Leeds University strike enters fourth day

Leeds University Staff protest outside of the university

Leeds University staff have entered their fourth day of striking in a long running dispute over pensions, equal pay and “casualisation of the workforce”.

The strike began on Monday and involves nearly half the Universities in the country. The protest is due to last eight days and will cease on 3 December. 

Digital communications lecturer Dr Aisha Walker said: “A lot of my colleagues (…) end up working a lot more than they’re paid for. That’s a big issue for us, trying to reduce the casualisation of the workforce.”

Over 40,000 lecturers, technicians and administrators from across the country’s universities have joined the protests.

Shot of protesters in the rain outside the University of Leeds campus
The picketers are campaigning for better working conditions.

University and College Union (UCU) Branch Vice President, Chloe Wallace, said: “We’ve got two heads of claim, one of them is about our pay and conditions. We’re looking for a reasonable increase in pay – our pay is going backwards relative to inflation.

“We are also very concerned about the number of people on fixed term, part time zero hour contracts around the university and around the universities around the UK.

“We’re worried about the workload, we’re all working far too hard. It’s far over the legal limit and nothing is being done about it.”

‘We’re working far too hard’

The strikes may continue into the new year if the UCU’s demands are not met by the board of education as well as the University’s Vice Chancellor and senior leadership team. 

Ms Wallace added: “We are also concerned about our pensions, we went on strike in 2018 about our pension scheme we got some really good movement on that but its slipping back again now and we really want to see that fixed.” 

University staff around the country previously went on strike in 2018 in a lengthy pensions dispute which concerned changes to the ‘Universities Superannuation Scheme’. 575,000 teaching hours were lost as a result.

Leeds University said in a statement that their aim is “to minimise any disruption to students and to ensure we continue to communicate with colleagues about the issues at the heart of this action”.

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