Socialist Worker

Leicester university workers launch three-day strike over job cuts

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2759

There were lively picket lines on the first day of the Leicester university strike

There were lively picket lines on the first day of the Leicester university strike (Pic: Christine Lewis )


Workers at the University of Leicester began a three-day strike on Wednesday over job cuts.

UCU union members at the university are fighting bosses’ plans for 26 compulsory redundancies. 

Joseph, a UCU rep, says the socially-distanced picket lines on the first day of the walkout were “lively”. “There has been music and drumming on the pickets,” he told Socialist Worker. “Everyone is in good spirits.

“The union is clear that no redundancies should be made.” 

Joesph pointed to the importance of mounting physical picket lines. “We think it’s important to show we can picket in these conditions," he said. 

“Pickets can maintain solidarity and show that we are determined to fight to win." 

He added, “The virtual pickets are important too, for anyone who doesn’t want to risk physical picket lines.”

The UCU branch has planned a number of events during the three-day strike, including virtual pickets, teach-outs and visits from local MPs. 

And on top of the strikes, workers are taking part in a marking boycott. “The marking boycott is ongoing and the union believes it is having an impact,” said Joesph. 

“But the management is already trying to hit back and are threatening to deduct pay, evening threatening a 100 percent pay deduction.”  

“This makes donating to the strike fund even more important in order to support some of the more vulnerable staff members.” 

Redundancies 

The redundancies are part of the university executive board’s restructuring plans.

In the lead up to the strike days, the UCU called for an international boycott of the university. It called for academics not to write in journals edited or produced by the university or to collaborate on research projects.

The picket lines were joined by Labour councillor Gary O’Donnell, who told the strikers, “The university is not its building—it’s you. 

“I 100 percent support your struggle. I’m going to take a motion to the council to try and get you support.” 

The strikes were set to continue on Thursday and Friday of this week and will culminate in a virtual strike rally held with UCU Liverpool members on Friday. 

Workers at Liverpool university have continued their strike against the redundancies in the health and sciences department this week. 

Trade unionists should raise solidarity in their workplaces and union branches for the university workers’ fights. 

The UCU Solidarity Movement has organised a strike rally with UCU Liverpool and Leicester on Friday 11 June, 12 noon. Zoom link here

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