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.


Solidarity with Bournemouth UCU

At an AGM on 9th June, the branch carried a motion in support of twinning with Bournemouth University UCU to support their marking and assessment boycott over the current National Four Fights and USS dispute.

The motion resolutions were:

  • To twin with Bournemouth UCU branch, including:
  • To make an initial donation of up to £5,000 to Bournemouth’s strike fund from our branch
  • To ask our members to donate, where possible, up to 1 day’s pay per week to Bournemouth while the branch remains on boycott
  • To ask our members to send messages of solidarity to Bournemouth branch, and share their social media posts, publicity, etc
  • To ask Bournemouth branch for regular updates on the boycott, and invite some of their members to attend our next branch meeting

Members can…
Post your messages of solidarity and support on our dedicated Kudoboard.

Show your support with a financial contribution to their gofundme campaign (campaign is in the name of the branch treasurer).

Raise awareness of their ongoing boycott via their Twitter account.

Liverpool University UCU Branch supports Bournemouth UCU in holding the line in the fight against pay inequality, spiralling workloads, casualisation, pay degradation and devalued pensions!

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.

Petition to UUK over a fair USS

National petition to the Universities UK board at the USS institutions meeting on Thursday 4 December in London.

Petition to UUK over a fair USS

‘We the undersigned believe that the USS pension scheme is an important benefit to university staff as well as a significant factor in the recruitment and retention of high quality staff for member institutions.

‘We note that the employers’ initial proposals would have meant a reduction in annual pension income of up to 27% for staff. We call upon the USS Board to agree a fair method of valuation which reflects the underlying strength of the USS fund. We call upon university managements to support such an approach and to work with UCU to develop a pension scheme which ensures all eligible existing and future staff, including casualised staff, benefit from a decent guaranteed pension income.’

Sign the Petition here

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.