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Taking action in higher education

Campaign update: 10 June 2016


Higher education (HE): Winchester lead the way - many more to follow!

UCU members at the University of Winchester are taking strike action today as part of our national campaign for fair pay in HE. Every branch will be holding a day of strike action - the timing of which is determined locally for maximum effect - as part of our national campaign in the coming weeks.

You can show your support for colleagues at Winchester today - and help get the message out to prospective students - by tweeting with the #hellowinch hashtag, which is also being used by the university for their open day.

Edinburgh, Kent, Sussex, University of the West of Scotland, Glasgow, Bristol, Bath, Essex, Coventry all follow next week, targeting exam boards, open days and more besides. With pay down 14.9% against inflation since 2009, and a pay offer of just 1.1% this year, effective, well-supported action is needed to bring the employers back to the negotiating table.

Further education (FE): South Downs College staff balloted for action

Staff at South Downs College are being balloted for strike action in a row over new contracts which will see lecturers losing annual leave and pay, alongside a reduced redundancy notice period. With the college threatening to dismiss staff who refuse to sign the contract, it's clear that not only do these proposals hurt staff but they also threaten the institution's reputation, calling into question their ability to attract the best staff in future. The ballot closes on Monday.

Stand up for teacher education: lobby of parliament on Monday 13 June
On Monday, members will lobby MPs against the government's planned changes to teacher education. For more information or to join the lobby at the Houses of Parliament - which will run from 2-4pm in Committee Room 5 with speakers including shadow education secretary Lucy Powell - please email

Other news

1. In the news

  • Industrial action escalates in universities
  • Minister urged to force universities to come clean on senior pay
  • Teacher training reforms will hit teacher recruitment, warns UCU
  • Students overwhelmingly reject university fee rises linked to government teaching plans
  • Nervous vice-chancellors staying quiet on controversial government extremism measures

Read all about it here.

2. Stand up for reps at London Met: John McDonnell MP joins the campaign

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell MP has thrown his weight behind UCU's campaign against redundancies at London Metropolitan University. Long standing UCU officers Mark Campbell and David Hardman are among those targeted for redundancy. Mr McDonnell said he was 'shocked to hear about management's attempts to sack around 1/3 of the university's substantive workforce... [and] massively increase the scourge of casualisation... stay strong and united and I will support you all the way'.

Over 2000 people have now signed the petition against redundancies and trade union victimisation at London Met - please help the campaign against job cuts and join with us to stand up for our UCU reps.

3. Sponsored walk for UCU fighting fund

UCU member Jeff Waistell will be walking the 268 mile Pennine Way this July - and he's doing it all for the UCU fighting fund. The Pennine Way is a huge undertaking - both Jeff and the fighting fund are worthy of your support, so please do consider making a donation here.

4. Help save jobs at Dundee University

UCU are currently balloting members at Dundee University with the prospect of compulsory redundancies in humanities and medicine being threatened once again. Staff and students have been campaigning to save jobs - please sign the petition and send messages of support to branch president Ian Ellis.

5. The alternative white paper for HE - launch event, 13 June

This Monday will see the launch of 'In Defence of Public Higher Education: Knowledge for a Successful Society', the alternative white paper for education, published by the Convention for Higher Education and written by UCU members. The event takes place from 4:30pm at Portcullis House, Westminster and speakers include Gordon Marsden, Caroline Lucas UCU Vice-President Joanna de Groot.

Last updated: 23 October 2017