University staff hold strike ballot
STAFF at the University of Leicester are threatening to strike over planned redundancies.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) started balloting on Wednesday.
The university has proposed 60 redundancies, from 145 posts at risk.
UCU said the university has stated the redundancies are not due to financial reasons and claimed “a potentially unlawful attack on academic freedom, executives’ potentially unlawful refusal to share with unions crucial financial information, the tearing up by executives of university ordinances, the potentially unlawful targeting of trade union officers and activists, and failures of university governance”.
In a consultative ballot, two-thirds of Leicester UCU members who voted indicated they were prepared to take industrial action including striking.
Dr Sarah Seaton, chairman of Leicester UCU, said: “Our leaders’ behaviour over the past months and years betrays the poverty of their vision and their abdication of moral responsibility.
“Our university celebrates its centenary this year. But if we are to flourish in our second 100 years as we did in our first, we need new leadership.”
Dr Deborah Toner, Leicester UCU
campaigns officer, said: “In nine years working at the University of Leicester, I’ve never seen staff morale so low.
“I am daily reminded of the absolute brilliance of our students, even in the hardest of circumstances. But they are being betrayed by the morally bankrupt decisions from the top, who are slashing and burning.”
Dr Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, said: “Current events at University of Leicester are only the most egregious example of what we’re seeing across the sector.
“Vice-chancellors and other leaders wholly lacking in imagination and basic competence, rabbits
caught in the glare of metrics and the rhetoric of competition, beholden to financial markets.
“We need a new vision for higher education – and Leicester is perhaps one place that will emerge.”
A spokesman for the university said: “We are disappointed the Leicester UCU branch is balloting its members to take strike action.
“Our ambition is to be a worldleading research-intensive university providing an exceptional educational experience for our students.
“We will ensure contingency measures are put in place to mitigate any disruption staff and students may encounter.”