Strike action by UCU members is about to begin again in 74 universities across the UK (47 universities will participate in disputes covering pensions and pay and conditions, 22 will participate in the disputes over pay and conditions and 5 are striking in relation to the pension dispute) for 14 days staggered over the period between 20 February and 13 March, with some institutions striking on alternative days up to and including 20 March. This follows 8 days of UCU action in November/December last year. At the same time strike action is about to be taken by members of EIS-ULA in several Scottish Universities over pay. We note that the number of universities involved in the different disputes has increased from 60 in the autumn, indicating the strength of support and discontent across the sector.
Across the range of issues behind the strikes – pensions, pay, casualisation – there is a need for employers and the USS (who run the pension scheme over which members in pre-92 universities are in dispute) to engage proactively to ensure that the UK higher education sector can be a space where vibrant research and teaching can continue to flourish. We understand negotiations are ongoing, but it seems further movement is required to avoid ongoing disruption. We hope the relevant parties can find a positive way forward that recognises the vital importance of supporting employees appropriately for their work and their contribution to the crucial role higher education provides to the UK.
Those members not involved in the strike action may wish to support it via sharing their views on social media etc. and contributing to funds that help those members who are participating. If you wish to contribute you can do so here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund
Communication with members during strike period
The BSA office supports our members and all sociologists who are affected by the UCU strike action. To honour the digital picket line, the BSA will not tweet, retweet or send promotional emails for the full strike period from 20 February to 20 March. We will maintain radio silence, with the exception of urgent emails, such as abstract decisions for approaching conferences, journal article decisions and essential communications relating to the Annual Conference. We may send select, essential communication because some members are not affected by the strike, for example those based outside the UK and at non-striking institutions. We are conscious that members and delegates may need information from the BSA in order to secure funding for conference places, or plan travel.
We understand that members on strike may not open correspondence and, in some cases, will be deleting all email communication they receive during the strike. The BSA office will therefore resend all essential communications after the strike to ensure that members do not miss important information. As it is impossible for the office to know which members have and have not deleted communications during the strike, some members may receive communications twice.
We are here to support our members and will keep all communication to an absolute minimum in solidarity with all those who are taking part in the action. The office staff will be in and working regular hours as we are not university employees and so are not directly involved in the disputes. We are happy to help anyone getting in touch with us during this period.
We are thinking of all those who will be on the picket lines and affected by the strike.