Students stage take-over protest at University of Leeds as they back striking staff

Students at the University of Leeds have staged a series of protests throughout this week objecting to the way their tutors are being treated over strike action

The group who call themselves, ‘Occupy Leeds Uni’, have occupied the Level 13 Executives Offices of the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building at the university, since Monday.

They say the protest is because of the “abhorrent response” and threats of pay deductions to members of Leeds UCU and Unison taking industrial action over pay and pensions with a marking boycott.

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In a statement they said: "We take this action to stand in solidarity with striking staff because we understand that staff working conditions are our learning conditions

Members of Unison and staff at Leeds University on strike outside Leeds University Leeds earlier this year.

"We are disgusted that the University Secretary has chosen to threaten staff taking part in the marking boycott with 100 per cent pay deductions, after refusing to meet with both unions for over a year, and in the midst of a cost of living crisis. The Vice-Chancellor must immediately revoke this decision and end the punishment of staff taking part in wholly justified and last-resort measures."

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A University spokesperson said: “It is deeply regrettable that our community is one of only 20 from about 150 institutions nationally that is subject to this marking and assessment boycott.

“The University remains open to finding a resolution to this current period of industrial action, and many local actions are already underway in relation to the issues involved, including reducing the use of fixed-term contracts, reviewing our workload principles and modelling, and initiatives around equity, diversity and inclusion.

“Senior management and local UCU branch members had a positive discussion at a scheduled meeting earlier this week, and we hope to continue talks in the coming days. In the meantime, our priorities remain to protect the interests of students - including minimising any disruption to them, retaining the cohesion of our community and protecting the standard of Leeds degrees.”