A message from UCU - 31st January

A message from UCU to students

A message of thanks to our amazing students

THANK YOU

for your incredible support last term. Your teachers, librarians, administrators and technical support staff were forced to take action which included eight days out on strike last term and now involves "working to contract" which means that we are working a 35-hour week and withdrawing from any voluntary activities. This is called "action short of strike action" (ASOS).

We could not have taken actions without the support of Queen Mary students and the Students’ Union, so THANK YOU!

WHY ARE WE TAKING INDUSTRIAL ACTION?

The staff who teach and support you are at breaking point and we have been forced to take industrial action to resist the relentless attacks on our working conditions which include:

  • pay cuts & discrimination of female and BAME members of staff
  • casualisation 
  • workload is out of control
  • Increased contributions for smaller pensions

Here at QMUL, staff represented by the University and College Union strongly believe that

OUR WORKING CONDITIONS ARE YOUR LEARNING CONDITIONS.

 The better the university is as a workplace, the better it is as a learning environment. This is the fundamental character of a university: it is a collegial place where students and staff come together and learn from one another.

Before the strike, they employers to discuss any of our demands, but now they are back at the negotiating table!

WHAT'S NEXT?

Talks are finally taking place, but we need to keep up the pressure on our employers. This means that we will continue to "work to rule" and we may well have to take further strike action later this term if our concerns are not taken seriously. We are desperate to avoid further action that will affect your education.

But if we back down now without guarantees that universities are going to tackle casualisation, discrimination and pension cuts, then your education will be affected because of low staff morale and fewer people wanting to work in higher education.

STAFF STUDENT MEETINGS AT THE STUDENTS UNION

In order to move forward with the dispute and build a better relationship with the student body, QMUCU is organising two upcoming meetings, both of which will be held in Matt Spencer Boardroom on the 1st floor of the Students’ Union Hub:

6th Feb 5–6pm: Teach out planning with Societies

During the last strike action, QMUL staff organised some great teach outs on a whole range of themes, from race in academia, casualisation, Latin American Politics, drawing workshops, to poetry and play readings.

We know there are some great student societies and we want to invite these societies to come up with ideas for future teach outs. These could include possible speakers and subjects or particular issues facing QMUL students that they want to discuss.

17th Feb 5–7pm: Staff-Student Assembly

Want to know more about why your lecturers, Teaching Assistants and professional services staff were on strike?

Want to fight for a just, fair university? 

Want to know what you can do to help?

Come along to our staff student assembly on 17th February, when staff and students will come together to discuss last term’s strike action and the possible upcoming strike in February. This is a chance to have your voice heard by staff and work together with them for a better QMUL.

We will break into groups of staff and students to share are thoughts and perspectives of where we are now, where we want to go and our ideas and strategies of how we can get there together!

The ongoing strike action is a golden opportunity to change the working culture and learning conditions at QMUL and may be the only chance we get for a long time. Work together with staff to help us take this opportunity and fight for a just university.

WHAT CAN YOU AS A STUDENT DO?

  • Come to our planning meeting and staff-student assembly!
  • Email Colin Bailey, our Principal
  • Show your support – wear a "I support UCU" sticker
  • Tell your friends and tutors that you support the action
  • Speak to your student reps and organise meetings in your Department or on your course
  • Come to our teach outs, organised by staff, students and student socs and held in the QMUL chaplaincy.

Thanks again for all of your support – both past and future!

In solidarity

QMUCU Branch Committee