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Information on Strike Action
National UCU information of Pensions Dispute, including latest updates on negotiations and strike dates: https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss
Academic articles on the USS Pensions Dispute: https://medium.com/ussbriefs
The University Worker, providing weekly updates on negotiations and other developments: http://notesfrombelow.org/article/university-worker-5
UPDATES ON UCU Industrial Action at SOAS
11th April 2018: Brief update on the Pensions Dispute
TL;DR Still waiting on confirmation of strike action or not in Term 3
Another brief update on where things stands with the Pensions Dispute and possibility of strike action in Term 3. Currently, the union in the dispute, UCU, are undergoing a national e-consultation on a proposal from the employers, Universities UK. The ballot closes on Friday at 2PM, and postgraduate student members of UCU who teach can vote (see information here). This strike action is dependent on the results of the ongoing e-ballot, so everything will be confirmed by early next week. There is also a plan for strike action during the exam season, however this is meant to specifically target marking as opposed to disrupting exams.
3rd April 2018: Brief update on the Pensions Dispute
A brief update on where things stands with the Pensions Dispute and possibility of strike action in Term 3. Currently, SOAS UCU have proposed a full week of strike action starting on the first Monday of Term 3, Monday 23rd April. There is also a plan for strike action during the exam season, however this is meant to specifically target marking as opposed to disrupting exams.
The Students’ Union is currently working to mitigate the impact of the strike on students. Please inform us of what support you would need by filling out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/sXvWX4GKIF9n42dV2
Furthermore, please direct your anger and disappointment that the pensions dispute is continuing and SOAS is failing to support its staff and students by emailing <firstname.lastname@example.org>
23rd March 2018: Message from UCU to SOAS students
Dear SOAS Students,
SOAS UCU branch would like to thank the SOAS student community for the support that it has shown us throughout the pensions dispute and our strike action called by our union, UCU, in February and March. It was 14 days of strike action – the longest ever experienced in Higher Education – and came about as a result of 88% of balloted UCU members who voted to strike across the country. We recognise that many of you were not only deeply concerned by this attack on university staff but also saw the connections to the wider struggles of marketisation in higher education as well as the fact that BME communities, women, young people, those on precarious contracts, and those with disabilities will be among those most deeply affected by the cuts to pensions. Indeed, the fight for our pensions is an equalities issue, and for those of us who have had the privilege to discuss these issues with you in the classroom, the hallways and on the picket lines, it has been inspiring to see your commitment to changing the course of higher education. Joining us in this struggle has come at a cost for all of us, but we knew that the cost of not resisting this new attack on education would be even greater. There is strength in unity, and we thank the many students who supported us over the past month.
As you may be aware the employers have not resolved this dispute despite the impact it is having on their students. UUK brought forth a proposal on 12 March that would have constituted a significant decrease in staff pensions accompanied by a revaluation in three years’ time. This was rejected by the wider UCU membership because we do not want to be out on the picket lines again in three more years. UUK say that the proposed radical changes to our pensions are needed based on projected deficits in the pension fund. We say that there is no real deficit. UCU has therefore called for a second wave of strike action to take place during Term 3. This will most certainly involve a significant delay in marking exam papers.
We are committed to providing the best education to our students and we have not taken strike action lightly without full discussion of its implications. Academics and academic-related staff will continue to support you as much as we can outside of strike action. We continue to urge our employers to resolve the dispute. We give our assurances to you that we will make every effort to communicate with you in advance of and during the upcoming strike action.
We ask for your continued support of our struggle. Together we can win.
SOAS UCU Executive Committee