Resources for #UCUStrikesBack 2020

Treasure trove of resources – posters, bunting design, badges & more – available HERE

What’s it all about?

The UCU has produced a short explainer on USS here

New Videos

Thanks to Sussex UCU

Have you set your out-of-office message yet?

I am not able to check email today as members of xxxx UCU are taking industrial action, along with members at 73 other universities, in opposition to threats to our pension, deteriorating conditions and pay inequalities [amend as necessary]. Members of xxxx UCU will be on strike on the following days: Thursday 20 and Friday 21 February, Monday 24 through to Wednesday 26 February, Monday 2 through to Thursday 5 March, and Monday 9 through to Friday 13 March [amend as necessary]. If you would like more information about the dispute please go here and here [amend as necessary], and do contact my vice-chancellor, xxxx,, to find out what steps the institution is taking to avoid a dispute. 

2020 Teach-Out Schedules

SOAS schedule

Queen Mary UCU

Goldsmiths schedule

Newcastle UCU

Liverpool schedule

Music for the picket line

UCU strike lgbtq + disco (with thanks to Kirsteen Paton)

GU Collective’s 30 songs for UCU picket lines on Spotify

Liverpool UCU strike playlist

Birmingham Law strike playlist

We are the University strike playlist (Grace Krause)

UCL -IOE UCU strike playlist

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

Strike handbooks & guidance for members

KCL Student strike FAQs

Really comprehensive guide to strike activities and advice from Exeter UCU and Bristol UCU

Sheffield Hallam UCU

Comprehensive guide from the National Union of Students (February 2020) to supporting the strikes

James Sumner’s 2020 strike handbook

Sheffield UCU detailed guidance for members (2019)

Effective strike participation guidance (Jo McNeill)

Leicester UCU strike handbook (2019)

Sussex UCU Tumblr site (2019) (filled with goodies)

Guidance for autistic workers and UCU branches (produced by Anna Nibbs, Sheffield UCU, and Janine Booth, TUC Disabled Workers Committee)

Rallies/marches/events

South West Region Strike Rally and March, Wednesday 26 February, Meet 11am at the Victoria Rooms, 88 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol

LONDON DEMONSTRATION: THE MONEY’S THERE, WHERE’S OUR SHARE?MARCH FROM UCEA/UUK TO USS IN THE CITY, 12 noon,Wednesday 26 February, Tavistock Square, WC1

UCU Scotland Strike Rally: 11.30am, Tuesday 25 February, Bristol Square, Edinburgh

London Strike Solidarity Assembly, 6.30pm Tuesday 25 February, Imperial Hotel, 61 Russell Square (with John McDonnell, Mark Serwotka, Jane Loftus, Lowkey & others)

Information about local hardship funds (from 2019)

Exeter UCU

Goldsmiths UCU

Leeds UCU

Strathclyde UCU

Liverpool UCU

York UCU

Cambridge UCU

Stirling UCU

Heriot-Watt UCU

Bangor UCU

Open University UCU

Pay deductions

See Andrew Chitty’s googledoc for up to date pay deductions in relation to the November/December strikes. Effectively, as of January 2020, most universities chose to deduct pay over one or two months. To the best of our knowledge, only eight institutions agreed to deductions spread over three monthsUSS Briefs have compiled a dossier of communications from vice-chancellors which contains some of this information. (Please email branchsolidaritynetwork@gmail.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 a Strike (ASOS) information for UCU branches in dispute

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. This will be especially important now that we have returned to work and there is pressure to reschedule classes and to pick up additional responsibilities following the strike. Just take a look at what Liverpool University is threatening its staff with! We need to resist this pressure and to insist on no deductions for working to contract. However, many employers are still “reserving the right” to deduct for ASOS and branches need to defend members at risk of deductions for engaging in ASOS. We offer information below about what ASOS consists of and how we should respond to threats from the employers.

What is ASOS?

ASOS pay deductions and how to resist

#USSbriefs87 by Andrew Chitty, Felicity Callard and Leon Rocha

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. A number of institutions have declared that they will not deduct pay for taking part in ASOS including Southampton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Kent, Ulster and St Andrews. Others, including Goldsmiths, have said that “Staff will not have salary deducted for working to contract”.

via Sheffield UCU

Guidance on ASOS and how to respond to requests to take part in voluntary activities

Leicester UCU’s guidance on how to deal with ASOS queries and “how to respond (nicely!) to volunteer” is invaluable.

Guidance from Goldsmiths UCU and Ulster UCU are also useful.

This is a great thread from Vian Bakir of Bangor UCU on what ASOS involves.

ASOS for hourly-paid staff

Letter to Head of Department from a Graduate Teaching Assistant (via @hopehakes)

What’s the legal opinion on deducting pay for taking part in ASOS?

Read this post from legal academics on ‘deductions for action short of a strike’

Detailed information from UCU

UCU information on working to contract

What does ‘action short of a strike’ mean for academic-related and professional services staff?

#UCUStrikesBack: picket lines are go

Music for the picket line

GU Collective’s 30 songs for UCU picket lines on Spotify

Liverpool UCU strike playlist

Birmingham Law strike playlist

We are the University strike playlist (Grace Krause)

UCL -IOE UCU strike playlist

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

Exeter UCU

Goldsmiths UCU

Leeds UCU

Strathclyde UCU

Liverpool UCU

York UCU

Cambridge UCU

Stirling UCU

Heriot-Watt UCU

Bangor UCU

Open University UCU

Pay deductions

See Andrew Chitty’s Twitter thread about pay deductions. Effectively, as of 26 November, most universities are following UCEA guidance and deducting pay in a single month. Only City, Cambridge, Essex, Queen Mary and Royal Holloway have agreed to deductions spread over three months starting January 2020 (as far as we know). USS Briefs have compiled a dossier of communications from vice-chancellors which contains this information.

Goldsmiths UCU has issued some guidance to members in the light of its management’s refusal to spread deductions which contains some interesting proposals.

Picketing Excellence Framework

Thanks to Southampton UCU

Strike handbooks

This is how to picket

STRIKE 2019: Get the pickets out resources

BSN is hosting a collection of images, emails, suggestions, videos (when they’re made) and anything else to help branches prepare for the forthcoming strikes. Send your material to us at branchsolidaritynetwork@gmail.com. Here’s our first batch.

Strike Handbook for UCU activists

Stickers & memes

Checklist

Guidance for members

What are the issues? Slides for students

UCU branch information for students

Warwick strike FAQs for students

Cambridge UCU 4 page strike explainer (PDF)

Cambridge UCU 4 page strike explainer EDITABLE (but please make a copy first)

Cambridge UCU 2 page support the strikes EDITABLE (but please make a copy first)

Leeds UCU strike explainer for students

Goldsmiths UCU letter to students

Warwick UCU Strike FAQs for students

Royal Holloway UCU information to share with students

Strike FAQs for Sussex students

Additionally, there are leaflets explaining the strikes to students in Chinese and Arabic – produced by Universities Resist Border Controls.

Teach outs

Sheffield UCU
Liverpool UCU
Lancaster UCU

Sussex teach out schedule

Leeds teach out schedule

Bath teach out article

Goldsmiths teach out schedule

Cardiff teach out schedule

Royal Holloway teach out schedule

Model branch announcements about the action

Brighton statement here

Royal Holloway statement here

Ulster statement here

Model out of office messages

Out of Office message from Brighton UCU

Guidance on picketing

Very detailed guidance on how to organise your picket lines by Jo McNeill, former president of Liverpool UCU

Information for non-EU staff

See lots more information here from UCU

How to respond to a manager asking if you plan to take strike action

Videos

Join the UCU strike (Clare Rowan)

Queens University Belfast video

Strike BU – a message to students (Bournemouth UCU)

Employers’ responses

A comprehensive set of responses from university has been assembled by USS Briefs and can be accessed at https://medium.com/ussbriefs/vice-chancellors-emails-sent-in-relation-to-ucustrikesback-12c0b42a857e

New Get the Vote Out Resources (updated 10 October)

Videos

Brand new from Goldsmiths UCU

Thanks to Goldsmiths UCU, Sheffield UCU, Brighton UCU, Dundee UCU, Royal Holloway UCU and Sussex UCU


FAQs, slides and other documents

Organising to beat the Trade Union Act 2016, James Richards, VP Heriot- Watt UCU

Great poster from Sheffield UCU

Cambridge UCU FAQs here

Exeter UCU FAQs here

Warwick UCU Get the Vote Out page here

Obviously, USS branches need to read Sam Marsh’s latest for USS Briefs

Slides from Nottingham UCU

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Please send more materials and we will upload them – branchsolidaritynetwork@gmail.com

Resisting Toxic Performance Management

Earlier this year, colleagues at Liverpool UCU balloted for industrial action against a  punitive and unreasonable Research Excellence Framework Code of Practice that was being imposed at their institution. While the branch narrowly missed out on the anti-union turnout threshold by only 39 votes, the dispute remains live. University of Liverpool UCU are opposed to the culture of toxic performance management and unreasonable expectations that academic staff are facing, particularly with regards to research performance. Subjective REF rating, which staff entered into out of collegiality can now be used to ‘manage out’ research active staff. The branch has now produced a fantastic document that outlines how this culture at Liverpool goes against the spirit of new REF rules, and also many Draft REF Codes of Practice at similar research-intensive universities who are explicitly stating that REF preparation will not be used as a tool for performance management.

Access the full document HERE.

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