This post applies only to members of UCU University of Leeds branch.
You will have received earlier this evening an email from Jo Grady, stating that branches have been advised to postpone all strike events and rallies in the light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. This email is therefore to confirm that, sadly, our march and rally tomorrow (Friday 13 March) will not therefore take place.
Branch committee have
also taken the decision to call off picketing tomorrow.
For the avoidance of
doubt, the strike is still on and members are called upon to withdraw
their labour and not go onto campus. We will be ramping up our online activity
on social media and encourage all members to share their
stories/videos/creativity/anything you fancy – let’s try to recreate a digital
picket as legendary as our physical ones have been!
UCU’s National Executive
Committee are meeting tomorrow and it has also been agreed that a special
meeting of the Higher Education Committee be held tomorrow as well. Please
therefore watch out for further engagement by UCU on COVID-19, the response of
universities and its relationship with our dispute.
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
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’ve been checking your university email, you might have seen on Friday that the university sent round an open letter from UCEA and UUK to all staff. Today, we have written a response, which makes clear where our issues lie and, in particular, where we think the previous offer needs improvement – we very much hope that these are the issues which are being discussed ! Please read it and share widely: http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/open-letter-from-ucea-and-uuk-leeds-university-ucus-response/