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UCU members in 61 universities vote for action against pension cuts - 14 days of strikes announced

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by SpackleFrog, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. SpackleFrog

    SpackleFrog Smash showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts

    UCU return an 88% vote for strikes on a 58% turnout across 68 universities. 14 days of escalating strike action have been announced.

    Unfortunately the ballot was disaggregated by institution so at 7 universities where they didn't make the 50% threshold they will re-ballot.

    USS strike action agreed
     
  2. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model amid a crowd of stars

    let's hope they work with non-academic colleagues a bit more closely this time
     
  3. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    I'm a non academic on an academic wage. So this affects me as I'm in that pension scheme! :) and also :(
     
  4. SpackleFrog

    SpackleFrog Smash showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts

  5. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model amid a crowd of stars

  6. PursuedByBears

    PursuedByBears Go stick your head in a pig

    Me too. Seems like there's quite a lot of support for the strike among the academic-related staff this time. Hope so, last time I was the only one in my department to go out on strike.
     
    SpackleFrog and BoatieBird like this.
  7. BoatieBird

    BoatieBird Well-Known Member

    I'm academic related and an UCU member too.
     
    PursuedByBears likes this.
  8. stethoscope

    stethoscope without the technical flim flam

    Unison member here, academic related, with a number of colleagues in UCU. Given that Unison haven't called, I'll probably combine a few days of leave and sickies in solidarity like ;)
     
  9. BoatieBird

    BoatieBird Well-Known Member

    Looks like the first strike day will be the 22nd Feb.
     
  10. SpackleFrog

    SpackleFrog Smash showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts

    I think it's difficult on the academic/non-academic divide thing. I'm a fairly young rep, not been in the union more than 4 years, in one of the best organised branches in the country, and even there you could feel coming in a lot of weird divides. UCU hasn't been around very long, it's a merger, and the divides between AUT/NATFHE are still pretty evident.

    At the same time, my understanding is that almost all academic related/non academic staff in these institutions are in the USS pension pot, so as with when we strike on pay it affects us all. Think Unite are also balloting their members in the scheme.

    I dunno what others views are, but I'd be interested to hear how divides between different groups of workers in the past.
     
  11. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    Workers in the Australian HE sector definitely benefit from their being an industry union (NTEU) which can be joined by anyone employed by a HE (there is a another union, the CPSU, that professional/general staff can join but it's only really of any significant size in NSW). Having a single union also means that workers become more familiar with each others struggles, something key in the industry where employers are continually trying to "silo" off workers from each other - play off research focused against teaching focused, academic against non-acdemics, school/faculties against central areas etc.

    The lack of a industry union in the UK is clearly stupid and only weakens all workers, unfortunately I can't see it going away any time soon.
     
  12. SpackleFrog

    SpackleFrog Smash showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts

    Having one union is good/can be, sure, but UCU is a product of two merged unions, AUT/NATFHE and there are still problems resulting from the merger ten years on. It's not simple to just move all university workers into one union.
     
  13. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    No it isn't. And the creation of an industry union would not be a simple matter. A unilateral move by the UCU to become an industry union would be unlikely to be viewed favourable by either Unite or Unison and have the baggage of the UCU being seen as an academic's union. A better move would be for the HE section of Unison (and Unite, and whoever else) to split and merge with the UCU but, sadly, I think that's as likely to happen as pigs flying.

    But despite that I remain convinced that the lack of an industry union severely weakens workers in the UK HE sector.
     
  14. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    One of the hold ups to taking strike action as an academic (frequently I've been the only one in my team on strike in my last job) is that the work doesn't go away if you take action ,which, of course, is part of the problem of workload allocation

    It's difficult for academic strike action to have an impact (unless it's missing classes)
     
    muscovyduck likes this.
  15. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    I had this yesterday, I guess movement in order to try and stop strikes. Some stuff blanked out for obvious reasons.

    Capture.PNG
     
  16. SpackleFrog

    SpackleFrog Smash showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts

    I think that's actually not true - but such is the culture of HE and the low levels of class consciousness/lack of serious organisation, it's often the case strikes are ineffective.

    Effective strike action in the era of anti union laws has to mean effective Action Short of Strike as well, particularly working to contract, withdrawal of goodwill etc. To strike effectively means not just striking but also refusing to catch up on work missed. If you strike for 5 days and then do 70 hours the following week, you've not achieved much.

    Obviously the neoliberal university is full of bullying cunts and its really hard to get people organised and confident enough to do it - and if you're the only one striking its basically pointless trying - but if you can then you can make strikes effective.

    They probably don't care if you don't teach though. Students might be consumers now but they don't have any consumer rights yet :)
     
  17. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model amid a crowd of stars

    the no marking one some years back seemed to have some effect.
     
    SpackleFrog likes this.
  18. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    Bollocks, read about this but then forgot. Will have to bring it up with our (UNISON) branch to see what we're doing to support it.
     
    Rosemary Jest and SpackleFrog like this.
  19. SpackleFrog

    SpackleFrog Smash showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts

    Can do - it's the thing they hate most. But also they dock you 100% of your pay now so you may as well just go on indefinite strike.
     
    Pickman's model likes this.
  20. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    Yes marking bans are much more effective than strikes as the university has to deal with students, and more importantly parents, complaining which they hate.
     
    Pickman's model likes this.
  21. Miss-Shelf

    Miss-Shelf I've looked at life from both sides now

    It had little effect at my old institution but I agree that marking bans properly enforced would affect everything very quickly
     
  22. SpackleFrog

    SpackleFrog Smash showy bell-bottom pants and sporty haircuts

    Again, provided we're all prepared to go on indefinite strike when they take 100% punitive pay deductions.

    The marking boycott will be used in the spring exam period if the dispute is still live. But it does de facto mean indefinite action.
     
  23. PursuedByBears

    PursuedByBears Go stick your head in a pig

    Just been talking to a UCU rep and apparently the plan is for a two-day strike in week 1, then three days the following week, four days the week after that, and five days in week four. That's 14 days without pay in February and March. :(
     
  24. BoatieBird

    BoatieBird Well-Known Member

    Fuck, that's a lot of money to lose :(
     
  25. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    If we want to win we have to show we aren't going to mess about doing 24 hour strikes (where people just end up working longer the rest of the week to make it up). It's not going to be easy but I it's the type of action we, and others - teachers, doctors, need to be taking if we want to win disputes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  26. PursuedByBears

    PursuedByBears Go stick your head in a pig

    I know, I know.....

    :(
     
  27. Lord Camomile

    Lord Camomile Lemonade socialist

    Presumably "we-can't-call-it-a-strike-fund-but-it's-a-strike-fund" crowdfunding things will be set up?
     
    muscovyduck likes this.
  28. BoatieBird

    BoatieBird Well-Known Member

    I completely agree, but with the very real threat of redundancy hanging over my head the thought of losing that much pay isn't good :(
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  29. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    :(, no I appreciate that it's it could be a significant sum, especially for those lower down the scale.

    Hopefully UUK will see we mean business and back off.
     
  30. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model amid a crowd of stars

    yeh. and has anything been discussed with unison or unite or are ucu just going to go on their own again?
     
    heinous seamus likes this.

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