I was booked to play a Mechanical Techno show at Leeds University for the International Concert Series on Wednesday 14th March. I have made the decision to cancel my performance in support of the current ongoing strikes across the UK, and specifically Leeds university where management are taking a hard line against striking staff.
The University and College Union, of which I am a member, explains the original reasons for the strike on this page:
Universities UK want to make changes to the current pension scheme which would leave a typical lecturer almost £10,000 a year worse off in retirement than under the current set-up.
This article from the Financial Times gives a bit more context:
Lecturers have accepted relatively low pay and pretty poor working conditions in exchange for significant autonomy and relatively secure jobs and pensions. But, over the past decade, without negotiation, every aspect of that deal has been eroded. Autonomy has given way to increased teaching responsibilities, larger classes, more time spent grading and heavier management duties. Job security has been reduced by eliminating departments and cutting research funding. Pensions are failing to deliver on their promise.
Additionally, Leeds University management will potentially be deducting pay twice from striking staff:
UCU members were asked to ‘work to contract’ between and after the strike days. Staff are deducted full pay for any day on which they strike. However, some institutions are claiming that failure to reschedule work missed during strike days (e.g. putting on lectures they were not paid to teach) will be considered partial performance, meaning they have pay deducted twice for the same work. This is legal. But it rejects a long-standing convention of collegial relations in British higher education. Most universities have never imposed it before. [https://ucustrike.wordpress.com/academic-boycott-list/]