Anthony Bracuti, Leeds Socialist Students
Students at the University of Leeds have occupied the vice-chancellor’s office in solidarity with University and College Union (UCU) strikers, and in response to management’s punitive policy of 100% pay deduction for the soon-to-be-implemented marking boycott.
Staff in UCU were openly grateful for the action of these students: “It’s really heartening to see cooperation of this kind. We don’t want to strike. We don’t want to hurt students, so it’s encouraging to know that the student body understands that.”
UCU member have been striking for wage equality, an end to casualised contracts, and better pay, pensions and working conditions. One UCU PhD student said: “Postgrads are really screwed over. We should have basic working rights”.
Over 150 students and staff showed their discontent with the bullying vice-chancellor at a rally on 23 May, the day the occupation started. Socialist Party member Iain Dalton – who was one of the Leeds Uni occupiers in 2010 – also spoke in support of the action.