Strike Information – 28 February – 2 March

As we move into the next three days of strikes, which at a UK level are focussed on the Four Fights, we ask everyone to come out and make our collective action bite. We need strength to face down the sheer unfairness and inhumane decision making of UUK and UCEA (the body that determines pay). In each of these bodies our VC has a say, we need to make it loud and clear what we want:

·       A revaluation of USS and protection of our benefits as USS members
·       A pay rise that is realistic and reflects the reality of 12 years of effective pay cuts
·       Credible action to reduce workload
·       Credible action to eliminate gender, race and disability-based pay gaps
·       Credible action to remove the stain of casualisation from our workplace

To reflect this the strike days this week our pickets each have a theme:

Monday 28th February – Precarity and casualisation
We particularly encourage senior staff to come to the pickets to support those who are in more vulnerable positions and show solidarity.

Tuesday 1st March – gender/ethnicity/disability pay gaps.
We encourage members to research and create placards/write messages/speak on the pickets about the fact that these indefensible pay gaps exist in 2022.

Wednesday 2nd March – Support for the NUS day of action
This is part of our joint endeavours to secure a university with better staff working conditions and student learning conditions. Students have supported our pickets on each day since December 1st, on this day we ask members to come out to support them.

In each case, we ask that placards, speeches and conversation are focussed on the issues so we can collectively recognise and act in solidarity in each of these important areas of our struggle.

Branch meeting

There is a branch meeting at 1pm on Tuesday 1st March 2022. This is to discuss all aspects of strike action and ASOS as we respond to UUK and UCEA decisions and decisions made by the Higher Education Committee within UCU.

This will be on Zoom – details of the link to follow.

Emailing the VC

Thank you to all who have emailed the VC about your views of what he should do in relation to both USS and the Four Fights. Please keep doing this: vc@york.ac.uk It is essential that Charlie not only hears our collective voice via your union representatives, but also your individual voices as part of our movement.

Action Short Of a Strike

We all also need to use ASOS with a degree of vociferousness and directness that matches our university as part of UUK wanting to reduce our pensions by up to 35% and hold back our pay below inflation, as well as casualise our jobs, pay us unequally and pile us up with unsustainable and unhealthy workloads.

As a reminder, we are committed to:

working to contract (do check your contract and don’t work beyond contracted
hours – anything beyond those hours should not be done)

not covering for absent colleagues (even when this has been a customary practice)

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. (This means that all materials related to teaching lost due to the strike is lost and does not reappear).

not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action (If you come under pressure to do this tell your department rep and/or your exec).

not undertaking any voluntary activities (Unless specifically contracted, this includes open days, post offer days, graduation, a large array of community activities…)

If you have questions about ASOS let us know. It is complex, there are so many individual circumstances and there is inevitably a large measure of judgement to be exercised here. It is also an opportunity to escape aspects of your role that are not adding value to students or to your own career and/or the department community.

Strikes next week

We have strikes next week, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday inclusive.
We start each day at 0830am at each of the four picketing sites:

·       The Retreat Entrance
·       Newton Way (Behind James College, near to the sports centre)
·       Campus East (next to the bus stops)
·       Kings Manor (in town)

At 1030am we have a rally at Heslington Hall. Anyone who wants to can speak.

On the map attached the three red triangles are picket sites and the blue triangle is the rally point (for staff who are new to York and may not have visited campus).

Note – these are changes from the times advertised last week. 

Following on from the UUK/USS decision it is even more important that we all come out, make our voices heard and tell our own VC and team and those of other universities that we don’t accept the attacks on our pensions, pay and conditions.

Branch strike diary

Details also placed on the branch Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/UcuYork (note, for those who don’t know Twitter, you don’t need an account to view the feed.)

Monday 28th February 2022

Pickets and rally as advertised above. Focussed on precarity and casualisation.

Teach out organised by the Politics Department: ‘NHS Solidarity and Disability’.
1300-1600 at the Crescent Community Venue in York, on the Crescent, off Blossom Street.

This event coincides closely with the ‘NHS Day of Action’.
More details of the panel to come.

Tuesday 1st March 2022

Pickets and rally, as advertised above. Focussed on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps

Wednesday 2nd March 2022

Pickets as advertised above. Focussed on supporting the NUS day of action. 

1130am – digital picket begins and continues into the rally to follow. 

12pm – Rally in Exhibition Square. This event is in the City to highlight our dispute to a broader audience and will include speakers from other unions and student groups, amongst others. More details to come! 

1-30pm to 4pm – UCU event in the Crescent on ‘The future of our university’.
This event will be in two halves, with the first led by staff and the second half by students. More details to come. 

Note – all teach outs are open to all, including UCU members, non-member staff, students and the general public.

Request for speakers/activity leaders for the 2nd of March UCU event. If you wish to take part in this event, leading a session, participating in a panel or in some other way, let us know asap. Thank you. 

Strike and hardship fund

There is financial support available to members to make sure all who want to can strike. Details of this is available on the following pages:

National strike fund – https://my.ucu.org.uk/app/answers/detail/a_id/429/~/ucu-fighting-fund?_ga=2.238857472.1440409420.1645611547-1272518569.1633445049

Local hardship fund – https://york.web.ucu.org.uk/local-hardship-fund-february-march-2020/

We particularly remind staff on the most precarious contracts, like GTAs, to claim and to join the strikes knowing you will be supported financially.

If you can please consider donating to either or both funds:

National fund – https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund
Local fund – https://york.web.ucu.org.uk/local-hardship-fund-february-march-2020/

In Solidarity,

UOY UCU Executive

Monday 21 February update and details for next week’s action – 28 February, 1 and 2 March

Tomorrow is the final day of this 7-day tranche of strike days. Let’s make it a big finish to send a message to our VC and his compatriots that we demand our pensions to be protected and to have decent pay and working conditions.

Today we enjoyed the ‘Free University of North Yorkshire’s’ latest teach out, organised by our Politics Dept UCU members and student groups, on the subject of Classism and the Cost of Living Crisis. A rich discussion of how to be activist in unions and civil society provided all who attended with much food for thought.

We start tomorrow at 0830am at each of the four picketing sites:

  • The Retreat Entrance
  • Newton Way (Behind James College, near to the sports centre)
  • Campus East (next to the bus stops)
  • Kings Manor (in town)

At 1030am we have a rally at Heslington Hall. Anyone who wants to can speak.

On the map attached here the three red triangles are picket sites and the blue triangle is the rally point (for staff who are new to York and may not have visited campus).

Note – these are changes from the times advertised last week.

We encourage the bringing of cakes, hot drinks, dogs, children, anything that makes noise (e.g. pots and pans) and Vice Chancellors to the picket line. It all adds to the atmosphere and from experience, it is an invaluable chance to talk with colleagues from other departments and places in the university that you don’t interact with on a day-to-day basis.

Branch strike diary – to be updated in each day’s email.

Details also placed on the branch Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/UcuYork (note, for those who don’t know Twitter, you don’t need an account to view the feed.)

Tuesday 22nd February 2022

Pickets and rally as advertised above.

Monday 28th February 2022

  • Pickets and rally as advertised above.
  • Teach out organised by the Politics Department: ‘NHS Solidarity and Disability’.
    1300-1600 at the Crescent Community Venue in York, on the Crescent, off Blossom Street.
  • This event coincides closely with the ‘NHS Day of Action’.
    More details of the panel to come.

Tuesday 1st March 2022

  • Pickets and rally as advertised above

Wednesday 2nd March 2022

  • Pickets as advertised above.
  • 1130am – digital picket begins and continues into the rally to follow.
  • 12pm – Rally in Exhibition Square. This event is in the City to highlight our dispute to a broader audience and will include speakers from other unions and student groups, amongst others. More details to come!
  • 1pm to 4pm – UCU event in the Crescent on ‘The future of our university’.
    This event will be in two halves, with the first led by staff and the second half by students. More details to come.

Note – all teach outs are open to all, including UCU members, non-member staff, students and the general public.

We are issuing a request for speakers/activity leaders for the 2nd of March UCU event. If you wish to take part in this event, leading a session, participating in a panel or in some other way, let us know asap. Thank you.

Strike and ASOS information

We have been asked a number of questions about strike action and ASOS.

  1. GTAs can and should claim for lost earnings when they strike.
    You can claim from the national and local funds. See our website for details. Nobody should cross the picket due to money concerns. https://york.web.ucu.org.uk/local-hardship-fund-february-march-2020/
    Note that this process is easy and simply requires that you include, along with your completed form below, hard-copy or scanned evidence of pay deduction for industrial action (e.g., a pay stub with a noted deduction; dated timetable of work scheduled on strike day + prior pay stub + evidence of industrial action taken on relevant date; etc.). If we require further verification, we will be in touch.
  2. When I come back to work will I need to restore access to lecture and teaching materials for students? Will I need to reschedule teaching?
    No. Our ASOS includes the provision to not provide materials for teaching sessions that are lost due to the strike. Also, all teaching lost in the strike is just that, lost, there will not be rescheduling. This includes supervisions.
  3. Do I need to tell my employer that I have been on strike?
    Ultimately yes, but not until we go back after each bout of action. This means from Wednesday 23rd this time.
  4. What can I do to make ASOS effective when I return to work?
    Read you contract carefully and identify the duties you do that are voluntary. Stop doing them. Also, add up the hours you work and don’t go beyond your contracted hours. Prioritise student-facing activities and/or ask your line manager which items you should prioritise if, as is very likely, you have more work than you can accommodate in your contracted hours.
    Also, put up posters and make use of email auto replies/out of office settings to spread the message that you are undertaking ASOS and why.

If you have any other questions about the strike or action short of a strike, please email us. We also want to hear about any actions by management in relation to the strike and action short of a strike.

See you on the pickets and solidarity,

The UCU UOY Executive