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UCU claims victory in Leeds dispute

13 October 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

UCU members at the University of Leeds have secured a victory against their management after going into dispute over the imposition of regrading on 1 June this year.

The university had written to around 100 members of academic-related staff informing them that their jobs had been downgraded (red circled) as a result of a job evaluation process implemented without union agreement. Some of these staff were threatened with cuts of up to around £16,000 in their annual salary.

However the university has now negotiated a new deal with the UCU local association after two independent experts were brought in and found a number of flaws in the job grading system.

Gavin Reid, Leeds UCU president, said: 'The two experts made ten recommendations for further work in order to complete the role matching process satisfactorily. The outcome totally vindicated the UCU's decision to go into dispute over the principle that there had been serious failings of procedure. The university rode roughshod over the national framework agreement, which is supposed to underpin the move to the new single pay spine, and made unilateral changes to individual contracts which were both illegal and entirely avoidable.

'During this dispute the university suffered damaging publicity in both the local and national press that inevitably impacted the good reputation of the institution. Our right to be consulted and to negotiate on behalf of our members had been very much under threat and Leeds was being watched closely around the country. I am proud to say that the negotiators stuck to the task at hand through meetings chaired by ACAS over the summer, we rejected outside binding arbitration and we insisted on the right to negotiate a satisfactory settlement.'

'There is a significant amount of work still to be done. But Leeds UCU intends to continue to defend our members and fight to preserve and improve existing terms and conditions whenever necessary.'

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