Strikes and lock-outs

Students: after the strike, into the shutdown

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 07:56
Author

Maisie Sanders

The fourth week of the strikes by the UCU university staff union (9 to 13 March) saw twelve student occupations: UCL, University of the Arts London, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Imperial, Manchester, Exeter, Brighton, Glasgow, Nottingham and the Royal College of Art.

Sussex students blockaded multiple university car parks, Exeter students disrupted an open day, and Leeds students held a sit-in during a University Senate meeting, forcing it to be adjourned to a non-strike day. The Cambridge occupation expanded to take three floors of the Old Schools building, including the office of Chief

Students ramp up support for UCU strikes

Published on: Wed, 11/03/2020 - 10:05
Author

Maisie Sanders

In the last week of the strikes by the university workers’ union UCU (9-13 March), students are escalating solidarity actions.

By the end of Monday 9 March there were eleven universities in occupation: UCL, University of the Arts London (UAL), Cambridge, Royal College of Art (RCA), Edinburgh, University of Nottingham, Manchester, Brighton, Exeter, Imperial, and Liverpool.

The occupations at Imperial and Liverpool have been organised by Extinction Rebellion Universities to demand universities decarbonise, decolonise and democratise, as well as standing in solidarity with the UCU strike. There

UCU: taking the struggle forward

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 10:46

How to continue after Easter

By a UCU activist

As I write, negotiations with the employers are ongoing, and we’re told they’re “constructive”, but we have no further detail beyond that.

Greater transparency in these negotiations is essential; rank-and-file members of the union need the right to scrutinise and assess what the employer is putting on the table, and collectively decide how to respond.

Lively pickets are being organised in many places, but on the whole the pickets since 24 February seem smaller than the October-November 2019 strikes, and than the USS pension strikes in 2018. Some

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 08:31
Author

Ollie Moore

CWU ballots until 17 March

By Ollie Moore

As Solidarity went to press on 3 March, Royal Mail workers were beginning a new ballot for industrial action, after a successful ballot last year was injuncted by the High Court.

The ballot will close on 17 March. It is about action to prevent a restructure that could see the postal and parcel delivery aspects of Royal Mail’s business separated into distinct companies, a move which the Communication Workers Union (CWU) says could threaten up to 20,000 jobs.

The CWU is also demanding that Royal Mail honour an agreement reached in 2018 which included a

Students and the UCU strike

Published on: Wed, 04/03/2020 - 07:47
Author

Rachael Baylis, Brighton University

The second wave of (UCU) University and College Union strikes, taking place from 20 February, has been bigger and more active than the ones that took place before Christmas. Student activity has turned up a notch, with students from arts courses and the humanities in particular organising demonstrations of support.

At my university (Brighton), before the strike began, there was an open meeting in which staff gave presentations on strikes and the history of collective action. Fascinatingly, the overwhelming majority of those present were women. Following the presentations, students discussed

University strikes going into third week

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 11:10
Author

Chris Reynolds and Sacha Marten

The strikes by university workers in the UCU union over their “four fights” go into their third week on 2-5 March, and their fourth on 9-13 March.

The “four fights” are pay, equality, workload, and decasualisation. While vice-chancellors and celebrity professors enjoy high pay, junior university workers often have casual and insecure conditions, and low pay.

The Cambridge branch of the UCU, for example, points out that the university vice-chancellor is on £492,000 a year, while a library assistant is on £20,130, an IT technician on £23,067, and a research assistant on £26,715.

A reader reports

Industrial news in brief

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 08:42
Author

Ollie Moore and Katy Dollar

UVW at St George's

Outsourced security workers in the United Voices of the World union (UVW) at St. George’s University in Tooting, south London, are continuing their campaign for equality.

UVW members and supporters recently occupied the lobby of the main St. George’s building during a university open day, holding an impromptu rally addressed by St. George’s strikers, UVW reps from victorious anti-outsourcing campaigns at LSE and St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, and an RMT activist.

UVW is also preparing what it describes as a “landmark legal case” to challenging outsourcing in court. The

Students back UCU strike

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 08:38
Author

Maisie Sanders

Students have been joining the university workers’ union UCU on picket lines, organising stalls, leafletting, banner drops, joint rallies, teach-outs and fundraising gigs, and taking part in direct action.

Through the Student Strike Solidarity group, students across the country are discussing demands, tactics and sharing resources. In the run up to the strike, Student Strike Solidarity held days of action to start building student support and regular online

meetings. Next, we are planning a national meeting after the strikes to discuss how we can build on the momentum and rebuild the student

FCO strike in 4th week

Published on: Wed, 26/02/2020 - 08:19
Author

Ollie Moor

Outsourced workers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are on a month-long strike from 3 to 28 February, for demands including company sick pay, reversal to cuts in hours, and recognition of their union, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS).

On 19 February, PCS activists and supporters held a flash demonstration outside the Waterloo offices of Interserve, the outsourced contractor which employs the FCO workers. Daily pickets have been held at the FCO’s Whitehall headquarters, with solidarity delegations from other unions attending.

PCS members working as outsourced cleaners

Tower Hamlets backs down

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 09:13
Author

Patrick Murphy

The National Education Union (NEU) in Tower Hamlets, East London, won an important success on 13 February.

Under pressure from the NEU and the wider labour movement, the local council withdrew a legal challenge aimed at derailing a strike ballot.

On 22 January NEU launched a formal strike ballot in opposition to plans by the council to impose detrimental changes to terms and conditions without consultation with the union. Unison are also planning to ballot. The changes would significantly reduce redundancy payments for teachers and impose new contracts on support staff.

The NEU conducted an

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