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Taking action in higher education

Campaign update: 1 July 2016


Brexit fallout: letter to Sajid Javid, TES report and your institution

On Monday Sally Hunt wrote to business secretary Sajid Javid seeking urgent assurances on the government's support for further (FE) and higher education (HE) following last week's EU referendum.

The result has major implications for universities and colleges, not least in terms of the financial impact, with UK institutions in receipt of significant funding from EU projects and students from across the EU supporting thousands of jobs in the education sector. Speaking in the TES, Sally has warned that FE faces 'a period of considerable political and economic uncertainty'

UCU is collating data on the impact of 'Brexit' on funding and staff. If you have information on how your institution is likely to be affected, please contact Matt Waddup on

HE pay campaign - further strike action this week and next!

Members at 51 universities across the UK were on strike once again this week as part of a summer of protest for fair and equal pay in higher education. More branches will be taking action next week, with staff at 32 institutions due to walk out on Tuesday alone. You can see all the action as it happens over at our wall of support and please continue to post picket-line pictures and send messages of solidarity on Twitter using our #fairpayinHE hashtag.

Reimagining FE conference

The Reimagining Further Education conference supported by UCU took place at Birmingham City University this week, with speakers including David Russell and Paul Hager. Prof Hager talked about the dangers of sector privatisation and warned delegates not to let FE become 'a cash cow for entrepreneurs'.

Other news this week

1. In the news

  • UCU writes to business secretary demanding assurances for education in Brexit fallout
  • Strikes continue in universities across the UK
  • The problem of casualisation in further education
  • New report warns higher fees would stop poorest from going to university
  • UCU warns against allowing private equity companies to buy out colleges

Read all about it here.

2. UCU report: increase in tuition fees would stop poorest from going to university

If university fees go up, young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds would be most likely to be deterred from going to university, warned a UCU-backed report released yesterday. 'Does Cost Matter?', produced by the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) and supported by UCU, found that an increase in fees would see young people who are eligible for free school meals most likely to reconsider going to university, followed by non-white young people. Sally Hunt told Times Higher Education that there was a "very real danger" that higher fees would "damage progress made by widening participation initiatives"

3. Strike action at South Downs College

UCU members at South Downs College took strike action on Tuesday and Thursday this week, with further strikes planned for 4 and 5 July. The College is threatening to sack staff who refuse to accept pay cuts (up to 3.3%), cuts in holiday and reduced redundancy notice. Messages of solidarity can be sent to

4. UCU at Glastonbury

UCU returned to the Glastonbury Festival this year, raising money for the Greener Jobs Alliance - see our report here. If you're interested in raising funds for your branch at next year's festival, speak to your branch officers about contacting the Workers Beer Company.

5. PeoplePlus branch news

Featuring news from UCU congress and information on the review of prison education, the newsletter for PeoplePlus members is out now.

Last updated: 23 October 2017