UCU Strike 2019: #InTheirOwnWords

Our members have been talking about the reasons they are striking and we’ve been visiting the pickets to hear from them #InTheirOwnWords. Have a listen to some of these powerful accounts of both the personal struggles our staff face and the passion and commitment that has driven them to take action as we all stand together in this strike. Continue reading

Progress in national negotiations

UCU Vice President Vicky Blake visited us on the pickets on Wednesday 27th Nov and gave us a welcome update on national negotiations.

Our elected negotiators finally persuaded Universities and Colleges Employers Organisation (UCEA) to meet and begin to negotiate on the “four fights” grievances (pay, casualization, workload, and pay inequality). Our pensions negotiators are still, without success as yet, trying to get Universities UK (UUK) around the table to address this crucial issue.

Vicky told us the “four fights” discussions were much more detailed, and employers much more responsive, than in previous meetings. This is all down to our vibrant and resolute collective action, which the employers had been hoping would be much smaller, allowing them to “ride out the strike”.

At the talks the UCEA employers committed to consult their members (VCs across the UK) in the coming days about casualisation, workload and equality pay gaps, but they also said they were still unwilling to discuss pay.

This consultation, which Cardiff management will be filling out very soon, means it’s even more important we continue to grow the strikes locally, and to hold our VC Colin Riordan to account (see “Where’s Colin”).

Of the talks, UCU General Secretary Jo Grady, said: ‘It is incredibly frustrating that the employers won’t deal with all the issues at the heart of this dispute. Staff are striking over workloads, casualisation, inequality and pay. Universities cannot simply ignore the pay element, and if they continue to do so then staff will continue to strike. […] We need a coherent offer from employers that deals with all the issues together, including pay.”

Where’s Colin? Q&A with the Cardiff VC

Your Cardiff UCU reps are incredibly proud of how the branch has responded to the perfect storm of problems for HE workers with such lively, positive, and feisty picket lines, rallies, and other strike events!

We’ve heard each other’s stories, we laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve sustained each other in righteous anger and scathing critique of our sub-standard pay and conditions.

But one question has echoed around the windswept streets of Cardiff this week, voiced by members, students, journalists, and supporters: But where are our senior managers, and, more specifically, where’s our VC Colin Riordan?

Some VCs across the UK have joined staff on the pickets, and even come out in support of UCU’s aims on USS pensions. Prof Riordan is nowhere to be seen.

We think Colin deserves to hear from his staff, and to answer our urgent and pressing questions about pensions, pay, casualization, workload, and pay equality. So, Cardiff UCU’s strike committee have invited him to a public Question and Answer session with staff and students (along the lines of the one we held during the USS Strikes in 2018) at 1pm on Tuesday 3rd December (venue TBA).

If you’d like to see him attend this event, and answer to staff, please contact him on v-c@cardiff.ac.uk.

If you have short, snappy, questions you’d like to ask the VC please submit them to us or tweet them @cardiffucu (including your name and a contact phone number).

Key strike diary dates

A listing of all strike events including “teach-out” public lectures, rallies, and pickets can be found in our events schedule.

A few key reminders:

  • Friday 29th Nov: no UCU rally after the pickets – instead join the climate strike protests across the City!
  • Monday 2nd Dec: full programme of strike events followed by a crucial local strike fund benefit gig at the Moon Club, Womanby St. Come, bring your friends, and help us to help our lowest paid members!
  • Wednesday 4th December: Final day rally with music, speeches, and dancing in Alexandra Gardens at 11am, led by our student members and supporters, but including all of us!

Local strike aims: staggering strike deductions

We are striking nationally, but we also have local aims. To get the VC on board and representing us properly to national employer’s orgs is clearly crucial. We have also asked Cardiff management to stagger strike pay deductions over an 8-month period, to limit the impact of the strike on our members’ wallets. If you agree, email v-c@cardiff.ac.uk to let the boss know!

UCU Strike 2019: Day one – video of the rally

Were you unfortunate enough to miss the rally in Alexandra Gardens on the 1st day of #UCUStrikesBack? Or maybe you just want to watch them again – and who could blame you? Because here are all the speeches for you to watch as many times as you like – with thanks to @JoStevensLabour, AJ Singh/@CWUnews, @shavtaj, @cardifftc‘s Dave Reid, & our marvellous members & student supporters… Continue reading

Strike Information for Students

We have a set of slides with information for students (as a PowerPoint which includes notes pages with explanation, and also in a PDF version). We suggest UCU members explain the strike action to their students in lectures and seminars. This helps to encourage student support for striking staff. Continue reading