You will by now have received an email from the general secretary confirming that the Higher Education Committee, at its meeting on 30 January, decided to call a further 14 days of strike action over defence of our pensions and in relation to casualisation, pay, equalities and workload (the “four fights” dispute).
The HEC’s view is that the eight days of strikes last year, the threat of further strikes and the fact that 14 more branches (including Oxford, SOAS, Kings and Imperial) have since joined the action have all pushed the employers into important concessions but that we have not yet received satisfactory offers in either dispute.
Further meetings are scheduled between UCU and UUK in relation to our pensions and we need to apply further pressure if the employers are to improve their offer in the ‘four fights’ dispute. At present they are refusing to move on pay and have merely set out a series of “expectations” in relation to casualisation, workload and pay gaps that need to be toughened up.
Strikes will now take place on:
• 20 and 21 February
• 24, 25, and 26 February
• 2, 3, 4, and 5 March
• 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 March
We are well aware that the first two dates take place in our reading week and we had hoped that HEC might be flexible in the number of strike days that each branch has to take. However, given that all branches are required to take the full 14 days, we felt it was best to coordinate our strikes along with other institutions and not to start later and then to add a further two days at the end (i.e. on 19 and 20 March).
We are fully aware of the stress that strike action places upon members and students but your continued support is absolutely vital if we are to safeguard our pay and conditions and to correct some of the terrible inequalities that blight the higher education sector. We have had fantastic support from the students union and will work hard to ensure that we work closely with students in making our case in both disputes.
Solidarity to you all