Page last updated at 08:07 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Leeds University staff to strike over jobs and funding

University of Leeds
The UCU said it was keen to avoid a "damaging dispute"

Workers at the University of Leeds are to stage three one-day strikes in protest at job losses and funding cuts.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are campaigning against compulsory redundancies and planned savings of £35m by the institution.

The UCU said strikes were planned for 25 February and 2 and 4 March.

The university said it wanted to work with the UCU to "mitigate" the effects of the cuts. A spokeswoman said talks with the union would resume next week.

A University of Leeds spokeswoman said: "We have been talking to the UCU since 11 January.

Industrial action will not resolve the funding crisis facing higher education
University of Leeds spokeswoman

"These talks are resuming on 15 February and we hope they will clear the way for the UCU to work with us to mitigate the effects of public sector spending cuts on our students, staff and research.

"Industrial action will not resolve the funding crisis facing higher education."

The UCU said 54 staff had already lost their jobs and up to 700 more were at risk.

The union also plans to hold a regional rally and demonstration in the first week of March as part of its "Defend jobs, defend education" campaign.

City demonstration

The Youth Fight for Jobs organisation said it would be holding a demonstration in Leeds on Saturday in support of the university workers.

The decision to strike comes after a ballot of the UCU Leeds membership voted in favour of industrial action.

UCU president Prof Malcolm Povey said: "UCU continues to believe a negotiated solution is possible and we call upon the university to return to the bargaining table for further direct talks aimed at avoiding a damaging dispute.

"While we prefer dialogue to conflict we are determined to protect our members' jobs and the long-term future of the university we helped to build."

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