In the gender pay claim we asked the university senior management to share with us the detailed information behind the headline figures, to provide us with more detailed information – some of which already exists – including intersectional data on ethnicity, age group and disability, so we can work with them to show where the problems are and make effective plans to end the gender pay gap.
We asked the university to produce this information within 4 months.
The university met with UCU negotiating team on 20 February 2019. They have not provided us with the detailed information we asked for in advance or at the meeting, and instead talked us through the actions they have taken to reduce the gender pay gap from 22.5% to 20.1%. (Which includes recruiting more men into relatively lower paid roles, which improves the mean average, which would not have been our priority!)
The university has proposed to meet us again for further talks in two months.
We welcome any progress so far but have impressed upon university management that we want to end the gender pay gap and they will need to share information with us and work with us to find effective solutions to end it. We look forward to doing that work in a collaborative and open way with them.
For the avoidance of doubt: UCU is not explicitly or implicitly calling for members to take strike action, but please go along to the events if you can. Some staff and students are meeting at the Parkinson building steps at 11.30am to walk down together.
International Women’s Day event on Saturday
Saturday 9 March 10.30am – 12.30pm
Momentum have issued wide invitations to their Women and Socialism event on Saturday from 10.30am – 12.30pm, in Leeds Civic Hall (the one with the golden owls). Speakers include Leeds TUC president Jane Aitchison (who spoke at our strike rally last year).
Celebrating 100 years of women in engineering and science
7th – 8th March, Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery.
Please support this event if you can: when we were on strike this time last year Feminist Archive North phoned us to say they would not cross a picket line and would delay their long-planned exhibition. They came to visit us on the picket lines and ran a fascinating teach-out about their archive – they are all sorts of awesome.
In the past few days, a storm of academic Twitter anger was aimed at University of Leeds over a job advertisement for a research assistant.
The job description, apparently aimed at postgraduate students ‘interested in developing [their] professional academic skills’, read primarily like a personal administrative assistant with ‘occasional bits of supplementary research.’ What shocked many was the implication that the employee would need to be on campus, in effect ‘on call’, more often than not even when not working.
As soon as we were made aware of the ad we contacted University of Leeds Human Resources, who immediately withdrew the vacancy. The university says this was a mistake in the vacancy advertising process, which they will now urgently review and improve.
That this job ad saw the light of day is also a symptom of a culture of rampant casualisation in the university sector. Staff working in all roles and at all levels of the university deserve a culture that emphasises dignity and secure work for all.
Insecure jobs go hand-in-hand with ludicrously high workloads, fear of being able to take annual leave or be off sick, and, in extremes, bullying.
We are standing up for secure jobs and dignity at work. We enter formal negotiations with University of Leeds on our anti-casualisation claim on 26 March.