UCU

The Morning Star and "patriotism"

On 7 May, the Morning Star carried an article with the snazzy headline “Patriotism is good for you.” A better headline would have been “Stalinism turns you into a useless nationalist who can’t pick the right side in an industrial dispute”. Before examining what this Comrade Blimp has to say about the fusion of nationalism and socialism, it’s worth saying something about the piece’s author. Doug Nicholls is chair of the board of Ruskin College. Last year college management victimised workplace activists in the UCU. Nicholls refused to back the workers, and then invited the college principal to...

Students: after the strike, into the shutdown

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

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

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...

Students and the UCU strike

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

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...

Students back UCU strike

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...

UCU strike bulletin

Download here. Articles include: The longer the picket line, the shorter the strike; See the Four Fights through; Link up with the climate strikes!; Workers and students unite.

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