Our working conditions are your learning conditions
Student FAQs: UCU Strike Action 25th November – 4th December
What is industrial action?
Industrial action is action taken by employees in response to issues related to their employment not being resolved by their employers.
What is UCU?
UCU stands for University and College Union. It is a trade union which represents teaching and academic-related staff within higher and further education institutions in Britain.
UCU represents over 120,000 lecturers, researchers, administrative staff, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates.
The Liverpool UCU Branch covers staff at The University of Liverpool and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Why are UCU striking?
The pensions dispute is in response to changes which have been proposed to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) which would see staff be more than £200,000 worse off, as they would have to pay more into their pension schemes whilst receiving less in return.
The pay and working conditions dispute looks to stop pay-reductions for staff and stamp out casual contracts:
- 46% of those who teach in universities are employed on zero-hours contracts. This means that almost half of those delivering teaching in UK universities do not have guaranteed working hours and are paid hourly for their teaching – this does not include preparation time or time speaking to students outside of lectures.
- 63% of research staff are on precarious fixed-term contracts, leaving them with no long-term financial .
Meanwhile, the tuition fees continue to rise: it is time to ask university management where your money goes?
Were these strikes avoidable?
Yes. Strike action is the last resort for staff. UCU negotiators have contacted the representatives for the universities for each dispute however they are still waiting for a response. The vice-chancellor and senior management teams inform you they have done everything they can to resolve this issue: this is untrue. The ball is in the employers’ court, as is the future of your education. The universities have ample resources to change the poor conditions staff face both during employment and in retirement, however the employers have again chose to ignore these issues and leave staff with no choice but to take action.
Who do we send complaints to about the disruption this is causing to our learning?
Please direct your complaints to the Vice-Chancellor Janet Beer and the senior management team. These individuals hold the power to stop this disruption and have a duty to support both students and staff.
You can send emails as an individual student or organise as a collective group, expressing your solidarity for staff and opposition to worsening teaching and learning conditions which impact your future.
Will lectures be rescheduled after the strikes end?
When staff return to work they be working to contract, this includes not rescheduling lectures cancelled during strike action. Whilst staff appreciate this is a frustrating time for students, unpaid labour in the form of staff working longer hours than contracts pay is unacceptable and must be changed.
Are students allowed on the picket line?
Yes! We welcome anyone (including dogs!) on the picket lines to show solidarity with striking staff.
What can students do to show solidarity to staff on strike?
As well as joining staff on the picket lines, students can share their messages of support on social media and through discussions with their peers. If students want to send a formal message of solidarity we
These strikes are not necessary and with the support of students we can get this message out and push the employers to make much needed changes to teaching and learning conditions in higher education institutes.
Are there any planned teachouts?
Yes: UCU and the student guild are hosting three teachouts, full details are available on the student guild website.
- UCU Climate Action: A Green New Deal, Friday 25th November at 11:30
- Why Students Should Support the UCU Strikes – The Importance of Student-Staff Solidarity, Friday 25th November at 13:00
- Breaking (Out Of) The Ivory Tower: Wednesday 30th November, 14:00
What you can do to help:
Email and demand senior management engage with meaningful negotiations with UCU:
Vice Chancellor Dame Professor Janet Beer: email@example.com
Director of People and Services Dr Carol Costello: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, Professor Gavin Brown: email@example.com