Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 March 2021

Leicester university workers ballot for action against redundancies

Leicester, UCU strike 25.11.19, photo Tessa Warrington

Leicester, UCU strike 25.11.19, photo Tessa Warrington   (Click to enlarge)

Sarah Seaton, chair of the University of Leicester University and College Union branch, has spoken to the Socialist about fighting proposed redundancies and the impact the pandemic has had.

What has been the experience of university staff over the course of the pandemic?

It has been difficult for everyone. The workload was already unmanageable pre-Covid, but has now become absolutely unsustainable - for teaching, research and support staff alike. We were fortunate in that many of us could work from home, unlike some other professions. But at the start of the first lockdown, all temporary workers' contracts were terminated and the burden of that work shifted onto permanent staff. No choice, no pay increase - nothing. Many of us also have caring responsibilities, being expected to home-school our children while working full-time hours. It's impossible.

Can you explain how your dispute with the University of Leicester bosses came about?

On the first teaching day of 2021, university staff came back to an email from the vice-chancellor notifying us of a consultation over reconfiguration plans which put 145 jobs at risk of redundancy. The mood was instantly one of shock and disbelief. To be told we were facing unemployment amid the uncertainty of the pandemic was just incredible. Despite the exhaustion of our members, the shock very quickly crystallised into anger. We know that if we don't fight job cuts now, similar attacks will be coming down the line for other workers.

What has been the response of the UCU branch?

Our branch has historically had a strong position on opposing compulsory redundancies after a previous dispute we won in 2018. We called an emergency general meeting at short notice, where over 200 attended. There was incredible strength of feeling. We agreed for the union go back to the vice-chancellor's office giving them until 1 February to withdraw the proposal or enter into dispute. We passed a motion of no confidence in the university executive board. As it failed to withdraw the proposal we have now declared a dispute and are preparing to ballot.

What has been students' reaction?

The Students' Union at University of Leicester have been hugely supportive, with the 'Students Against Redundancies' group also moving a motion of no confidence in the university executive, passing by 116 votes out of 120.

I feel incredibly sorry for current students. There is a danger that the question of tuition fees becomes limited to demanding a refund for the lockdown period, when really education should be free and accessible to all, with fees scrapped completely.

What do you think is a solution for both students and workers?

Obviously, the university's executive needs to immediately halt its redundancy plans. We must demand that the government step in and fund the shortfall in university budgets rather than the insidious creeping influence of big business.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 10 March 2021:

NHS pay

NHS pay - 15% now

NHS workers say: We are ready to fight Tory pay insult

Police disgracefully stop NHS pay protest


Super-deduction will help big business pay less tax

The 'old normal' meant poverty for young people

What we think

Tories keep bailing out bosses, while piling pain on workers and public services


Workers respond to 'back to school'

Workplace news

British Gas strikers reject deal and carry on fighting

Goodlord striker speaks out: 'workers have to fight for our skills to be appreciated'

Stop union busting on the buses: Reinstate Declan Clune and Moe Muhsin Manir

Sparks deskilling protests

Leicester university workers ballot for action against redundancies

Sainsbury's pay offer shows future will only be 'great pay' if we fight

PCS leadership failures lead to concession bargaining on pay

Manchester bus drivers' indefinite strikers fight on

London bus drivers continue walkout

Rosa Luxemburg

150th anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg's birth

Wealth Tax

Would a wealth tax end poverty and inequality?

Campaigns news

Socialist women speak at inspirational International Women's Day online rally

Why I joined the Socialist Party - to fight for the future of the working class

Why I'm standing for TUSC

Build subscriptions to the Socialist

Fighting fund target achieved - keep up the momentum

International news

Historic union battle at Alabama warehouse

10 years ago - the Fukushima nuclear disaster: "We came close to losing northern Japan"


The Socialist Inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 10 March 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleLeicester University workers strike against redundancies

triangleSave Leicester General Hospital

triangleStop Israeli state terror: solidarity protests continue

triangleLeicester protest against arms supplies to Israel

triangleTUSC is back


triangleSparks win victory!

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists

triangleRedbridge school walkout over victimised union rep

triangleUnderpaid, overworked - NHS workers say: 'Enough is enough'


triangleUniversity funding reform: Fight for free, fully funded education for all


triangleCadent Gas plans 200 job losses

triangleEast London cleaners fight outsourcing and redundancies


triangleYork students demand democratic control of schools

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Engineers in fourth week of strike action



Conference 2021: Divide between union leaders and rank-and-file exposed



Sparks win victory!



Underpaid, overworked - NHS workers say: 'Enough is enough'



Enfield byelection: We need councillors prepared to resist



Left candidate needed for Unite general secretary election



National finance meeting



Socialist Party to the fore at Unison LG conference



Birmingham Clean Air Zone a tax on the poor



Johnson's G7 hypocrisy



Pandemic homeless



International solidarity protests



Queues at Socialist Party stall in Cov



Majority of BFAWU members vote to break from Labour



Now is the time to fight for the NHS

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021