UCU

Goldsmiths union calls for boycott to back strike

A week into three weeks of strike action at Goldsmiths University of London (23 November to 13 December), the local branch of the University and College Union (UCU) is now looking at ways to escalate and diversify the dispute. For example, the branch plans to request the national union applies an academic boycott on Goldsmiths. If agreed, the national union will back up the local dispute, now that it is facing management intransigence, by asking for external academics to avoid contact with the university in a smaller or larger range of ways. That could include: not speaking and lecturing at...

University strikes are launchpad for January

In 58 University and College Union (UCU) branches across the UK, strikes kick off on Wednesday 1 December for an initial period of three days, to 3 December. From 1 December onwards, indefinitely, UCU members in those branches and others where they won ballot mandates for it will also be doing “action short of strikes” (ASOS). Detailed info here The disputes have been called over a range of issues, split into two industrial disputes: cuts to the USS pension scheme, and the Four Fights (over falling pay, increasing casualisation and workload, and worsening campus inequality). In Higher...

AWL bulletin for the UCU strikes, 1-3 December 2021

AWL Higher Education workers fraction have produced this bulletin for the UCU strikes on 1-3 December 2021. Please download and read - and distribute if you agree! Let us know what you think - email awl@workersliberty.org. We have members in UCU and Unison and hold regular meetings to discuss building a democratic, fighting rank and file across campus unions.

Goldsmiths out for three weeks

Three weeks of strike action began at Goldsmiths University of London on Tuesday 23 November with picketing, a strike rally and the start of an extensive teach-out programme. The first day of action was the culmination of weeks of preparation, and the product of a determination to beat redundancies and damaging restructuring at the college. The day before the strike, Goldsmiths Warden (top manager) Frances Corner issued a disingenuous message (one of many) urging University and College Union (UCU) members to call off their strike, claiming that she is listening, and implying UCU are being...

Support the university strikes!

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) across fifty-eight universities will strike on 1-3 December in two parallel national disputes. In some (primarily older, pre-92) institutions the strike is over a cut to pensions that could see members lose up to 35% of guaranteed benefits on top of previous substantial cuts. In others the focus of the dispute is on the “Four Fights”: pay, equality, casualisation, and workload. Some universities are striking in both disputes. Over the past twelve years, pay has fallen twenty per cent in real terms due to below-inflation rises, at the same time...

Support the university strikes

On 4-5 November, the University and College Union (UCU) announced the results of two national ballots. Higher Education (HE) sector members were balloted on two disputes: the long-running “USS” pensions issue, and the “Four Fights”: pay, workload, casualisation, and inequality. Most of the workers involved are are insecure jobs, with long hours and modest pay. Their cause is essentially the same as that of the NHS workers consulting on action to improve their 3% pay deal, the local government workers voting on strikes against the 1.75% offer, or the bin workers now and recently in dispute in...

Goldsmiths sets 21 days

In a ballot on industrial action against threats of (an initial) 52 redundancies at the college, 70.2% of Goldsmiths UCU members have voted. 93.3% voted for action short of a strike and 85.8% voted to strike. At a branch meeting on Monday 8 November, members voted for 21 days of consecutive strike action starting on 22 November. The huge mandate for action came in the face of increasingly desperate attempts at intimidation by the Senior Management. A letter from the Warden to all students highlighting supposed concern for student welfare and promised the college will continue to be a “beacon...

University disputes: how to win

A UK-wide re-ballot in the university disputes would de-mobilise tens of thousands of our members who could instead be building effective action on campus. With admissions processes ongoing over the winter and exams at many universities in January, HE staff have significant disruptive power in the immediate future. We need to leverage that, for example through building up marking backlogs and then marking and assessment boycotts, coupled with targeted strike action. Those who need to re-ballot and get strike mandates ready for next year can and should join us for a stronger wave of action from...

Universities: act on the strike mandates!

On 4-5 November the University and College Union (UCU) announced that two national ballots have shown a strong mandate for resuming strikes by our members over issues that have long plagued Higher Education. The first ballot was over new proposed cuts to the USS pensions scheme (covering “pre-1992” universities). During the middle of the pandemic, a USS pension revaluation significantly under-valued its worth and has resulted in the scheme’s management demanding raised contributions from its members. Research by the union suggests that the average USS member has already lost £240,000 due to...

UCU ballots: Vote Yes-Yes

The University and College Union (UCU) is balloting staff across UK higher education for strike action in two parallel disputes. The national “Four Fights” campaign is calling for action to address gender, ethnic and disability pay gaps, end contract casualisation and job insecurity, tackle rising workloads, and for a pay increase of £2,500 on every point of the national pay scale. Over the last two years pay rises have been just 1.5%, a real-terms cut. Between 2009 and 2019 salaries had already fallen by 17.6% in real terms. Systematic casualisation means around half of teaching-only staff...

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