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:
- 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