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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 September 2018

Leicester UCU fights redundancies

Leicester UCU members on a previous strike, 13.3.18, photo Steve Score

Leicester UCU members on a previous strike, 13.3.18, photo Steve Score   (Click to enlarge)

University and College Union (UCU) members at the University of Leicester are set to take three weeks of strike action.

The dispute is over university managers' plans to sack staff in a cost-cutting exercise.

Since the planned redundancies were announced by vice-chancellor Paul Boyle in May, management's justification for the cuts has shifted.

But, at its root, Professor Boyle and his 'University Leadership Team' want to take the university in a new direction.

They want to borrow money in order to build new infrastructure and reduce staff costs to make the institution more attractive to financial investors.

The UCU, which represents many of the affected workers, opposes this 'vision' of a hollowed out university and has resolved to oppose all compulsory redundancies.

Leicester UCU balloted its members during August. Of the 55% who voted - a high turnout, given the timing of the ballot, and comfortably above the new legal threshold of 50% - 63% voted in favour of strike action and 78% for action short of a strike.

According to Leicester UCU's co-chair, Dr Sarah Seaton, "It doesn't make sense. A university is made by people - by lecturers and researchers, by librarians and IT specialists, cleaners and cooks, time-tablers and technicians.

"Why get rid of your most important resource? We don't want to strike - we are still paying for the last one - and we are keen to work towards a resolution, but we will strike, if necessary."

The strike is due to start on 24 September - the week when both new and returning students will arrive at the university - and will continue for three weeks, with workers striking for four days in each week.

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