Overwhelming support for strike action
At a packed Emergency General Meeting of the UCU this afternoon, members voted overwhelmingly in favour of a Leeds UCU Committee motion which proposed three separate days of strike action (25 February, 2 and 4 March). And, subject to ratification at a future general meeting on 3rd March, this would be followed by a request to national UCU to implement an international boycott of our university (greylisting), and further consideration of ongoing strike action and ‘action short of a strike’. Details of the full motion can be downloaded here soon.
Earlier in the day, the University management finally agreed that it was necessary to resume talking with the union via ACAS. As you will know, this was announced to all staff via an email which contained a link to a letter to Malcolm Povey. Unfortunately, this letter was published and made available to all staff before Malcolm had received it and also therefore before he had any opportunity to respond.
A question worth pondering – in what circumstances would the VC opt to behave in such a way? Could it be that the VC is as keen as we are to reach a negotiated settlement – or could it be that he sought to demonstrate that he had agreed to return to the negotiating table in order to undermine the discussion and vote of UCU members that afternoon? Only time will tell.
Members should be in no doubt – the letter from the VC to Malcolm (copied to all staff) makes it plain that he will enter ACAS talks again BUT that the process in FBS will continue regardless.
Isn’t this a bit like saying you will enter talks about whether or not to demolish a building, as long as you can get on with the demolition in the meantime?
Our members are telling us in their hundreds, through the ballot and through general meetings, that they need an assurance that the FBS process will be put on hold to be reviewed – in order to allow for meaningful negotiations to take place. In the meantime, we have no other option than to continue to pursue our mandate for strike action.