Leicester Mercury

University staff hold strike ballot

- By COREY BEDFORD corey.bedford@reachplc.com @CoreyBJour­no

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.”

 ?? GOOGLE ?? CAMPUS: The University of Leicester

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