Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds University staff strike over dismissal policy changes

People striking outside a university Image copyright UCU
Image caption University and College Union (UCU) claim the university's proposed changes to its statutes or terms and conditions will give bosses "new powers to sack staff"

University of Leeds staff have walked out in a row over plans to change its dismissal policy.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) held the one-day strike at the Woodhouse Road site during an open day.

They claim the institute wants to amend its terms and conditions to "give managers new powers to sack staff".

The university said it wanted to update its rules and would continue to welcome prospective students to the open day.

UCU claim the establishment is trying to "introduce a catch-all dismissal clause entitled 'Some Other Substantial Reason'" and said the proposed change was "unnecessary" and could "threaten academic freedom".

Negotiations 'at a stalemate'

Julie Kelley, a UCU regional official, said it could be used by the university to sack a member of staff "by allowing third party pressure from an unhappy research funder or a workplace disagreement to become a grounds for dismissal".

"Staff are understandably wary about how some managers might use this new power," she said.

Image caption University of Leeds says it wants to modernise its procedures to "make it more transparent" for staff

She said negotiations had reached "stalemate" and they were unable to reach a resolution.

In a statement, the university said it was "disappointed" and believed the industrial action was "genuinely unnecessary".

"The university is not introducing any new grounds for dismissal, it is simply modernising the procedures it would follow, in the interests of openness and transparency," it said.

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