How to support the UCU Strikes

Members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) are taking strike action across the three weeks to Wednesday 2nd March over pension cuts, pay cuts, pay inequality, casualisation and overwork – you can find out more about the strike UCU here.

Staff working conditions are student learning conditions – striking staff are defending our education and future working conditions and we need to support them.

You can access two template support the strike poster-leaflets here and here to edit and use on your campus! If you need any help working the template or with printing costs get in touch. You can find a template motion in solidarity with the UCU strike to bring to your local constituency labour party or adapt for your union branch or other organisation here.

The best way to support the strike is to support the work of your student solidarity group organising in support of the strike!

Why staff are striking

  • Pensions are being cut by an average of 35%
  • Pay has fallen by 20% since 2009 and racial and gender pay gaps remain high
  • Casualisation has left 33% of staff on insecure contracts
  • Overwork has pushed staff to breaking point

Why this is happening

These attacks are part of a process of ‘marketising’ universities that has been ongoing for decades – making universities into private businesses that exploit staff for cheap work and students for rent and fees at the cost of education. You can read UCU General Secretary Jo Grady’s article on what’s at stake in the strike in Tribune here and to learn more about marketisation read Amelia Horgan’s report on Public Education after Covid19 for Common Wealth here.

Why we need student-staff solidarity

Attacks on staff working conditions are attacks on student learning conditions. This strike is about who our Universities work for – by winning it we can turn the tide and fight for free, democratised, decolonised education.

How we can win the strike

It’s staff and students that make the University run – by withdrawing their labour staff are using this power to defend themselves. Solidarity builds the strike, makes it more effective and pressures Universities to change course.

  1. Join the picket line – don’t go into uni – picket lines are demonstrations at the entrance to Universities on strike days to convince staff and students to join the strike. Find and join your local picket line and teach-out events.
  1. Convince others to support the strike read up on the strike, follow UCU, share information with friends and invite them to join you on the picket line. You can find a template motion for your SU to back the strike from NUS here if it hasn’t already.
  1. Build solidarity – bring motions of solidarity in your Union branch, Party branch and get any other groups you’re part of to support the strike, join the picket line and raise money for the UCU strike fund.
  1. Pressure the University – Write to your Vice Chancellor, your Member of Parliament, Councillors and @ them on social media in support of the strike. You can sign the National Union of Student’s letter to the employers organisations for University staff in support of the strike here and find an example letter to your VC from Edinburgh Student Staff Solidarity here.

You can find an explainer about UCU’s dispute from Soas here, and Edinburgh Student-Staff Solidarity have created this detailed explainer on the strike.

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