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Staff at University of Leicester call for ‘global boycott’ of institution in fight against redundancies

STAFF at the University of Leicester have called for a “global boycott” of the institution in their fight against redundancies.

The workers are urging academics internationally to impose sanctions on the university, which has been accused of attacking jobs and standards, in a practice known as “greylisting.”

They have also launched an immediate ban on marking and assessment of students’ work.

The boycott call comes from the University and College Union (UCU) and was launched today after members voted 84 per cent in favour of industrial action.

The union described the call for a global boycott as “the ultimate sanction.”

It is urging all UCU members, other trade unions, labour movement organisations and the international academic community not to apply for jobs at Leicester, refuse to speak or lecture at the university, be involved in research, write for university journals, or act as external examiners.

Leicester UCU chairwoman Dr Sarah Seaton said: “Leicester UCU members are refusing to mark any work or take part in assessments from today with the knowledge that our union has called on the academic community to back us with a global boycott.

“No-one takes this action lightly but we must protect jobs and student learning conditions. 

“It is incredible that vice-chancellor Nishan Canagarajah has allowed the dispute to reach this stage instead of working with us to protect jobs. 

“He is ruining the name of a great institution.”

The union said that 145 jobs had been threatened with compulsory redundancy. Some jobs have now disappeared through voluntary redundancies. 

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “We will not stand back and allow the University of Leicester to be destroyed by dismal management. 

“Nor will we allow staff and students to pay the price for catastrophic failures of governance.

“It is rare for UCU to call for a global academic boycott, and doing so reflects the seriousness of the situation.

“Leicester staff have the support of the whole union in their ongoing action; we all stand alongside them in this fight against brutal cuts to jobs. 

“The university needs to lift its threat of compulsory redundancies if it wants to end this dispute.”

A University of Leicester spokesperson said: “It is regrettable that the UCU union has decided to proceed with strike action and has called for a global boycott.

“Our priority remains ensuring our current students can complete their assessments for this academic year, and that our finalists can graduate and take the next steps in their journey.

“We have asked UCU to meet us on several occasions, but so far they have declined. However, we will continue to try and engage with them.”

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