Newsletter and Strike Bulletin

Thanks to all of you who contributed to our impressive York turnout of over 50% in the recent ballots over our pay and pensions. We have a clear mandate for action to increase our pressure on our reluctant employers to act to resolve our disputes with them, on which they have so far failed to respond constructively.

Just to remind you, we seek to an acceptable settlement over the problems caused by [1] our employers’ unhelpful approach to pension issues, and [2] their failure to make a reasonable offer on pay, including our casualisation and gender equality claims. Our vice-chancellor and senior managers may try to claim that their hands are tied because these are UK disputes rather than local ones. That is not true. UUK and UCEA are nothing other than employers’ representatives. If enough vice-chancellors and governing bodies change their positions, so will UUK and UCEA.

What’s going to happen?

Based on the mandate of our ballot results, UCU has called for 8 days of strike action to take place on 25 – 29 November and 2-4 December. This is serious action, which is the only way to get serious change from our employers. It’s a big ask, but it’s what we need to do.

What are we doing in York?

    • We ask as many members as possible to withdraw their labour and join in on our picket line on the strike days: for details you can contact John Issitt at or James Cussens at : we will provide further guidance and information nearer the start of the strike:
    • We plan to picket from 8.00am to 10.00am every strike day and to hold a short rally from 10.30 to 11.00 outside Heslington Hall on each of those days:
    • We are planning a branch general meeting on Wednesday 27 November, hopefully with a national speaker, to celebrate our action, and to review what needs doing:
    • On Friday 29 November we will be linking our industrial action to the UK day of action on the climate emergency
    • We all need to encourage members in all departments to plan in advance how they will support the strike: you may want to hold discussions with colleagues in your own department about this, and members of the branch executive will be happy to come along to those meetings:
    • If members in particular departments want to organise events such as teach-outs during the strike days, the branch will be happy to help with advice and funds
    • We are making contacts with our students via YUSU and the GSA to ensure that they understand UCU’s position
    • We ask that you encourage students to email the Vice-chancellor to put pressure on UUK and UCEA


Requests to report taking strike action in advance

UCU instructs members NOT to respond to requests to report taking strike action in advance of doing so. Here is an example of suggested wording you can use to refuse any request you may receive in the future from either HR or HoDs/line managers.

“Dear HR  [or whoever]

As you know there is no legal requirement on employees to inform employers in advance about any strike action which they may intend to take in the course of an industrial dispute.There is of course a requirement to inform an employer once strike action has been taken, and should I take such action I will inform you of that at the appropriate time.”