Socialist Worker

Leeds University fight builds union

by Nick Jones and Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2186

The fight to save jobs at the University of Leeds has led to a massive rise in membership of the UCU union.

Over 100 workers have joined since October and the branch is now set to become the union’s single biggest unit.

Lecturers are balloting for strike action against cuts that would slash 10 percent of the university’s budget and impose compulsory redundancies.

The ballot has fantastic support among both lecturers and students, who have taken part in a number of protests against the cuts.

The student union executive has tried to undermine the ballot. It sent out an email to students with text condemning the ballot – which they could then send on to their lecturers.

This has backfired. Students are outraged at the way their executive has gone over their heads to campaign against the ballot. Some 1,300 students have joined a Facebook group supporting the lecturers.

The executive’s controversial campaign has now been stopped, and students are determined to show their support for strike action to stop the cuts.

Around 100 students protested on Tuesday in support of the lecturers and to condemn the student union executive’s actions. Some 40 marched to the executive office to continue the protest.

The ballot ends on Wednesday of next week.

Talks are continuing between university management and the union at the conciliation service Acas.

If bosses don’t back down from the cuts then it is clear that the mood exists for a strong, militant and energetic campaign to stop them.

Over 200 UCU members voted to ballot for strikes while just five voted against.

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Article information

Tue 26 Jan 2010, 19:23 GMT
Issue No. 2186
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