Which unions are taking action?
UCU members in all post 92 and FE Colleges are called to take strike alongside civil servants in the PCS union and Unite’s health and Ministry of Defence workers. In all, the strike call covers around 400,000 public sector staff.
If I am not a TPS member, am I still expected to take strike action?
While our dispute is over the TPS pension scheme, legally our trade dispute is with the employers. That means that if you are employed by a TPS institution which has been balloted you are called on to take action whether you are a member of the scheme or not. You can see a full list of the institutions where strike action will take place here:
Why are the education unions who have also rejected the TPS settlement not striking with UCU?
As the general secretary explained to UCU National Executive, the NUT took the decision at their Congress not to join the PCS and part of the Unite union in taking strike action on May 10. Their preference was to build for action later in the year. UCAC have taken a similar view, while the NASUWT is currently engaging in action short of a strike.
On what basis was the decision taken regarding 10th May?
The General Secretary reported the position of other unions to the current NEC. The NEC, which is responsible for taking the decision to call strike action, decided by a majority to join the PCS and Unite primarily on the basis that taking action would send a message to government and also encourage other unions to join future action.
Don’t we need another ballot?
The union recently conducted a consultative ballot over the TPS campaign in which a majority of those who voted supported support the NEC’s rejection of the government’s proposals and agreed to take action with other unions. You can see the results here: http://tps.web.ucu.org.uk/nec-to-decide-next-steps-after-ballot-results-announced/
It is then the responsibility of the elected NEC to implement this policy and decide when and if action should be taken.
What happens after 10 May?
Branches will have the opportunity to decide the union’s next steps at UCU’s Congress at the beginning of June. After Congress the recently elected NEC will then come into office and will be responsible for taking forward the union’s strategy.
How and who will decide whether we will be asked to take action in late June as well?
The NEC has so far only made a decision with regard to 10 May. After UCU’s Congress in early June the new NEC, including recently elected members, will take office and will need to make a decision about the next stage of the campaign.
How do I make sure my voice is heard?
This is a critical point in the campaign. Members should make sure that their branch officers know their views. Make sure you attend any branch meeting ahead of Congress, or if you cannot make your meeting, make sure you and your colleagues email your branch officers to let them know what you think. You can also email the General Secretary directly or your regional NEC member. You can find out who your regional NEC member is here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/nec
Universities where UCU members are called to take action:
Further and Adult Education Institutions where UCU members are called to take action
UCU’s national executive committee have voted to take strike action on Thursday 10 May alongside other unions in an ongoing row over changes to members’ pension schemes.
UCU members in England and Wales who are part of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme will join civil service union PCS and parts of the Unite union on strike.
Other events on the day include a protest by members of the police and prison officers’ trade unions – the Police Federation, NAPO and the POA – in defence of their pensions.
The controversial changes imposed by the government at the start of the month will see members of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme work longer, pay more into their pension each month in return for a reduced pensions package when they finally retire.
Staff in colleges and universities across the UK are receiving reduced pay packets this month as the rise in their pension contributions takes effect.
Members can see how much they stand to lose by going to our contribution and benefits calculators here.
Lots of branches are already developing ‘twinning arrangements’ with London branches taking strike action on 28 March. You can find a full list of London branches taking the action on the homepage.
To set up a ‘twinning’ relationship with a London branch email Richard McEwan at Tower Hamlets college at firstname.lastname@example.org (07532364638).
Rally and demo, London strike day, 28 March.
Assemble for march:
Followed by MARCH TO WESTMINSTER
UCU and NUT members will march through central London, with protestors due to assemble outside Malet Street from 11am and set off at 11:45am. Speakers at the pre-march rally at Malet Street include writer, political commentator and activist Owen Jones.
Marchers will then make their way through Bloomsbury, down Shaftesbury Avenue, along Charing Cross Road, down Whitehall and across Parliament Square to the Department for Education (DfE) (see map of route). At approximately 1pm there will be a rally outside the DfE where there will be speeches from UCU and NUT members and the children’s laureate Michael Rosen.
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Please see below a message from London Region:
Defend our pensions:
28th March NUT/UCU London wide strike
While many members will be disappointed that the strike action on 28th March is not to be nationwide, the campaign to defend our pensions continues. The NUT and UCU are calling on their London members to take strike action as part of a coordinated series of rolling regional and national action.
Both unions have consulted members and have had resounding votes to escalate the action to stop the government making us pay more, get less and work longer.
Although the last strikes we took part in pushed the government to make some minor concessions, members in both unions have voted, in even in greater numbers, to reject the government’s ‘final offer’.
The government’s budget on Wednesday announced tax cuts for the rich funded through more attacks on pensioners, £10bn attack on welfare and cuts to child benefits. Further attacks on our pay were also announced by breaking up national bargaining and implementing regional pay structures.
All of us in TPS and the other public sector pensions will start to be deducted the increased pension contribution rates from April 1st.
The action on the 28th March will be an important signal to the government that we remain determined to protect our own livelihoods and those of future generations.
Both unions are calling on members nationally to directly support London colleagues through twinning arrangements with London colleges, universities and schools to organise both moral and financial support.
For example, members in branches outside London could raise a solidarity collection and contact the branch officers in a London FE college or post-92 university, plus organise a lunchtime protest on 28th, send solidarity messages by text, send a video message of collective support, send a photo of a giant card of solidarity messages, and so on.
The solidarity collection could also be used to send a delegate or two with the branch banner to the London demonstration on 28th.
In London on the M28, after picketing in the morning, a demonstration will assemble at 11am in Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY and march to Westminster. This will include delegations from across the country who will also be attending to show their support.
The next phase of the action will be outlined during the Easter break when the general secretaries from the different unions will meet to discuss the next steps in the campaign.
This government is a nasty one but it is also divided and weak. Our campaign to defend our pensions is making a difference. March 28th is the next step in securing all our futures.
Sean Vernell NEC email@example.com 07951803776
Mark Cambell NEC firstname.lastname@example.org 07766075744
Jim Wolfreys NEC email@example.com 07787570328
David Armstrong NEC firstname.lastname@example.org 07761763285
Richard McEwan NEC email@example.com 07532364638
Alison Lord NEC firstname.lastname@example.org 07805819605
Cliff Snaith London Region Secretary email@example.com
Geoff Carter London Region Chair Geoffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Sutton London Region FE Chair email@example.com
Mandy Brown London Region FE Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
Joel Dunn London Region HE Chair email@example.com
Sean Wallis London Reg chair firstname.lastname@example.org
On Friday, the NEC agreed that the union’s London TPS members would take action alongside colleagues from NUT on 28 March. It was also agreed to defer a decision about action elsewhere in the country until the PCS union’s Executive had met. That meeting has now taken place and PCS have decided NOT to take strike action in the UK on 28 March. For the avoidance of doubt this means:
The NEC has asked branches not taking action to nonetheless hold lunchtime or similar events in support of our dispute on pensions on 28 March. Please let us know if you are planning an event so we can tell others.
We will also be circulating details of a demonstration in London by NUT and UCU colleagues on 28 March as soon as we have more details.
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