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Autumn action fists

Important: levy of UCU members to support our Fighting Fund

26 June 2020 | last updated: 6 July 2020

The UCU strike fund, known as the Fighting Fund, is an essential source of support for members who take strike action and face salary deductions from their employers. I am writing to inform you that UCU's national executive committee (NEC) has decided to authorise a levy of UCU members, to ensure that the fund can continue to be used to help our members defend their interests.

In the past two years, the Fund has supported industrial action to a level of approximately £4.5m. This has helped members achieve some tremendous victories in local and national disputes across further and higher education. Because of the unprecedented support provided to members over the past year in particular, the NEC has deemed that a levy of £15 per member is necessary.

The levy will be taken from each member's bank account in two instalments. The first instalment of £10 will be taken on 31 August, and the second instalment of £5 will be taken on 30 September. You do not need to do anything to make the payment: it will be taken automatically in the same manner as your direct debit subscription payments.

The levy is established under Rule 11 in UCU's rulebook as a mechanism that can be authorised by the NEC. The NEC voted to authorise the levy in February this year, as part of a series of decisions intended to maximise the support available to members taking action. The NEC also mandated me as general secretary to identify savings that could be made from UCU departmental budgets, and to raise funds from the wider trade union movement.

I am confident that UCU has raised and saved as much money as possible in the time available. We have made significant savings under various budget headings, and we have raised several hundred thousand pounds in donations. We have pursued every option available to us before triggering this levy.

All our sectors face significant challenges over the coming year. The economic effects of Covid-19 are already being passed on to staff in the form of job cuts and other detrimental measures, and this is likely to intensify. Without implementing the levy, we will not be able to support UCU branches to take action where it is most needed.

Over the past few weeks I have been attending meetings of branches in further and higher education to talk about our Fund the Future campaign to protect members' jobs and secure funding for post 16 education. A lot of members have been asking me: what can I do to support colleagues who are at the sharp end of this crisis? This levy is an important part of the answer. It is a collective act of practical solidarity which the whole union is taking to ensure that we are in a position to defend our most vulnerable members over the coming months.

I have provided answers to key questions in a separate FAQ.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

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