Sabbatical Officer Statement: UCU Strikes

Read our statement in support of UCU strike action.

Starting today, over 70,000 university staff at 150 universities will be striking over attacks on pay, working conditions and pensions, supported by the NUS

The strikes come after UCU members overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ to industrial action last month in two historical national ballots over attacks on pay and working conditions, as well as pension cuts. Despite the result, Vice-Chancellors have not made any improved offers. 

Arts SU will be supporting the strikes, for several reasons. Firstly, we believe that our staff deserve to have proper working conditions, pensions and pay. By having those, they can deliver a better experience to our students, as their working conditions are echoed in the student learning conditions.  

Secondly, several of our staff are also students themselves and/or alumni. We cannot support our students fully unless we also support them in matters like these.  

We are also keeping in mind the resolution to support the UCU strikes last year that was mandated by the student body at the Annual Members Meeting in November 2021.  

Arts SU and your Sabbatical Officers have created an FAQ page to answer questions students may have about the strike, and why our university staff are taking part. It also guides students as to how to make a complaint if they wish to.  

If you would like to support the strikes, you can follow UCU-UAL on Instagram and Twitter, and the NUS has also created a template letter that students can send to James Purnell, Vice-Chancellor of UAL (j.purnell@arts.ac.uk).  

There are picket lines on Thursday 24th, Friday 25th and Wednesday 30th November outside London College of Fashion, London College of Communication, Central Saint Martins and Camberwell College of Art (for CCW). 

Please read the following picket line guidelines, sourced from the NUS Official Guidance for Students:

  • Students can stand with staff on or near a picket line, but it should be clear that you are not an official picket – it's best to have a chat with the picket line supervisor (who will be easily identifiable) when you get there to say that you are there to show solidarity and to ask what is most useful for you to do.

  • Students can hold solidarity demonstrations near picket lines and engage with other students about the issues of the strike.  

  • Students cannot, however, be part of the picket lines as an official picket. This means that they cannot be identified as an official picket would be, for example with a UCU armband. Students cannot engage in the activity of an official picket, including persuading employees of the workplace to not enter. 

  • Students can’t physically prevent someone from entering their place of work or study – or act in a way that would constitute a breach of the peace. You should also be mindful of local codes of conduct before carrying this out, in case your university rules against disrupting other students’ learning, preventing students or staff from entering campus, or is monitoring attendance during the strike. 

- Your Sabbatical Officers 2022-23

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