Checklist for branches
- Have you set up a strike committee and contacted students and other unions?
- Have you considered your arrangements for strike pay and publicised this widely to members?
- Are you holding meetings (either Departmental or UCU-led) to explain the issues to students?
- Are you planning a series of teach outs that are coordinated with students?
- Have you produced a letter aimed at students that explains why we are taking action?
- Do you have slides that staff can use to explain the action in lectures?
- Have you produced draft “out of office” messages both before and during the strike?
- Have you organised picket rotas and picket “captains”?
- Have you considered how best to connect with proposed “themed” strike days?
- Have you produced stickers and leaflets to supplement ones from national UCU?
- Have you set up a meeting with management in order to request that 1) Any deductions are spread over a period of 4-6 months 2) Any deductions are worked out on the basis of 1/365 of salary 3) Any deductions are put into a student hardship fund 4) Any deductions for casualised staff are minimised/scrapped 5) No reports to UKVI regarding staff on Tiers 2 and 5 are made during the period of strike action
See Andrew Chitty’s googledoc for up to date pay deductions. Effectively, as of 11 January, most universities chose to deduct pay over one or two months in relation to the strikes in November and December 2019. To the best of our knowledge, only eight institutions agreed to deductions spread over three months. USS Briefs have compiled a dossier of communications from vice-chancellors which contains some of this information. (Please email email@example.com for updates on whether your branch has been able to negotiate staggered deductions).
Goldsmiths UCU has issued some guidance to members in the light of its management’s refusal initially to spread deductions which contains some interesting proposals. Following pressure, management agreed to deduct pay over two months but in April and May 2020, i.e. five months after the action in order to allow members to prepare.
Action short of strike action (ASOS)
Members taking part in strike action over pensions, pay and equalities are also engaged in action short of a strike (ASOS) that started on 25 November and is still continuing. However, many employers are “reserving the right” to deduct for ASOS and branches need to be clear about how best to defend members at risk of deductions from simply working to their contracts. We offer information below about what ASOS consists of and how we should respond to threats from the employers.
What is ASOS?
Has every employer threatened to deduct pay for engaging in ASOS?
No – Sheffield University, for example, have stated that “we will not deduct any pay from staff who participate in this type of action” (see screenshot below). We encourage all branches to apply pressure on those institutions who take a hard line on ASOS – for example through lobbies, petitions, liaising with external examiners and so on- and to call for urgent meetings with HR.
How to respond to requests to take part in voluntary activities
This is from the 2018 strike but Leicester UCU’s guidance on how to deal with ASOS queries and “how to respond (nicely!) to volunteer” is invaluable.
What’s the legal opinion on deducting pay for taking part in ASOS?
Detailed information from UCU
Stickers & memes
Strike handbooks & guidance for members
Sussex UCU Tumblr site (filled with goodies)
Music for the picket lines
GU Collective’s 30 songs for UCU picket lines on Spotify
We are the University strike playlist (Grace Krause)
Rosa Campbell’s Strike songs playlist on Spotify
Leah Chan’s playlist for 2019 UCU strikes on Spotify
10 best union songs of all time (thanks to CBC)
Protest in Harmony (Edinburgh UCU) songsheet
Information about local hardship funds
Information for students
Cambridge 4 page EDITABLE (but please make a copy first)
Cambridge 2 page EDITABLE (but please make a copy first)
Warwick UCU strike FAQs for studentshttp://warwickucu.org.uk/strike-faq-for-warwick-students/
Branch announcements about the action
Out of office messages
Information for non-EU staff
See lots of information here from UCU
How to respond to a manager asking if you plan to take strike action
Join the UCU strike (Clare Rowan)
Strike BU – a message to students (Bournemouth UCU)
A comprehensive set of responses from university management has been assembled by USS Briefs and can be accessed here