Text from branch president Ben Plumpton’s email to members 27th November
The most important thing to tell you is that our UCU negotiators on pay and conditions met with UCEA, the employers organization, on Tuesday. See UCU’s statement about that meeting. This is really important, because it shows it only took one day of solid striking and record breaking pickets to get UCEA to do what they should have done weeks ago; sit down and talk. However, they are still not willing to talk about pay. We need to push them harder on this, because stopping pay erosion is central to our claim and low pay is one of the issues which creates pay gaps and which exacerbates the already impossible position of casualised staff. UCEA are now consulting with university leaders. We need to send our Vice-Chancellor a clear message that our claims are urgent and that we won’t settle for anything other than substantial change.
- For those striking, please stand firm. We need to sustain our action. We want to make our pickets (physical and digital) bigger, louder and clearer, so help us make some noise over the next few days.
- If you are not yet striking, please come out with us now – this is an important dispute which we can win if we stand together. You will be very welcome.
- We’ve had 50 new members join UCU in the last couple of weeks which is great. Keep encouraging colleagues! New joiners to the strike at this stage make a huge difference.
You are wonderful
What fantastic pickets you are – arriving early and standing around in the damp, and then willingly singing in the rain and cheering at our rallies! Thank you thank you. Don’t forget, it’s OK to take some time for yourself, you don’t have to come every day. If you’ve been picketing with a group of colleagues, you could organise yourselves a rota so everyone gets a rest day.
Big thank you to people new to picketing – more are joining us every day – it’s quite an experience isn’t it?
We’re picketing every day from 7:30 (come to the pink gazebo near the main entrance) followed by a rally on Parkinson steps at 11:30.
If you want to picket and have particular needs, we are keen to provide support and adjustments so that you can join us. Please email email@example.com and let us know how we can make that work for you.
- Teach out programme (more sessions added) https://tinyurl.com/vn7ot7t
- Songbook (new songs added) https://tinyurl.com/t7vsy8e
- Info for students /www.leedsucu.org.uk/for-students-about-the-ucu-strikes/
- Fighting Fund and Hardship Fund http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/fighting-fund-and-hardship-fund/
Respect the digital and non-campus picket line
Remember that striking includes not working from home, not dealing with your emails (*except UCU emails of course, please keep reading those!), no work-related social media, and generally not doing anything that counts as work, wherever it might be done. Hope you manage to do some enjoyable stuff during this time!
Hot breakfasts on Monday 2 December
Our friends in Unison have very kindly offered to provide us with hot breakfasts on the first day of the second week, starting at 8 am. We’re keen to start the second week with really impressive picketing, so hopefully this will encourage everyone along!
More solidarity from (and with) our sister unions
We’re pleased that the Unison and Unite branches at the university have advised their members not to pick up work which would normally be done by UCU members. This of course makes our strike more effective and we are grateful for their support. It also means that, when are back at work and doing Action Short of a Strike, we will need to be careful not to put extra workload on these colleagues.
Reminder: Benefit gig Friday 29 November 7 pm
At the Chemic Tavern, 9 Johnston St, LS6 2NG. Pay what you can, in aid of our Hardship Fund. More details here. Pass the word around, bring your friends, let’s have a great evening celebrating our first week of strike action!
Reminder: Climate march Friday 29 November 12:30 Parkinson steps
This is entirely separate from the UCU strikes, but lots of staff and students, including UCU members, will be marching down to town to support the next big Youth Strike for Climate event. Our strike rally will finish about noon, followed by some climate emergency speeches, and then the march leaving Parkinson steps at 12:30.
Thankfully it’s looking like the weather will improve on Friday and for next week…
Keep on tweeting and Facebooking and everything (use #UCUstrikes and tag @leedsucu) – we love seeing your photos.
University of Leeds UCU President