Socialist Students is appalled at Leeds University management’s plans to change the university’s charter to worsen protections for staff. These include creating a catch-all term to dismiss staff (‘Some Other Substantial Reason’ or SOSR), the removal of an independent legally qualified chair for most dismissal appeals and the removal of a medically qualified chair for panels deciding upon ill health dismissals. This has quite rightly being dubbed a Sackers’ Charter by UCU.
Socialist Students fully supports UCU members in taking strike action against such attacks and we will be joining them on the picket lines when they take strike action on 11-13 October. We believe our union, Leeds University Union, should be taking a stand against the Sackers’ Charter and in support of staff and the strike action by UCU. Socialist Students will be campaigning for them to adopt such a position.
Whilst such strike action will disrupt lectures and other academic activity, we feel this is a minor price to pay compared to what could happen as a result of the Sackers’ Charter being adopted and staff who fall foul of ‘third party pressure’ (such as government agencies or corporations unhappy about the conclusions of academic research) or a ‘conflict of interest’ (such as whistleblowers making the public aware of wider concerns) which would disrupt our studies far more.
This should not be seen as an isolated issue, but one part of a wider series of attacks on higher education, through funding cuts, the introduction of the so-called ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ and ever increasing tuition fees and student debts. We believe a mass campaign opposing these attacks needs to be built which rallies around the demands for free education, raised in the recent general election campaign by Jeremy Corbyn.
Leeds University Socialist Students
Please sign the online petition by UCU against the Sackers’ Charter – http://speakout.web.ucu.org.uk/university-of-leeds-statutes-no-sackers-charter/