Written by Emily Herbert
Staff at Leicester University vote in favour of strike action in response to proposed redundancies.
The University and College Union (UCU) announced that 69.7% of those who participated in the survey were willing for strike action and 84.1% voted for action short of a strike.
This comes after employees in eight departments have been warned of up to 145 mandatory redundancies.
Local Leicester MP, Claudia Webbe has expressed her concerns with the University’s handling of the redundancies and has openly criticised trends at the University of Leicester.
She stated: “I fear the immense human cost that would arrive with mass redundancies” and is concerned with the “lack of transparency” at the University’s plan to cut jobs.
The Leicester UCU chair, Dr Sarah Seaton, said: “The message to University of Leicester’s leaders and to everyone who makes the university staff, student and other stakeholders is clear Leicester UCU members will take stained action to defend jobs and to defend the future of the university.
“The Vice-Chancellor [Nishan Canagarajah] has ignored a tsunami of descent whilst trying to push through the cuts with the flimsiest of rationales and staff believe senior management have tried to intimidate them into silence and submission.
“The vice-chancellor must withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies to protect teaching at the University of Leicester and prevent any further damage to its reputation.”
In response to the results, the Times Higher Education tweeted the ballot, and the University of Leicester responded with:
“We would like to clarify that 56% of @leicesterucu’s members took part in the vote – 69.7% of those that participated opted for industrial action.
They added: “The @TimesHigherEd have incorrectly reported these statistics and we have sought a correction.”
Dr Seaton stated: “Rather than taking that seriously and creating a sense of urgency to try and resolve this dispute and back down for their plans for compulsory redundancies. The University is spending its time and energy quibbling over these kinds of details.
“They seem to be more concerned about saving face as university management than actually solving the problems. I would characterise it as an own goal in terms of the university’s communications.”
A University of Leicester spokesperson commented: “The University regrets that the UCU union has voted for strike action, but we remain committed to efforts to ensure there is continued dialogue.
“It is important that we minimise the impact of any action on our staff and students. We will continue to work with staff to minimise the number of staff redundancies through our consultation process.”
Emily Herbert is a first-year student of Journalism at the University of Leicester, with further aspirations of pursuing a career in TV. You can find her on Instagram @emilykateherbert
Image taken by LSM member Ollie Monk @britwithacamera