UCL-UCU GM: Decision Meeting - Next Steps in our Industrial Action

3 January 2023

This message is to remind you that we have a General Meeting on Thursday 5th January at 13.00 - 14.30.

This meeting follows on from our last meeting on 14th December where we started the discussion on what our next steps should be in our dispute. But we must now make some decisions on what we feed up to the national bodies about future action.


  1. Next steps in industrial action: motions on strategy
  2. Electing Delegates to Branch Delegates Meeting
  3. Motion on donating to the USS Legal Action


  • The General Secretary has announced that she wants blocks of strike action in February and March (2 days and then 3 days in each month, total of 10 days), with a 5-week re-ballot to extend our mandate for strike and ASOS starting at the end of February. Action would escalate towards a Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) starting on 17 April at the earliest.

  • The national Higher Education Committee (HEC) has called for a MAB starting on the 23 January and indefinite strike action starting in February.

  • A Branch Delegates Meeting (BDM) will take place on the 10th January where delegates will be consulted about the opinion of their members on specific questions that have been pre-circulated for this BDM, on which strategy they favour. We have put these in the form of motions below.

  • The current ballot mandate ends on April 21, 2023.

UCL UCU Executive



Defend the future of UK higher education


The first two motions here are questions for the coming Branch Delegates meeting on which strategy members support.

Motion 1: GS proposed strategy (to be taken in parts)

This Branch Favours:

  1. A strategy of escalating strike action, involving a pattern of escalating days of action through February, March, and April, engaging members again in March/April to take stock of the dispute situation and to agree any further strike action if needed.

  2. A MAB beginning on April 17 to target all final/end of year summative assessments beginning that month.

  3. Immediately announcing our intention to re-ballot to renew our mandate for further action.

NB: To clarify the strategy proposed by the GS in terms of “escalating strike action” is a pattern of 2+3 = 5 days of strike action both February and March, with an MAB in April.

Motion 2: HEC proposed strategy (to be taken in parts)

This Branch favours:

  1. A strategy of all-out indefinite strike action, involving taking industrial action every day, starting in February and continuing until members vote to end the action, or the ballot mandates expire.

  2. A Marking and Assessment Boycott starting on the 23 January

  3. Immediately announcing our intention to re-ballot to renew our mandate for further action.

NB: the HEC proposal is for the MAB in Jan to target summative assessments

Motion 3: Donating to USS Legal Action

UCL UCU notes:

  1. A critical element of the campaign to restore our USS benefits, worth on average £8000 to every USS member between 2022 to 2024, is the legal case brought by members Neil Davies and Ewan McGaughey. 
  2. They are currently fundraising £350k to take their case to the Court of Appeal. Previous rounds of fundraising have been generously supported by UCU branches up and down the country, including our own.
  3. These branch donations have substantially alleviated the financial burden on individual members and allowed the case to proceed to this stage.
  4. Since the High Court hearing, the USS CEO has announced his resignation, USS is now reporting a surplus and has published more information about its climate change plans. 

UCL UCU believes that:

  1. As UCL UCU has previously made a donation to this effort, hence there is nothing unusual about the present proposal.
  2. There is a need for a second instalment, based on the stage reached by the court case.
  3. UCL UCU has played no role in the development of the case which is being handled by Neil and Ewan.
  4. Making a fresh contribution will allow their action to proceed.
  5. It is essential to legally test the principle that the managers of a pension scheme such as USS are not at liberty to alter its framework in a fundamental way.

UCL UCU resolves:

  1. To call on the branch committee to act on the Conference and the NEC’s democratic decisions by further supporting this legal action;
  2. To provide £2000 support to the legal case as several other branches have done for the most recent round of funding;
  3. To circulate the crowd funder to members in the branch; 
  4. To call on the national officers to enact the lawful decisions of our delegates at Conference and the NEC.

Moved by: Neil Davies

(submitted by 18 signatories)