UCU members will take strike action for five consecutive days from Monday 25 September 2023 to Friday 29 September 2023
1 UCU HQ Out of Office (Strike and Action Short of Strike)
2 Surrey UCU Branch Out of Office (Strike)
I am not able to check email today as members of Surrey UCU are taking industrial action, along with members at 150 other universities, due to the urgent need to press for fair pay, manageable workloads, secure contracts and equality at work. The real-terms pay of HE staff has fallen by an estimated 25% since 2009. Members of Surrey UCU will be on strike on the following days – please do not email on these days as I will not be able to respond to emails sent to me on strike days on my return.
If you would like more information about the dispute, please go to UCU – FAQs. If you are a student, please do contact [email protected] to find out what steps the University is taking to avoid a dispute, we are urgently looking for meaningful negotiations so that we can all return to work. If you are a student affected by strike action, you can also contact the Students’ Union for independent advice and support at University of Surrey Students’ Union (ussu.co.uk).
3 Surrey UCU Branch PPT slide for talking through the action with students
4 Template response if asked whether you are taking strike action
In accordance with legal requirements, UCU has provided employers with statistical information about UCU members taking industrial action, but not individual names. I have been advised that there is no obligation for individuals to inform their employer / managers in advance as to whether they will be taking part in strike action or action short of a strike and am therefore not in a position to answer your enquiry.’
UCU HQ Strike FAQs
Surrey UCU Strike Calendar
Monday 25th September 2023
Tuesday 26th September 2023
Wednesday 27th September 2023
Thursday 28th September 2023
Friday 29th September 2023
Monday 25th September 2023 08:00-10:00 Stag Entrance
Tuesday 26th September 2023 08:00-10:00 Stag Entrance
Friday 29th September 2023 Virtual Picket 08:00-09:00 (link sent to inboxes)
Emails and Outlook forwarding
Please set up auto forwarding during the strike days if your usual mode of communication for Surrey UCU is your work email. This means you will receive any updates from us without having to access your work email account.
Informing the University about your strike action
Members are under no obligation to inform HR, or indeed any other member of staff, about their intentions to undertake strike action if you are going to be on strike. If a manager asks, you can politely decline to answer that question in advance of taking part in any forthcoming action.
Members also do not need to notify the Director of HR, or anyone else, immediately after every day of strike action if strike days are consecutive. Our first day of strike action is on Monday 25th September. After that period of strike action, if full time, your next day of work would be Monday 2nd October. That’s the day to confirm that you have taken part in action, once you have been asked to notify. If you work part-time, then you would notify, if asked, the next day that you are scheduled to work after this period of strike action.
See the relevant UCU Strike FAQ here: [TO BE LINKED TO WHEN UCU HQ UPDATE THE NATIONAL WEBSITE]
Action Short of A Strike
Please see the ASOS FAQ on the national UCU website here:
Staff will begin action short of a strike (ASOS) from Wednesday 23 November onwards at institutions in England, Wales and Scotland.
Action short of a strike will consist of the following until further notice:
- working to contract
- not covering for absent colleagues
- removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action
- not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action
- not undertaking any voluntary activities.
In terms of rescheduling, the national UCU FAQs linked above state that by ‘lectures or classes’ we mean any activity between any UCU member and a student or group of students which involves any instruction, tuition, communicating or sharing of knowledge or guidance.
This includes teaching which would have taken place on one of UCU’s strike days and covers instructional activities undertaken by UCU members who are academic-related professional services staff, as well as academic staff. You should, if asked, refuse to reschedule such sessions, stating that you are supporting UCU’s action short of a strike.
If someone else such as a line manager or head of department has already scheduled your classes, the FAQ state that once the action has started you should not teach rescheduled classes whoever has rescheduled them.
The national UCU FAQS also outline that the reasonability of any request will depend on the terms of your contract and custom and practice. If in doubt, or if your actions are challenged by someone senior to you, you should temporarily suspend your action and contact your branch who will seek further advice.
As a result, please do not hesitate to get in touch for support if you need to, for example by contacting the Branch Administrator in the first instance. We can ask for additional guidance from our regional office on your behalf.
ASOS – Legal Guidance
In addition to the national advice above, the branch has requested additional information from our regional office. The legal advice as regards ‘rescheduling’ is as follows:
Asking for work to be made up from a strike day IF other work is not being required so that time is freed up for members to do it, is likely to be feasible legally. However,
• the employer has to explain how they are going to free up time
• the employer has to reschedule not the individual member
• the employer has to be explicit about precisely what our members do not have to undertake to allow re-prioritisation
• the employer has to explain how this will affect marking timelines
• the employer has to explain how any rooming issues will be dealt with
• the employer has to be clear on recognition as to how dropping other activities such as research will affect quality
UCU Picketing guidance
What is the law on picketing? https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#What_is_the_law_on_picketing?_