We have just received word from National UCU that they will be sending all members a survey this afternoon to ask for views on the proposals to settle the disputes with UCEA and UUK. We are told that the survey will close in approximately 48 hours, on Friday 17th March. We recommend completing the survey before Friday as no end time was stated.
As you have probably already heard, due to the pressure created through your collective action and presence on picket lines, UCU have announced significant progress in negotiations with the employers in our HE pay and pension disputes. To allow ongoing negotiations to continue in a constructive environment UCU has agreed to pause strike action for the next two weeks. This means our scheduled pickets on the 22nd February and 1st March are suspended, as is all strike action until we recommence the pressure with our picket on the 16th March. For this period, during the pause in strike action, ASOS remains in place and the branch will focus on the re-ballot. We are looking to reschedule teach-outs which were planned for the 22nd Feb and the 1st March, and will update you with more details on these when we have finalised the new plans. The planned Creative Writing Social/Teach-out on the 28th February will still be taking place as it is outside of normal working hours.
Take a look at some of the creative works our members have produced with students in support of the dispute, on our YouTube channel.
It is now more important than ever that we deliver a massive yes vote in our upcoming re-ballot of members for both our pay and conditions, and USS disputes. This will allow our negotiators to keep the pressure on and will leave the option for a Marking and Assessment Boycott and/or further strike action if the dispute is not resolved. Ballot papers will start arriving from Wednesday 22nd February. Please complete and return your ballot, and encourage others to do the same.
We’d really appreciate help with the get the vote out effort. If you volunteer you will be given a list of names and will be asked to call members on their list encouraging them to vote. Please let the branch know if you can help by responding to this email.
UCU will be hosting our union’s biggest ever UCU Live event on the eve of ballots dropping. Please join our general secretary Jo Grady at 19:30 on Tuesday 21st February on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
For next week the branch has organised a picket on Lboro campus taking place on Wednesday 22nd February. The picket will be at the Holywell Gate on Holywell Way (exact location) from 11:30am to 2pm. It will be followed by “Unions and the Media” an online teach-out from 2:30-5pm (Teams link). See the section on teach-outs at the end of this article for full details.
As always, we hope to see as many of you on the picket as possible. The longer the picket line, the shorter the dispute.
Future Picket Dates, Times & Locations
Wed 1st March
Thurs 16th March
Mon 20th March
Future London picket details will be communicated as and when they are arranged.
Although we are only picketing on the above dates, please remember that the following dates are also strike days.
Please regularly check our website for updated versions of strike resources for staff such as out of office messages, email templates you can send to students or use on learn and slides for students.
We’re delighted to announce a fourth teach-out on our schedule:
Mightier than the Sword? – a creative writing social at The Organ Grinder (4 Woodgate, Loughborough, LE11 2TY) on Tuesday February 28th, 6-8pm. Upstairs in The Hayloft, Barbara Cooke and Kerry Featherstone will be serving up creative exercises that will amuse and entertain. All are welcome. The room has limited capacity so come early to avoid having to sit downstairs playing board games and wondering what everyone is up to!
Full details of the teach-out this coming Wednesday:
Unions and the Media, an online teach-out: Wednesday February 22nd, 2:30-5pm (Teams link) We will start with a Trade Unions 101 by Anthony Kevins: Is a trade union like a student union? Are strikes just protests? And why are strikes even a thing? In this brief introduction to trade unions, we’ll cover everything you ever wanted to know about collective bargaining but were too afraid to ask. Bring your questions! Then John Downey will present a talk entitled ‘What about the workers? How do news media frame unions and what we can do about it’ discussing unions, inequality, and media representation, including reflections on how UCU does self-mediation and how it is being represented in the current dispute.
A reminder of the rest of our scheduled teach-outs:
Organising and Power, an online teach-out: Wednesday 1st March, 2:30-5pm (Teams link)
Memories of anti-racism, a hybrid teach-out:Thursday 16th March, 11am-12 noon in-person and online (Teams link) Charnwood Arts (address: 27 Rectory Pl, Loughborough LE11 1UW)
We encourage you to make use of both the national and local (if appropriate) strike funds. For many of us this is a challenging time, financially, and we want to make sure you know you can claim for strike days where you have lost wages. Please see this video from UCU.
The national officers have authorised payments from the national Fighting Fund in support of members in the HE disputes which started on 24th November 2022. Payments from the national scheme apply from your second strike day and currently up to a maximum of 11 days. In addition, as a branch, we have passed a motion to use our local strike fund to reimburse hourly-paid staff for the first day they strike up to the same daily maximum. Please note the November, February and March dates are all considered a single set of actions meaning your “first day” of action (for which no payment is available from the national fund) is only counted once, not separately for each set of dates.
In order to receive a payment from the Fighting Fund members need to:
be paying subscriptions at the correct rate (if any subscription is payable) (check your registered income band in MyUCU)
have participated in official strike action for which officers have agreed to make funds available; and,
provide evidence of deduction from their salary or loss of earnings for strike action.
Payment is made:
in the sum of £50 for the second and subsequent days of strike action taken by the member earning £30,000 gross or more per annum (this is subject to a cap of 11 days. This will be kept under review); and,
in the sum of up to £75 for the second and subsequent days of strike action taken by the member earning less than £30,000 gross per annum (this is subject to a cap of 11 days. This will be kept under review).
Claiming from the Local Hardship Fund (hourly paid staff, day 1 claims)
confirmation from your School or Department of the hours not worked due to striking
the number of hours missed and the hourly rate of pay you receive
Payments can be made up the normal daily maximum as above.
Claiming from the National Strike Fund (all other claims)
Claims to the Fighting Fund in respect of all disputes can only be made once members receive payslips showing deductions for strike action. Please read the appropriate Guidance before making your application. The Higher Education Guidance can be found here.
You can make a donation to the Fighting Fund here or by sending a cheque payable to UCU and marking the back of the cheque ‘donation to UCU fighting fund’. Please send cheques to UCU, Carlow Street, London NW1 7LH.