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Lecturers at a string of the UK’s leading institutions have called for a vote of no confidence in the Universities and College Union (UCU) boss Jo Grady over the ‘ineffective’ strikes she led.

Lecturers from Durham, Glasgow, Keele and Leeds Beckett universities have backed motions for 39-year-old Miss Grady – who became UCU leader in 2019 – to resign.

Last month the UCU branch at Durham University also called for the union to cover the wages of academics whose pay had been cut off.

In a vote at York St John University, lecturers branded the UCU leadership ‘confusing, ineffective and undemocratic’ ‘through industrial action in 2023’.

The UCU has led three years of hugely disruptive walkouts for students. Many students were forced to graduate without knowing their results after lecturers refused to mark this summer’s exam papers and dissertations in a dispute over pay.

Lecturers at leading UK institutions have called for a vote of no confidence in Jo Grady, the general secretary of the Universities and College Union (UCU)

Students received blank certificates at their graduations and some even held placards demanding a refund on their tuition fees.

The highly controversial walkout was called off by the UCU last month, despite no pay offer being made. The UCU is set to re-ballot members to drum up backing for more strikes later this year.

The calls for Miss Grady, an employment relations lecturer at Sheffield University, to resign have sparked a huge row, with her allies telling the Sunday Times that she is being scapegoated for the failure to secure a pay deal.

A source told the newspaper that Miss Grady faced ‘a relentless stream of criticism by men’ on the internet, in a broader landscape that is dominated by male union bosses.

The source also pointed to previous online attacks on Miss Grady, including the editing of her Wikipedia page to describe to describe her as a ‘traitor, Judas, quisling’ which she later condemned as ‘vile rubbish’ on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Former NEC member Chris O’Donnell said: ‘Jo Grady is by any measure the most successful general secretary of recent times. What we are witnessing here is an aggressive and misogynistic attack by the Socialist Workers Party and the far left within the UCU.

He added that history was being ‘completely rewritten’ as after a 5 to 8 per cent pay offer, Miss Grady ‘openly recommended that the union bank the wins and build for a further dispute at a later point’.

He added: ‘This was overturned by a then far-left dominated executive who subsequently called a marking boycott.

‘Now that the employers have not backed down, they want to lay the blame at Grady’s door. This narrative is untrue and both Grady – and more importantly our members – deserve better.’

Allies of Miss Grady have said she is being scapegoated for the failure to secure a new pay deal

Academics – who are being given a five to eight per cent pay uplift – are being told to mark outstanding exams and dissertations quickly so students can get their marks.

It comes as more than 140,000 students from almost 20 institutions are taking part in class action to sue for £5,000 each in compensation over the disruption to their education caused by strikes and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 17 universities targeted by the claim could face a total compensation bill of £700million according to Ryan Dunleavy, a partner at Harcus Parker, the legal firm which is handling the class action in partnership with Asserson, another firm.

Elections for a new UCU boss are set to happen next year and it is thought Miss Grady will run for re-election.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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