UCL-UCU: Decision-making EGM - Strike Pause & hardship fund, Thursday 23 February, 1-2pm

20 February 2023

An update from today's Emergency General Meeting and calling notice for a decision making Emergency General Meeting next Thursday 23 February, 1-2pm

Today (Monday 20 Feb) we had an Emergency General Meeting on the pause to the strikes by the General Secretary and on increasing the coverage of the hardship fund.

This was an open discussion meeting (not a decision-making meeting) at which the motions were debated, different positions laid out, and people aired ideas for amendments.

We will have a decision-making Emergency General Meeting this Thursday, 23 February, 13.00-14.00.

To vote on these motions and any amendments. We are re-circulating the motions (see below), and will circulate the amendments received tomorrow morning (Tues 21st).

UCL UCU Executive Committee



UCU Rising

Motion 1: Increasing days covered by local hardship (strike) fund

UCL UCU notes:

  1. UCU is currently covering 11 days of the current 21 days of strike action from the national Fighting Fund. 
  2. We currently have nearly £160,000 in our local hardship fund.

UCL UCU resolves:

1. To permit applications to the branch hardship (strike) fund from UCL UCU members in good standing for any strike dates that are not covered by the National UCU Fighting Fund;

2. To cap total payments at £125,000 (approximately 80% of the total local hardship fund) for the current round of strikes, in order to keep funds in reserve for a Marking and Assessment Boycott, pending monthly reviews of the hardship fund budget & balance.

3. To prioritise the claims of members earning less than £30,000 when payments are made by taking their claims first in monthly batches.

4. To encourage colleagues to make donations to the branch hardship (strike) fund.

Proposed by Sean Doyle (UCL UCU Treasurer)

Motion 2: Striking on 15 March Budget Day

UCL UCU notes:

  1. 15 March is Budget Day.
  2. The NEU and PCS unions have both called national strikes on that day.
  3. The NEU has called a national demonstration and carnival in London, with a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square.

UCL UCU believes that we should strike together with other unions where possible, and that Governments can and should act to cut price inflation.

UCL UCU therefore resolves:

  1. To call on HEC to call March 15 as a strike day.
  2. To encourage members to join the demonstration called by the NEU and to advertise it widely.

Proposed by Sean Wallis

Motion 3: #NoSellout

  1. The employers’ “offers” on pay and conditions and USS are not strong enough to qualify for a pause of action: there is no improvement with respect to the 5-6% pay offer that union members have already rejected; vague promises to discuss casualisation and workload frameworks do not constitute an offer; and the restoration of our USS benefits and reduced member contributions are still conditional on the outcome of the upcoming valuation.
  2. Neither branches, nor the Union’s democratic structures (HEC, HE officers, or negotiators), have been consulted in order to pause the action.

UCL UCU believes that:

  1. Pausing the strike action now is a sellout of our struggle. It weakens us in the dispute with the employers and damages the prospects of the ongoing negotiations to deliver an outcome in our favour.
  2. We are in this action to win, and the current UCEA proposals have no new concessions of any substance.
  3. The current “offer” is also divisive, by overplaying promises to uplift the lowest paid only, which deliberately creates a rift between the various unions representing university workers. Nonetheless, it is still catastrophic for them: our lowest paid colleagues still stand to lose around 10% of their wages’ value against RPI over the 2 years 2021-2023, and UCU members face a 15% real-terms pay cut.
  4. Members’ control of the dispute through regular strike meetings that can hold negotiations to account is the only way for it to be effective, by uniting members, all campus unions, and students around our demands.
  5. Maximum pressure has to be exerted to the employers now, in order for negotiations to be effective. If our leadership is not willing to do this, we are.
  6. What has paved the way to the current situation is a lack of strategy: what constitutes a good offer, how we respond to various outcomes of interim negotiations, what are the checkpoints for escalation, etc. Instead, confining the discussion solely to the number of strike days and indefinite strike tactics, takes any meaningful control of the dispute away from the members. 

UCL UCU resolves to:

  1. Call on the UCU HE officers and HEC members to openly condemn the pausing of strike action, reinstate action if possible, and contribute in the discussion to find ways to keep up the momentum of our struggle.
  2. Support the ‘unofficial’ Branch Delegates Meeting called by London Region UCU on Thursday 23 February (4-6pm) and elect two delegates to attend.
  3. Support the protest at the UCU HQ in Carlow St on Monday 20 Feb at 5pm.
  4. Support  the protest outside the HEC meeting at UCU HQ on Friday 24 Feb from 10am.
  5. Organise protests at the UCEA/UUK offices and around campuses in the Bloomsbury area the upcoming 2 weeks, in coordination with students, other campus unions, and nearby UCU branches.
  6. Support other major action by workers, by sending solidarity messages and encouraging all members to join protests and picket lines:
  • The IWGB at UCL, who were planning to strike with us on 1 or 2 March.
  • The nurses at UCLH who will be on strike on 1 and 2 March.
  • The Camden NEU demonstration on 2 March.
  1. Call on the HEC to give notice to the employers immediately for as many days of strike action allowed by the timing for the week of 6 March. 
  2. Call on the HEC to call strike action in conjunction with the NEU and PCS on Budget Day, 15 March.
  3. Call under Rule 16.11 for a Special Higher Education Sector Conference to debate and direct the future of our disputes. Notice for this SHESC should be issued as soon as the number of branches requesting it reaches twenty.
  4. Continue building our own branch’s organising and membership strength, by focussing on research and academic related/professional services staff and coordination with the Student Union and other student organisations, and other campus unions, including outsourced workers.

Proposed by Ilektra Christidi

Motion 4: HEC to serve notice on employers for March strike days

UCL UCU notes that following the 2-week suspension of strike action announced by the General Secretary, the next scheduled strike day is not until March 16. This is almost 2 weeks after the end of the suspension and amounts, in practice, to a suspension of close to 4 weeks. By that time any remaining strike action before the end of Term and the Easter break will have lost most of its potential leverage.

UCL UCU calls on HEC and HE officers with immediate effect to serve notice to employers of additional strike days including Tuesday March 7, Wednesday March 8, Thursday March 9, Friday March 10, Monday March 13, and Tuesday March 14. This needs to be done now in order to comply with the 2-week notification period, and will serve to keep the pressure on employers who might otherwise feel relaxed about riding out the rest of Term. These strike days can be stood down should members agree to an offer when one eventually is put to a vote.

Proposed by Christophe Soligo