Higher Education workers’ unions UCU, Unison, Unite (and the EIS union in Scotland) have called a strike on Tuesday 3 December.
Lecturers’ union UCU has begun a work-to-contract, asking members not to take on any duties not strictly required by their terms of employment.
Universities depend on the willingness of staff to work well beyond reasonable hours, and a well-organised campaign will help put management under pressure. Local organisation, down to departmental level, with regular members’ meetings, is the key to making the work-to-contract effective.
Already one employer — the University of Wales Trinity St David’s — has threatened to deduct pay from staff who refuse to do unpaid overtime! Others are likely to follow suit. Activists should be prepared to step up the action quickly if such local attacks materialise.
There are rumours circulating that some universities hope to scupper the action by imposing a 1% settlement before Christmas — giving staff the “bonus” of a backdated pay rise to 1 August at a time of year when bills are high and many workers will find it hard to turn down the money. It’s vitally important to expose any imposed offer for the underhand trick it is, and encourage everyone involved to keep fighting for a rise that actually helps meet the cost of living.
Management know that if the dispute continues into the New Year and hits first semester exams they will have real problems. If we keep up the fight we can win.