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Fight the #HEWhitePaper

Strike for pay,


defend education
T

his weeks strikes come at a key


moment for higher education. We
are striking over pay and against
casualisation and the gender pay gap.
Alongside these crucial issues we face
the Tories Higher Education White
Paper and the HE Bill. This legislation
would let the market rip through the
sector, lifting the 9,000 tuition fees cap
and further marginalising working-class
students.
We are fighting for staff and defending
education for students.
Our pay has fallen by 15 percent in real
terms since 2009. This year alone weve
had a 3-4 percent pay cut due to increases
in NI and pensions contributions.
Money spent on pay compared to
other spending is falling across higher
education.
The gender pay gap is a disgrace.
Women in universities earn on average
over 6,000 less than men.
Casualisation is rife. More than 50
percent of universities use zero hours
contracts. The vast majority of research
staff are on fixed term contracts. Over
80,000 academics are paid by the hour.

Metropolitan

At London Metropolitan University


(LMU), cuts and casualisation have
undermined all staff. Amidst serial job
cuts, managers are attempting to sack
UCU reps Mark Campbell and David
Hardman and reduce the hours of hourlypaid reps in some cases to zero.
We have to defend our reps at LMU,
City of Liverpool College and whereever
they face victimisation.
UCU has now given us a timetable
for action. Thats progress. In recent years
members have often been left guessing
about what would happen next.
After the present 48 hour strike there
are possible local strikes in June and July
(dates and action decided by branches),
and national action on the day of the
A-level results. UCU has announced plans
for ASOS this autumn.
In the last two major disputes in higher
education, over pay and pensions in

pre-92, the union failed to throw its full


weight behind achieving victory.
The strategy of two-hour strikes caused
confusion but the failure to hit back at
100 percent pay docking by employers in
response to ASOS on marking was the
biggest problem.
A marking boycott, not just a work to
contract, could have been used this term.
It has to be used alongside escalating
strikes in the autumn.

Escalating

Attempts to dock members pay for


partial performance must be met with
hard-hitting escalating strikes across the
union. No UCU branch should be left to
fight alone.
UCUs leaders have not made this
commitment. If were to mobilise our
members for ASOS then UCU Congress
has to make sure they do.
Alongside industrial action we need a
high-profile political campaign.
We can learn from the strikes and
campaigns by junior doctors (BMA)
and teachers (NUT). Theyve won
public support and a retreat on forced
academies in education.
The government is throwing down the
gauntlet with its HE White Paper.
The fight is on to defend public higher
education based on academic freedom,
enforcement of academic standards by
staff, and high-quality teaching.
The Tories want a for-profit sector,

allowing Pearson and others to reap


dividends from 9,000 fees.
They want a race to the bottom to
undermine existing universities.
UCU has to work with campus unions,
NUS, campaigns like the CPU and
CDBU, and sympathetic politicians to
build mass opposition to the privatisation
of our universities.
Branches should organise meetings
now to promote the Alternative White
Paper, published by the HE Convention,
and make the case for resistance.
Motions have gone to UCU Congress
calling for a mass demonstration this
autumn to defend education.
We can win this dispute. The future of
higher education is at stake and we need a
fighting coalition to safeguard it.

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HE strike 24/05/16