HE national disputes 2021

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Friday 19 November 2021

The Friday email: 19 November 2021

19 November 2021

University strikes announced: students pledge support

58 universities will now be hit with strike action from Wednesday 1 December to Friday 3 December following strong votes for action over pension cuts and pay and working conditions. The union's higher education committee (HEC) met last week and decided to call members out on strike and also for action short of a strike (ASOS) starting with working to contract from 1 December. Check if your institution is included in the list of striking branches here.If your branch missed the 50% turnout threshold, you may be reballoted with a view to joining the action next term. Look out for more details coming soon.

Meanwhile students have pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with striking staff and have published research showing 73% support our action. The NUS has also launched a petition calling on employers to come back to the table and meet our demands. You can donate to UCU's fighting fund here.

Further education members win new deals

Congratulations to further education (FE) UCU members who have secured agreements as part of the union's #JusticeForCollegeTeachers campaign. A new contract that protects conditions of service has been agreed for lecturers employed by United Colleges Group and at South Thames Colleges Group UCU members voted to accept an improved pay offer. These deals are the latest wins secured by UCU since some FE branches took action earlier in the year and show when we organise and take action together, workers can win.

Fighting back: Goldsmiths, Royal College of Art and University of Dundee  

There is a round up of all the latest UCU campaigns and how you can help here.

Disability and equality updates 

  • UCU's annual day of action for disability equality will also be held on Wednesday 24 November and the theme this year is discriminatory language and how we can challenge ableist attitudes that exclude disabled people. Get involved here.  
  • We're hosting an online discussion on the politics of disability on Wednesday 24 November 6pm-7pm. Ellen Clifford, award-winning author of The War on Disabled People, will join the conversation. Register and submit a question here.
  • We're pleased to announce we've added our name to the Disability Employment Charter, created to put pressure on government to end discrimination in the workplace against disabled people. Talk to your employer and ask them to sign up to the Charter.

COP26: climate and sustainability update

We were part of the International Trade Union Confederation's (ITUC) delegation to COP26 and supported Teach the Future and SOS-UK on Youth Empowerment day where a number of climate education pledges were made by some more progressive governments. UCU's focus is on mobilising members to fight for climate justice and a just transition narrative for education workers. We're also planning climate crisis themed teach outs as part of the forthcoming industrial action. More here.

UCU workload survey

UCU is surveying staff on workloads in universities, colleges, prison education, and adult education to provide evidence to support local and national campaigns and negotiation to reduce excessive workloads. It takes 25 minutes and you'll be entered for a prize draw. Please take the survey and encourage your colleagues to complete it too (whether they are UCU members or not). 

Vacancies for co-option of FE members to anti-casualisation committee

Further education members (including those working in adult and continuing education and prisons) are under-represented on our anti-casualisation committee (ACC) and qualifying members are invited to put themselves forward for co-option to run until the annual meeting in spring 2022. It's an ideal opportunity to observe the committee's work for those interested in getting more involved and no prior experience is required. Please contact Jane Thompson.

Please update your contact details 

Please check and update your contact and employment details as this will be important for upcoming ballots and campaigns.

Last updated: 19 November 2021