The university has been experiencing serious technical failures all week, with the Portal, VLE, lecture capture and other IT services all crashing on Monday, and going down sporadically over following days.
The Leeds branch of University and College Union (UCU) claim the increase in technical faults is down to the university’s management cuts and under-investment in IT infrastructure.
The organisation, which represents academic and academic-related staff including many IT staff, believes recent IT staff cuts and a planned reorganisation will increase the number of IT failures and impact on the university’s core provision.
A university spokesperson said: “This was a purely technical issue and was due to problems with IT infrastructure that manages network traffic flow. We worked quickly to resolve the issue on the affected systems, including lecture capture, the portal, VLE and our websites. Some key services have now been moved to alternative infrastructure.” However, they failed to comment on the dispute with UCU over the IT reorganisation.
Tim Goodall, president of the UCU local association said: “The university has cut IT staff numbers, losing many experienced staff, without replacing them.
“They have lost valuable expertise and are only now starting to plan how they want to deliver high quality IT with fewer staff and fewer experts.”
Tim told The Gryphon, “We want to engage meaningfully with the university to make this reorganisation work, and we want an assurance there will be no more job cuts, no downgrading of people or roles, and staff across the university want to be assured that we will continue to have the IT expertise we need in schools and faculties to deliver the specialist work we do.”
At this stage UCU is not balloting for industrial action, and are hopeful an agreement will be reached to prevent redundancies and invest in university IT.
UCU have started a petition to ‘Support Our IT Services’ which you can read and sign online at leedsucu.org.uk.