Why are we striking?

We recently surveyed our members as to why they have committed to strike action this November. Here is what they have to say:

I’m only asking for fair pay, fair contracts, and a fair pension… sounds fair enough…


I am striking to protect me, my colleagues and my students, and our futures.

I am fighting to protect Higher Education for future generations.


I need job security and a pay rise!


I am striking to prevent the real-terms pay cut we’ve been given, and to save our pensions after they were – as it turns out, unnecessarily – devalued, by an average of 30%.


I am striking to fight for a fair future for all working in Higher Education.

I don’t believe I have a choice – my individual attempts to improve my working conditions (pay and job security) have failed, so I have no option but to act collectively and go on strike.


The UK HE sector is awash with money from students, government and commerce – yet the people who produce this revenue see very little of it!!


I am striking to support the rights of University staff.


The statistics that 46% of those who teach in universities are employed on zero-hours contracts and that 63% of research staff are on precarious fixed-term contracts are appalling, even without the spiralling cost of living and a lousy 3% pay raise offer, along with the fact that a third of our pensions have been taken away on spurious grounds. We have to fight back against the uberisation of UK universities.

I am supporting industrial action because I do not wish to be complicit in the erosion of our rights and the theft of our income and pensions.


To make a fair change for all.


The system is corrupt, workers from every sector must unite to demand change.


They say cut back – we say fight back! I’m sick of being treated like crap. This is a chance to resist!

I am striking for the future of PGRs & all staff.


To combat working conditions that are as of this moment untenable, and to stand in solidarity with my colleagues across higher education.


I am furious at the dishonest way pension benefits have been cut and the increasing casualisation of University work.


I believe our pensions and salaries should be guarded.

I want to support the Union in defending the rights of workers in Higher Education.


No one wants to strike. We’ve all got bills to pay in increasingly difficult economic circumstances. But, I am joining this strike action because we have to stand together – against falling wages, against pension theft, against precarity and inequality.


Because enough is enough.


How are the USS pensions and Four Fights disputes interlinked?

We’re at Breaking Point during ‘feel good February’ – support the Four Fights strikes

If you care about USS pensions, you need to support the Four Fights campaign, because:

– casualisation means many members of staff do not earn enough to qualify for a pension, or don’t think it is worth paying into because they are only employed on brief contracts, but if we successfully win the campaign on casualisation, more members will join USS, and the pension fund will be bigger and stronger

– the pay inequalities that affect women, disabled staff and black staff mean that these groups earn less money, and therefore pay less into the pension scheme, but if we successfully win the campaign on equal pay, they will earn more, and the pension fund will be bigger and stronger

– escalating workloads mean that most staff are doing more than a fair day’s work for the pay we recieve, but if we successfully win the campaign on workloads, the universities will have to recruit more staff to do the same amount of work, and that means more people will join the pension fund, and it will be bigger and stronger

– our pay has not kept up with inflation, and we now earn 20% less than we did a decade ago in real terms, but if we successfully win the campaign on pay, we will all earn more money, and all pay more into our pensions, and the pension fund will be bigger and stronger

We treat the USS pensions and Four Fights campaigns as separate disputes, but in fact the issues are inextricably linked, and we need to win both battles if we are to achieve job security, fair pay, reasonable workloads, a pay rise, and a pension worth having.

Strike Rallies 6th and 9th August

UoL UCU says NO compulsory redundancies

THE article: University of Liverpool UCU vote to strike over pay threat

Please see the following THE article discussing the ballot of UCU Liverpool members to strike over threat to withhold pay for staff engaged in an assessment boycott. This boycott is due to the recent threat to USS Higher Education pensions.

“Action follows management decision to withhold pay from academics taking part in marking boycott.

“Union members at the University of Liverpool have voted to strike in response to the management’s decision to dock 100 per cent of the salary of employees participating in a marking boycott.”

“The strike, which would continue until the decision is rescinded, is the latest escalation of the dispute between institutions and staff which centres on proposed pension reforms.

“At least eight institutions across the UK have now announced plans to deduct full pay from lecturers taking part in the boycott, which began on November 6.

“A spokeswoman for the Liverpool branch of the University and College Union accused management of announcing their decision on pay in an “aggressively worded” email which “included threats to discipline members and make them personally liable for any damages awarded in claims made against the institution in relation to the industrial action”.

“”This hard-line stance has caused real anger across the university,” the spokeswoman told Times Higher Education. “Not only is this an insult to staff here in Liverpool but it is a threat to the national union’s ability to use ASOS [action short of a strike] in the future. We also know that, if the University of Liverpool is allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour, that it will become a norm across the sector.”

“The branch spokeswoman said the result of the vote was “overwhelming”, with no votes against and only one abstention.”

Please see the full article on the Times Higher Education.

Recent coverage of the Pay Disupte in the Liverpool Echo

Please see the following recent Liverpool Echo articles on the Pay Disupte:

Mayor Anderson wades into pay row at University of Liverpool


Staff at Merseyside universities go on strike in on-going row over pay


Universities described as ‘ghost ships’ as staff walk out over pay row


Joint-Union Strike Announced for 31st Oct

It has been announced that national UCU HE officers have agreed to call a day of joint strike action with Unison and Unite on Thursday 31st October. This will be the first all-union action on HE pay since 1996. UCU members will also be asked to work-to-contract with effect from Friday 1st November.

Further information is available in this branch circular and press release.

Strike 31/10/13 Poster materials

Stike 31/10/13 Poster materials

Please display the posters and distribute all the leaflets you receive – to members, non-members, members of other unions, members of none – as far throughout your building as they will go. We can supply more materials and will be organising door-knocking – please contact Pam at lucu@liv.ac.uk to request more leaflets, to volunteer to cover a building other than your own etc.

Unions promise to bring universities to “standstill” over pay (Times Higher article)

Universities have dismissed union claims that next week’s one-day strike will bring them to a “standstill”, saying that they expect a “low-level impact on students”.

Members of higher education’s three largest trade unions – the University and College Union, Unison and Unite – will take part in a national walkout on 31 October over employers’ “measly” 1 per cent pay offer.

This will represent the first time that the three unions have taken strike action together and will also be the first countrywide walkout over pay in the academy since March 2006, when lecturers also began an assessment boycott.

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