Support the UCU strikes

by Alex Kendrick 05 February 2020, 10:58

Category: Summit

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This Guild Notes: 

1. 74 Universities have voted to take industrial action from Thursday 20 February to Wednesday 13 March.

2. University of Liverpool UCU branch has voted to back strike action in two separate legal disputes, one on pensions and one on pay and working conditions.

3. The key elements of these Trade Unions disputes are: A. Loss in the value of pay. B. Shameful pay inequality. C. Rising workloads forcing staff to work past their paid hours to complete work. D. Job insecurity and casualisation of contracts. E. Pensions.

4. Findings from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) show that the pay of staff has dropped by around 17% in real-terms since 2009. The UCU says that staff pay has actually fallen by around 20% in the last decade as pay awards in higher education have resulted in a cumulative increase of 11%. 

5. Every year the offical pay data in UK higher education shows continuing and persistant pay inequality. UCU are asking for nationally-agreed action for HE institutions to close the gender pay gap and to specifically address the racialised pay gap, taking accound of the ways in which intersectional identity affects pay and grading. 

6. There was a 77% increase in the number of university staff accessing counselling services between 2009 and 2015, according to a report released in June 2019. The Higher Education Policy Institute says excessive workloads, lack of job security and management demands are behind a surge in stress levels for staff.

7. Staff in higher and futher education work on average more than two days unpaid each week.

8. According to new anaysis, because of the changes to USS, a typical member will pay around £40k more into their pension, but recieve almost £200k less in retirement, leaving them £240k worse off in total. 

9. NUS is calling on Students' Unions and students to stand in support of staff taking industrial action.


This Guild Believes: 

1. Staff working conditions are students learning conditions. The staff that teach and support us at university deserve fair and equal pay, job security and a work environment free from undue stress.

2. Having demotivated, overworked and stressed staff drastically decreases the quality of our education and life at University, as students.

3. Staff stand by and support us as students, HE trade unions campaign on issues that affect us such as tutiton fees, and we should support them in their fight for a better working life.

4. Students supporting staff in industrial action means less disruption and a just outcome - the longer the picket line the shorter the strike.

5. Mant students, particularly postgraduate students and those seeking careers in academia, are directly affected by disputes around pay and working conditions. Postgraduates are able to be represented by UCU and are at the forefront of casualisation in HE, with many on 0 hours teaching contracts. 


This Guild Resolves: 

1. To release an immediate public statement of support if staff take industrial action.

2. To educate students about any idustrial action taken by staff and explain why they should support staff.

3. To organise a 'teach-out' event to bring students and staff together to learn and discuss a range of topics including Higher Education and trade unionism.

4. To lobby the University on the issues that staff raise and explain how these issues affect students.

5. Throughout the period of industrial action, the Guild should do its best to safeguard and advise students as much as possible. 






  • Default avatar
    Dylan Thomson   wrote, 28-02-2020 - 09:06

    Summit came to a consensus on all five resolutions and the Guild is now taking steps to achieve these. We have released a statement outlining our support which you can find here:

  • Default avatar