Leeds University cuts: the story so far.
- The University announces proposals to cut 50-60 jobs in the Faculty of Biological Sciences (FBS), despite its 5* research rating.
- University announces £35 million must be reduced from the annual budget. The University and College Union (UCU) predict these cuts could mean 700 job losses, 10 per cent of the University workforce.
- Over 250 lecturers, support staff and students burn letters that informed of potential redundancies outside the Edward Boyle Library.
- Leeds University Vice Chancellor Michael Arthur admits that a planning error has affected the University’s five-year financial plan. It is revealed that financial forecasts were approximately £20 million above the actual figure
- The University announces that each faculty, school and service will take part in an ‘Economies Exercise’ to identify school and faculties in financial trouble.
- The UCU enters into a formal dispute with the University over the proposed £35m budget cuts. They further vote on a motion stating that the “local association (of the UCU) has no confidence in the Vice Chancellor and the senior management” at Leeds. The vote passes with a large majority.
- Over 200 people protest outside the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff building. The protest generates a petition, which is delivered to Michael Arthur before the University’s Council meeting that evening.
- The UCU asks the University to go into ACAS talks as a last resort before balloting for strike action.
- The UCU states that they will only go to ballot if the University acts in “bad faith” during the ACAS talks.
- The University commits an act of “bad faith” before talks begin by bringing forward the job-matching process in FBS by over a week so they could continue to make decisions about firing people without any agreement from ACAS.
- The LUU executive launches its ‘Education First’ campaign, mobilising students to send an automated email to their department requesting that they do not participate in possible upcoming strikes.
- The campaign is met by widespread disapproval by the students, who largely support the actions of the UCU.
- UCU members vote in favour of strike action. Talks are held between the University and the UCU to resolve the situation, but fail, as the University cannot guarantee that there will be no redundancies.
- The UCU supports Professor John Illingworth, of the FBS, who claims the University violated its rules by failing to consult the Senate during restructuring. Illingworth presents a petition to Lord President of the Council, also the official ‘Visitor’ of Leeds University Peter Mandelson.
- The UCU calls for an investigation into the restructuring plans and also schedules one-day strikes to take place on Thursday February 25, Tuesday March 2 and Thursday March 4.
- Mandelson asks the University to put its cost cutting plans on hold while he investigates the accusations. During talks with ACAS the University agrees that a review of FBS will be extended to the end of January 2011, and that no redundancies can be made before then.
- The UCU calls off proposed strikes after reaching an agreement with the University. However, on Thursday February 3, over 200 protestors march around the campus.
- ACAS talks between the University and the UCU break down and another strike is proposed for Thursday March 18.
- The LUU executive organises a day of ‘Action Against National Education Cuts’.
- The second proposed strike is averted by a negotiated settlement on Tuesday March 16.
- An agreement is reached between the UCU and the University. The agreement details new procedures to promote job security avoid redundancy.
- The petition sent to the Lord President of the Council by Dr Illingworth is dismissed. It is concluded that the Senate had indeed been involved in the decision to re-structure the faculty.
- full implementation of the academic plan for FBS, having been on hold whilst the petition was under the consideration of the Visitor, will now continue.
The Senate is the highest University academic and economic decision making body.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is employed as a go-between in industrial disputes.
Universities with charters have an appointed ‘visitor’ whose job it is to ensure that the regulations, charters and statutes are followed appropriately.
Job matching involves staff showing their job profile conforms to the positions that will be left after the economies exercis