Today, we start the next round of UCU strikes: 18 days of strikes over February and March.

Over a longer period of strikes like this, we need to find ways to keep the pressure and our morale up. This means making sure the strike action achieves its aims. We will not rearrange any teaching or work that falls on strike days. Strike action is meant to be disruptive and any attempt to reduce this undermines our collective action. We need to make sure there is a big turn out on the picket lines, talking to members and other colleagues who could be members.

We need to think about our own work and where we can build leverage. Not all of us work as lecturers with clear cut teaching. For those without teaching responsibilities, this doesn’t mean research or other activities carry on from home. Not doing this - or voting to only participate in some days of action - is scabbing on the rest of us in the union. Don’t be a scab!

We also need to send a strong message to the employers by rejecting UCEA’s latest offer. Accepting anything below inflation is accepting a pay cut, accepting anything less than our demands showing the bosses weakness. Vote to reject the current UCEA offer in your online ballot!

It may feel like yet another strike in this long running dispute, but there are three important differences this time round.

  1. We are part of a wider strike on the 1st of February. 300,000 teachers in the NEU will be on strike across the country, closing over 23,000 schools. We will also be joined by 100,000 civil servants in the PCS, as well as thousands of railway and bus workers in the RMT and ASLEF, and Unite. At UCL, around 150 outsourced security guards in the IWGB union will be on strike, shutting down their university with their UCU co-workers. These circumstances mean we can visit other picket lines and join cross-union demonstrations where they are happening.

  2. The government is planning a new attack on trade unions and the right to strike. If the government gets its way, the barrier to take strikes and making them successful will become even harder. We need to talk about this new bill on the picket lines and plan ways to fight it. We must also continue to build confidence in our own organisational strength, so that we are ready to make the new anti-trade union laws unenforceable if they do pass.

  3. While many of us had disagreements about the union’s strategy, we need to make the most out of this action. The University Worker argued for indefinite strikes at the start of the term. While we didn’t get this, the debate has clearly shifted. If we want to get the kind of action we need to finish the dispute, that starts with making these strike days as strong as possible!

Like in previous issues, we have a call for reports from picket lines, and thoughts on the wider situation, HERE . Send us your reports, even if they’re a couple of sentences - and pictures too!

Please complete the form below (or share the direct link here:


The University Worker

Bulletin written for, and by, University Workers. Back issues here