Regional co-ordinating meeting, open to all reps
Central London, 3.30pm, 4 March
[reserve the time + watch this space]
– hosted by UCL UCU – All UCU members welcome –
This meeting will be a chance to take stock of where we are in Week 3 before the Week 4 (5 day) strike begins. Picket lines have held up well, especially when you consider that for many members, Monday 2nd represented the 14 day point!
In the last week we organised one impromptu lobby of UCEA, one strike assembly and one march to the City – and we were only on strike for 3 days!
We have to up our organisation and initiative in preparation for the 5-day strike week. If the employers make concessions, we know they will try to drag it out. One of the things we can do as London Region is take initiatives.
So come to this meeting, bring reps, strikers, supporters and friends.
The London Region solidarity meeting on Day 4 of the latest HE strikes saw Labour, trade union leaders and strikers come together to raise money and show their support for UCU members taking action.
Speaking from the platform, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell pledged that “we will do all we can in parliament to support you”, adding “the battle is here, it’s on the picket lines and it’s in the streets.”
Mark Serwotka PCS general secretary pledged his union would make a donation “in the thousands” to the union hardship fund. Alongside big pledges from national leaders of Unite, NEU, PCS and other unions, the meeting heard how Brent teachers had voted to make a donation of £500.
Similar donations and pledges to collect were announced from UNISON branches. RMT workers arrived with a collection of £65 they had just made at the Waterloo depot. The UCU branch for the UAL is raising money for its hardship fund using Go Fund Me and had raised over £2,000 within the first few days of action.
A rep from Tower Hamlets Unison informed the meeting it had donated £500 to Queen Mary’s UCU. Speakers from the platform and the floor applauded the action being taken and see our fight on pensions, equality workload, an end to precarious contracts and pay as part of a wider battle for social justice. City and Islington College UCU offered their solidarity to the meeting. They have collected £300 from members and are organising a levy for HE strikers.
CWU President Jane Loftus gave her union’s solidarity to the dispute, explaining that CWU members are reballoting for strike soon, and declared “it’s all the same dispute — the system is broken.”
Colleen Johnson NEU Executive member brought solidarity greetings and spoke movingly about the discrimination taking place within education as cutbacks and marketisation left disabled workers without adaptations and working on precarious contracts.
UCU Open University President Lesley Kane explained that the current strike wave has its roots in UCU’s ongoing campaign against casualisation. She described how the last USS strike had given her branch the confidence to take on their employers and win a significant victory that saw 4000 OU staff moved from casual to permanent contracts. Debby Pope from the Chicago Teachers Union spoke of their successful strikes last year that won concessions on pay, hours and support for students and how solidarity helped them.
The meeting was an important initiative by the Region and it reflected the fantastic support that exists across the whole of the trade union movement for UCU’s strike action. Our sister unions are ready and willing to help us, and they see our action as the first step in the fight back against against this government and for social justice. As Richard Burgon MP told the meeting “The Trade Union movement is now the official opposition to austerity.”
Tuesday 25 February, 6pm
Tudor Room, Imperial Hotel, 61 Russell Sq, London WC1B 5BB
Nearest tube: Euston / Russell Sq / King’s Cross St Pancras – Map
Speakers include (click to see video):
- John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor
- Jane Loftus, CWU President
- Richard Burgon MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
- Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary
- Colleen Johnson, NEU Executive, Disabled Members rep
- Howard Beckett, UNITE Assistant General Secretary
- Ian Hodson, BFAWU President
- Lesley Kane, Open University UCU branch president
- Sean Bradley, school student
55,OOO UCU members across the UK have started 14 days of strike action this week. Our fight is to defend our pensions, pay, working conditions and to secure equal pay and end the scourge of caualisation.
The employers and the government have been taken by surprise of the scale of our resistance and our determination to win. By striking to end casualisation we are also ensuring that we can give our students the education they deserve.
We are not alone in this fight. The whole of the trade union movement is with us. They too face the same insecure contracts, cuts in their wages and pensions. They recognise a victory for us will also be a victory for the whole of the working class movement.
Workers from across London will be attending the assembly to demonstrate their solidarity with our fight.
Must Try Harder! Stop the Race to the Bottom
We want Decent Jobs on Decent Pay!
End the shameful race and gender Pay Inequality!
Tackle the Workload Crisis!
Stand up for Proper Pensions
Defend our Pension! #NoDetriment!
Rally 12.30 @ Woburn House, Tavistock Square WC1H 9HU Map
Staff in seventy-four universities across the UK begin a fourteen day strike today, 20 February. But the strike could end if the employers’ organisations, UCEA and UUK, make credible offers to end the disputes.
We need national agreements from UCEA to stop the race to the bottom in our sector. We need UUK to step up and stop ‘de-risking’ of USS, and work with UCU to insist USS Ltd safeguard the Defined Benefit scheme (aka ‘A Proper Pension’) for the future.
Both organisations have their headquarters in one place — Woburn House, on the corner of Tavistock Square in Central London. Come to this lobby to mark the first day of the strike and put pressure on the employers to help us end it.
Bring students, colleagues and friends. You don’t have to be on strike to lobby the employers!
There will be a strike meeting hosted by UCL UCU from 1.30 afterwards where strikers and supporters can share their experiences of the picket line and plan the next steps.
After the Election: Build the Fightback
Organising for Higher Education Strike Wave 2
Building the Union and Fighting to Win
Saturday 25 January, 11-4pm
Engineering Building, Malet Place
University College London
Called by UCU branches at Brighton, Cambridge, Goldsmiths, Imperial College, Manchester, Newcastle, Queen Mary and UCL. Organised by UCU London Region.
Our union is on a war footing in Higher Education to defend pay and pensions, and to fight casualisation, rising workload and pay inequality. The first wave of HE strike action saw 60 universities strike for eight days over pay and pensions. Many more are now reballoting. HE Sector Conference voted for 14 further strike days in the Spring Term and for branches to start strategic planning to hit the Summer Term.
The whole post-16 sector is under threat from cuts and government-driven market chaos. The Nottingham College strike was a fight for survival at the sharp end. Boris Johnson’s Brexit Government presents new threats — to funding, jobs and to members rights to stay in the UK. What is clear is that it falls to trade unionists to defend our members and our sector now.
Ordinary members are leading pickets and getting involved in their union with a gusto. We have a huge responsibility.
This one-day meeting is organised to give reps from all over the UK, in FE and HE, a chance to meet to discuss how we can best defend our sector, how we can build our union and fight to win.
||Introductory remarks: striking back after the election – with French railway striker
||Negotiation progress: what has been achieved and what is still at stake
- USS – Vicky Blake, Carlo Morelli
- Four Fights – Jo McNeill, Mark Abel
||– lunch break –
||Regional and branch organising for the strikes – and uniting the union
- Migrant members – Asiya Islam
||Reballoting for Summer Term action
Pass this motion through your branch:
[This branch*] resolves
- to build the industrial campaign, e.g. by organising meetings in departments, casualised staff groups, calling protests, etc., to [achieve a high turnout in the ballot and*] prepare for the forthcoming strike action planned for February;
- to support the national UCU activists meeting on 25 January in Central London, to advertise it among members, and to send [X*] delegates, covering expenses.
*amend as appropriate
1pm, Wednesday 4 December
Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, WC1H 9BD
Mike Rosen, TUC Disabled Members Committee, Alliance for Inclusive Education, NEU, UNISON, National Union of Students, Disabled People Against Cuts
+ UCU activists on #includeUS actions & where next for our strike
Dear UCU London Region colleague
UCU has announced eight days of strike action in Higher Education starting on 25 November. See the official UCU strike date annoucement.
There are two legally distinct disputes, with two different employer groups involved in negotiating issues. This makes things a little complicated! But our members have given UCU a very strong mandate to negotiate and a strong mandate to lead action.
We now know the dates and can start planning.
There are many lessons of the USS dispute in 2018. But a key one concerned the importance of preparation and collective organisation across the region. London Region was very effective in linking up branches, and in taking London-wide initiatives (including two major demos and rallies, but also other protests).
London Region UCU has called a strike coordinating meeting this Thursday, 7 November, from 6.30-9pm in the Ricardo Lecture Theatre, B03, Drayton House, Gordon Street UCL.
- This meeting is open to branch reps and UCU members alike.
- Drayton House is behind Friends Meeting House (opposite Euston Station) on Gordon Street. » Map
With some branches taking strike action, and others unable to take it, there are some questions of basic solidarity we should consider. HE branches that are not being called out will still be part of one or both of these disputes.
- Where reballoting is going to take place, we should discuss how striking branches might also be able to facilitate that reballot.
- Striking branches should ideally have daily strike committee meetings. We might facilitate non-striking branches to book venues and host strike meetings, teach outs, etc.
We should also start thinking about what initiatives we can take regionally.
The dates will coincide with some key dates. 29 November is the next climate strike date and 4 December is UCU’s Day of Action on Disability. One thing that worked well in 2016 was themed strike days – we could start making plans for those.
We should also consider regional rallies etc.
These are just a few ideas. Please discuss with colleagues and bring your own ideas to the meeting this Thursday.