Report From Strike Solidarity Assembly on Tuesday 25 Feb

Report From Strike Solidarity Assembly on Tuesday 25 Feb

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.”

UCU strike solidarity assembly, 25 February

UCU strike solidarity assembly, 25 February

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):


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.

March from UCEA/UUK to The City – 26 February

March from UCEA/UUK to The City – 26 February

March for Education

The Money’s There – Where’s Our Share?

#FourFights #DefendUSS


Demonstrate 26 February


Assemble 12.00 in Tavistock Square WC1
12 Noon: Rally outside UCEA/UUK HQ with speakers
March to the City at 1.30pm
via Malet St, Russell Sq, Aldwych, Fleet St
Ends at Bank 3pm
Post-demo strike meeting, Rich Mix, Shoreditch 3.30pm


Videos

Beginning of march and protest outside USS offices

Angela Rayner

 

Staff in seventy-four universities across the UK will mark the end of the first five-day strike period on 26 February.

On that date, to bring the strike movement together, London Region UCU are organising a march from UCEA/UUK offices to the City of London.

We must unite to march for Education. It is time to stand up to the City fat cats, speculating on campuses and hoping to profit from the wrecking of our pensions. (The City is also where USS Ltd are based.)

Programme

12 Noon Assemble for the Demo at Tavistock Square outside Woburn House, home of UCEA and UUK

12 – 1pm Outdoor rally in Tavistock Square

We have a flat bed truck with PA system to address the crowd.

There will be guest speakers and opportunity for members to speak.

1 – 3pm March to City of London

The march will go via Malet Street and Southampton Row down to Aldwych and the Strand, and then turn left towards the City. We will march along Fleet St to Bank tube.

We will have a few speeches there before dispersing.

We want to have a good visible showing with banners outside the Royal Exchange building. The money is there…

More information: see Route

3.30-6pm Post-demo strike meeting, Rich Mix, Shoreditch, hosted by UCL UCU

We have called a strike meeting at the end of this phase to give reps a chance to talk to each other and plan phase 2.

This will be an important meeting. It will be a chance for a proper discussion between colleagues and branches about the next steps in the strike. Our demo will mark the end of the first phase, but we need to discuss what next before we embark on two weeks of four and five-day strikes.

Transport: You can walk to Shoreditch up the A10 Bishopsgate, but there is an easier option. There are several buses that take you direct from Bank/Threadneedle Street to Rich Mix. Two buses drop you outside Rich Mix. (Alight at: Bethnal Green Rd/Shoreditch High St.) Bus 8 from Bank Station (Stop C) and Bus 388 from Bishopsgate at the top of Threadneedle St.

Route

routeClick to enlarge.

Pensions, Pay and Planet demonstration, 29 November

Pensions, Pay and Planet demonstration, 29 November

ppp2
Demo outside Downing St

More info

Solidarity March and Rally: Planet + Pay + Pensions

Solidarity with the University Strikes & School Student Climate Strike

Demonstrate 29 November

Assemble Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY

Assemble 11am — Depart 12 noon

March to Parliament for a rally at Westminster Central Hall

Speakers to be confirmed

Resources

Route

route

2nd USS demo 2018

Solidarity rally & GTVO – 29 Jan 2019

6pm, Tuesday 29 January

Lecture Theatre 505,
5th floor, Maths / UCL student union building
25 Gordon Street WC1

Speakers include UCU, UNISON, Kevin Courtney NEU

Called by London Region UCU and Camden UNISON

Nearest tube: Euston / Euston Sq.

  • Show your solidarity
  • Learn from workers fighting back
  • Get the vote out in Higher Education

We have all suffered for over a decade a wage cut in real terms. Employers tell us the money is not there to pay us a decent living whilst their pay packets soar. Increasingly workers across different sectors are saying enough is enough!

Further Education colleges on the 29/30th January will start their second phase of strikes by taking two more days of strike action over pay. Traffic Wardens on the 4th February will enter their third phase of strikes to secure a decent living wage. In Higher Education seventy thousand workers across 143 Universities are being balloted for strike over pay.

Apologies for not being able to make the rally but you can rest assured that I support your campaign for fair pay. A decade of austerity has left far too many workers facing real difficulties making ends meet, whilst the richest have seen their living standards rise.

Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity. A Labour government would reverse austerity and make sure that no one in work struggled to support themselves and their families. I call upon all those in the trade union movement to show support for these campaigns.

Good Luck. In Solidarity – John McDonnell MP shadow chancellor

Resources

Open Solidarity Meeting for trade unionists – postponed

Organising solidarity with strikers in our universities

StrikingForEquality

Monday 12 June, 6pm

Executive Suite, 1st Floor, Front Engineering Building, University College London
(Torrington Place WC1, opposite Waterstones)

Update (10 June):

Over several months, outsourced cleaners at LSE and security guards at Senate House have been taking strike action, with support from their unions, the UVW and IWGB, in pursuit of basic workers’ rights. Their demands include implementing equal treatment with employed staff, paying sick pay, maternity pay and agreed pay rises, offering a pension, and ending ‘disguised’ zero hours contracts.

The workers’ treatment by our universities is a disgrace. The outsourcing companies are multinational employers that can easily afford to pay up. If the workers win, it will be a victory for outsourced workers, but their victory will also benefit every in-house worker in London colleges. It will show that outsourcing won’t stop us fighting for our rights.

We say: their fight is our fight! It is time to get organised to support the strikers.

Pledge your support for the UCU boycott of London Metropolitan University

LATEST – UCU calls for an international comprehensive academic boycott of London Metropolitan University

Boycott!

Sign the pledge

How you can support the boycott

Members are asked to support the academic boycott in any way that they can. This may include not doing the following at London Met:

  • applying for any advertised jobs
  • speaking at or organising academic or other conferences
  • giving guest lectures
  • accepting positions as visiting professors or researchers
  • writing for any academic journal which is edited at or produced by the institution in question
  • accepting new contracts as external examiners for taught courses
  • collaborating on new research projects.

NB: UCU members employed by LMU itself must not participate in the academic boycott in order to protect their contractual position. 

Please note that the above advice will not ordinarily preclude members from supporting the boycott with regard to such things as refusing to apply for, or accept an external examiner’s contract, choosing not to provide a visiting lecture at LMU, choosing a research partner and so on since these are generally matters of individual academic autonomy. Members in any doubt about their contractual position should seek the union’s advice before acting.

For the avoidance of doubt, where any of the above activities forms part of your existing contractual duties or where you are otherwise unsure about this you should only refrain from doing them after your head of department (or line manager) has given you prior permission to do so. UCU is not asking or encouraging academics to act in breach of their contracts of employment.

If you have any queries please contact Matt Waddup at mwaddup@ucu.org.uk

What you can do to support London Met UCU

Even if you do not currently engage in any of these activities, we ask you to make a public commitment to boycott in advance, and ask your colleagues to do likewise.

Further, we ask you to write to London Met’s Vice Chancellor and Chair of Governors to pledge your support for our campaign:-

Finally, we ask you to do your utmost to publicise the boycott and the issues at stake.


Letter – Resist the privatisation of HE – we pledge our solidarity to London Met UCU

An abridged version of this letter appeared in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday 6 August 2016.

We the undersigned, commit ourselves to a campaign of solidarity and support for the UCU branch at London Metropolitan University (LMU), in their battle for the future of the university.

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