Day 8 Strike for Pensions

Another early start with pickets at University House and Westwood from 7am.

It was a quieter day today as quite a few people are taking an opportunity to recharge their picketing batteries before another big day tomorrow. As always the students turned out in support and despite the lower turnout overall we still handed out over 1000 leaflets to staff and students about the pensions dispute.

In other news, over 250 new members have joined UCU at Warwick in the last 3 months comprised of permanent, fixed term and sessional teaching staff from across all faculties and many professional services departments. We are really pleased to see so many new people – the more members, the more strength we have to improve and defend our working, and the students learning, conditions. We expect this number to grow further in the coming weeks as UCU clears the backlog caused by thousands of people joining to protect their future.

Day 7 Strike for Pensions

A reinvigorated group gathered in the picket line this morning. After seeing UUK have a twitter meltdown last night where they suddenly and unexpectedly agreed to return to talks today, we can see the strikes having an effect on how the negotiations are proceeding.

The picket line was buzzing with music and dancing with a salsa class.

The students formed a picket line in order to encourage students not to cross and kept up everyones spirits with chants of ‘No ifs, no buts, no pension cuts’ and ‘they say marketise, we say organise’!

There was a strong turnout from PAIS staff and students this morning.

We were joined by Vicky from Keep our NHS public Coventry, who expressed solidarity and talked about their own campaign to save local NHS services. Alistair Smith, Warwick UCU member, spoke to the importance of the campaign.

The picket then went for a walk, visiting WBS and circling around the ring road.

This was followed by a well-attended all member meeting in The Graduate.

Please also see our fundraising auction https://www.facebook.com/events/1787327357952417??ti=ia

Day 6 Strike for Pensions

We dispersed across campus this morning at 7am so that we could speak to more staff and let them know what is happening and why we are striking.

Pickets were set up at Gibbet Hill, Westwood, both University House entrances and at Lynchgate car park.

Gibbet Hill

Westwood

University House

University Gatehouse

At 9am, we converged at the Bus Exchange where we continued the picket in solidarity with our students.

Very pleased to welcome Shaun Leahy from the UNITE regional office to the picket line.

Big shout out to everyone who came early, to the SU for their continued fantastic support and to the Warwick Anti-casualisation group.

“1234 pension cuts out the door!”

New Schedule for the Free University of Warwick

We are please to announce Week Three of the Free University of Warwick. Please come join us!

MONDAY:
The Graduate
13:00-15.00: Taking up space: workshop on art and activism – Julie Somany

TUESDAY:
Copper Rooms 2
13:00-14:00: Queer Politics and Italo Disco: Music and collective + subjective political emancipation – Malcolm Lowe

14:00-15:00: Building a Movement Around Women’s Rage -Mairead Enright

16:00-18:00: Beyond Divestment: Where Next for the Climate Justice Movement – Chris Saltmarsh and Harpreet Paul

WEDNESDAY:
The Graduate
14:00-15:00: “The University and the Undercommons” Workshop. (Chp. 2 of Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study) http://www.minorcompositions.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/undercommons-web.pdf – Andrew Stones.

14:00-15:00: Decolonising the Curriculum – Sue Lemos
and Ademola Anjorin

16:00-17:00: “Is British and French Colonialism Still with Us?” (Robert Gildea, Warwick Oxford Solidarity Exchange)

THURSDAY: International Working Women’s Day
13:00-14:00: Women’s History: A Feminist Rant – Anna Hajkova

14:00-15:00: Women of Colour Resist – Akwugo Emejulu & Kathryn Medien

15:00-16:00: Re-thinking housework and feminised labour – Helena Navarrete Plana

16:00-17:00: Black British Women’s Movement – Sue Lemos

17:00-19:00: Warwick Marxists- Women’s Liberation and Socialism

19:00-20:30: Hidden Histories: British National Eugenics – The Golden Age – Lara Choksey, Lara Choksey, Nathaniel C—— and Clive Harris

20:30-23:00: Feminist Fundraiser Party! https://www.facebook.com/events/1787327357952417/

 

Or propose your own event:

****Call out for proposals for the Free University of Warwick****

Welcome to the Free University of Warwick. We are currently recruiting.

Starting on February 22nd, the Free University of Warwick will be offering workshops, courses, classes, and film screenings

We are looking for people who want to help us create a university space outside of the neoliberal boundaries of Warwick Ltd. Our university is free of fees. You will not be examined or assessed. We have no Vice Chancellors, no middle managers. Instead, we are democratically run by staff, students, and community members who believe a better university is possible.

Whether you are a smoking salsa dancer, a bread baker, a quadratic formula master, a lover of film, a DJ, or an expert in property law, the EP Thompson seminar room is open to you.

While we’re happy for you to give a talk, we’re especially interested in alternative methods of teaching that break the boundaries of our established curriculums, departmental divisions, and classroom hierarchies. We want students to teach and teachers to learn.

The Free University of Warwick will be open from 3pm on everyday of the strike for workshops, teach-ins, film screenings, and other forms of collaborative learning. You don’t need a degree to come and teach, just enthusiasm and a desire to share. If you are interested in participating, please send an email letting us know what you want to do and how much time you need: studentstaffsolidarity@gmail.com

In Warwick’s own words, “We are a place of possibility. We are always looking for new ways to make things happen.”

Local Hardship Fund Form

UCU Warwick has established a local hardship fund from branch reserves and external donations to offer financial support to those experiencing hardship as a result of industrial action. A full description of the principles of the fund is available here.

Note: This is the hardship fund claim form for weeks 1 and 2 of the strike. If you want to make claims for weeks 3 and 4 instead, use this form.

Salaried and hourly paid staff not experiencing hardship or with access to significant secondary income should apply to the National Fighting Fund .

At present we are focussing on the first two weeks of strike action. If funds permit, we may be able to extend it for subsequent strike weeks.

UCU Warwick will also support claims to the National Fighting Fund from STP/VAM staff in weeks 3 & 4 should the local hardship fund be unable to offer support. Details will be made available here soon.

The deadline for applying for the hardship fund including all evidence, regarding the first two weeks of strike, is SUNDAY 1 APRIL. The tight deadline is to ensure that we can make payments as soon as possible but avoid a first come, first serve scenario, enabling fair treatment. No final decisions on reimbursement will be made before that deadline. However, if  If you need funds urgently please contact treasurer@warwickucu.org.uk with details
of your circumstances and we will try to assist.

If you already know that you will be applying to the local hardship fund and you have an idea of how much you would be claiming, please email us (treasurer@warwickucu.org.uk and anticasualisation@warwickucu.org.uk) as soon as possible to let us know, with an indication of your foreseen losses. This will give us an idea of the volume of applications and help us to plan ahead forecasted demand.

For applying to the fund, please fill in the form below or download this word version and return it to the Treasurer with the necessary evidence at treasurer@warwickucu.org.uk
































At this stage we are unable to confirm the value or timing of hardship payments but it is likely they will not
exceed £250 per member. If you need funds urgently please contact treasurer@warwickucu.org.uk with details
of your circumstances and we will try to assist.

Day 5 Strike for Pensions

The snow blew in today, with flurries throughout the day. This did not dampen the spirits of the students and staff at the picket line who danced, chanted and shivered in solidarity!

Today was also an offer holders day at the University and there was support from parents and future students for the strike action.

The focus of the day shifted in the afternoon to the student – staff solidarity event where speeches were followed by a march through campus.

So we are back to work tomorrow and the UCU President reminded people that they should not try to fit 7 days work into the 2 days available!

It’s been a very positive 2 weeks of strikes so far and as tweeted by @davidhuyssen

“UK university bosses have agreed to arbitration, miraculously noticed that the pension ‘deficit’ may be based on a ludicrous premise, and are considering other proposals.

Would any of this have happened without the #ucustrikes?

Not a chance.”

How To and Not To Report Strike Action To Your Employer

(updated December 2019)

We’ve been receiving reports that some line managers are emailing members on behalf of HR asking that they complete a self-declaration form  or use Success Factor. We want to make clear that you should not use the University of Warwick self-declaration form.

Having withdrawn your labour for 8 days in Weeks 9 and 10, you are legally required to state this truthfully if asked by your employer. Hourly paid tutors and contract workers will have a different procedure for reporting their participation in industrial action, which we outline at the bottom of this post.

Because university management has refused UCU requests to smooth deductions over more than one pay period, as many other universities have done, we suggest that you do the following:

– Declare only one day at a time. There is no legally defined time limit to declare participation in industrial action. Stagger any declarations over as long a period as you like (e.g., once a week for the days you went on strike, hence taking 8 weeks to declare).

– Use as many different communication channels as possible. There is no legally required means to declare. Send your notices to a variety of legitimate representatives of university management: your line manager, the Head of Human Resources, the VC, etc.

– Communicate in ways that are difficult for the university to administer. Some suggestions include:

  • Send an email without text, but containing information in an image form (you can hand-write and take a photo with your phone, then attach the file)
  • Consider password protecting the file as a security measure; do not send the password unless you are asked
  • Leave the subject line of your message blank, or label the communication without revealing its contents
  • Send handwritten communications via internal mail.

For each day you report, make sure to ask that your lost wages be donated to the student hardship fund, and state that you would like to continue with your USS contributions for those days.  

If you are an STP tutor, however, please declare in advance as your contract requires you to do so (as explained in the Warwick UCU FAQs for casualised staff).

The advice from the branch for STP tutors is: 1) declare that you are striking in advance, but as late as possible (e.g. only on the morning of the day that you are due to teach, or the evening before) by emailing stp@warwick.ac.uk, putting in blind copy administrator@warwickucu.org.uk; 2) do not fill in the HR self-reporting form even if you are asked to by the STP team; 3) do not declare ASOS as it does not apply to hourly paid staff.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to let us know!

Day 3 Strike for Pensions

It’s minus 2 degrees, but the pickets carry on.

Numbers are strong with pickets at Westwood, Gatehouse, Gibbet Hill, between Social Studies and WBS, as well as the main picket at the Bus Exchange. There is a real sense of determination from our members.

Branch president, Justine Mercer said “Another fantastic turnout. It was great to see Jim Cunningham at the picket line first thing, and special mention must go to all casualised colleagues who came along today in large numbers. UUKs offer of talks tomorrow could be the start of meaningful negotiations but only if they are willing to withdraw their preconditions”

Jim Cunningham visiting the picket this morning.

There is a strong turnout from casualised staff today as we have declared it the anticasualisation picket day! Our anticasualisation officer reminded everyone that 70% of teaching staff at Warwick are on casualised contacts.

Solidarity with the National Education Union who gave an inspiring speech.

Where’s my picket gone?

Left behind as the rest of the picket heads off in the direction of a promised picket line hot chocolate!

The promised beverage!

Keeping warm with some invigorating exercises! Work those glutes!

Day 2 Strike for Pensions

Another bright frosty morning on the campus picket lines with another strong turnout of UCU members and students in solidarity. And of course, dogs on the picket line!

Matt Western, MP for Leamington and Warwick, spoke to the assembled crowd.

Banner making achieved new heights.

Vice-president Duncan Adam said “We have had a second really solid day, with good attendance. It was really great to have the MP for Leamington and Warwick, Matt Western, come and show his support. As staff continue to show their commitment, we hope that UUK and the employers will listen and return to the negotiation table. ”

Fantastic energy from participants culminating in a chant!

Day 1 Strike for Pensions

There was an amazing turnout this morning, with pickets setup across the University campus entrances.

We have had great support and it was fantastic to see so many people here on a cold but bright Thursday morning although maybe not so surprising with 91% of voting members voting for strike action.

Statement by branch president Justine Mercer “I am stunned by the level of support that we saw this morning; this is totally unprecedented but so is the attack on our pensions. UUK need to be listening; they need to get back to the negotiating table. If these massive cuts are imposed it will harm all members of the pension scheme and do untold damage to our world-leading higher education sector. Staff deserve better; students deserve better.”