Supporting UCU strikes and learning opportunities
At the recent extraordinary meeting of our Education Zone on Thursday 08 February, we voted to support the industrial action by the University and Colleges Union (UCU), standing in solidarity with academic staff not only from Southampton but across the UK also who are taking what is a last-resort action to protect their pensions.
The presentation which was shown at the Education Zone meeting can be found here, and goes through the context of the strike in more detail.
We will be sending representatives to meet with the local UCU branch to discuss ways in which we can both support students without undermining or detracting from the industrial action itself.
In line with what other Students’ Unions around the country are doing, we have compiled a set of FAQs , providing a central resource for any students wishing to find out more about the industrial action and how they can support it – these can be found here. UCU have also put together a series of FAQs, which can be found here.
New questions are always welcome, and we’d encourage you to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org where Union President Flora Noble will be able to pick it up for you.
We will also be hosting a series of three ‘Teach Outs’ , interesting and informative learning sessions in place of lectures affected by strike action. Details of these can be found below (no need to register – just turn up!):
John Langley – Time: Friend or Foe?
Friday 23 February 14:00 – 16:00, Students’ Union (Meeting Room 2, Level One, Building 42)
Do you struggle to meet deadlines? Does time control you or do you control your time? This teach-out will explore the different calls on our time and offer some ways to take back control so avoiding rushed work, deadline panic and allowing the opportunity for quality time to meet that work deadline.
Denis Nicole – Cybersecurity and Lock Picking
Tuesday 27 February 14:00 – 16:00, Students’ Union (Meeting Room 2, Level One, Building 42)
It’s a secret – come along and find out…….
Beautiful Trouble: My First Strike – workshop led by Kevin Brazil
Wednesday 28 February 14:00 – 16:00, Students’ Union (Meeting Room 2, Level One, Building 42)
For many staff, as well as many students, this will be their first experience of strike action. This is an opportunity to bring staff and students together to learn about the process in a different way than usual, where students learn from staff. Instead the strike offers staff a chance to learn with students: to learn about strikes, activism, and what works. People, even participants, often focus on what is negative about strikes – loss of teaching, loss of money, conflict, anxiety, stress. But the history of activism shows that strikes can be acts of empowerment, bonding, and joy – acts of beautiful trouble. To learn together about strikes and activism, we will study a selection of modules from the Beautiful Trouble casebook, reflect on what works, what doesn’t – and what we might use together at Southampton. http://beautifultrouble.org/all-modules/
Where can I find out more?
We encourage students to read around the topic of the strikes in order to make their own judgements, so here are a number of useful resources from a range of sources:
- University of Southampton SUSSED – “UCU Industrial action information for our students”
- UCU – “UCU says strikes now look like a reality as pension talks end”
- University of Southampton SUSSED – “Industrial action February-March 2018 – FAQs”
- Times Higher Education – “UCU confirms 14 strike dates over USS pensions row”
- Southampton UCU – “Hands off our money – fight to defend our pensions”
- Universities UK – pensions information and resources
- University of Southampton SUSSED – “Open letter from the President and Vice-Chancellor – USS pension scheme”
- UCU – “Four questions about the strikes”