74 UCU branches undertook strike action this Spring, widely supported by NUS and students’ unions on campus.
This period of strike action has resulted in some movement from UCEA and Universities UK, who negotiate with UCU over pay and equalities and pensions respectively.
In the pay and equalities dispute, progress was made towards a resolution on equalities, workloads and job security, however the employers’ representatives were not keen to negotiate on pay.
In the USS dispute, a revaluation of the scheme is due at the end of March. If the Scheme is valued lower, likely due to the economic impact of Coronavirus, then it is likely that Universities UK will again ask staff to pay in more money to retain the same benefits.
The outbreak of Coronavirus has delayed UCU reballoting for further strike action, and NUS will keep students’ unions informed when this changes. For now, we continue to extend our full support to UCU in a time of great instability for society and the education sector.
NUS maintains a close relationship with UCU, and is supportive of the disputes. This is because we believe firmly in showing solidarity with other unions which fight to make our education better, and UCU’s action, particularly that for pay and equalities, is integral to improving education.
Here below you will find some useful resources on what the strikes mean, why NUS supports them, and advice for Students’ Unions and their students.
UCU Strikes: What's going on (Briefing)
Letter for Students (Template)
Winning the arguments (Briefing)
Supporting students with complaints (Briefing: February Update)
Asks for your University (SU guide)
Picket Line Guidance for Students
Legal Guidance from Wrigley's LLP on Student Complaints about Industrial Action (2018)
Questions about the strikes and how you can support them? We're hosting two drop-in calls for you to field your queries:
- NUS Vice President (Higher Education) Claire Sosienski Smith will be speaking to student officers February 13th (4.30-5.30pm)
- Policy Officer Hannah Sketchley will be speaking to Students' Unions' staff on February 17th (4pm-5)
Email Hannah.Sketchley@nus.org.uk to register for either session. A link will be sent out the morning of the call to each group.