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We have no choice: strike together for fair pensions

21 February 2018 | last updated: 28 February 2018

On the eve of the biggest HE strike action ever Sally Hunt explains that the employers have left us with no choice.


This morning the Financial Times editorial called for UUK to come back to the negotiating table and make an improved offer.

Good idea. 

Why then are universities spending their time instead on such things as trying to hire PhD students to check if lecture halls are empty on strike days; using CCTV to check whether teachers have turned up; or telling staff who follow UCU's call for action that this may be "a disciplinary matter."

I first tried to solve this dispute more than six months ago and have spent pretty much every week since talking to university leaders trying to persuade them to work with rather than against UCU.

Please believe me when I say that where strike action is concerned I am far from trigger happy. But in this case, I believe that we have absolutely no choice.

Please therefore take this letter as the formal call for all UCU members in the institutions set out below this message to begin industrial action tomorrow. 

This means taking strike action, then supporting the action short of a strike.

Advice on taking action .

While you are on strike we will continue to email you with the email heading 'USS update' but to keep up to date with the latest on the dispute you can also sign up to Twitter and Facebook.

Please also download our out of office message so people know you are taking action in defence of your pension.

Finally remember that your local UCU branch is made up of volunteers. Strikes don't organise themselves and they need your help and support on the picket line and beyond.

I will be visiting as many branches as I can and I hope to see you there.

Good luck.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

  • For latest news during the strikes sign up to UCU's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Universities affected by strike action:
Aberdeen, University of
Aberystwyth University
Aston University
Bangor University
Bath, University of
Birkbeck College, University of London
Bristol, University of
Brunel University
Cambridge, University of
Cardiff University
City, University of London
Courtauld Institute of Art
Cranfield University
Dundee, University of
Durham University
East Anglia, University of
Edinburgh, University of
Essex, University of
Exeter, University of
Glasgow, University of
Goldsmiths, University of London
Heriot-Watt University
Hull, University of
Imperial College London
Institute of Education
Keele University
Kent, University of
King's College London
Lancaster, University of
Leeds, University of
Leicester, University of
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Liverpool, University of
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Loughborough University
Manchester, University of
Newcastle University
Nottingham, University of
Open University
Oxford, University of
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen's University Belfast
Reading, University of
Royal Holloway, University of London
Royal Veterinary College, University of London
Salford, University of
Senate House, University of London
Sheffield, University of
SOAS, University of London
Southampton, University of
St Andrews, University of
Stirling, University of
Strathclyde, University of
Surrey, University of
Sussex, University of
University College London
Scottish Association for Marine Science at University of the Highlands and Islands
Ulster University
University of Wales
University of Warwick
University of York