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All out for USS

We need to talk about UUK

26 February 2018 | last updated: 28 February 2018

UCU's general secretary frustrated by the 'talks' that aren't talks.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt wrote to USS members late on Sunday night ahead of the second week of strike action to explain why the walkout continues:

Quotation For days the universities minister Sam Gyimah and other politicians have been calling on both UUK and UCU to agree to 'talks without preconditions'.

On Friday, Universities UK finally told the press they would agree to negotiations with UCU next Tuesday.

That is the good news.

The bad news is that UUK is insisting on the utterly bizarre 'precondition' that these talks cannot discuss the proposed cuts to your pension. 

This is very frustrating.

The weekend has brought another round of dreadful headlines for UUK including the latest outlandish expenses claims by vice-chancellors. It has also brought news that Cambridge and Bristol universities have joined colleagues in calling for urgent national negotiations. Surely at some point the hardliners who control UUK's negotiating position must realise that they need to stop spinning and start talking.

Let me explain UCU's position.

Next week's strikes stay on. In fact your support for these strikes is even more important for reasons I will explain.

We will be attending the talks on Tuesday in good faith, seeking a solution. That will need the employers to do the same and that will mean they must re open the position they have taken which has caused this dispute. If they won't do that they leave no room for agreement.

We have momentum on our side. 3,000 new members have joined the union to take action alongside you in recent days.

But as UCU gets ready to face the employers on Tuesday we need a real show of strength from you and from our brilliant students in the coming days.

I know most of you are supporting the strikes by staying away from work.

I know its bitingly cold too.

But on Monday or any other of the strike days please, if you can, help the union by turning up to the picket line to show your support.

When vice-chancellors look out of the window I want them to see that the strikes are as strong as ever.

Your action is making a real difference.

Thank you again for your support.'

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