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Strike Information February 2022

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. We are asking you to email in as we will be forwarding all ‘in person’ picketers detailed UCU legal/Covid guidance. In the first instance, can picketers please make their way to the Shinfield Road entrance and find a picket supervisor. We will be picketing between 08:00-09:30 on each day of industrial action: 14 to 18 February and again on 21 & 22 February. The first six members to arrive will be given ‘Picket’ armbands, and we’ll cover the main road entrance plus the path from the bus stop past the Sports Centre. Supporters are very welcome to pop by and say hello.

14th February – Valentines strike day

As our first strike date is Valentine’s day, we shall be digging out our red and pink scarfs, hats and gloves. We will be handing out to members our wonderfully pink and warm UCU hats – available to members on a first come first serve basis. It is also HeartUnions week | TUC next week, so we are encouraging placards with USS related valentines slogans as well as twitter selfies/slogans ‘All I want from the University of Reading this Valentines day is to save my USS Pension….’ Don’t forget to tweet with @HeartUnions @ReadingUCU @UCU

Emails and 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. Please note, if the redirect is not working, please try setting the redirect rule to work for the following email address also: rucu-bounces@lists.reading.ac.uk, as well as adding the email addresses of RUCU, our Branch Officers (Sally, Nat) and our administrator (Colette), to your ‘safe list’ in outlook.

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. Our understanding is that because this is an ongoing dispute, members will be eligible to claim for the full seven days of this round of action. 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, as part of a national dispute, 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 between 14 to 18 February and again on 21 & 22 February. 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 in the next two weeks. 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 14 to 18 February and again on 21 & 22 February. After that period of strike action, if full time , your next day of work would be 23 February. 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

Please see the ASOS FAQ and relevant Reclaim our time: ASOS campaign pages on the national UCU website here:
https://ucu.org.uk/article/11817/HE-disputes-FAQs#Taking-action-short-of-a-strike

Members should note that UCU has provided notice to University of Reading, that expands the scope of the ASOS that we are asking members to participate in at University of Reading. We ask members to note that the ASOS now includes:

• removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action

• not rescheduling classes and lectures cancelled due to strike action

In terms of ​rescheduling, the national UCU FAQs linked above state that by ‘lectures or classes’ we mean any activity between any UCU member and a student or group of students which involves any instruction, tuition, communicating or sharing of knowledge or guidance.

This includes teaching which would have taken place on one of UCU’s strike days and covers instructional activities undertaken by UCU members who are professional services staff, as well as academic staff. You should, if asked, refuse to reschedule such sessions, stating that you are supporting UCU’s action short of a strike.

If someone else such as a line manager or head of department has already scheduled your classes, the FAQ state that once the action has started you should not teach rescheduled classes whoever has rescheduled them.

The national UCU FAQS also outline that the reasonability of any request will depend on the terms of your contract and custom and practice. If in doubt, or if your actions are challenged by someone senior to you, you should temporarily suspend your action and contact your branch who will seek further advice.

As a result, please do not hesitate to get in touch for support if you need to, for example by contacting the Branch Administrator in the first instance. We can ask for additional guidance from our regional office on your behalf.


UCU Picketing guidance

What is the law on picketing? UCU – HE disputes FAQs

UCU Covid advice for picketers

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/11817/HE-disputes-FAQs#Covid19-health-andsafety-picketing-advice

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