UCL-UCU: *reminder* General Meeting, Thu 27 Jan, 1-2pm - next steps for USS & Four Fights + motions

26 January 2022

This is a reminder for our General Meeting tomorrow, Thursday, 27 January, 1-2 pm. General Meetings are voting meetings open to all union members and set branch policy.

Colleagues should have read the General Secretary’s email on Friday. Your Executive Committee met yesterday and agreed that the motions below (Appendix 1) should be put to our General Meeting for debate.

The first motion is a confirmation of our branch policy that both disputes should be prosecuted concurrently, but recognising that should this happen, we will only be taking lawful strike action over the Four Fights demands (pay, workload, casualisation and inequality).

It is worth noting that across London alone, 18 university branches have legal strike mandates on either Pay (17) or USS (8). The National Union of Students (NUS) has called a national demonstration on 2 March 2022 calling for a New Vision for Education.

The second motion adds our branch’s name to the calling of a Special Higher Education Sector Conference.

Members are invited to submit amendments to ucu@ucl.ac.uk by Thursday 27 at 10am for circulation in the morning and consideration in the meeting.

UCL UCU Executive Committee



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Appendix: Motions for debate

Motion 1: Keep strike action effective and united

UCL UCU notes:

  1. That the USS dispute is at a crunch point.
  2. The General Secretary’s email to members on Friday was unclear as to whether or not action would be conducted across both disputes, and suggested that “regional rolling action” would be proposed.
  3. That in the USS reballot, UCL UCU failed to reach the participation threshold of 50% set by the Trade Union Act 2016, but achieved a Yes vote of 85%. However, UCL UCU has a live strike mandate over the Four Fights.
  4. That UCU policy, repeatedly confirmed by delegates at UCU’s sovereign body, the HE Sector Conference, is that both fights should be prosecuted together, most recently, Motion 12 (Leeds) in September 2021. Part 4c states that ballots and action will be taken concurrently.
  5. UCU Conference has not discussed regional rolling action, but the UCU Commission for Effective Action emphasised the need for serious national effective action.
  6. That acting over the Four Fights on a USS strike date is a lawful tactic that is strengthened if all branches do the same.

UCL UCU resolves:

  1. To formally write to UCU Higher Education Committee Officers asking that they ensure UCL UCU be called out on strike over the Four Fights on dates when branches are called out on strike over USS, and to write to other branches in the same position as us encouraging them to do likewise.
  2. To seek to ensure that strike action is conducted on a coordinated UK-wide basis as far as possible, allowing for local variation around term dates/reading weeks where necessary.

Motion 2: Calling a Special Higher Education Sector Conference on the disputes

UCL UCU notes:

  1. That we are in the fight of our lives over USS and the Four Fights, with a threat to wreck the pension scheme in pre-92 universities and runaway inflation. Casualisation and workload are spiralling out of control due to the consequences of universities adapting to covid conditions, and structural inequality is worsening.
  2. That UCU’s nationally agreed strategy is to keep the action on USS and Four Fights together and to prosecute both disputes concurrently. This was recently reconfirmed by Motion 12 at the last September Higher Education Sector Conference.
  3. That Branch Delegate Meetings on the two disputes both reported a desire for escalating and effective strike action.

UCL UCU resolves:

  1. To call on the UCU HEC to call a Special Higher Education Sector Conference (SHESC) to discuss and take decisions on the USS and Four Fights disputes.
  2. As per 16.11 of the union's rules, this branch calls for a Special meeting of UCU's Higher Education Sector Conference to take place at the earliest opportunity in order to discuss and take decisions on the Four Fights and USS disputes.