Thursday, 20 February sees the beginning of the 14-day UCU strike over pay, pensions, casualisation and workloads. Strike dates are as follows:

Week 1 – Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February
Week 2 – Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 February
Week 3 – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March
Week 4 – Monday 9 – Friday 13 March

As we did not reach the threshold for strike action in our national ballot, we are unable to strike alongside our UCU colleagues.

This does not mean we can’t show our support in other ways and we would encourage members to do this in the following ways:

• Visit the picket line in the mornings before you start work and show your solidarity for UCU, especially as the issue of pay affects us all
• Take one of the UCU “Support the Strike” stickers to wear
• Make cups of tea and coffee for those on the picket line near your place of work – it is cold work standing on a picket line in February!
• Show support by chatting to those on the picket line. Our UCU colleagues will be happy to hear that other staff support their strike
• Attend the lunchtime rallies – we will share these details on our social media
• Share posts regarding the strike on your social media
• Do not take on work which would usually be undertaken by UCU colleagues during the strike period. If the University asks UNISON members to volunteer to cover the roles of those on strike in the interests of the students, you are under no obligation to agree to this. If your employer insists that you do take over the work of those in dispute, the union will consider registering a dispute locally and potentially ballot our members for lawful industrial action.
• Visit the University of Leeds UCU website for more information here
Here are some stories our UCU colleagues have shared with us about the difficulties their members are currently facing:
• A casualised colleague being employed on a 0.2FTE fixed term contract and then finding that they have been timetabled to teach only one or two hours each weekday, making it impossible to commute to work anywhere else
• Colleagues working evenings, nights, weekends and even regularly past midnight – taking away time from families, friends and leisure activities and having a serious detrimental effect on their mental health
• A range of employees with fairly minor health problems that have been exacerbated because they haven’t had time to seek medical help (working well over 60 hours per week, every week). In some cases, these have turned into major health problems because of the delay.

This is the second round of strike action by UCU and we would like to offer as much solidarity as possible. We will be talking to UCU about what support we can offer over the next few weeks. If you have any questions or any other ideas on how we can show our support, do contact your local Rep or the Branch Office.