Members of UCU at 61 universities across the UK begun industrial action from 22 February 2018.
At QMUL we will be on strike:
26 – 28 February
5 – 8 March
12 – 16 March
19 – 20 March
We will also be working to contract until further notice, i.e. only working our contracted hours (usually 35 per week, rather than the 50-55 that lecturers typically work), not rescheduling activities lost to strike action, and not undertaking additional voluntary duties.
We have been forced to take this action because university managers are seeking to cut our pensions for the third time in seven years. This cut will further reduce lecturers’ and support staff pensions by 45-75%, leaving many impoverished in their old age. This is part of a sustained attack on our living standards: our real-terms pay has also fallen by around 20% since 2009. In addition, 75% of staff at QMUL are now on precarious contracts, e.g. temporary, part-time, hourly-paid and even “zero hours”. While student fees have sky-rocketed, and QMUL students’ bursaries are being cut, the staff who actually teach and support students are being systematically robbed by greedy managers, whose salaries and perks are growing, and who are hoarding student fees to pursue vanity building projects. We cannot go on like this. The industrial action is part of a fight-back against the marketization of higher education and the exploitation of staff and students.
For more details, see our resources page, which includes explainers, social media links, and all our flyers and posters.
How can students support the strike?
Our wonderful students recognise that our working conditions are their learning conditions. At their annual members’ meeting, Queen Mary Students’ Union voted overwhelmingly to support the strike, with 98% backing a motion to this effect. Nationally, the National Union of Students also supports the strike. Your tutors and support staff are incredibly grateful for your refusal to let management divide us, despite the disruption that the strike inevitably creates for you. Your continued support can help us bring the strike to an early and successful conclusion, and allow us to get back to doing what we love: helping you get the world-class education that you deserve.
Here’s what you can do:
- Do not cross our picket lines. During industrial action, striking workers form lines at entrances to the workplace to discourage people from entering, so as to magnify the impact of their strike. You can help by refusing to enter campus (except for union activities). QMSU’s motion specifically supported this measure. If you have classes, boycott them (you can’t be punished for non-attendance). If you need a library, use a public library instead.
- Join our picket lines. Students are extremely welcome!
- Attend our “teach-outs” – alternative, free classes and discussions on a range of topics: full schedule here.
- Contact QMUL’s principal, Colin Bailey, and the Chair of QMUL’s Council, to press them to support QMUL staff, which so far he has refused to do.
- Attend Colin Bailey’s weekly open meetings and put him under pressure in person. Details of meetings are posted here.
- Organise collective action through QMSU. Students are powerful when they act collectively.
- Join the protest at 12 noon on Monday 12 March outside the Queens Building on the Mile End campus.
- Join the QMUL Student/ Staff Solidarity Group on Facebook to plan and participate in collective action. (There is also a closed Facebook group for activists; post in this group to gain access to the closed one.)
- Express your true opinions in student surveys.
- Spread the word. Tell your friends and tutors you support the strike. On social media, use #QMULstrike. Tweet @QMUL and @QMUL_UCU.