staff and students have different vulnerabilities, contexts and life situations which we need time to reflect on and work through. As things stand, staff particularly affected, both because they are self-isolating and because they and those they care for have vulnerabilities to the virus, are anxious to the point of being simply unable to maintain ‘business as usual.’ The announcement made on Saturday evening concerning a very limited restriction on some teaching has particularly concerned us. Such a last minute announcement, contradicting previous advice, has caused significant … continue reading
Our final week was immense, with excellent turnouts in miserable and sunny weather, new leaflets, more hats, more runners, more sweaty assets, picket poetry, amazing speakers and shared solidarity with students, the TUC and NEU, Debbie Harry-led singalongs in person AND online, and gorgeous furry virtual pickets. Take a look at our galleries and remember the solidarity, the creativity and the energy of a union fighting for a better HE!
The month of March brought even more excitement and solidarity on Leeds picket lines. We were delighted to be joined by our fantastic former branch president and national UCU president-elect Vicky Blake last Monday and today. It has been great to hear from Vicky, a UCU negotiator, that our strikes are having an important impact. During the week the crowds kept on coming and we had musical, artistic and of course literary amusement with World Book Day, plus energising workouts with Sweaty Assets and our growing running picket. Today’s equality themed picket (following International Women’s day) brought even more inspired placards and outfits. Thanks to all those who come and show their solidarity, and to those who share it online from home! See you tomorrow for more fun and fighting for a better HE! #ucustrikesback
Some of our favourite pics from the week just gone. Keep up the solidarity! #UCUstrikesback
All staff at the University of Leeds were sent on Friday by email a copy of an Open Letter from UCEA and UUK to all staff members in striking institutions. This is our response to that letter. To start with, we are happy to hear that our employers care about staff and want to create a healthy work environment. Unfortunately that care, and that aspiration, is simply not being felt on the ground. Whilst a powerful wave of strike action does seem to have galvanised some institutions into starting to talk about casualisation and ending insecure contracts, the problems are still visible. Institutions are still creating and advertising impossible fractional and short term contracts; they are still paying hourly paid staff late, or not at all, and not paying them enough to do the basics of their job; they are still trying to keep people for who have worked for an institution for years on fixed term or hourly paid contracts. On the pickets, we are hearing stories of workloads getting even worse. Institutions are failing to address unfair and unsustainable workload models, and are dependent on individuals and union reps to lean in and point out workload risks and … continue reading