Advice about the UCU strike

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Uncreative's picture
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Mar 12 2018 20:42

Potential agreement between UCU and UUK:

https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/9300/Agreement-reached-between-UCU-and-UUK-under-the-auspices-of-ACAS/pdf/UCU_UUK_agreement_at_ACAS_12_March_Final.pdf

Anyone who understands pensions better than me (ie anyone), how is this as a deal? The UCU tweet announcing this has resulted in quite a few pretty negative responses from people, so i can assume it falls a little short of the desired outcome, right?

EDIT: The responses have grow from a few negative ones to a lot of quite angry, hostile ones within a few minutes, so yeah. Perhaps not the finest bit of negotiating work.

EDIT2: Is this one of those things where you go to the membership with a crap deal you know they'll reject, as part of some negotiating tactic? Does that ever actually happen in reality? Or is it more than likely just a sell-out, as every opinion I've seen on it so far has it?

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Mar 12 2018 21:24

Various student types calling for a last-minute "don't sell our staff out" presence at the UCU leadership meeting tomorrow: https://www.facebook.com/events/1909679789344904/
Oh, and open letter calling on the UCU leadership to tell UUK to fuck off: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdjBYB9uvEU86u0mAu03cl7sXwwWtwjjysV5VbOk7_QnNBmfQ/viewform?usp=send_form

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Mar 12 2018 22:40

Rejection from Warwick UCU:

Ditto Liverpool UCU:

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Mar 12 2018 23:20
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Mar 13 2018 01:23

News article on libcom

Notes From Below special sell-out issue

Also:

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Mar 13 2018 09:02

Probably redundant to add this, but all the pickets I spoke to this morning were fucking angry.

ETA: one person had made a big "OXI" sign - interesting choice of reference, but I suppose one that might turn out to be horribly appropriate...

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Mar 13 2018 09:33

Obviously the question now is: if UCU leadership do accept the deal, can/will these various branches mobilise independently of them?

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Mar 13 2018 10:30
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Mar 13 2018 13:16
Dannny
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Mar 13 2018 13:31

Students have gone into occupation in Edinburgh.
Lots of people saying they'd resign union membership if deal goes through, but at an impromptu assembly several people said that maybe union was forced to present offer to members... Sounded unlikely to me, anyone know if it's plausible? Either way, mood at this meeting was unanimously against the offer but cautious of slagging off ucu.. it does seem hard to believe, even being very sceptical of the unions, that ucu would push a deal that would effectively amount to its self dissolution as an organisation?

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Mar 13 2018 14:49
Dannny wrote:
at an impromptu assembly several people said that maybe union was forced to present offer to members... Sounded unlikely to me, anyone know if it's plausible?

I've seen this floated about as well but from what I can gather it seems like complete bollocks. Here's a video of Sally Hunt (UCU general secretary) talking to protesters outside UCU HQ this morning where you can see she really thinks this is a deal staff should accept.

There's also talk of a second ballot to accept/reject the deal, which UCU members fear is just a ploy to kill momentum. In the video there are people shouting "we've already had a vote" for this reason.

One exciting development is that this Friday, regardless of what happens today, there will be a national UCU activists' meeting at Goldsmiths University. Will be interesting to see if that results in building the infrastructure to coordinate action without official union backing.

There's also a new blog for student/staff solidarity here.

EDITED TO ADD: It seems the UCU has backtracked and now officially rejected the proposal!

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Mar 13 2018 16:00

You've got to feel sorry for the people doing the UW bulletin right now, in the time it takes to write something, lay it out and get it printed it's pretty much guaranteed to be completely out of date.

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Mar 13 2018 17:29
R Totale wrote:
Probably redundant to add this, but all the pickets I spoke to this morning were fucking angry.

Me too.

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Mar 13 2018 21:55

The deal is officially rejected. Strikes are on for the whole of this week, 14 more days are planned in the summer term.
I sincerely can't remember the last time something like this happened, it's quite amazing.

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Mar 14 2018 16:04


Photo from today's March for Education 2. Seems a decent turnout.

fingers malone wrote:
I sincerely can't remember the last time something like this happened, it's quite amazing.

Yeah, I was thinking this. Can't remember the last time rank-and-file action saw off an attempt at demobilisation from the leadership, not in a national strike anyway (Durham TAs for a local strike, probably).

Be really interesting to see what comes out of the meeting at Goldsmiths this Friday.

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fingers malone
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Mar 14 2018 22:24

Yes, I've seen this happen in local disputes, can't remember the last one in a national dispute though.
The strike is now 480,000 worker strike days, which is more than 2016 and 2017 put together (worker strike days- number of people on strike x number of days duration)

Mike Harman
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Mar 14 2018 22:56

I was thinking about the 2007 postal strikes, but what happened (if I'm remembering right, can't believe that's over a decade ago) was demobilisation nationally over the official strike, with wildcats breaking out over 'local issues' afterwards. Then a similar situation on a smaller scale in 2009.

However this is only the first offer, so without wanting to be overly pessimistic it could still take a lot to keep the status quo rather than some kind of compromise.

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Mar 16 2018 13:32

One for the Big Book of Unison Being Completely Fucking Useless: a uni admin worker I know reports that *today* their Unison branch got around to sending out an email of "ways you can support your striking colleagues", with a note saying "sorry for the delay in sending this"

Meanwhile, in FE:
"
Further strikes at 12 colleges confirmed for late March

Staff at 11 London colleges and Sandwell College in the West Midlands will walk out on either 27 or 28 March for two or three days of strikes. This follows earlier action when members walked out over pay on Wednesday 28 February and Thursday 1 March. Staff at Sunderland College also joined the walkout on 28 February".

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Mar 16 2018 13:50

This is very interesting stuff, solidarity and best of luck to those of you on strike.

One thing which I think is interesting is that now that tuition fees are so high, I can imagine that there would be more political pressure on the government to end the strike. As when university was free, more students probably wouldn't have been bothered by them being shut for a bit. But if students are paying huge amounts, then they are probably much more keen to have their education back on. So actually while a terrible thing, tuition fees could have increased the bargaining power of university workers…

Mike Harman
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Mar 16 2018 14:50

There's been moves to get universities to refund tuition fees for the strike days, which is on the one hand very consumerist but on the other would evaporate the savings made from not paying people on strike. Not sure if anywhere is actually doing that yet. The student occupations cropping up a good sign that tuition fees haven't completely destroyed solidarity from students to staff yet anyway.

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Mar 16 2018 15:00

King's College have said that they will refund students once they know what the full impact of the strike will be.

Also, today's national activist meeting at Goldsmiths Uni had a good turnout:

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Mar 16 2018 15:32

Oh, and the UW bulletin mentions this:
"Student-Worker Solidarity Summit, Sunday, UCL Institute of Education, 11-6pm." - that's all the info I have, but might be worth attending if you're in the area.

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Mar 16 2018 16:55
Mike Harman wrote:
There's been moves to get universities to refund tuition fees for the strike days, which is on the one hand very consumerist but on the other would evaporate the savings made from not paying people on strike. Not sure if anywhere is actually doing that yet. The student occupations cropping up a good sign that tuition fees haven't completely destroyed solidarity from students to staff yet anyway.

yeah you would think that the union should encourage students to demand refunds from the universities. What would also be good would be for a request to go to strike supporters to donate refunds to the strike fund

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Mar 21 2018 22:11

In related news, Open University plans major cuts to number of staff and courses:

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/mar/21/open-university-plans-major-cuts-to-number-of-staff-and-courses

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Mar 22 2018 17:08
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Apr 13 2018 15:09

UCU members have voted to accept the most recent UUK deal, 64%-36%, on a turnout of 65% (a record, apparently).

Grassroots militants are understandably unhappy as new deal is essentially just kicking negotiations further down the line (when workers won't be as solid as they are now). Sad times.

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Apr 13 2018 23:53

UVW Cleaners dispute at the university of London is still on, 25th and 26th April

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Apr 14 2018 14:33
Ed wrote:
UCU members have voted to accept the most recent UUK deal, 64%-36%, on a turnout of 65% (a record, apparently).

Grassroots militants are understandably unhappy as new deal is essentially just kicking negotiations further down the line (when workers won't be as solid as they are now). Sad times.

What is the new deal, do you know? Is it just "everything stays the same as it was before and more negotations will happen"?

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May 21 2018 12:57

article looking back on the strike, written by a comrade of the ICC who works at a UK university and took part in the recent UCU strikes. Although not in the UCU or even eligible to join the pension scheme at the centre of the dispute, the comrade joined the strike in solidarity.

http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201805/15150/illusions-trade-unions-hold-back-workers-struggle

Spikymike
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May 21 2018 15:57

Thanks very much for that very useful article from the ICC member. I linked a few 'post strike' articles to this other discussion thread here: https://libcom.org/library/university-worker-strike-bulletin-2018-lecturers-dispute but they didn't generate much response so this is very welcome.