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Dispatches from the picket lines, Wednesday 23 February

23 February 2022

Image: 'Striking is an act of hope',
Liverpool Hope University UCU
Yesterday 68 universities were again on strike over the Four Fights and USS pension disputes. The presidential team could be spotted at picket lines at University of Brighton, University of Sussex, and Heriot-Watt University. You can click here to get a snapshot of the action that was unfolding across the UK, read this story on student occupations at a number of universities and the National Union of Students' (NUS) statement of solidarity on the occupations, and watch a video of the UCU/NUS 'Rally for Education' that took place at the Scottish Parliament yesterday afternoon.

I know many of you have been using UCU's tool to email your vice-chancellors over our Four Fights--casualisation and precarity; the gender, ethnic and disability pay gaps; dangerous workloads; and pay erosion. If you haven't already done so, please get sending and ask your students to do the same, so that we can collectively pressurise Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to come back to the negotiating table. If your colleagues and students need a quick refresher on what is at stake, you can use the infographics that were produced by the UCU campaigns team.

While we are focusing on the national disputes, I also wish to highlight some of the UCU branches that are fighting in their local disputes. Last Thursday I mentioned that Goldsmiths UCU has been battling against management's plan to sack 46 members of staff. Royal College of Art UCU will also continue to be on strike to end insecurity and unacceptable terms and conditions. Meanwhile, UCU members at Staffordshire University are now being balloted over industrial action because of plans to recruit all new academic staff into a subsidiary company; those new staff will then be denied access to the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS). Please click here for a roundup of local disputes, send messages of solidarity to those affected UCU branches, and consider donating to their local strike funds.

Finally, please also donate anything you can to the UCU fighting fund, especially if you are in a non-striking branch. You can buy one of CWU's 'Direct Action' mugs: UCU's fighting fund will receive £2 for every mug sold.  

We will resume our Four Fights on Monday 28 February; speak soon. 


Jo Grady 
UCU general secretary

Dispatches from the picket lines:
Monday 21 February
Thursday 17 February
Wednesday 16 February
Tuesday 15 February
Monday 14 February

Last updated: 3 March 2022