Staff in Leeds to strike for first time in university’s history

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Leeds Open University staff have announced they will strike for the first time in history after a row over cuts.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at the Leeds Open University Regional Centre said they will strike over plans to axe seven regional centres, putting 502 jobs at risk.

The strike is due to be held on November 25 and December 3.

The seven centres earmarked for closure are in Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Gateshead, London and Oxford.

The Open University council is due to meet on November 24 to discuss the plans. Pauline Collins, UCU Open University branch president, said: “Nobody wants to take strike action, but we feel this is our only alternative. We hope they will see sense and reject these plans.”

A spokesman for The Open University said: “We want to work constructively with unions to look after staff in the best possible way.

“We do not believe industrial action will be beneficial for our staff or students. The proposals to replace seven smaller support centres with three larger centres would allow us to invest more in student support.”

He added: “No existing services to students will be withdrawn.”

A petition against the closures has 6,300 signatures.