Union launches petition to stop redundancies at University of Leeds departments tackling Covid

The University and College Union has called on the management of the University of Leeds to stop ‘voluntary’ redundancies in departments working to tackle the Covid pandemic.

Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 11:55 am

Teaching and research plan reviews in the School of Medicine and Faculty of Biological Sciences are underway, the University told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

A Voluntary Leavers Scheme is being offered to staff in these areas and leavers will only be agreed where it is possible to significantly reduce or stop the work they were undertaking according to the University.

However, the UCU has started a petition against the redundancy offers.

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Teaching and research plan reviews in the School of Medicine and Faculty of Biological Sciences are underway, the University told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The union, in a post on the petition page, said: "University of Leeds is RAMming through redundancies.

"In the middle of the Covid-19 global crisis, University of Leeds management has taken the strategic decision to make ‘voluntary’ redundancies in departments working to tackle the Covid pandemic: the school of medicine (SoM) and the faculty of biological sciences (FBS).

"In its 2018/2019 accounts (the latest published) the university reported an operating surplus of £38m and healthy reserves.

"The university has not given us any financial explanation of why it cannot afford to stop redundancies."

The petition has more than 700 signatures at the time of writing.

The University of Leeds said it continues to "make major contributions" to Covid studies.

Work from the University includes vaccine trials, new treatments and research to help understand the virus.

A University spokesperson said: “Work is underway to review teaching and research plans as part of the Medicine Redefined programme in the School of Medicine, which began in 2018, and the FBS Refresh activity in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, which began in 2019.

“The focus in both areas is academic and financial sustainability, including an emphasis on teaching and research areas where key strengths exist. A Voluntary Leavers Scheme is being offered to staff in these areas and leavers will only be agreed where it is possible to significantly reduce or stop the work they were undertaking.

“The University continues to make major contributions to COVID-19 studies including vaccine trials, new treatments, and research to help understand the virus. Ensuring that adequate resourcing is in place to enable this continued support for tackling COVID-19 is a critical part of our planning.”

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