UCU

Goldsmiths: open the books!

Using the slogan #OpenTheBooks, Goldsmiths Student Union and UCU (University and College Union) organised a joint demonstration on Monday 11 October, as representatives of Goldsmiths management met Lloyds and NatWest to discuss the College’s loans. The banks demanded job cuts as a condition of a loan, and Goldsmiths pledged to hand over all its assets if the university defaults. It’s a terrible deal and it is one for which staff and students will pay for many years, if we don’t beat these cuts. The UCU and the student union are demanding to know just how much profit the banks are making from...

UCU victory in Liverpool

Liverpool UCU has announced: “The Liverpool branch of the UCU (University and College Union) representing higher education staff at the University of Liverpool (UoL) last week called off their months-long industrial action, having saved dozens of jobs from compulsory redundancy. “In January, university management announced that 47 staff would be made redundant as part of reorganisation plans in the health and life sciences faculty (through the so-called ‘Project SHAPE’). However, the local UCU branch’s sustained action stopped all compulsory redundancies and won major increases in severance...

UCU congress votes for Uyghur and HK rights

The University and College Union (UCU) held its annual Congress and its Further Education and Higher Education sector conferences (FESC and HESC respectively) on 29 May to 2 June. Given the current state of restrictions, these were all held online. Over 200 delegates were present, 67 motions/rule changes were submitted, and speaking requests for each debate had to be made in advance. I attended both UCU Congress and the HESC as a delegate from Cambridge University UCU, so will only report on those meetings (for which motion results only emerged on 15th June). All motions and results can be...

Liverpool University strikes on job cuts

Staff at Liverpool University are set to strike for three weeks over a management threat to cut 32 posts in Health and Life Sciences. The action, organised by the University and College Union (UCU), will run from 24 May to 11 June and follows an 84% vote for strikes in a ballot last month. It is timed to hit end-of-year exams so as to put maximum pressure on management. Campaigning has already reduced the number of posts under threat from 47. Meanwhile, staff at Leicester University have begun action short of a strike, also over job cuts and restructuring that has targeted multiple union...

Wave of student action

Students are protesting in occupations and rallies on campus around UK universities, finally able to employ in-person direct action after a year of mostly online organising. Rallies have been organised at the London School of Economics (LSE), Goldsmiths and SOAS in London, and the rent strike campaigns have launched a wave of occupations in Manchester, Nottingham, and two Sheffield universities. On Wednesday 28 April, 300 people rallied at LSE in central London. The lively crowd heard speeches from the fee and rent strikes going on at the university, as well as from the SOAS fee strike...

Universities ballot for strikes on course cuts

Multiple branches of the further and higher education union UCU are heading for industrial action after successful ballots. Prison educators working for private firm Novus across forty-nine prisons and young offenders’ institutions were due to take their first day of strike action on 26 April, with two more to follow on 11 and 12 May. That dispute is over health and safety. Staff at London’s United Colleges Group have voted to strike over increased workloads. UCU branches at Leicester and Liverpool have held successful ballots over redundancies, which at Leicester appear to be targeting union...

UEL strikes 22-23 February

University of East London UCU (University and College Union) held a 230-strong solidarity strike rally on Monday 22 February, the first day of a two day strike, with staff, students and other union activists speaking. The strike is over four compulsory redundancies, including the UCU branch chair (a clear example of victimisation). UCU is also fighting rising workload, drastically increased since September 2020, when 82 jobs were cut. Speakers talked about the effects of the cuts to date, in terms of insufficient services and overwork. Many called for national action by UCU over this and a...

University battles over job cuts

As rent strikes continue around the UK, other fronts of struggle in higher education are opening up. Leicester and Liverpool Universities have recently announced redundancies of academic staff. A strike planned for 8 February at Brighton University over cuts in the IT services was called off after management made some concessions but the fight continues. Action Short of Strike by UCU members at Goldsmiths continues with no sight of management backing down on long-threatened redundancies, despite no drop in student numbers. Many university managements are using the pandemic as an opportunity to...

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