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Support striking colleagues: donate to the UCU fighting fund

Colleagues who can afford to do so are asked to consider a donation to the UCU fighting fund. Donations to the fund are spent on supporting members involved in important disputes. As always, members are asked to only contribute whatever their circumstances allow. Any amount will be gratefully received by members taking action.

Helping hand

Your support is needed

10 July 2021

UCU is determined to resist the current wave of job cuts and attacks on working conditions taking place in post-16 education throughout the UK and these campaigns are asking for your support.

    University of Aberdeen: defending jobs in modern languages

    A ballot for strike action opened at University of Aberdeen in a dispute over job cuts in the modern languages department. The ballot will run until Wednesday 7 February 2024 and could pave the way for strike action at the university.

    The ballot is being held because senior managers at University of Aberdeen are consulting on a proposal to end single honours degrees in modern languages meaning job losses. In December 2023 the university's senate, the body responsible for academic standards in the university, called for the consultation to be halted and for senate to be given the opportunity to consider the plans. Despite this, senior managers drove their plan through the important university court meeting on 12 December 2023 meaning around 30 people remain at risk of redundancy and face a worrying start to the new year.

    There has been widespread support for retaining modern languages with the university receiving letters from the consulates of the French, German, Spanish and Italian governments. A petition defending modern languages at the university has been signed by over 15,000 people. Click here for more information from Aberdeen UCU branch.

    Update, 9 February 2024: This week staff at University of Aberdeen backed strikes in a dispute over plans to end single-honours degrees in modern languages and put 30 staff at risk of redundancy. In the ballot of Aberdeen UCU members, 80% of those who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 60%. The local branch will meet to consider its next steps. Click here to read the full story and here for more information from Aberdeen UCU branch.

    Update, 23 February 2024: UCU Scotland announced that staff at University of Aberdeen will take six days of strike action over jobs cuts to modern languages and putting 30 staff at risk of redundancy. The dates are Tuesday 12 March, Thursday 21 March-Friday 22 March, Monday 25-Wednesday 27 March. Members will also begin action short of a strike (ASOS) including working to contract and not rescheduling classes cancelled as part of strike action. On Monday 26 February (17:30) there will be a public rally at New King's Building to 'Save Modern Languages', organised by the University of Aberdeen UCU branch and Aberdeen University Students' Association.

    Aston University: redundancy threat

    Around 60 academics in the college of engineering and physical sciences have been told they are at risk of redundancy at Aston University due to a proposal to close some chemistry programmes and rearrange many of the departments. As part of the fight against redundancies, Aston UCU has forced the University into extending the consultation period, and will continue to campaign with the aim of removing all threats of compulsory redundancy.

    Coventry Adult Education Service: stop the cuts

    Coventry City Council is proposing drastic cuts to services which threaten our members' jobs in adult education as well as opportunities for the people of Coventry. Reductions to central government funding have left the council looking to make savings by proposing to scrap centre creches and cut back on key staff. Please send messages of support to our Coventry Adult and Community Education (ACE) branch who are calling on the council to reverse the proposals.

    Education and Training Collective: strike action over low pay

    Staff at Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training Group, Stockton Riverside College, The Skills Academy and Redcar and Cleveland College--all of which are part of employer group Education Training Collective (ETC)--will begin strike action next month as part of an ongoing dispute over low pay. The strike dates include Tuesday 7 November, Monday 13 November and Tuesday 14 November 2023. Click here for full details.

    Update, 28 November 2023: UCU today announced three new days of strike action at ETC colleges. The first strike in this round would take place on Wednesday 13 December. Further strikes are also set to go ahead on Tuesday 9 January and Wednesday 10 January 2024.

    Update, 12 January 2024: UCU members at five further education colleges in Cleveland, Redcar and Stockton-on-Tees have been on strike on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 January in a long-running dispute over low pay, which was covered by ITVBBC and The Morning Star. UCU members at the colleges overwhelmingly rejected an offer of 3% for 2022/23, and have also voted to reject a further offer of an additional 1%--which was only to be paid for three months of that financial year. Staff have already taken four days of strike action since November 2023, but the employer has responded by offering two 'well-being days' and nothing on pay. Chris Robinson, UCU regional support official (Northern region), said: 'Thank you to everyone who has shown support for our action this week, which was well supported by members. Our resolve is still strong, and is buoyed by your solidarity'. You can send the branch a message of support and share our posts on X/Twitter.

    Update, 21 February 2024: UCU members at Education Training Collective will be re-balloted for strike action over the 2022/23 pay award. This follows members' overwhelming rejection of the last proposal brought forward by management.

    Goldsmiths, University of London: large scale redundancies

    An industrial action ballot has opened on Friday 1 March 2024 in a dispute over potential large scale redundancies associated with a so-called 'Transformation programme'. Goldsmiths management are proposing to find huge financial savings in an extremely short time, which UCU believes is disproportionate and misguided, and which will destabilise the institution, increase workloads further, and severely impact student satisfaction and recruitment. The ballot will close on Thursday 28 March.

      University of the Highlands and Islands: job cuts

      A ballot for strike action opened on Friday 18 August 2023 at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) in a dispute over job cuts and compulsory redundancies. The ballot would run until 20 September and could pave the way for strike action at the university in the new academic year.

      Update, 8 September 2023: UHI UCU branch is asking members to sign their open letter to the university principal and management. The letter has had a great response so far, but the more people who sign the louder the message to management to rethink their massive cuts, rule out compulsory redundancies and stop damaging higher education in the highlands and islands.

      Update, 20 September 2023: Staff at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) have this week backed strikes in a dispute over plans to slash £3million from the university's staffing budget and cut up to 44 roles. The union said losing so many staff in such a short timescale was bound to impact on both the student experience, the university's reputation ,and the future of tertiary education in the  Scottish highlands and islands. In the ballot of UHI UCU members, 77% of those who voted backed strike action on a turnout of 86%.

      Update, 6 October 2023: UCU Scotland has announced dates for strike action at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). The strike is over the university's plans to cut £4 million, including £3 million from the staff budget and making up to 44 roles redundant. UHI UCU members will take six days of strike action starting on Tuesday 17 October and escalating through to the start of November. The employer has taken no steps to prevent the strike going ahead. Politicians across the Highlands and Islands have also called for talks and consultation between the union and the university.

      Update, 13 October 2023: The UCU branch at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) will be taking the first of six days of strike action on Tuesday 17 October. The dispute is over £3m cuts to the staffing budget and making up to 44 roles redundant. Please send messages of solidarity to the branch.

      Update, 20 October 2023: UCU members at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) began the first of six days of strikes on Tuesday 17 October. The strike is over £4 million cuts the university is making, including £3 million from the staffing budget meaning that up to 44 roles are being made redundant. In the ballot approving strike action, turnout was 86% with 77% of UCU members backing going on strike to defend jobs and oppose cuts. Please send messages of solidarity to the branch.

      Update, 27 October 2023: UCU members at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) are taking six days of strike action over £4 million cuts the university is making, including £3 million from the staffing budget. The next strike days are Tuesday 31 October, Wednesday 1 November and Thursday 2 November.

      You can support UHI colleagues by donating to their fighting fund (details below), and by sending messages of support to the branch. Officers from UHI UCU branch are available to speak at branch meetings, please email the UCU Scotland office to be put in touch. You can also follow the branch latest updates here, and sign their petition here

      For donations to UHI fighting fund:

      • account name: UCU UHI Millennium Inst SC019
      • account number: 20240808
      • sort code: 60-83-01

      Update, 14 February 2024: On 14 February, UCU and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) signed a trade union recognition and procedural agreement establishing arrangements for information, consultation, and negotiation on employment matters. Congratulations to UHI UCU branch and colleagues in UCU Scotland for their hard work. You can read the full joint press release here.

        University of Kent: job cuts

        The University of Kent announced recently that there are likely to be up to 58 academic redundancies. This is on top of year on year cuts that have seen a dramatic decline in staffing. The current situation is entirely of the employer's own making: there is no reason, other than management failings, that Kent find themselves in this mess. UCU are determined to fight this academic vandalism and defend the university; show your support and sign this petition.

        Update, 23 February 2024: an industrial action ballot opened on Friday 23 February and will close on Friday 5 April.

        New College Durham: dispute over pay

        UCU members at New College Durham will be balloted for strike action over 2023/24 pay award. This follows an overwhelming rejection of the 4%, below inflation 2023/24 pay award offered by New College Durham. New College Durham is a college with no borrowing and no debt, which continues to spend significant amounts of money on capital expenditure.

        Northern Ireland further education: pay and conditions dispute

        In Northern Ireland there are six area-based regional colleges with centralised machinery for bargaining on pay and conditions. UCU negotiates with the employers through the Lecturers' Negotiating Committee. Click here for the latest updates on the 2022/23 negotiations.

        Northumbria University: dispute over compulsory redundancies

        UCU members at Northumbria University announced on 15 February 2024 that they declared an industrial dispute. University senior management has indicated that they will push through huge reductions in spending on staff, and has failed to rule out compulsory redundancies, even while insisting that the institution's 'underlying financial position remains very strong'. You can read the full story here including a joint statement by UCU and UNISON.

        Oxford Brookes University: defending jobs

        Oxford Brookes University has announced plans to reduce academic staff numbers in humanities and social sciences and technology, design and the environment leaving 48 jobs at risk of compulsory redundancy.

        UCU reps have challenged the need to make the proposed £2 million savings given the apparent positive financial situation of the university and concerns have also been raised about lack of meaningful consultation with the union and affected staff. 

        Update, 9 February 2024: In November 2023 management at Oxford Brookes University declared 48 jobs 'at risk' with 20 needing to be cut. Our campaigning, negotiating and balloting have reduced the number of compulsory redundancies to two. UCU still intend to reduce that number to zero. Please read and share UCU's open letter here and sign our petition to save jobs at Oxford Brookes University.

        Ravensbourne University London: attack on trade unions

        Following over twelve months of discussion between UCU and the employer, in November last year, UCU applied (with UNISON) for voluntary recognition at Ravensbourne University London. Ravensbourne responded by offering to negotiate, an offer which was accepted, and an initial negotiation meeting was scheduled for 10 January 2024. On 5 January, vice-chancellor Andy Cook pre-empted that negotiation and announced an independent ballot of all staff 'to gauge the level of support for formal trade union recognition' and 'to gauge the level of support to establish a Representative Staff Forum as an alternative to formal trade union recognition'.

        Deborah Driscoll, UCU regional support official (London HE), said: 'after months of stalling and telling us that they wanted to work with UCU, it seems that Ravensbourne's management have finally shown their true colours. It has now become apparent that the VC does not want to recognise independent trade unions and would prefer a toothless and ineffective "Representative Staff Forum" instead. Two petitions have shown overwhelming support for the application for recognition of UCU at Ravensbourne and we are ready to continue to make the case to the staff if there is a ballot. We are currently waiting for the university's proposals in writing before agreeing anything as we need to ensure that any vote would be genuinely free and fair. UCU are very alert to any hint of unfair practices by the university and would urge staff to get in contact with their local UCU branch if they have any concerns. The university has agreed not to put out any further communications to staff about firm ballot arrangements for the time being.'

        Update, 26 January 2024: UCU members at Ravensbourne University are campaigning for trade union recognition following management proposals to establish an alternative 'representative staff forum'. Staff are to be balloted on the two options by the university with provisional ballot dates of 4-17 March. UCU is arguing for formal recognition which would provide an agreed negotiating framework and give staff a voice to influence key decisions at Ravensbourne whereas the proposed management-controlled forum doesn't come with the same rights and obligations. Find out more about this important campaign by clicking here and support our demand for a seat at the decision-making table by following the branch on Instagram here.

        Update, 9 February 2024: Ravensbourne University London's ballot of staff on whether to have a 'staff forum' instead of independent trade union recognition is being exposed for vote-rigging. The employer is refusing to have a vote purely on whether staff want UCU to be recognised, is demanding a high turnout rather than a simple majority of those voting, and is insisting that UCU will not have access to staff to talk about the ballot unless it agrees to be 'locked out' of statutory recognition rights for three years. If you work at Ravensbourne, help us fight back against this union busting by voting for trade union recognition. You can also send messages of solidarity to the Ravensbourne UCU branch.

        SOAS, University of London: fire and rehire

        An indicative ballot has launched in February 2024 on taking strike action at SOAS over fire and rehire plans that place 34 staff at risk of losing their jobs and being rehired on worse terms and conditions. The cuts would eliminate all term time English-language and study skills support for international students.

        Staffordshire University: job cuts

        UCU vowed to fight devastating cuts at Staffordshire University. In a consultation document shared with UCU, the university has put over 100 jobs at risk of redundancy, with staff set to go as soon as December 2023. The cuts include up to 65 academic job losses, which equates to over one in 10 academic staff, and swingeing cuts to professional services staff.

        The proposed cuts to academic staff include up to 31 jobs in the school of justice, security and sustainability; eleven in the school of health, science and wellbeing; eight in the school of digital technologies and the arts; and six in the institute of education. 

        Tyne Coast College: low pay and job cuts

        Over 100 staff at Tyne Coast College downed tools in June 2023 in a fight over fair pay. Staff took part in strike action on Monday 5 and Wednesday 7 June. The College said it would be 'closed for lessons' during the strike days.  

        The strike came after 94% of those who voted backed strike action. Turnout was 54%. It was over the 2022/3 pay claim, which came on top of multiple real-term wage cuts and a recent pay freeze (2019/20).  The College was involved in controversy recently as it suddenly announced the closure of a key part of their provision, the sixth form at Queen Alexandra College. This provoked anger amongst parents and students, as well as the staff, and the local MP also took up the issue. The uproar forced the college into a partial U-turn.  

        Update, 19 September 2023: Over 100 staff at Tyne Coast College would take two days of strike action next month on Tuesday 3 and Monday 23 October in a long-running dispute over low pay. The latest action comes after management imposed a paltry pay award of just 3%, which staff had overwhelmingly rejected. Staff already took two days of strike action in the dispute. 

        Update, 20 October 2023: Strike action at Tyne Coast College was called off after the employer agreed to enter talks with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas). Staff took a day's strike action last month and had been due to walk out on Monday 23 October as part of a long running dispute over pay. The action came after management imposed a paltry pay award of just 3%, which staff had overwhelmingly rejected.

        Update, 19 January 2024: Tyne Coast College management announced this week that 54 staff were at risk of losing their jobs before the end of February. The union has written to the college demanding it stops all individual consultation meetings with impacted staff and starts meaningfully consulting with UCU as required by law. Staff at Tyne Coast College took strike action over low pay earlier in the academic year in a dispute that has still not been resolved. Messages of solidarity via email and Twitter/X are welcome.

        Update, 29 February 2024: Around 20 staff, with decades of experience, will exit Tyne Coast College today, UCU confirmed. The departures come after Tyne Coast College management told staff many would lose their jobs in a bid to make cuts of up to £1 million with more cuts still threatened for the summer. 


        Recent wins and resolutions: showing the power of the union

        Milton Keynes College prison education: pay win

        Prison education UCU members at Milton Keynes College have overwhelmingly voted to accept a pay increase of 8.5% for staff earning under £43,000 per annum and 6.5% for staff earning above that. This is a great achievement and will go some way towards addressing the impact that years of pay stagnation and high inflation have had on salaries. The pay agreement also includes a commitment to award a one-off lump sum to staff by March 2024, and a commitment to reviewing pay scales by working towards a more equitable and consistent pay framework.

        Novus: 9% pay win for prison educators

        UCU members at Novus prison education branch have overwhelmingly voted to accept the employer's offer of a 9% pay increase to all salaries. The offer is testament to the strength and unity of the branch and sets out firm foundations for the future of prison education. Well done to members and branch negotiators for their work on getting a strong pay deal.

        King's College London: settlement of local dispute

        King's College London (KCL) UCU agreed terms to settle the local dispute on London weighting, parental leave, childcare support, recognition and other terms and conditions which allowed them to end their local marking and assessment boycott. In more detail, the agreement was as follows:

        • a rise to £5,000 in London Weighting from December 2023, up from £3,500 in 2021
        • a rise of eighteen up to twenty weeks paid maternity leave, and two up to six weeks paid paternity leave
        • 20% childcare cost subsidies at Ofsted recognised providers for under three year olds
        • a new recognition agreement covering the processes of negotiation, consultation, information and dispute resolution
        • joint union-management working groups to address pay gaps, excessive workloads, and career progression including casualisation.

        KCL UCU members agreed to accept this package.

        Northeastern University London: win on pay

        Northeastern University London (formerly New College of the Humanities) UCU branch secured a number of significant wins in this year's pay negotiations, with the support of UCU London region office. Chief among them is the introduction of an academic pay spine, based on the national spine, bringing NU London's pay into alignment with other UK and London universities, as well as securing annual pay progression for staff throughout the full range of the grades. The agreed procedure for transferring staff to the new pay structure provides for assimilation upward into the new grades, resulting in large pay increases for lower-paid staff, together with additional spine point increments awarded for past years of service, so as to address and, as much as possible, remedy historical pay inequalities. In addition, union negotiators secured a 9% increase to spine point values for 2023-24, resulting in, on average a nearly 15% increase to salaries for the current academic year. Members of the branch--already large and growing--voted overwhelmingly to accept the offer.

        University of East Anglia: no compulsory redundancies

        University of East Anglia's threats to make compulsory redundancies across the workforce, announced in January 2023, 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.

        Update, 31 May 2023: UEA UCU held a statutory industrial action ballot over the redundancies dispute. On a turnout of 57.3%, 84.4% of UEA UCU members are prepared to take part in strike action and 83.8% say they are prepared to take part in action short of a strike (ASOS). The UEA UCU branch will determine the next steps.

        Update, 8 June 2023: UEA has recently announced that over 200 staff are at risk of redundancy with a target of 113 redundancies remaining. This is despite having lost over 100 jobs via voluntary severance and many more as a result of vacancies and planned posts being removed since January 2023. Staff are once again having to pay the price for the failure of senior leadership. The local UCU branch has just smashed the threshold for strike action and discussions have already begun on how they can take effective industrial action to resist the cuts and save jobs. Branches are encouraged to pass motions in support of UEA staff (template available here) and donate to the UEA UCU hardship fund. For further details, please email UEA UCU branch

        Update, 22 June 2023: Having announced 77 redundancies across professional services earlier this month, UEA announced details of its academic redundancies this week. 86% of these cuts fall in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, with 31 jobs set to be cut.

        Update, 22 September 2023: Members at University of East Anglia (UEA) voted to end the dispute with the employer following a guarantee from management that there would be no compulsory redundancies made as a result of the current savings proposals. It has taken nearly nine months to arrive at this position in a bitter dispute that resulted in the departure of the previous vice-chancellor, strike action, and the threat of significant further action at the start of term. This is a magnificent victory for UEA UCU members, although one tempered by the number of fantastic colleagues who have left UEA on a voluntary basis over the past few months. UEA UCU wishes to thank all members and branches that have offered support this year and would welcome requests for support from any branch suffering similar threats of redundancy. If they come for one of us, they come for all of us.

        Barnet and Southgate College: pay and workload dispute

        The long running pay (2020/21 and 2021/22) and workload dispute at Barnet and Southgate College has ended with members agreeing to accept a non-consolidated offer on pay, a reimbursement of some strike deductions and improvements on workload with a commitment to further talks in September 2023 on pay for 2023/24.

        Falmouth University: dispute over two-tier workforce

        In June 2023, UCU welcomed Falmouth University's decision to bring on-campus academic staff in-house from Tuesday 1 August 2023. The move means staff will automatically be enrolled onto the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS), which has employer contributions of 23.6%. UCU said that other employers should look to Falmouth and make sure their staff can access the sector's leading pension schemes. All new campus-based academic jobs will also be employed directly through the university, rather than a subsidiary company. The decision brings a long-running dispute to an end with Falmouth UCU members overwhelmingly voting to resolve the dispute and work constructively with management going forward. Click here for a video message from UCU general secretary Jo Grady.

        Below is a summary of key events in this dispute:

        • an industrial action ballot opened at Falmouth University on Monday 11 July 2022 and ran until Friday 19 August 2022. The ballot aimed to stop management creating a two-tier workforce using a wholly owned subsidiary company, with worse terms and conditions, which threatened national bargaining agreements made between UCU and universities
        • July 2022: Falmouth members were angered to read the new vice-chancellor trying to defend the use of Falmouth Staffing Ltd to employ new academics on inferior contracts in an all-staff email. Falmouth University UCU continued its 'get the vote out' efforts to fight against 'subcos' in higher education to defend national agreements in the post-92 sector
        • August 2022:  90% of Falmouth University UCU members who voted said YES to strike action to resolve a long-running dispute involving the creation of a two-tier workforce. Members smashed the threshold with a turnout of 62% to stop the privatisation of the university. Academic staff had been employed by 'Falmouth Staffing Ltd' since September 2021 and with it, the loss of access to the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS). Members would not stand by and watch the erosion of nationally agreed terms and conditions.
        • October 2022: Staff walked out from Monday 17 to Wednesday 19 October.

        Birmingham City University: local dispute on pay and working conditions

        Birmingham City University (BCU) UCU members, who are historically locked out of national bargaining, have won some significant gains locally. At the start of the pay year in August (2022) the branch was offered a 2% increase to be paid for by not awarding any increments for the current academic year.

        The branch engaged in a long dispute to push back. In early discussions BCU moved its position and offered only a further 0.5% increase plus some tapered one-off payments. The branch emphatically rejected this as a final settlement offer but agreed to take it as an interim payment while balloting members on industrial action. The interim payment was made in December 2022.

        The industrial action ballot was successful: 80.7% of members voted for strike action and 93.5% voted for action short of a strike (ASOS), with a turnout was 62.5%. Notice to take eleven days of strikes throughout March and April 2023 was served. That prompted further negotiations at Acas, which resulted in the branch winning a final offer from the employer consolidating a further 2.5% pay increase for the current year (on top of the 2.5% consolidated increase and the non-consolidated amounts already received in December 2022) with a further 3% to follow in August 2023. The University has also agreed to the award of an increment to all those eligible from August 2023.

        Crucially, BCU UCU branch has also won its long-term objective to establish formal collective bargaining machinery through the setting up of a joint negotiating and consultative committee (JNCC). JNCC will begin to review matters such as pay gaps, workload and casualisation--areas which the employer had not previously considered open for negotiation.

        University of Bath: ground-breaking anti-casualisation agreement

        University of Bath UCU has signed a ground-breaking agreement on a range of anti-casualisation issues with their employer. The agreement will benefit 286 staff immediately with a further 181 gaining in the following two years. Here are just a couple of the highlights:

        • the agreement commits to offering all postgraduate researchers who teach (GTAs) at least 0.1 FTE, a fractional salaried post with a commitment to working towards extending this to those on less than 0.1 FTE
        • in a genuinely ground-breaking approach (and one that UCU have been campaigning for) three pilots will be launched where all members of research groups will be moved onto open-ended contracts, with a timeline to see further roll-outs following evaluations of the initial pilots (one is already up and running). If the pilots are successful, the agreement commits to a roll-out of this approach in 2024/25. This would be a first in the higher education sector and its importance cannot be over-stated.

        Congratulations to Bath UCU and to all those involved in the negotiations that secured this agreement, including the fantastic local team and UCU South West England regional support official, Catriona Scott.

        Sheffield Hallam University: end of zero-hour contracts for associate lecturers

        On 10 March 2023, UCU declared a significant win against casualisation after Sheffield Hallam University agreed to move associate lecturers off zero-hour contracts.

        An overwhelming 96% of members polled have endorsed a negotiated settlement that will see all associate lecturers moved off of zero-hour contracts, with those who are employed for more than 8 consecutive weeks moved onto fixed-term contracts. Associate lecturers are staff specifically employed either to cover the short term absences of other colleagues or to cover unforeseen or urgent short-term additional teaching needs.

        The union said that although this does not end casualisation at the university, it goes a long way to addressing the insecurity of zero-hour contracts and inequalities between associate lecturers and other members of academic staff.

        University of Cambridge: UCU wins historic recognition deal

        University of Cambridge has finally agreed to recognise the union. UCU general secretary Jo Grady has signed the recognition agreement on 10 March 2023 and the university is set to ratify it imminently.

        The recognition agreement comes whilst UCU has been re-balloting its members at the University of Cambridge and 149 other universities across the UK in its ongoing pay, working conditions and pension dispute.

        Cambridge had been an outlier in higher education, as one of the only UK universities not to recognise UCU. The recognition agreement means the union will now be able to enter into formal negotiations with management, have a guaranteed membership in governance committees, conduct independent health and safety inspections, and offer members paid time off for essential union activities. It covers staff in all UCU bargaining groups, including academic, academic-related, research and professional services staff.

        University of Sheffield International College: dispute over pay and conditions

        USIC is owned and operated by Study Group but is closely connected to the University of Sheffield. Study Group uses University of Sheffield branding, and provides preparation courses for overseas students who want to go on and study at the university. Students from all over the world enrol to improve their English, study skills and subject specialism in readiness for their degrees. Courses at USIC cost up to £22k per year per student. Members at University of Sheffield International College (USIC) delivered a resounding ballot result in their dispute over pay and conditions (83.3% turnout, 84.4% for strike action and 97.8% for action short of a strike).

        USIC UCU then announced five days of strike action on 17, 18, 28, 29 and 30 November 2022. The action was the first ever strike to take place in a privatised higher education provider. Staff also worked to rule from Monday 21 November 2022, which included working strictly to their contracted hours, refusing to make up work lost as a result of strike action and refusing to cover for absent colleagues.

        Strike action planned for 17 and 18 November at USIC was then suspended to allow for further consultation with members after the employer made a new offer. This was rejected by members and they took strike action on 28, 29 and 30 November 2022. In 2023, members were on strike on 30 and 31 January, 2 February and 3 February. Further action was planned for the week of Monday 13 February which was suspended for member consultation.

        On 1 March, USIC UCU members voted to accept the employer's offer, which involved:

        • 5% for staff <£44k per year from 1 September 2022 (backdated)
        • 3% for staff >£44k per year from 1 September 2022 (backdated)
        • further 1% for all staff from 1 January 2023 (backdated)
        • further 4% for all staff from 1 September 2023

        UCU wins pay deal at West Thames College

        On 9 February 2023, UCU welcomed a deal at West Thames College that will see a 5% consolidated pay rise across the board for 2022/23. The college had agreed in December 2022 to a 3% pay award for 2022/23, which was backdated to the start of term and paid in the December salary, subject to further negotiations with UCU. A further 2% consolidated increase will now be paid and back dated to the start of term. The deal was won through effective and meaningful negotiation with West Thames College, following a strong mandate for strike action achieved in an earlier e-ballot, and shows that there is money in the sector to help staff through the cost of living crisis.

        Durham University: PhD students' pay increased

        Durham University has been forced to increase the pay of some of its PhD students after it was found to have paid them an annual sum that effectively meant they were getting below the national minimum wage. Durham University UCU said it was shocked to discover in September 2022 that PhD students teaching on the institution's popular law course were being paid £15,000 a year. UCU said that this would make them among the lowest paid in the sector.

        This annual amount covered the expected 1,880 hours of research for their PhD, as well as 80 hours of teaching on the degree course, amounting to £7.98 an hour before tax. This is below the national minimum wage of £9.50 for people aged 23 and over. UCU said Durham University's announcement this week that it will increase funding for law PhD students by £5,000 a year, following lobbying from the local Labour MP and academics, was a 'huge win'.

        Newham College wins pay deal

        UCU welcomed a deal at Newham College that would see pay rises across the board as well as a lump sum payment. The deal will see a consolidated 8% pay rise for staff earning up to £25k and a 5% consolidated pay rise for qualified lecturers and curriculum managers (2.5% increase backdated to September 2022 with a further 2.5% to be paid from January 2023). The deal also includes a £600 non-consolidated lump sum for staff earning over £30k and £750 for those earning below £30k. The union said this deal was won through effective and meaningful negotiation with Newham College management and shows that there is money in the further education sector to help staff through the cost of living crisis.

        Prison education: pay and 'gate time' gains for Novus branch

        Around 500 UCU members working in education at 48 prisons and youth offender institutions across England were balloted for industrial action after their employer refused to raise pay to help staff meet the cost of living crisis; Novus only offered 2% for 2021/22 and 3% for 2022/23 on pay. The ballot opened on Wednesday 14 September and closed on Wednesday 5 October. Over 50% of members voted and nearly 95% of members who took part voted for strike action. In November 2022, Novus branch decided to accept the improved pay and conditions offer. On the pay element the lowest paid will be awarded 8.4% with most members in the tutor/trainers grades gaining between 5% and 6%. The rate will reduce gradually from 4% to just over 2% for managerial grades. On the conditions element all members who work in prisons will be given 'gate time' which means they will be paid for the time passing through all the security measures to get to work. This issue is a cause the UCU have been fighting for over 20 years and is a major step in treating prison educators as equals in the prison system.

        Hopwood Hall College UCU members win 9.2% pay award

        UCU welcomed a pay deal which will see most lecturers at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale awarded a 9.2% increase in pay for 2022/23. An overwhelming 98% of UCU members at Hopwood voted to accept the offer, which will arrive in this month's pay packets and is back dated to August. The deal is worth 9.2% for most lecturers. For new lecturers who are at the bottom of the spine and for Skills Development Coaches the deal is worth 20.25%, over £5k. All pay awards are consolidated. The deal also includes a commitment to creating a joint workload agreement with UCU before the end of the academic year.

        Abingdon and Witney College UCU members win significant pay rise

        UCU members at Abingdon and Witney College have overwhelmingly voted to accept an improved pay deal. The pay increase is 8% for lowest paid, 5% for middle earners, including lecturers, and 3% for the highest earners within management. The deal also includes an agreement that closure days over the Christmas period will not be taken from staff holiday entitlements. This gives members five additional days of holiday to use throughout the year. The deal comes after 89.9% of UCU members in national ballots voted YES to strike action on an overall turnout of 57.9%, which is the biggest mandate for industrial action ever across English further education colleges.

        Croydon College UCU members win significant pay rise

        Staff at Croydon College have won an improved pay deal. The pay award means those earning under £25k will see their pay rise by 8%, and those earning between £25k and £40k, including lecturers, will see their pay rise by 5%. The deal comes after 89.9% of UCU members in national ballots voted YES to strike action on an overall turnout of 57.9%, which is the biggest mandate for industrial action ever across English further education colleges.

        Queen Mary, University of London: strikes over 100% of staff pay withheld

        UCU has warned university vice-chancellors they will face further strike ballots if they dock 100% of pay from staff who have returned to work. The warning came after a strike ballot opened at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) in February 2022 over management's decision to withhold 100% of pay for staff undertaking lawful action short of strike (ASOS), such as not rescheduling classes lost to strike action and removing uploaded materials related to those classes.

        Staff at QMUL returned to work after taking 10 days of strike action over three weeks in national disputes over USS pension cuts, pay and working conditions. But senior managers at QMUL said that staff would continue to be docked 100% of pay even though they would be back at work and carrying out most of their contracted duties. The university said it would;d dock 100% of pay until classes cancelled due to strike action were rescheduled and their related materials were put online. The ballot opened on Monday 28 February and will close on Monday 21 March, and if successful QMUL could face strike action as soon as April 2022.

        Update, 21 March 2022: QMUL UCU's ballot over punitive deductions was successful. 84% voted for strikes and 87% voted for ASOS on a 54.6% turnout.

        Update, 3 May 2022: QMUL UCU's members voted to take ten days of strike action. Strike dates include:

        • Thursday 5 May - Friday 6 May
        • Monday 9 May - Friday 13 May
        • Monday 16 May - Wednesday 18 May

        Update, 6 July 2022: Queen Mary, University of London management continue to persecute our members for taking part in lawful industrial action with the latest vindictive threat to close QMUL's Film Studies programme. Please sign the open letter here.

        Update, 20 July 2022: QMUL UCU members had the threat of 100% pay deductions for participation in ASOS hanging over them since 31 January. This week, QMUL management refused to suspend deductions while negotiations were ongoing and instead issued pay slips confirming that 100% deductions would be made and that some staff would lose 21 days' pay this month. London Region is providing assistance to affected members and QMUL has resolved to take further strike action during welcome week under its current mandate. You can view UCU general secretary Jo Grady's video message here and you can support QMUL UCU members by donating to their strike fund.

        Update, 18 August 2022: QMUL UCU members voted to accept a joint agreement with management to end the marking boycott. The agreement included a 21% increase in London Weighting, no August pay deductions, and commitments to joint work on pay, conditions, and USS pensions.

        Open University: permanent contracts for 4,800 previously casualised associate lecturers

        On 2 August 2022, UCU hailed a landmark win as The Open University (OU) began rolling out a programme of new permanent contracts for 4,800 previously casualised associate lecturers, the biggest decasualisation programme ever to take place in the UK higher education sector. As a result of the new contracts, which were introduced on 1 August 2022, staff will benefit from enhanced job security, a pay uplift of between 10-15%, additional annual leave, and staff development allowances. 

        Goldsmiths, University of London: redundancies and global academic boycott

        On 2 August 2022, UCU announced that its members at Goldsmiths have voted to approve a deal with management which brings to an end a ten month-long dispute over redundancies. The initial dispute was over attempts by Goldsmiths senior management to sack 46 staff as part of a 'recovery plan' agreed in a deal with Natwest and Lloyds Banks.  

        As part of the agreement to end the dispute, Goldsmiths senior management have committed to: no further compulsory redundancies; reviewing the use and management of fixed term contracts at the university; protection from redundancy for three years for staff who have already been moved internally to new roles; and enhanced severance for the staff who have already been made redundant.  

        Goldsmiths staff have in turn decided to end the marking and assessment boycott, and will return to marking work across a phased three week period, while UCU has revoked its grey-listing of the institution.  

        Goldsmiths UCU will focus on fighting for the reinstatement of Professor Des Freedman and Dr Gholam Khiabany as Head and Deputy Head of the Department of Media, Communications, and Cultural Studies, after they were suspended for simply informing students about the potential impact of the marking boycott. Please sign this open letter calling for Goldsmiths management to reinstate Des Freedman and Gholam Khiabany.

        SOAS: uplift in London weighting

        An intense period of negotiations have led to an uplift of 8% in London weighting rates, increasing the full-time annual rates from £3,616.50 to £3,905.82 (for grades 6 and above) and from £3,875 to £4,185 (grades 3 to 5). In addition there will be a one-off non consolidated payment of £1,000 per person. SOAS UCU members voted overwhelmingly to accept the deal, and thanks must go to the branch negotiators for their hard work over the past six months.

        Hugh Baird College wins significant pay deal

        UCU members at Hugh Baird College in Merseyside have won a significant pay rise of up to 9.8% and additional annual leave from next year. The deal comes after an overwhelming 93% of UCU members who voted said yes to strike action in response to an original offer of just 1%. UCU said that the win was the result of determined organising and the threat of industrial action from its members at Hugh Baird, and demonstrates that college employers have the resources to give decent pay rises to staff at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis.  The pay deal, voted for by UCU branch members, amounts to a total offer of up to 9.8%, which includes a £2,668 uplift to the starting salary of lower paid staff and a £500 non-consolidated payment for all staff. UCU also won an additional three days annual leave per year.   

        Waltham Forest College pay agreement

        UCU reached a pay agreement with Waltham Forest College in North East London, which will see an average pay award of 6.1% for all staff and the extension of the lecturer pay scale by two spinal points. The union said that the pay deal, voted for by its members at Waltham Forest College, shows there is no excuse for college employers nationally to continue ignoring the severity of the cost of living crisis facing staff by offering huge real terms pay cuts.

        Capital City College Group wins significant pay deal

        UCU members at Capital City College Group (CCCG) in London have won a significant pay rise of 9% for those earning under £30k, and 6% for those earning between £30k and £45k. UCU said that the deal was the result of determined organising and industrial action from its members at CCCG, and demonstrates that college employers have the resources to give decent pay rises to staff at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis. 

        University of Sussex: no compulsory redundancies

        The University Executive Group (UEG) at the University of Sussex refused to rule out compulsory redundancies as part of a widely criticised Size and Shape programme. University of Sussex UCU branch declared a dispute. Following more than six months of continuing negotiations between UCU and UEG a number of actions have been agreed; the dispute has been resolved and there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the Size and Shape programme. UEG has now moved forward into implementing the changes with the intention that the Size and Shape Programme will formally conclude by August 2022.

        Hopwood College wins big pay offer

        Strike action due to take place on Tuesday 7 June and Friday 10 June at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale and Middleton, Greater Manchester, has been called off after staff overwhelmingly voted to accept a pay offer worth up to 7.5%.

        Bury College wins big last minute pay offer

        Strike action scheduled to start on Wednesday 18 May 2022 at Bury College was called off after staff overwhelmingly voted to accept an eleventh hour pay offer from management that is worth between 6% and 6.2% overall. The offer is triple management's original offer of only 2%.

        Royal College of Art wins deal

        Mounting frustration of members at the RCA culminated in a resounding call for action to end insecurity and unacceptable terms and conditions at the college. Ill-conceived plans to change all MAs from 2 years to a 12-month rolling programme and to scrap enhanced statutory redundancy procedures for academics are also being resisted.  Members overwhelmingly voted for strike action in an industrial action ballot with 82.8% for strike action and 93.1% for action short of a strike on an excellent turnout of 63%. The RCA were served with formal notice of 14 days of strike action in October and November 2021.

        In subsequent talks being held under the auspices of Acas, the branch were left stunned by comments from the RCA which confirmed that some academics employed by the college would not be granted dedicated research time because of their part-time status. UCU said this was clearly discriminatory. Basic and fundamental employment rights were also not deemed to be compatible with pedagogical imperatives and new academics would;d not be sufficiently qualified to undertake summative assessment. UCU believed the RCA's ability to provide a high standard of assessment was under threat and 'the argument that the curriculum is so fluid that it requires no employment rights is disingenuous' adding that 'it's time for the RCA to take these negotiations seriously'.

        Update, January 2022: the last round of Acas negotiations was eventually arranged for 13 December 2021. This was almost two months since the previous Acas meeting and the parties broke up without any agreement, with UCU representatives disappointed by the RCA's inability to respond on the day to issues flagged in advance for negotiation. RCA sent responses to outstanding issues just before Christmas 2021 which could only be fully reviewed by branch negotiators on 11 January 2022. From initial readings, the branch are pleased to see movement on two of the three outstanding issues and hope to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of members as quickly as possible.

        Update, February 2022: RCA UCU were on strike as part of the Four Fights campaign on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 February, and back on strike for the local dispute from Monday 28 February to Wednesday 2 March. RCA senior management failed to meet the agreed deadline for providing a draft agreement. This failure to deliver reneged on the commitment they made in Acas.

        Update, March 2022: RCA UCU achieved victory against casualisation and workload following industrial action. The final agreement would be put to a members' vote. 

        Update, May 2022: UCU members at the Royal College of Art (RCA) today announced that they have voted to accept recognition from the employer as part of a resolution to a long-running dispute, which has seen 41 days of strike action take place since 2020. The UCU RCA branch overwhelmingly voted to adopt a deal negotiated with college management which includes:  

        • full employment rights for all 
        • no more zero-hour contracts  
        • new routes to permanent contracts 
        • caps on teaching workloads for staff.

        London South East Colleges (LSEC): pay award agreed

        A 2% pay award backdated to September 2021 has been agreed at London South East Colleges (LSEC) for 2021/22 after successful negotiations with management.

        University of Kent: marking boycott wins no compulsory redundancies deal

        For the third year running University of Kent UCU have defended against all job cuts. Members balloted four months in advance of 'reviews' of Arts and Humanities subjects and launched a successful marking boycott. The willingness of members to take decisive action backed up by an all-women and non-binary lay negotiating team at Kent UCU have secured a significant victory: no compulsory redundancy processes in the calendar year 2022. To learn how they won and share experiences on how to save jobs, email Kent UCU president Claire Hurley.

        Sheffield International College: pay and working conditions

        UCU members at Sheffield International College called off eight days of planned strike action after the union reached an agreement on the long-standing dispute over pay and holiday entitlements for 2021. Staff at the University of Sheffield International College (USIC), which is part of and run by the private company Study Group, had been in dispute following a breakdown in talks with the employer after it refused to budge from a 0% pay offer. The dispute was also over holiday allowance.

        The deal will see staff receive a 3% pay increase, backdated to September 2021, and equalisation of holiday allowance so that all staff get 30 days leave. This will result in an increase of up to 5 days holiday for the college's student experience team. The employer has also committed to commencing pay negotiations for the period 2022 as soon as possible and has tabled an early offer of 3% which the branch will respond to in due course.  Strike off at University of Sheffield International College as deal is reached

        Newham College: win on pay and conditions

        Staff at Newham College have won improved pay and conditions after successful negotiations between management and UCU. The deal includes a commitment by the college to improve academic pay scales, implement a 2% pay rise, review sessional tutor's contracts and to implement a workload working group and a sustainability working group.

        West London College: UCU and Unison agree deal

        UCU and Unison members at West London College (Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College) have agreed a new deal which delivers the first pay increase staff have had in recent years as well as agreements on workload, holiday and a better deal for support staff.

        Sussex International Study Centre: staff won union recognition

        Members at our newest branch, Sussex International Study Centre, began a statutory recognition ballot on 6 December 2021. The employer continually resisted our positive approaches and refused a voluntary agreement; they spent £1000s on expensive lawyers and consultants rather than recognise UCU. On 22 December 2021, UCU members won the statutory recognition ballot with a turnout of 74%, and 95% of those voting supported the proposal that UCU be recognised for the purposes of collective bargaining with the employer.

        Havant and South Downs College dispute: agreement reached

        UCU members at Havant and South Downs College, along with colleagues in NEU, have now settled their trade dispute with college management. HSDC agreed to the demands of UCU to halt the redundancies in summer 2021. UCU and NEU engaged in negotiations with the college, which led to an agreement to full disclosure of financial information, and improvements in college policies and procedures. 74.2% of UCU members supported the agreement in a ballot.

          University of Leicester redundancies

          Following negotiations between Leicester UCU and the University of Leicester, an agreement has been reached that has ended the local dispute between the university and UCU concerning the Shaping for Excellence Programme.

          Leicester UCU members have voted to accept an agreement which can be seen here. Consequently, the Higher Education Committee officers of UCU have, following representations on behalf of the branch, agreed to cease the censure and academic boycott of the University of Leicester.

          The agreement commits to no compulsory redundancies as a result of phase 2 of the Shaping for Excellence Programme. The executive board has agreed to rule out beginning any further restructuring leading to collective compulsory redundancies until January 2023. The agreement also sets out a number of joint actions that will be taken forward to achieve an increased focus on partnership working.

          Although the national dispute is ongoing, we are pleased to be able to jointly announce that our local dispute has now ended.

          Capital City College Group: campaign to defend jobs, pay and conditions

          Congratulations to UCU members at Capital City College Group (CCCG) who have agreed a deal on pay, conditions and lesson observations after taking ten days of strike action. UCU London official Adam Lincoln said: 'This deal is a testament to our members' determination to fight for fairer pay, working conditions and against excessive monitoring and surveillance of staff. This agreement also levels up pay and holidays across the group.' CCCG includes City and Islington College, College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) and Westminster Kingsway College.

          South Thames Colleges Group wins revised pay offer

          UCU members at South Thames Colleges Group (STCG), which includes South Thames, Merton, Kingston and Carshalton Colleges, have voted to accept a revised pay offer.

          This adds to STCG's original settlement of 1.25% and guarantees a total 2% consolidated pay increase to all staff earning between £23,000 and £40,000. STCG will also pay a minimum of 2.25% for all those earning below £23,000. This represents in total a welcome investment in staff pay from STCG amounting to nearly £800,000 for the year 2021/22.

          Read the full story here

          Croydon College: UCU win a wide-ranging pay and conditions deal

          Following a fantastic ballot result and seven days of strike action, Croydon College members have now voted overwhelmingly to accept a deal negotiated by UCU on pay and other conditions to settle the 2020/21 pay dispute and to formally agree a settlement for 2021/22.

          This agreement represents a significant achievement for members - especially for our lower paid members in learning support roles, and is one of the most comprehensive and wide ranging settlements achieved in the national FE pay dispute 2020/21.

          The deal includes a backdated 2% pay increase for all staff, 5% pay increase for learning support practitioners, learning and development routes into teaching roles, progress coaches moved onto permanent contracts, restriction on the use of external recruitment agencies to short-term urgent cover (agency staffing not more than 2% of any team and agency placements limited to a 3 months). In addition, removal of the first two spine points for teaching staff - with the starting point for qualified teachers approximately £30k. There are additional commitments around workload protection, 4-week summer leave period, simplified pay progression, and moving away from spot salaries for support staff over the longer term.

          This victory was only made possible by the strong support from members for the strike action and the hard work of the UCU negotiators. Well done to Croydon members and branch officers for what has been achieved as a result of their dispute.

          United Colleges Group: contract dispute resolved

          Following a fantastic ballot result and the threat of strike action, UCG members have now voted overwhelmingly to approve a new harmonised contract and a Collective Agreement to end the long-running contract dispute.

          Members at both UCG colleges - the City of Westminster College and the College of North West London - have been fighting against imposed changes to contractual terms and conditions, including cuts to tutor remission throughout 2021. In April 2021 UCU members voted overwhelmingly for strike action over changes to agreed contracts imposed by management that would have seen workloads increase. 99% of UCU members who voted said they were prepared to take strike action. 100% of members who voted said they were prepared to take action short of strike.

          Intensive negotiations took place between UCU negotiators and UCG management over recent months leading to an in principle agreement being reached. UCU members have approved a revised harmonised contract (incorporating CPD remission for all teaching staff and additional remission for tutorials) and a Collective Agreement. This harmonised contract is intended to apply to all full-time and fractional teaching/lecturing staff (except those who choose to remain on legacy contracts). A number of other matters raised during the negotiations with the employer such as TOIL and summer leave periods are included in the Collective Agreement. In relation to hourly-paid lecturers, the employer has agreed to maintain your existing contracts and the historical arrangements around payment for tutor groups and CPD for HPLs. This victory was only made possible by the tremendous support members gave to UCU during the dispute and as a consequence of the industrial action ballot result mandate provided by members. The strength of feeling from members directly contributed to the employer entering into meaningful negotiations with UCU. Special thanks to the branch officers who have worked tirelessly to secure this outcome for members.

          Birmingham City University: health and safety concerns

          Birmingham City University UCU was in dispute over failure to agree on on-site learning under Covid-19, and in January 2021 won their industrial ballot to take action. The employer scheduled several open days to take place on campus which members had real concerns about being required to attend. The employer announced a three-week extension of the deadline for students to submit end-of-year assessments, but did not similarly extended the marking deadlines for staff. Action short of a strike began on 8 June 2021, and consisted of: refusing to attend on-site and instead moving online all non-essential activity that can be carried out online, including open days; and working to contractual hours only. The dispute had been resolved.

          Novus prison education: Covid-19 safety dispute

          Following an extended period of industrial action,  a deal has been reached to end the dispute over health & safety issues at Novus prisons.

          Swindon New College win pay and conditions deal

          Congratulations to members at Swindon New College. Following an e-ballot of all members they overwhelmingly (90 % in favour) to settle their dispute with the college after their threat to take strike action led to a deal which includes:

          • full and immediate  harmonisation of pay scales giving  many members at the old Swindon college substantial pay increases backdated to August ( this was previously resisted by college management as not affordable )
          • end to early August return to duties and the right to take off 5 consecutive weeks of leave in the summer ( a demand that members with school age children particularly welcome)
          • agreement establishing the right to work from home once timetabled duties are completed  ( this follows a return to presentism now that F2F is the norm at the college )
          • reduction in class contact hours.

          City of Bristol College UCU accept deal on pay, holiday and working policies

          Well done to UCU members at City of Bristol College for securing an impressive deal on pay and other matters as a result of a tremendous ballot result and the threat of strike action. In a consultative ballot, members have voted overwhelmingly to accept that deal to settle the current dispute. The deal includes:

          • a backdated 2.2% pay increase, when the College's previous position was that such an increase was unaffordable
          • additional holiday (closure) days
          • hybrid working policy to be agreed with UCU this term that increases opportunities for teaching staff to work from home (current contracts require 37 hrs a week on site)
          • to agree additional remission from teaching hours for duties that don't currently attract remission
          • a reduction in the maximum annual teaching contact hours. 

          Congratulations to members and officers for what they have achieved!

          Weymouth College members secure pay deal

          Following a fantastic ballot result and the threat of strike action, Weymouth College members have now voted overwhelmingly to accept a deal negotiated by UCU on pay and other conditions to settle the 2020/21 pay dispute. The deal includes a backdated 2.2% pay increase, improvements to TOIL and flexible working policies, and limits to scheduling and frequency of staff meetings that might otherwise impact on members' health and well-being and their ability to take proper breaks. Well done to Weymouth members and branch officers for what has been achieved as a result of their engagement and willingness to take strike action if necessary.

          Royal Holloway, University of London

          The senior management team (SMT) at Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) recently proposed changes to academic staffing levels as part of a so-called 'academic realignment exercise', which was presented as an element of the college's three-year strategic plan. A number of academics were identified as having their jobs at risk. The branch were successful in getting the college to confirm there were no plans for organisational change and that they would abide by the current policies. The college may still suggest wording for a change to the redundancy policy but this was a successful push-back by UCU members. 

          City College Plymouth win new deal staff

          After two months of hard negotiation and excellent member engagement, newly-elected branch officers at City College Plymouth beat the anti-trade union law turnout threshold to win local deals for members. Members have voted to settle for a pay deal which includes backdated rises of 2.5% for the lowest paid and 1.5% for others. The deal also includes more leave, agreements on workload, flexible working, increased lecturer autonomy and moves to tackle inequalities. Congratulations are due to all involved especially our members at City College Plymouth and their excellent new branch committee.

          University of Chester job cuts

          Negotiations continue with the university regarding the final four people left on the list of 86 as notified on the section 188 notice in February 2021. No compulsory redundancy notices have been issued and we expect that the remaining four will be redeployed or allowed to leave under a voluntary severance package. In which case the dispute will have been successfully resolved.

          Bangor University UCU avoids compulsory redundancies

          Bangor University UCU has ended a protracted and difficult restructuring that lasted nine months, and managed to close the consultation without any compulsory redundancies. The branch also got some important concessions out of the university on their future working relationship.

          University of Liverpool: striking for jobs and vital Covid-19 research

          The long-running dispute at University of Liverpool has ended as UCU won the battle to avoid any compulsory redundancies. The six-month campaign had already resulted in an international academic boycott, 24 days of industrial action, and a marking boycott against plans that would have originally seen 47 jobs lost in Liverpool's faculty of health and life sciences. Five additional days of industrial action were planned, starting on Monday 4 October, but are now cancelled. Congratulations to University of Liverpool UCU branch committee, UCU members, and our regional officials in North West England.

          New City College: restructuring redundancies and redeployments

          Members at New City College have been in dispute since May 2021 over a restructure of supported learning following the failure of the college to rule out compulsory redundancies and detrimental changes to pay and contracts. UCU ran a consultative e-ballot of members with 95% voting YES for strike action on a 60% turnout. Following collective organising to resist compulsory redundancies, and after many hours of negotiations, the employer has confirmed that there will be zero compulsory redundancies. UCU remains opposed to some aspects of the restructure and will continue to campaign for a better deal for supported learning staff and students.

          Northumbria University: safe work win

          Congratulations to Northumbria University branch of UCU who have used their successful industrial action ballot as the leverage to secure an agreement with management that anyone who is uncomfortable with returning to the campus can continue to work remotely.

           

          Last updated: 1 March 2024