Statement from Unison and UCU:
Like elsewhere in the public sector, staff pay at Leeds Beckett University has been significantly eroded over the last decade. It has declined by more than 20% against inflation since 2010. The University’s pay offer of 3% while inflation is set to over 10%, is a substantial real-terms pay cut.
For this reason, UCU (University and Colleges Union), which represents academic staff in Further Education and Higher Education, (including lecturers, librarians, researchers and learning support professionals), are taking strike action in February and March starting on 1st February. As trade unions, we fight for good working conditions for our members and for the health of the sector as a whole. The working conditions of staff at the University are directly linked to the learning conditions for you as students. Working conditions directly impact upon your experience as a student and the quality of the degree you spend so long working to achieve.
When we face stress and time pressures, this impacts on our ability to deliver what you expect of your education, and the quality of your education suffers.
When we spend each day worried about being able to afford our household costs, food and support our families, the quality of your education suffers.
We work here because we are passionate about making the student experience the best it can be; we want to ensure that the right support is in place for you and we want to share our knowledge and develop your understanding of your chosen disciplines.
When we are overworked, underpaid and facing year-on-year cuts to our terms and conditions, the quality of your education suffers.
We are also asking the University to take steps to end excessive and unsafe workloads which have been perpetuated for years and have got even worse over the pandemic; end an over-reliance on precarious contracts and address engrained and embedded inequalities including pay and progression gaps and real terms pay cuts.
WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO TAKE STRIKE ACTION, BUT WE NEED YOUR SOLIDARITY TO STAND UNITED AS A UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY AND FIGHT FOR A BETTER WORLD. WHEN WE STAND UNITED, WE ARE MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED AND BRING THIS DISRUPTION TO AN END.
A picket line is a form of protest, which involves workers establishing a boundary, often at the entrance to their place of work, which other people are asked not to cross. You may be asked by workers on strike not to cross picket lines established in front of University buildings. You should not be physically prevented from entering a building with a picket line, and there is official guidance on picket line behaviour. You may want to take the opportunity to speak to staff on picket lines to find out more information about the strike.
Strikes aim to influence decision-makers in the University – they are not aimed at making a negative impact on students. However, because this industrial action is likely to involve both teaching and support staff, it is likely that some impact that will be felt by students. This could mean things like last minute cancellation of lectures and seminars, less staff being available in the libraries, or cancellation of appointments with University advice and support services.
Yes – we are a separate entity to the University and our staff are not on strike. All of our services, spaces, activities and opportunities will be running as normal through the strike action and will be available for you to access regardless of your feelings about the strike.