Keep tweeting #USS #USSstrike
We have reproduced this here for your reference but members will have received it by email last week.
The UCU Branch Committee have been receiving many very welcome messages from members declaring their support for the upcoming industrial action, as well as offering comments and queries related to the dispute. This update contains important information relating to that dispute.
Pension Fact Sheet
This ucl-ucu-pension-factsheet gives a detailed account of the problems facing the USS and outlines the steps we can take to start sorting these out in a way that works for all members of the scheme. It has been provided by colleagues in our sister-branch at UCL and we have independently verified all of the information it contains. Again, please share this information widely and feel free to pass it on.
Telling the University about Strike Action:
You should not provide advance notice about your intention to strike to the University, nor should you provide any such information while you are on strike. Members are obliged to respond truthfully to any query from the University as to whether they have taken part in strike action upon returning to work after any period of strike action.
Your pension contributions
The University will continue to pay its portion of your pension contributions and, by default, your personal contributions for strike days will be deducted from your pay ensuring continuity of service.
This is now set up – please see Strike fund appeal post
The Branch will transfer an initial £5000 into this fund and welcome additional donations from anyone who feels that they are in a position to support this effort, including those from other unions and external to the University. The fund will follow the national regulations set out by UCU Head Office with the following key points:
- Priority will be given to member in most need (e.g. those on casualised contracts or who are otherwise in financial difficulty).
- There will be a £50 daily maximum pay out.
- Payment will be provided on receipt of evidence of docked pay.
- Applications to the fund will be overseen by the Branch Treasurer and two Branch Officials.
- The fund will be subject to audit.
The single most important way to support action on pensions is to strike and to join us on the picket lines. A secure online sign-up form is here so you can tell us where and when you are able to join us. As well as withdrawing our labour, the visibility of members standing together is of vital importance in sending a strong message to our employer, to the media, and to the public. In addition to striking we would ask that, as applicable, all members
- display, where practical, posters or fliers on their office doors, desks or noticeboards; such visible displays help create a culture of mutual support among Union members and raises the profile of the issue for other staff and students.
- for those with direct contact with students, please help inform them about the issues. Here is the ucu_uss_support-our-strike_student-letter teaching staff can use in addition to the following resources:
- Local NUS Statement of Support: https://www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/news/article/6001/Students-Union-response-to-UCU-industrial-action/
- National Joint Statement by NUS and UCU: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/9247/Joint-NUSUCU-statement-on-USS-action
- UCU information Video: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/9309/Strike-message-to-students
- Information poster for Students: https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/9177/USS-message-for-students-strike-poster—colour/pdf/ussstrike_door-poster_colour.pdf
- encourage students to wear stickers declaring their support — these will be available on picket lines
- encourage students to join staff on picket lines.
In addition to the wonderful support we have received from our students, the local Unison branch has sent a message of solidarity and their members will be joining us on picket lines (outside of contracted working hours), wearing stickers and doing whatever else they can to help throughout our dispute.
On the afternoons of Monday Feb 26, Monday March 5 and Monday March 12 we will be organising off-campus teach-ins where students can learn more about issues relating to the labour movement and political action more broadly. These are voluntary sessions that do not replace teaching that has been cancelled due to the strike, but will provide an opportunity for staff and students to come together in a way that is educational and enjoyable. If you are interested in participating, please watch out for further information which will be provided shortly.
If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch.
Your UCU branch Committee
Below you’ll find the text of our strike fund letter that we’re distributing to union branches and individuals. you’ll find bank detail for the strike find below too. You can download the letter as a pdf here: UoN UCU hardship fund letter.
Please share in your networks!
UCU at the University of Nottingham begins sustained strike action on Thursday 22nd February and we’re asking for your solidarity in supporting our members through the strike by donating to our local hardship fund.
Why are we striking?
We’re striking because our pensions are under attack. The latest proposals would mean a cut of up to 40% in the future value of our pensions, hitting younger and less secure members hardest.
And we’re not alone in this. Across the public sector, we’re seeing attacks on pensions, jobs and terms and conditions. Winning this battle would strengthen all of us.
14 days of strike action are planned in February and March. This sustained strike action is necessary because shorter strikes across the public sector haven’t worked. We believe we can win this time because we have a strong mandate from members and the support of our students’ union, and because a strike of this duration will have a significant impact on the work of the university.
Why do we need a hardship fund?
A long strike means a massive hit to wages. Some of us can afford to take that hit; others can’t. We don’t just represent well-paid lecturers; a lot of our members are administrators and researchers on much lower wages and, increasingly, casualization means that many others are on precarious short term or hourly paid contracts.
We’ve set up a local fund to help members who face real hardship as a result of taking strike action, prioritising those on the most precarious contracts. This won’t replace their lost wages in full but it will help with the basics. The branch has put in funds and we’re asking our better paid members to contribute, but we need your help too.
How can you help?
- Donate to the hardship fund using these details:
Unity Trust Bank
Account name: UCU Nottingham LA63, Hardship Fund
Sort code 60 83 01
Account code 20346359
Please use your organisation’s name or your name as reference.
Please also send us an email so we know who to thank and how to get in touch with you. If you can tweet that you’ve supported us too, that would be great: #USS #StrikeforUSS
- Visit the picket line (7am – 11am at the main entrances to the university on every day of the strike – 22nd, 23rd, 26th, 27th and 28th February; 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th March)
- Write to your MP and to Shearer West, the university’s Vice Chancellor, to express your support for the strike
Thanks, as always, for your solidarity.
University of Nottingham UCU Branch Committee
Our pensions support official Chris Mason gave a seminar on the state of USS last week. It can be downloaded here as requested by members.
Picketing on the days we are taking strike action is an important way of making our strength visible.
We are using a google form to do this as it is secure and enables us to have easy access to the information we need each day. If you have problems, just contact the branch office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up here.
You can find the UCU guidance on picketing here.
Please tweet (tag us @UoNUCU!) and share these any way you can! You can download them as pdfs to put on your door at the links below.
Please click the links below to download posters with statements from: