This is information for all Warwick students who would like to know more about why lecturers, librarians, IT and other professional service staff at Warwick are taking industrial action.
There are two reasons why we are striking:
- First, to protect staff pensions, which are under renewed attack after the 2018, 2019 dispute(s).
- Second, to fight for the rights of casualised, female, disabled and BAME staff. Growing numbers of staff are working on short-term or precarious contracts that don’t pay them enough to make ends meet. There is also a persistent gender and racial pay gap. This means that at Warwick, for instance, women earn 74p for every £1 earned by men and BAME staff are paid an average of 25% less than their white colleagues. This action is about stopping the downgrading of pensions, ending casualisation and closing the gender and racial pay gap.
Our demands are simple:
- UCU members demand employers to revoke the massive cuts which they imposed on members of the USS pension scheme, and put pressure on USS to restore benefits to 2021 levels as soon as possible.
- UCU also want UUK to put strong pressure on USS to ensure that the next and all subsequent valuations of the financial health of the scheme to be evidence-based and are moderately prudent.
- an increase to all spine points on the national pay scale of at least inflation (RPI) + 2% or 12% whichever is the higher
- nationally-agreed action, using an intersectional approach, to close the gender, ethnic and disability pay gaps
- an agreed framework to eliminate precarious employment practices by universities
- nationally agreed action to address excessive workloads and unpaid work, to include addressing the impact that excessive workloads are having on workforce stress and ill-health
- for the standard weekly, full-time contract of employment to be 35 hours, with no loss of pay.
These demands are easy to meet. We’re asking UUK (Universities UK, the association of university employers) to work with us to end the rampant levels of inequality in our workplaces and to make sure that people can actually afford to live on the pay for the jobs they do.
We know that you have incurred a large debt to attend university. Many of us fought hard against the meteoric rise of tuition fees. But the high fees you pay are not used to pay more to those who teach you. Gaps in gender and BAME pay, casualisation of staff and erosion of staff pensions are part of a decade-long assault on the integrity of universities as public institutions. As a result, we’ve seen the tripling of student fees, a trend toward short-term or sessional contracts at the expense of secure employment, the greater use of outsourcing models and the ballooning of managerial pay – and with these developments, the persistence of racist and sexist cultures at our university.
If we want an environment committed to fairness and transparency, where teaching, learning and research – not profit – are at the heart of what we do, then we must collectively take a stand.
Teaching and working with students is why we do this job, so we do not take strike action lightly, any more than nurses or doctors do. The UCU has called for three days of strike action on 24th, 25th and 30th November. On these days:
- UCU members won’t be teaching, holding office hours, marking or answering emails
- Any work missed, including teaching, will not be rescheduled
- Since 14th November 2022, UCU members have been observing action short of a strike (ASOS): this means working to contract, or working only the 36.5 hours per week stipulated in our contracts (most academics work 60+ hours, including weekends)
In partnership with Warwick’s Student-Staff Solidarity Network, we will be holding a series of themed events on the picket lines, giving you a chance to join discussions about fees, debt, the future of work and radical alternatives to the status quo. We want you to be part of these activities. Join us! As Emma Goldman almost says, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your demonstration.”
Warwick Students Union voted to support the strikes – as individuals you can too.
If you want to help us stop hugely damaging changes to higher education, here are some ideas:
- Talk to your lecturers about the strike (and if they’re not in the UCU, suggest they join!)
- Discuss it with your family and friends (more info: https://www.ucu.org.uk/campaigns)
- Contact Vice-Chancellor Stuart Croft at S.Croft@warwick.ac.uk and ask him to lobby Universities UK to meaningfully negotiate
- Volunteer to help with the campaign by contacting the Student Staff Solidarity Network at firstname.lastname@example.org and https://www.facebook.com/studentstaffsolidarity/
Remember: the more people support the strike, and the more unified that support, the sooner it’s likely to end.
With that in mind, please:
- Boycott lectures and seminars on strike days – do not cross the picket line!
- Join us as sympathetic onlookers/active supporters
- Help organise alternative student-led events
- Get in touch with any questions