Cardiff UCU Statement in Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Cardiff UCU condemns the violent attacks on Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and within Israel by the Israeli armed forces. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who, since at least 1948, have resisted warfare, violent displacements, discriminatory laws/policies, blockades, detentions, land annexations and what has been described as ethnic cleansing (e.g. Pappé, 2006). What is going on today is only the most recent juncture in an ongoing process of occupation and apartheid (B’tselem, 2021) that dehumanises the Palestinian people. This has been recognised most recently by Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem.

We mourn all loss of life and condemn all forms of racism including antisemitism, we are in solidarity with all people around the world who suffered attacks as a result of this situation and who have endured discrimination for generations, and we are in solidarity with all ordinary people/workers, Palestinian and Israeli, who have been oppressed by the Israeli state. We strongly refuse the ‘two-sides’ narrative that conceals the inequalities between the Israeli state – which receives USD $3.8 billion in military aid annually from the United States and exerts sovereign control over Israel and all the Occupied Palestinian Territories — and a Palestinian population resisting occupation, oppression and the daily violation of human rights. We recognise Palestinians’ right to liberation, to self-determination, to remain in their residence, and to return home.

We therefore condemn the threat to forcibly and illegally evict Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, the attack on the Al Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan and the violent repression of Palestinian protests. We also condemn the bombing of the besieged Gaza strip, which has killed over 200 people and injured over 1000.

The attacks have, in the context of the global pandemic, damaged important infrastructure, affecting the provision of water, sanitation, healthcare, education, journalism and housing, as well being disproportionate and not taking the necessary precautions to protect civilians.  Collectively as well as individually such acts amount to serious and egregious breaches of international law and may amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes.

We recognise that we have colleagues and students who are personally affected by what is going on at this time and offer them our solidarity and support.  We take seriously calls from students to decolonise our university and see solidarity with the Palestinian cause as part of this process, and indeed part of our role as universities to work against all forms of racism, colonialism and injustice globally.

More specifically we call on the university to make a public statement of support and solidarity with Palestine and call on the Israeli state to stop the violence. We also call on the university to support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of the Israeli state for as long as it continues with its system of apartheid.

The UK is very much implicated in this colonial project through its involvement in the early 20th century Sykes-Picot Agreement, Balfour Declaration, British mandate, and its arms sales to Israel. We call on the Welsh and UK government to apply pressure on Israel to immediately end its air strikes and impose a two-way arms embargo with Israel and to lobby the Israeli state to end its siege of Gaza and dismantle the Apartheid wall that it has constructed both in Gaza and in the West Bank. We call on these governments to ensure that no Welsh and UK firms/institutions contribute to the apartheid regime.



Solidarity and Wider Campaigns:

1. Solidarity with Palestine
Last week the Israeli court ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. This, together with Israel’s annual celebrations of its capture of East Jerusalem in 1967, resulted in large protests, including militants in Gaza firing rockets into Israel. Violence escalated quickly resulting in at least 53 Palestinians (including 14 children) and six Israelis being killed since Monday.

Israeli military organized raids on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, where Palestinians were praying in observance of the holy month of Ramadan. So far, Nicola Sturgeon is the only UK leader to condemn this action in a statement that reads: “Attacking a place of worship at any time is reprehensible, but attacking a mosque during Ramadan is utterly indefensible. It is also a violation of international law. Israel should heed calls to halt the violence immediately.”

UCU stands by Sturgeon’s words in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
The Cardiff Palestine Solidarity Campaign is organizing a protest on Saturday 15 May at 12pm by the Nye Bevan Statue, Queen St., Cardiff to demand an end to Israel’s grave violations of human rights and international law. Our branch’s Equality and Diversity officer, Abyd Quinn-Aziz, is among the speakers.

2. Swansea DVLA Workers Strike
DVLA workers from the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union held four days of strike earlier this month over health and safety relating to covid-19 with more strike actions planned for next week if their conditions were not met. PCS have just announced the agreement to suspend next week’s strike following progress made in talks with DVLA towards reaching an agreement. The branch thanked all the messages of solidarity and support from all areas of the country and the trade union movement.

Their inspiring online strike rally, held on the 7th May, is available here.

3. Construction Electricians Protest
Construction electricians in Unite appealed for support at their protest at the Bouygues Cardiff University construction site on Maindy Road, Cardiff, today between 7.00-8.00 am. Our branch President, Lucy Riglin, and our branch Treasurer, Phil Parkes, attended to represent the branch.

One of the companies working on the site is NG Baileys, which is trying to de-skill and drive down electricians’ wages around the country. This is part of the general campaign by employers to drive down wages through fire and rehire. In effect every new contract by NG Baileys is a fire and rehire. The management at the Bouygues site have been taking an increasingly aggressive attitude towards the sparks, so they require our solidarity to show they are not alone and are supported by all Cardiff workers.

It is up to the whole trade union movement in Cardiff to respond with support. If you can, please join future protests of fellow workers in Cardiff. We will try to keep you informed of these events, but you can also join the Wales Trade Unions Council mailing list or follow them on social media in order to be up to date with their campaigns and events. You can subscribe to their mailing list, at the bottom of their webpage here.

4. A People’s Vaccine
The US has just announced that it will support a patent waiver on Covid-19 vaccine technology. China and Russia also support the patent waiver but the European Union and the UK do not. Please find here a petition calling on the UK government to support the end of the vaccine apartheid emerging across the world.

5. Union’s Global Boycott of the University of Leicester
The University of Leicester’s management has threatened over 100 staff with compulsory redundancy. UCU have implemented the ultimate sanction of ‘greylisting’ to urge the university to stop the proposed cuts and to hold urgent talks with staff unions to resolve the current dispute.

UCU calls on all members, supporters, other unions and the international academic community to support staff at Leicester including by:

  • not applying for any advertised jobs at Leicester
  • not speaking at or organising academic or other conferences at Leicester
  • not accepting invitations to give lectures at Leicester
  • not accepting positions as visiting professors or researchers at Leicester
  • not writing for any academic journal which is edited at or produced by Leicester
  • not accepting new contracts as external examiners for taught courses at Leicester
  • refusing to collaborate on new research projects with Leicester.

Academic boycott is a weapon of last resort and has only been used a handful of times in UCU’s history but that is a measure of the level of intransigence of the employer that has left no choice.

Please support the boycott in any way you can, and in particular if you have any personal or professional link with the university. Please also encourage colleagues, professional networks and students to do the same. Tweet your support tagging @UniofLeicester @NCanagarajah and @LeicesterUCU and using #BoycottLeicester. We are fighting to prevent one of the most egregious attacks on higher education workers and it is crucial that we stand in solidarity with our colleagues.

Solidarity and Wider Campaigns (7th May 2021):

1. USS connections with military junta in Myanmar

A number of HE staff across the UK who are members of the USS pension scheme and are concerned about events in Myanmar, have drafted an open letter to the board urging them to act responsibly in relation to their public equity holdings that are connected to the military junta. If you are a member of USS and would like to add your name to the open letter, you can do it here.

2. Cardiff May Day Rally

For those members who were not able to join the May Day rally organized by the Trade Unions Council (TUC), you can view a video of the event here.

The event was chaired by Cardiff TUC president Katrine Williams and the speakers were: Mairead Canavan (NEU), Andrew Wilkes (Electrician – Unite), Helen Perriam (NHS), Eugene Caparros (CWU), Amarjite Singh (CWU) and Bianca Ali (Black Lives Matter).

The success of the event, despite all the Covid complications, was a testament to the resilience and militancy of the trade union movement in Cardiff, of which our branch is a part.

Solidarity and Wider Campaigns:

1. UCU disputes across the UK

Our branch is not alone in its dispute with University management. UCU branches across the UK are fighting to defend jobs and conditions as the Covid-19 crisis continues to hit education sectors hard.

Please check this page for a round-up of the on-going campaigns and requests of support. Our branch will continue to send solidarity messages to our colleagues.

2. Research by Durham University on wellbeing during Covid-19

A team of researchers based in the Department of Psychology at Durham University is developing a research project that explores the impact of social class on the wellbeing of UK university staff during the Covid-19 pandemic and they are asking for participants to the survey they recently launched. With the aim of impacting on policy, they are requesting support from staff at a range of universities and employed in a wide variety of roles. Please use this link to access the survey or visit the project on Twitter: @SESWellbeing_HE.

3.  Black Lives Matter

In the last month or so, two Black men have been killed after contact with the police in South Wales. Following the death of Mohamud Hassan, who was tasered more than once and came into contact with 52 officers during his short stay at the South Wales Police station in Cardiff, another young black man, Moyied Bashir, died recently after being aggressively restrained by the police at his home in Gwent, whilst in a mental health crisis. You can read more about Moyied’s case here and support his family’s campaign to bring justice for him here.

Solidarity & Wider Campaigns (February 18th 2021:

1. Rural Primary School Closures 


A number of primary schools in Wales are at risk of closure with the implications that some pupils might have to attend school in England (without the possibility to learn Welsh) and/or travel greater distances to reach school. Schools are very important to small communities and governments should be investing in more schools with fewer pupils rather than fewer schools with more pupils. You can read more about it in this Guardian article  and sign the following petitions against the closure of two Welsh schools:

Ysgol Mynyddygarreg.

Churchstoke Community Primary School.


2. Free School Meals in Wales 


Child poverty across Wales, and the UK, is on the rise but the Welsh Senedd if failing to act on this, namely by refusing to provide free school meals to all Welsh children or even to expand their eligibility (currently only available to households with less than around 7K/year), despite pressure from a number of Welsh councils and groups like People’s Assembly Wales or the Child Poverty Action Group. It is even more shocking that in England and Scotland all children get free meals in the first three years of primary school but in Wales they don’t. You can support the campaigns requesting free school meals to all children and requesting guidelines on how these are delivered during the pandemic by signing the following petitions for the Welsh Senned:

Free school meals for all pupils in Wales

Revise the guidance for Free School Meals, removing the option for delivery of food parcels 

Solidarity and Wider Campaigns (April 22nd 2021):

1. Stand Up for Sleep-In Pay Unison Campaign

On 19 March 2021, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that care workers’ sleep-in shifts do not count as working time and do not need to be paid in line with the National Minimum Wage.

The decision is an insult to care workers who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic – and there are real concerns that some employers will now use this as an opportunity to cut care workers’ sleep-in rates.

You can sign a petition to show your support for care workers and send a message to the Prime Minister here.

2. Kill the Bill Protests

The Police and Crime Bill is a new piece of draft legislation that includes major government plans on crime and justice in England and Wales and, among other things, will hand police and the Home Secretary greater powers to crack down on protests. This can have great implications for Trade Unions and our ability to effectively organize industrial action (our main bargaining power). Protests against the bill have been going ahead in England and Wales since it was announced and have already resulted in a delay of amendment votes by the bill committee, now scheduled for June. Protests will continue to maintain the pressure and resist this dangerous bill. A strong union presence is paramount.

People’s Assembly Wales shares regular updates and details of protests in Cardiff on their Facebook page and you can also subscribe to their mailing list by contacting them on

Solidarity and Wider Campaigns (March 31st 2021):

1. Support Independent Media

Independent media platforms are increasingly important as mainstream media becomes more dependent on political and economic powers. is a media platform giving voice to workers in Wales and the people and topics often ignored or misrepresented by mainstream media. has covered UCU disputes and issues faced by Cardiff University staff many times, including twice this year. Please consider supporting them by subscribing to their website:


2. British Gas 

British Gas is forcing its workers to accept a 15% pay cut, on top of worsening terms and conditions, or face getting the sack. British Gas workers have been striking for weeks about this, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the news. The more companies get away with putting the brunt of the pandemic onto the workers, the bigger the post-pandemic crisis will be. Please help their action by signing a petition against making workers choose between accepting a 15% pay cut or losing their jobs and by sharing their struggle widely.

Solidarity and Wider Campaigns (March 26th 2021):

1. UN Anti-Racism Day – #WorldAgainstRacism
Saturday 20 March marked the UN Anti-Racism Day and events were organised by the Trade Union Council (TUC) and Stand Up To Racism to renew the commitment to oppose racism across the world. You can read about the protests all over the world here.

2. Solidarity with Bristol – End Police Brutality
Over the last weeks, large protests have been organized around the UK against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021, which increases police powers to target protests (with potential implications for industrial action) and to target Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

As news from the violence during the protests in Bristol earlier this week emerged, what initially seemed the result of the violent nature of the protest (police officers reported to be severely injured, police vans set on fire and the police station vandalized) was shown to be only one side of the story. The police retracted claims of grave injuries, journalists reported being harassed by the police and unable to carry out their jobs, and demonstrators claimed that the protest was peaceful until the police charged at them with horses, dogs, pepper spray and batons.

In the aftermath of police violence at the vigil for Sarah Everard in London, and the ongoing cases of two young black men who recently died after contact with South Wales police, the violence against protesters in Bristol continues the worrying trend of excessive use of force by the police, legitimized by the new bill.

A protest in Cardiff to resist this is going ahead TODAY at 6pm by the City Centre Police Station.

Solidarity and Campaigns (March 18th 2021):

1. Sexual Violence in the Workplace
UCU national put together a survey for members on sexual violence in the workplace. Please use the links below to take the survey – there are separate surveys for caseworkers/reps and members with no official role in the Union. You can find more information about UCU sexual violence task group here.
Caseworker/rep survey
Members survey

2. Closure of Newcastle Universitys London campus
Newcastle University’s London campus is set to close on 31 September 2021, and staff face the prospect of either a move to Newcastle or redundancy. Please sign this petition questioning and challenging the rationale for the closure of the London campus and rejecting the inadequate compensation that has currently been offered to staff for either relocation or redundancy if this goes ahead.

3. Global Women’s Strike (GWS)
GWS is an international network campaigning for a living wage for mothers and other carers, co-ordinated by the International Wages for Housework Campaign & the author and activist Selma James. You can find more information on their website and follow this link to endorse their open letter to governments demanding a Care Income for all caring workers.

4. People’s Assembly Wales Campaign – Free School Meals
Earlier this month, a Scottish budget was passed that will roll out free school meals to ALL primary school children in Scotland by August 2022. The Welsh budget, passed last week, will continue to deny free school meals to over half of children in poverty in Wales.

You can watch here the People’s Assembly Wales Rally for International Women’s Day – Poverty is a Feminist Issue, which included a message of solidarity to the Free School Meals campaign by our Anti-casualisation Officer Renata Medeiros.

Solidarity and Wider Campaigns (March 4th 2021):

1. UCU Solidarity Movement

Solidarity has always been at the heart of the trade union movement and the Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated once again why that is so important. UCU has a new movement to build solidarity among branches and with other unions and causes across the UK and the world. You can keep updated on the actions and event of the movement here.

You can also sign up to the mailing list here, or follow the movement on facebook or twitter using: #UCUsolidaritymovement.

2. Prison education – has your MP signed the motion?

UCU has worked with MPs in Westminster to get a parliamentary motion tabled calling for more investment in prison education technology and greater support for staff and prisoners. You can read the motion in full here.

Please contact your own MP and encourage them to add their name to the current list of signatories, you can find your MP’s contact details here.