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November, 2021:

Strike Information

UCU HQ Strike FAQs

https://ucu.org.uk/article/11817/HE-disputes-FAQs

Physical Pickets

Please do email to let us know if you plan to come along to the physical picket lines next week. We are asking you to email in as we will be forwarding all ‘in person’ picketers detailed UCU legal/Covid guidance ahead of the physical pickets on Wednesday.

Virtual Pickets

We are very mindful that we need to be careful with how we organise our physical pickets due to the pandemic and so we are also setting up a ‘virtual/online’ picket for those who would prefer to join in remotely. A ‘virtual picket’ meeting link will be circulated to all members shortly.

Outlook forwarding

Please find guidance here on how to set up auto forwarding during the strike days if your usual mode of communication for Reading UCU is your work email. This means you will receive any updates from us without having to access your work email account.

Strike Fund

UCU will be supporting members from the central Fighting Fund for this dispute. Daily rates will be £75 for members in UCU subscription bands F3-6 (those earning under £30,000) and £50 for members in bands F0-F2 (those earning £30,000 and over). All members participating in strike action will be able to claim for the second day of the strike action onwards. All details can be found here

If you know anyone who would like to donate to the UCU Fighting Fund, please forward the link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund

Resources for students

-USS FAQs (includes What is the USS dispute about?) https://www.ucu.org.uk/uss-faqs
-NUS petition: Students stand in solidarity with UCU’s demands. Senior managers must agree to avoid disruption. https://www.nus.org.uk/articles/student-views-on-ucu-strikes-revealed-by-nus

Strike out-of-office

Members may want to use the following template, checked by our Regional Office:

I am not able to check email today as members of Reading UCU are taking industrial action, along with members at 37 other universities, in opposition to the devastating cuts to our pension scheme. The UCU USS modeller indicates that a typical USS member at point 37 of the current higher education pay spine would suffer a 35% cut to the guaranteed retirement benefits which they would build up between the projected date for implementation of the proposals and their retirement. Members of Reading UCU will be on strike on Wednesday 1st, Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd December. If you would like more information about the dispute, please go to https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss. If you are a student, please visit the NUS petition here: https://email-nus.org.uk/p/5BGA-9DB/strike-letter

Informing the University about your strike action

Members are under no obligation to inform HR, or indeed any other member of staff, about their intentions to undertake strike action if you are going to be on strike next week. If a manager asks, you can politely decline to answer that question in advance of taking part in any forthcoming action.
Members also do not need to notify the Director of HR, or anyone else, immediately after every day of strike action. Our days of strike action are Wednesday 1st, Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd December. After that period of strike action, if full time (and if you are not contracted to work weekends), your next day of work would be Monday 6 December. That’s the day to confirm that you have taken part in action, once you have been asked to notify. If you work part-time, then it would be the next day that you are scheduled to work after strike action. See the relevant UCU Strike FAQ here: https://ucu.org.uk/article/11817/HE-disputes-FAQs

Action Short of A Strike

UCU is running a series of 20 minute bite-size courses on action short of striking (ASOS) to maximise participation and impact of the industrial action in higher education. Please book on a course here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/11908/UCU-online-teach-outs?utm_source=Lyris&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaignupdate&utm_term=_all-members&utm_content=The+Friday+email:+26+November+2021

UCU Covid advice for teach outs and pickets

https://reading.web.ucu.org.uk/files/2021/11/211123-UCU-covid-guidance-re-picketing-and-teach-outs.pdf

UCU Picketing guidance

https://ucu.org.uk/media/1132/Branch-picket-guidance/pdf/ucu_picketing-guidance1.pdf

Strike action: Wednesday 1, Thursday 2 and Friday 3 December

With deep frustration, we are having to take our stance of last resort to get UUK and our employers back to the negotiation table over USS: we’ll be manning the picket lines on Wednesday 1, Thursday 2 and Friday 3 December – next week. This is a strange time to be trying to organise a picket line: so, for those of you who can’t make it to the real life picket lines for any reason, we’ll be running a virtual picket too, offering support, company, discussion and virtual tea and cake. On the main pickets, fancy dress – or, at the very least, bright colours – will be greatly welcomed.

We are going to hold a branch meeting on Thursday 25th at 1.00 to discuss more details. Meanwhile we are stocking up on posters, placards, hats and armbands, which we hope will reach us in time – it’s a tall order for HQ to send out everything in good time!

All input is greatly appreciated. We are on new territory: we would like to organise teach-outs (if we can get the spaces in time) but will want help with that. We need to know what you think, and how you are able to show your solidarity. Please come to the branch meeting: or if you can’t come, please email us, or contact your rep to make sure your voice is heard.

USS Ballot

We have received the results of the USS ballot. We have got over the 50 per cent turnout required, which is a great result given the very short window for this ballot process. You can see the details here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss). The runout across all branches was 53 per cent and the yes vote for strike action was 76 per cent and the yes vote for action short of a strike (ASOS) was 88 per cent.

A big thank you to our members for voting and taking part in this important ballot to defend pensions. I also extend a big thanks to our Get the Vote Out (GTVO) Team for their hard work during this short ballot period, including our departmental reps who have been working on the ground to talk to members.

What happens next?

The results of this ballot across the sector sends a clear message that members want to consider every type of action possible, including ASOS, to defend pensions. Now we need to consider the next steps in campaigning to defend our pensions from attack.

After the Branch Delegates Meeting, members of Higher Education Committee (HEC) will be meeting Friday 12 November in the afternoon, to decide on next steps in this dispute. HEC is one of the sub committees of your elected National Executive Committee (NEC) of UCU (https://www.ucu.org.uk/structures). They are responsible for implementing the decisions passed by our members in sector conferences and in ballots such as this.