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The Friday email: 27 January 2023

27 January 2023

UCU Rising: strike action begins on 1 February

UCU members in higher education are taking 18 days of strike action across February and March beginning on Wednesday 1 February. You can:

Please note that action short of a strike (ASOS) began on Wednesday 23 November (Friday 18 November for Northern Ireland) and continues to be LIVE; this includes:

  • working to contract
  • not covering for absent colleagues
  • removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action
  • not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action
  • not undertaking any voluntary activities.

The main FAQ and various sub-FAQs (e.g. for migrant members taking action) have been fully updated. You can also download many new resources here. Members can see a lot of the action unfolding on this page; please use the hashtag #ucuRISING on social media.

There is also detailed guidance regarding UCU's fighting fund here.

The union has also announced a re-ballot of members in both our pay and conditions, and USS disputes. We will confirm the full re-ballot timetable very soon. In anticipation of this, please check and update your details on MyUCU especially your preferred postal address.

Respect FE: campaigning in colleges in 2023

Further education (FE) workers are keeping up the pressure on college bosses in support of our Respect FE campaign for better pay, manageable workloads and professional respect, with several branches taking or balloting for industrial action and others settling with improved deals.

Sheffield College staff will go on strike on Monday 30 January, Tuesday 7 February and Thursday 9 February after receiving a pay offer of just 2.5%.

Members at Havant and South Downs College (HSDC) are being balloted for industrial action. HSDC has made a pay offer of between 4.3% to 2.6% across different grades. The ballot will close on Friday 3 February.

We will be communicating with UCU further education members and branches in the coming weeks over the Respect FE campaign. Meanwhile:

Elections for UCU officer and national executive committee (NEC) positions

Ballots for UCU officer and national executive committee (NEC) positions opened on Thursday 26 January. A live online hustings event for the positions of UCU vice-president (becoming president in 2025-26) and honorary treasurer will take place on Thursday 2 February, 12:30-14:00. Please register in advance using this registration form.

Elections for honorary treasurer of UCU Scotland and members of the UCU Scotland executive committee also opened on Thursday 26 January and ballot materials should be arriving with Scotland-based members shortly.

Threat of redundancies at University of East Anglia

University of East Anglia's threats to make compulsory redundancies across the workforce have been followed by silence from university management. After a 700-strong all-staff meeting called by UCU, UNISON and Unite, no plans to avoid redundancies have been tabled by UEA. The unions' requests for financial information and university expenditure have not been answered. UEA UCU branch are preparing campaigning activity under the banner of a dispute to save all jobs and to challenge the lack of clear plans and information. Support amongst the local and wider community is building; messages of solidarity can be sent to the branch via UEA UCU's Twitter account.

Organising for Power training 2023

The next round of the Organising for Power training series, 'The Core Fundamentals', launches on 8 February 2023. There are six weekly sessions on Wednesdays from 17:00-19:00, led by Jane McAlevey and a team of trainers from trade unions all over the world. If you want to increase membership in your workplace, build campaigns and win big collective victories, follow the link to find out more and register your group of at least 10 participants.

Standing together to oppose the hostile environment, 28 January

Tomorrow (Saturday 28 January) 10:00-15:30, the UCU migrant members' standing committee (MMSC) is hosting a conference on opposing the hostile environment with migrant rights organisers and trade unionists. Speakers include Dr S Chelvan, Regularise, JCWI, TUC, FBU and more. Click here to sign up now and receive a Zoom link.

PGR cost of living crisis

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Students has launched an inquiry on the cost of living crisis for students. The inquiry must take into account the experiences of postgraduate students who still have student status. UCU has put together a survey to help inform our submission to the inquiry. If you are a current PGR, please complete it and share widely with PGR colleagues. The deadline for responses is 12 February 2023.

Trades Union Congress (TUC) LGBT+ committee

UCU is looking for LGBT+ members who would like to be nominated for the Trades Union Congress (TUC) LGBT+ committee. Please register your interest by completing this form by Thursday 2 February 17:00.

Last updated: 27 January 2023