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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 February 2010

Leeds university: Support lecturers striking to save jobs

Lecturers at Leeds University will be taking strike action this week to defend jobs and services against the proposed £35 million cuts that will lead to an estimated 700 job losses. The situation with biological sciences is particularly severe, due to a funding shortfall caused by the withdrawal of NHS support, with potentially 60 jobs under threat.

Sean Clothier

The lecturers' union, UCU, see this as a litmus test for what is to come as every department is told to balance its books. The proposed cuts at Leeds are by no means an aberration, with other UCU branches and students from universities like Sussex and Westminster having to take action against cutbacks in funding.

Leeds University is not in a bad financial situation. The university made surpluses of £11 million and £18 million in the last two years but insists that this money cannot be used to plug the gap in some departments. The university has a £60 million-plus capital programme, and it pays seven of its senior managers more than the prime minister. "The cupboard" is not "bare".

The recession has presented the management with an excuse to cut back and increase the profitability of Leeds university. The only way we can stop this is to build a mass campaign of education workers and students.

The Leeds University Union which up to now has condemned the strikes needs to be transformed into an organisation that fights for students and defends education.

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