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University jobs fight spreads from Liverpool to Leicester and Sussex

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Issue 2758
UCU members on strike in Liverpool last Friday
UCU members on strike in Liverpool last Friday (Pic: UoL UCU)

UCU union members at the university of Liverpool were set to take four more days of strike this week.

And they were set to be joined by those at Leicester University between Wednesday and Friday of this week.

Meanwhile, workers at the University of Sussex have also declared a dispute. Management refused to rule out compulsory redundancies as part of the restructuring of the university.

Twenty six jobs are currently at risk at Leicester university. One of those who faces losing his job, David Harvie, said, “The university has treated us with disdain.

“Strikes now will have an impact because when students are choosing a university they will not look to one where staff are striking.”

Workers at Leicester university have already taken action short of a strike, including calling for a marking boycott. The strike this week is an escalation.

At the University of Liverpool strikers are fighting to stop the compulsory redundancies of staff in the Health and Life Sciences faculty.

The strikes have already forced bosses to say they would make fewer workers redundant.

Bee Hughes, a UCU activist in Liverpool, reported that there was “a strong show for the second on-campus strike rally—one of three held during the 14 day strike action taken by university of Liverpool UCU.

“Strikers were joined by students, activists from different campaigning groups, and trade unionists from neighbouring branches of UCU and other campus unions.


“The rally assembled in University Square, adjacent to both the vice chancellor’s office, and the historic redbrick Victoria Museum building. The crowd were also able to make an impact on applicants joining campus tours at the adjacent Guild of Students.

“Encountering a fiery strike rally was probably not high on the list of university bosses’ wish list for attracting prospective fee-paying students.

“Neighbouring branches delivering solidarity and updates from across the Liverpool region.

“Other speakers included a worker losing their job, Black Lives Matter Merseyside activists, students from University of Liverpool, and UoL Unison union branch.

“Speeches called for solidarity across trade unions, and to keep pushing back on the inequalities tearing across higher education.”

Meanwhile 600 UCU members who work in education in prisons are set to walk out of 49 prisons and young offender institutions.

The walkouts will be held on Thursday 10 June and Wednesday 23 June. The workers’ employer, Novus, won’t engage with the UCU over Covid-19 safety concerns.

Ongoing strikes in higher education show that there is a mood to fight back.

Coordinated strikes and national campaigning can increase the pressure on bosses.

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