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Reference code: 
UP1810
Status: 
Current
Progress: 
Ongoing
Date passed: 
05/02/2019
Date lapses: 
05/02/2021
Lead Officer Role: 
Welfare & International Officer

What students need to know (this meeting notes):

  • That wages for the majority of staff at UCL and other UK universities has stagnated in recent years
  • That there is a gender pay gap for staff at UCL and other UK universities
  • That last academic year’s industrial action by staff led to major concessions from Universities UK
  • That those entering into academia right now are in a far more precarious situation than they have been historically
  • That many PGTAs are not paid for the hours they work and many postgraduate students are forced to do unpaid work as paid of their postgraduate education
  • That UCL has recently began to transfer contracts to UniTemps, an company which engages in outsourced labour and will put many low-paid UCL employees on more precarious contracts
  • That a large section of UCL’s low-paid workforce are already outsourced
  • That although the previous ballot was just under turnout requirements, 76.1% of respondents at UCL stated they were willing to partake in strike action and 84.6% stated they were willing to partake in action short of a strike, such as an assessment or marking boycott[1]
  • That during the strike action undertaken by UCU last academic year, 66% of students at HE institutions on strike supported the strike action[2]

What Union Council thinks about it (this meeting believes):

  • That there is currently an attack on higher education which involves the marketisation and privatisation of universities, to the benefit of a small number of individuals and at the detriment of students and staff
  • That more and more staff are beginning to be outsourced at UCL
  • That academia is becoming a far less attractive career path for many graduating students because of this
  • That UCL management will not substantially increase staff pay without intervention from staff and students
  • That generally staff do not want to partake in strike action, but are forced to do so to fight back against the poor material circumstances their employers put them in
  • That staff, in particular staff who are also postgraduate students, are being exploited by the university management at UCL and other UK universities
  • That these issues will not go away without wider industry change
  • That ultimately what is good for the academics and workers at UCL is also good for the students
  • That student-worker solidarity plays an important role in winning industrial disputes

What we should do (this meeting resolves):

  • To release a public statement endorsing  a yes vote for both questions in the current UCU strike ballot, and to use their communication channels to promote this and inform their members and the wider public
  • To use their communication and social media channels to encourage postgraduate members of the students’ union to join UCU, and encourage them to vote yes to both questions in the current ballot
  • To produce and distribute a short guide to students explaining the pay and equality ballot and industrial action in general, so that they are prepared and more informed for future industrial disputes at UCL
  • To use their communication channels to encourage students and students’ union staff to support any industrial action that does take place, and in particular encourage students not to cross the picket lines
  • To support and assist any UCL student groups who are partaking in action to support any industrial action that will take place if the UCU ballot passes

[1] https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/9…

[2]https://www.ucu.org.uk/article…