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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 November 2019

UCU pay and pension strike: university staff have had enough

UCU strikers in Harrogate, 9.5.18, photo Iain Dalton

UCU strikers in Harrogate, 9.5.18, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party UCU members

On 25 November, university staff in the University and College Union (UCU) across the UK will be sending a clear message to management that we've had enough.

Like many workers, we've had enough of excessive workloads leaving us stressed and exhausted. We've had enough of insecure contracts leaving us worried about where our next work will come from or how to pay our bills.

It's unacceptable that our managers make us pay more in and get less from our pensions, that our pay has fallen about 20% in real terms over the past ten years, and that universities won't agree to address the gender and ethnic pay gaps.

Ultimately, we've had enough of the marketisation of the higher education sector which has seen the erosion of work and learning conditions, disadvantaging staff and students, to drive up profit.

Us not them

As we start our eight days of consecutive strike action, we are reminded that we are the ones who really run the university, not the fat-cat vice-chancellors, who attend the meetings which sets their pay, and now earn a 'basic' salary of over 250,000.

It is us, the researchers, technicians, lecturers, working students, professional service and academic-related staff, together with other workers, that keep the university functioning.

And by taking this bold action, we are pushing back against this rotten system of exploitation and greed which has seen our conditions eroded while senior pay soars.

But to win, we will need a strong union and leadership which can keep the pressure on university managers.

Our strike last year showed that concessions can be won through determined struggle. We must be prepared to continue the fight if managers don't agree to concessions straight away.

That's why the UCU branches that didn't hit the anti-union 50% ballot threshold this time should be re-balloted, so that they can join us if more action is needed.

Our decision to fight back over these issues is a massive step forward for our union and sector. But the issues we are fighting on aren't limited to university staff.

Falling pay, job insecurity and crippling workloads will continue to be the status quo across the UK until we kick the Tories out, along with their austerity policies.

We call for students, trade union activists and anti-cuts campaigners to support our fight and to send a clear message to campaigning politicians that if they don't fight for us, we're bringing the fight to them.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 20 November 2019:


What we think

High Court injunction: solidarity to the CWU

CWU - ground laid for an almighty struggle


Climate change

Major funding for flood risk management needed


NHS

Save the NHS: kick out the Tories

Frimley NHS Trust: Strikers remain determined to defeat privatisation


Violence against women

What policies are needed to end domestic violence and abuse?


Socialist Party news and analysis

Broadband: privatisation has failed to deliver, time for a socialist plan

Bolton university fire: government inaction puts safety at risk

Wages flatline, while shareholders profit


Workplace news and analysis

UCU pay and pension strike: university staff have had enough

West Midlands Trains: guards strike to defend safety-critical role

PCS union: elect Marion Lloyd!

Cleaners strike over low pay at Haringey secondary school

Bradford library and museum strikers enter third round of strike action

Long hours in the world of security

NEU members' sixth-form walkouts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Secret police infiltration of workers' movement exposed

150 protest against Leicester hospital downgrading attack

Carmarthenshire union demands no-cuts budget

Swansea: students protest against Hillary Clinton hypocrisy

Keep the National Poetry Library free

Selling the Socialist


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


International socialist news and analysis

Amazon bosses defeated in Seattle - Kshama Sawant reelected

Chile revolt continues: read eyewitness report


 

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Related links:

UCU:

triangleUniversity teaching moves online in England

triangleFurther education workers win pay rise in Wales

triangle

Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis

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Strike:

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Pension:

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Pay:

triangleSupport the Broad Left Network for a democratic, fighting union leadership

Higher Education:

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