University of Leeds strikes intensify

More than 200 non-teaching staff striking over nationally imposed UCEA pay deal

Reading time: 3 min

Pay strikes will hit the University of Leeds in February as a dispute over pay intensifies, Unite said today (February 1).

The 200 non-teaching staff, members of Unite, have rejected an imposed pay deal set by the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) that amounts to three per cent for most workers.

With the real rate of inflation, RPI, at 13.4 per cent, this is a real terms pay cut of 10.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the university’s latest financial report states it is in a strong financial position. It had an underlying operating surplus of £60 million and had added £76 million to its cash position for the year ending July 2022.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Price rises are biting deep into our members’ outgoings and quality of life. It is simply unacceptable for the UCEA and the University of Leeds to expect them to shoulder such a large pay cut at a time like this.

“The University of Leeds can absolutely afford to give these workers a reasonable pay rise and this is what needs to happen. The university’s workforce has its union’s full backing during these strikes.”

The workers, who include cleaners, janitors, estates staff and technicians, will strike on 8, 9, 10, 22 and 23 February in coordination with members of other higher education unions at the University of Leeds. More strikes will be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved.

Unite national officer for higher education, Andrew Murray, added, “The responsibility for the disruption caused to students and research at the university lies squarely at the door of the UCEA and the University of Leeds.

“The university has ample cash at its disposal and needs to put pressure on the UCEA, so that an offer is put forward that our members can accept.”

By Ryan Fletcher