Members of UCU at 74 universities across the UK began industrial action from 25 November 2019. We took strike action from 25 November to 4 December, 2019, and will so again over 14 days between 20 February and 19 March, 2020.
We will also be working to contract until further notice, i.e. only working our contracted hours (usually 35 per week, rather than the 50-55 that lecturers typically work), not rescheduling activities lost to strike action, and not undertaking additional voluntary duties.
We have been forced to take this action because university bosses:
- refuse to address pay inequality
- refuse to address casualisation and precarious work
- refuse to address workload
- refuse to adjust pay to keep up with inflation
- make staff pay more and more for the pension they were promised
Too many staff at QMUL are now on precarious contracts, e.g. temporary, part-time, hourly-paid and even “zero hours”. Student fees have sky-rocketed, cash generation ballooned but staff who actually teach and support students are being systematically robbed by managers, whose salaries and perks are growing, and who are hoarding student fees to pursue vanity building projects.
We cannot go on like this. The industrial action is part of a fight-back against the marketization of higher education and the exploitation of staff and students.
For the shocking data on pay inequality, job insecurity, crushing workloads, collapsing pay and pension cuts, click here.
See also our resources page, which includes explainers, social media links, and all our flyers and posters.
How can students (and others) support the strike?
Our wonderful students recognise that our working conditions are their learning conditions. Last year, the Queen Mary Students’ Union Council voted overwhelmingly to support the strike. Nationally, the National Union of Students also supports the strike and has a set of resourses for students.
Your tutors and support staff are incredibly grateful for your refusal to let management divide us, despite the disruption that the strike inevitably creates for you. Your continued support can help us bring the strike to an early and successful conclusion, and allow us to get back to doing what we love: helping you get the world-class education that you deserve.
We also welcome solidarity from those who might not be students, including local residents and partners of the university affected by industrial action.
Here’s what you can do:
- Contact QMUL’s principal, Colin Bailey, and the Chair of QMUL’s Council, to press them to support QMUL staff, which so far he has refused to do.
- Sign our petition calling on Colin Bailey to help resolve the strike positively.
- Attend any of Colin Bailey’s meetings and ask him the probing questions we have come to expect of Queen Mary students.
- Visit our picket lines. Learn more about the dispute, show solidarity. Students are extremely welcome! Pickets run until 1PM at Mile End.
- Attend our “teach-outs” – alternative, free classes and discussions on a range of topics.
- Organise collective action through QMSU. Students are powerful when they act collectively. During the last strike, student occupying the Octagon in solidarity with UCU were successful in reversing proposed cuts to student bursaries.
- Join the QMUL Student/ Staff Solidarity Group on Facebook to plan and participate in collective action. (There is also a closed Facebook group for activists; post in this group to gain access to the closed one.)
- Use comment sections in student surveys to express your true and honest opinions.
- Spread the word. Tell your friends and tutors you support the strike. On social media, use #QMULstrike and #UCUstrike. Tweet @QMUL and @QMUL_UCU.