The University of Leicester Vice-Chancellor Who Loves Steve Jobs and Hates Workers


University staff from technicians to lecturers are currently on strike at 74 universities across the country. More locally, members of the University and College Union (UCU) are striking at University of Leicester, De Montfort University and at Loughborough University, and I will be happily joining them on the picket line in the morning!

One person who will not be joining this strike for justice is the University of Leicester’s new anointed President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah. In fact, the capitalist powerbroker in question has already been busying himself with attempting to suppress basic democratic principles, attempting to coerce striking workers on his campus into refraining from engaging in the type of mass demonstrations that proved so popular and effective during their last strike.

However, as University of Leicester UCU branch reported:

“At a meeting last week, University of Leicester managers offered the union a deal. If strikers refrained from demonstrating on campus, then pay deductions would be spread over three months – an offer bosses described as ‘generous’. The University’s leadership also requested that employees report their strike action using HR’s special online form.

“Employers have previously agreed, without bribery, to deduct over a period of time and the union has fully complied with its legal reporting requirements.

“Members of Leicester UCU – who were consulted via an electronic ballot – have now decisively rejected this deal.”

This is brilliant news! Of course, this type of repressive activity on the part of the new Vice-Chancellor and other overpaid university overlords was not entirely unexpected. One might note for instance that Professor Canagarajah who evidently idolises the late capitalist oppressor, Steve Jobs.

Speaking in his role as the Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Bristol in 2017, Professor Canagarajah:

“And like one of the famous quotes from Steve Jobs, who said, ‘technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, believe that they are smart and good. Give them the tools and they will do wonderful things with them.’ He invented so many things, and even he didn’t believe in technology, he believed in people.”

But while Professor Canagarajah may love Steve Jobs and his inspirational quotes, workers understand that first and foremost on Jobs’ mind, at all times, was how to extract the maximum profit from those beneath him: his workers. As if one really need reminding of this fact, one commentator put it this way:

“While Jobs’ designs for computers may have put humans at their center, working conditions for Apple’s workers put profits at their center. Jobs did indeed revolutionize the computer industry, but in a way that was negative for American workers, who for decades have seen manufacturing job prospects dwindle as jobs go to workers overseas, who in turn often labor in brutal sweatshop conditions.”

But Jobs’ workers fought back, and never accepted their treatment as serfs in the endless grinding mill of profits and the same is true with university workers today. UCU have a strategy that can win. It is critical that other trade unions, including the Trades Union Congress, throw their full support behind this ongoing dispute.

Locally, at least, the Leicester and Districts Trades Union Council stands in complete solidarity with the UCU strike. With local college workers taking strike action on 27th February, plans are already afoot to link up their struggle for justice. So, if you have some time over the next few weeks then why not pay a visit to the picket lines and bring a message of solidity to those who are currently fighting the good fight. For further details of strike action see the UCU web sites for our local universities here:


Welcome to Loughborough UCU


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