Staff at Leeds ask for £500 bonus following University of the Year award
Over 500 members of staff at the University of Leeds have signed a petition requesting a £500 bonus as a ‘thank you’ for their hard work. This year Leeds received The Times and The Sunday Times ‘University of the Year Award’, prompting three staff unions – UCU, Unison and Unite – to ask for recognition in the form of a monetary reward for staff.
The petition on the Leeds UCU website states that Vice-Chancellor, Alan Langlands, ‘subsequently emailed staff about giving an extra day’s annual leave as a thank you.’
However, the offer angered many staff who already struggle to take their full quota of annual leave.
Nick Allen, Branch Chair for Unison; Jo Westerman, Branch Chair for Unite and Tim Goodall, Branch President for UCU gave a joint statement to The Gryphon.
“Following the announcement of the award of University of the Year 2017 to the University of Leeds, which all parties agree pays tribute to years of hard work and professionalism from all the staff of the university, as well as staff in LUU and Bright Beginnings, the three unions jointly approached the Vice-Chancellor to ask for cash recognition of the achievement, in line with what was offered by other regional universities who were previously awarded the same accolade.
“We received a reply saying that the University would offer one day extra of annual leave. All three unions immediately began receiving messages from members asking how they could take an extra day’s annual leave when they were unable to take all of their current leave because of their workload.
“Prompted by this response we carried out a survey to ask members what their preferred method of recognition would be and inviting further comment. Our survey received an unprecedented response. Over 80%, averaged across the unions, preferred a cash reward or to be given a choice between cash and leave. Less than 15% preferred annual leave as the only option.
“40% of respondents explained difficulties faced in taking their current leave allocation in any one year and the reasons for this.
“Over 500 members of staff signed a petition asking for a cash reward. We have this week contacted the University’s senior management asking that they reconsider.”
A University spokesperson explained their stance on the matter:“The University wanted to thank colleagues for their integral role in us being named University of the Year. An extra day’s leave, which can be taken at any point throughout the year, was seen as a meaningful and flexible way of rewarding staff for their commitment and dedication.
“We are very proud of the award and it really is down to so much energy and inspiration, ensuring that students experience an outstanding education here at Leeds.”
The University are expected to give a definitive response to the petition this week as staff wait to see if they will be getting an early Christmas present.