A lively picket line during a graduation day at Leicester university

University workers in Brighton are “fighting with everything they have”, as the UCU members keep up their indefinite strike. They are battling job cuts and punitive pay deductions for taking part in the marking and assessment boycott (Mab).

Ryan Burns, the co-ordinating committee secretary of Brighton UCU, told Socialist Worker that workers would continue to “fight with everything we have”. “Every week we have four or five online meetings, and the number of members attending them hasn’t decreased,” he said. “They have stayed the same.  

“Anger is really sustaining the momentum of these strikes. It’s not just that the bosses want to make redundancies. They also want larger class sizes. They want more casualised staff. Some of the things we fought for and won before, they want to dial back.”

Mark Abel, UCU branch chair at Brighton university, told Socialist Worker that the redundancy process has been a “sham”. “To compete for their jobs, staff at risk of redundancy were required to show their contribution to the vice chancellor’s strategy for the university,” he explained.

“This is the same strategy that prioritised building projects over staff. It’s clear that the process has been used to settle scores with justifications concocted afterwards.”

Ryan said, “They’ve chosen staff in departments that are well organised and militant. What’s clear to us is that bosses want to break the union.” 

Workers have organised a series of protests and demonstrations around graduation week next week.

Meanwhile, UCU members at the University of Leicester workers stepped onto picket lines this week as students had their graduation ceremonies. UCU rep Joseph told Socialist Worker, “We’re striking over 50 percent deductions in our pay for taking part in the Mab. 

“From the first day that staff had marking, the bosses told us we would be deducted 50 percent of our pay. This has meant we could potentially lose two or three weeks of pay for not marking one student’s work.”

Joseph said that by striking on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday—while graduation ceremonies were going ahead—workers could make a bigger impact. “We wanted to make the point that we are proud of our students, but make clear that graduating is only possible because of staff,” he said.

“We had a petition and got some good support from students and their parents. After the picket line, we marched through campus and then had a demonstration. It was supported by Leicester trades council and the Unison union. 

Joseph said that members in his branch want to see leadership from those at the top of UCU—especially in the national dispute over pay, conditions and pensions. “We passed an emergency motion last week. It called for an urgent branch delegates meeting and to respect the decisions made at congress earlier this year,” he added. 

Ryan argued, “To win this dispute nationally, more escalated action is needed. But to kick that off, we need a reballot as soon as possible. There’s no point in balloting when the term has already started and then waiting around to strike. We can’t let the bosses ride out the strikes for another year.” 

UCU general secretary Jo Grady has made clear that she wants to see the end of the Mab— and has yet to say that there will be a new ballot in the summer. 

Union members will have to push Grady to reballot now—and call hard-hitting action in the new term.

Original post


We’d love to keep you updated with the latest news 😎

We don’t spam!

Leave a Reply

We use cookies

Cookies help us deliver the best experience on our website. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies.

Thank you for your Subscription

Subscribe to our Newsletter