Tuesday Update: Crunch Time

This afternoon, the JNC on USS will be meeting to decide on whether or not our pensions are slashed. As a union, we’ve been trying to avert this moment for the past two years. We’ve produced detailed critiques of the 2020 valuation; we’ve worked with employers in making our case; we’ve even done our bit to compromise, by putting reasonable and viable proposals on the table. But despite their soothing noises, and as the scheme’s actual performance goes from strength to strength, we know now where our employers stand. Today, their negotiators are going in with clear instructions to reject our proposals.

We’ll be talking more over the coming weeks about how we respond to this shameful betrayal. For now, though, our attention turns to our other dispute, on the Four Fights. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week, we’ll be taking action to win a fair deal for all university staff, and especially for those of us who’ve been hardest hit over the past decade – the casualised, female, BME and disabled staff who’ve kept this university running, but who are at the sharp end of further cuts to our conditions.

We’ll have more information here next Sunday evening, so check back in then. Meanwhile, as we head back to work, here are a few things we can all do:

  • Sign up to next week’s pickets: for sites and all other details, check the link in today’s branch email.
  • Come to our next Strike Committee meeting, Thursday at 12pm. We’ll be talking about how to build the pickets for next week, as well as engaging staff and students we haven’t yet reached. The meeting is online, and the Zoom link is in the branch email.
  • Talk to your students! Why not take a moment at the end of your supervision or lecture to tell them why you’re on strike, and answer any questions they have? One of our members has produced this toolkit to help you start the conversation.

Finally, make sure you take a rest this weekend – to catch up after seven intensive days, and to prepare for the coming three. Remember, we’re on ASOS, which means no work on the weekends!

And if you want some longer reads before next Monday, or a memory of the solidarity we’ve seen and shown over the past week, take a look at the pieces various CUCU members have written on why they’re striking. We’ve heard from Priya, Áine, and Eleanor over recent days. Now Tom, a researcher at the CSER and co-chair of our Strike Committee, has told us why he’s on strike. You can read his full thoughts here. As he powerfully reminds us, ‘being out on strike is about solidarity. It’s about standing together in the recognition that an injury to one is an injury to all’.

See you on the pickets next week!