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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 March 2020
Uni strikers determined to defeat the bosses
photo Leeds UCU (Click to enlarge)
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
Well over 100 strikers and supporters rallied at Leeds University on the fifth day of strike action on 28 February. Nearby Leeds Trinity university was one of 14 universities joining the strike action nationally in this latest round of 14 days, taking the number in total to 74.
Both universities have been taking part in the latest round of strike action over the 'Four Fights' on pay, inequality, workload and casualisation. Leeds Uni has also been part of the USS pension scheme dispute.
Strikers at Leeds Uni are proud to have maintained all 17 picket lines at entrances to the university through terrible weather, with driving rain and snow. One picket commented: "If they weren't sure how serious we were about these issues, the picketing in sleet makes it really clear."
A Leeds Uni striker said they felt lucky compared to others that they had a contract up to September! At Leeds Trinity one striker had had seven jobs at one point to make ends meet!
Cutbacks have been a factor too. The entire history department at Leeds Trinity was cut mid-term, with students forced to change courses.
Cutbacks have meant a new layer of activists have had to come forward to rebuild the University and College Union (UCU) branch and get over the 50% turnout threshold on their strike ballot at the second attempt.
While several strikers were optimistic that both sets of employers had asked for talks with the UCU to take place, others were more cynical about whether even these 14 days would result in substantial concessions.
Therefore, several pickets had already begun to discuss what comes next after this round of strike action, especially as further action would likely be during an exam period rather than regular teaching.
Socialist Party members have visited both Leeds University and Leeds Trinity during this round of action and will be continuing to mobilise support within the trade union movement locally, including Leeds Trade Union Council which has donated £250 to the hardship fund and is mobilising its members to join a planned demonstration through the city on 13 March.
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In The Socialist 4 March 2020:
Covid-19: A socialist response to the Coronavirus crisis
International Women's Day 2020
International Women's Day: Fighting sexism and austerity
A legacy of women workers and the class struggle
Uni strikers determined to defeat the bosses
Defend the right to strike! Southampton solidarity meeting
Strike wave around London - this is why we need socialists in city hall
West London parking workers' strike
Charity workers' strike
Electricians pay victory
Anti-academy strikes kick off in Redbridge
Royal Glam A&E: Victory is within our grasp
What will we do if they cut Camden nurseries?
Labour councils miss opportunity to stop Tory cuts
30,000 strike for the climate in Bristol
Why I joined the Socialist Party: I resent the 1% and the system that allows them to exist
Secret cuts meeting couldn't prevent protests in Newham
Socialist Party Congress
Socialist Party Congress 2020: A world in turmoil and weak British capitalism faces working-class anger
India: Bloody pogrom fuelled by Modi's sectarianism
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