We have now taken seven days of strike action in pursuit of our claims concerning pay, pensions and equalities. We have seen amazing teach-outs, inspiring picket lines, much-needed collegiality and impressive solidarity. Tomorrow is our final day of strike action before we return to work on Thursday. Please note that our industrial action does not stop when we return to work as we will be engaged in “action short of a strike” (ASOS) – more about this below.
Please read on for some important information.
Your officers met the warden and director of HR on Monday to discuss the College’s initial threat to deduct all eight days’ pay in a single month, not to exempt Associate Lecturers from deductions and to “reserve the right” to deduct pay for taking part in ASOS. We have resisted this robustly – not least because this is far more punitive that the measures management took in the 2018 strikes.
They have now confirmed that pay will be deducted over two months, April and May 2020 allowing – they argue – members more time to prepare for these deductions.
They are currently not willing to move on the issue of deductions from ALs nor to depart from “reserving the right” to deduct for ASOS though they agreed to issue a statement clarifying their intentions in this regard. Members will be interested to know that management at Southampton, Cambridge, Ulster, St Andrews, Edinburgh and Kent universities have all promised NOT to deduct pay for taking part in ASOS.
Your officers have since responded to the warden, strongly encouraging her ASAP to follow the lead of the universities mentioned above, to reconsider the threat to deduct from ALs, and to make a public statement calling on the employers to return to negotiations over USS.
Thanks to the pressure of sustained industrial action, UCU has held talks with both UCEA and UUK in the past week. You can find UCU’s reflections on the pensions talks here and on pay and equalities here.
ACTION SHORT OF A STRIKE (ASOS)
Our industrial action includes working to contract – ie fulfilling the terms of our contract and not undertaking any voluntary activities. These includes attendance at open days, rescheduling classes, assuming additional responsibilities following the strike, covering for absent colleagues, and so on. We will be circulating more detailed information about ASOS before you return to work and will make it available on the GUCU website.
TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY 4 DECEMBER)
Tomorrow is the last day of strike action and we have a full day of picketing from 8am as well as some fantastic events including the fashion show at 12 noon outside RHB, Gary Younge speaking on ‘Reporting guns, knives, race and crime’ at 11am in the SU bar and the staff-student assembly on tackling casualisation at 1.30pm. We invite everyone to come to the Students Union bar from 3.30pm for a ‘post-strike gathering’.
We are encouraging all members to attend the first Warden’s Meeting at 9am on Monday 9 December in the Council Chamber, Deptford Town Hall.
We will be holding our first ‘post-strike lunch’ so that we can continue to meet and socialise from 12-1pm on Wednesday 11 December in the RHB Refectory.
BRANCH MEETING, 12.30 WEDNESDAY 18 DECEMBER
There are important national UCU meetings taking place this Friday and Saturday that will be central to the future of the dispute. We have agreed to hold a general meeting for all members from 12.30-2pm on Wednesday 18 December to discuss the outcomes of these events, the implications of the General Election result, how ASOS is going and other issues.
Find out about our hardship fund, what is on offer, and how to apply here.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
You can join the strike information WhatsApp here. Also check out our facebook page, twitter @goldsmithsucu and our website. If you have any questions or concerns you can send an email to email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you on the final picket line of the year!
[PIC GEORGIE HODGES]