This section carries our latest news and updates on industrial action taking place at Leeds
Our approach at Leeds
Industrial action is always challenging for our University community, even more so in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. We understand that the decision to take part in industrial action is not one that is taken lightly and respect colleagues’ right to do so.
We recognise the concern from our student and postgraduate community about the potential impact of industrial action on their studies, and concern from colleagues about the knock-on workload impact created by industrial action.
We understand the inflationary and cost of living pressures that are currently facing everyone in our community and we are actively taking steps to help those that need it most, in line with our values of collaboration, compassion, inclusion and integrity.
The University and College Union (UCU) has announced that strike action will take place over the course of February and March, in addition to the ongoing campaign of action short of a strike (ASOS). Strike days will take place on 1, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28 February and 1, 2, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 March 2023. Currently there is no marking and assessment boycott planned for this term.
UNISON has announced that eight days of strike action will take place on 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 22, 23, 24 February 2023.
Unite has announced that six days of strike action will take place on 8, 9, 10, 22, 23 and 24 February.
UCU, UNISON and Unite have announced that they will pause industrial action in weeks commencing 20 and 27 February.
Our approach to managing industrial action is guided by three underlying principles. These are to protect the interests of students, retain the cohesion of our community and protect the standard of Leeds degrees and other qualifications.
Our priority is to minimise any disruption to students, recognising that the impact of this industrial action may vary across our different schools and faculties. We will continue to communicate with our student community as well as our staff and post-graduate researchers about the issues at the heart of this action and will share insight via targeted staff cascade to Heads of Schools and other identified local leaders.
Pay awards are agreed nationally by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA). Whilst the trade unions formally rejected UCEA’s final 2023/4 pay offer of between 8% and 5%, they have now agreed to further talks with UCEA, mediated by conciliation service Acas, beginning on Monday 13 February 2023. These talks will address all of the issues in the dispute, including pay, equality, job security and workloads. More information on the pay offer can be found on the UCEA website.
Pensions are agreed nationally. We are awaiting the next valuation of the University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme as of 31 March, which will determine next steps.
Fixed term contracts
In the last few months we have moved over 500 staff onto ongoing contracts, reducing the total number of staff on fixed term arrangements by 23%. We have now agreed the process and timescale for delivery for other staff on fixed term contracts, and this process will be completed by July 2023. Our approach is one of the most progressive in UK Higher Education.
Cost of living
Together we have developed a package of support for those who need help most. This comes on the back of over £40m of increased costs that the University has already absorbed, including £26m of energy costs. We have absorbed proposed rent increases in halls of residence and subsidised low-cost hot meals for students, staff and PGRs in food outlets on campus. We made two one off cost of living payments in July and December 2022 to our lowest paid staff. These payments were made in addition to the 2022/23 nationally agreed pay award, which provided for a far greater uplift for staff on the lowest pay scales of up to 7.5%.
Through our new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy we are committed to reducing pay gaps (the difference in average pay caused by the distribution of staff across different pay scales - for example by having more men in higher salary roles and more women in lower salary roles) and continuing to ensure equal pay for work of equal value. More detail on the commitments and timeline for this work will be announced in the coming months.
Work is underway to ensure that the University’s Workload Principles (10 principles which ensure fairness, transparency and open communication around the allocation of work) are implemented consistently for all academic and academic-related staff.
USS Pension, In depth webpage
Links, news and resources relating to the USS Pension valuation process.
Frequently Asked Questions
These questions and answers have been developed to help colleagues and we’ll be updating this page throughout the industrial action.