Birkbeck UCU | News | Dispute Bulletin No. 7, March 11, 2018

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Dispute Bulletin No. 7, March 11, 2018

Final Week of Strike Action, Phase 1, Mon 12 – Fri 16 March

Join the Picket Line!
Attend the Birkbeck UCU Rally Friday 16 March, 1.00 pm, Torrington Square
Come and celebrate the achievements of the first phase of industrial action!
Four weeks ago the employers were determined to press ahead with the destruction of our defined benefit pensions; they were refusing to hold any further talks with the union or to consider the union’s proposals; and they were refusing to go to ACAS. After just two weeks of strike action, they have been forced to return to talks under the auspices of ACAS and that is a huge shift in their position, reflecting an equivalent shift in the balance of power as the employers have found themselves isolated, beleaguered and divided. Their disarray and disorganization stands in stark contrast to the unity shown by university staff and students and our supporters elsewhere.
Picket Academic Board
Main Building, Mon 12 March, 1.00 pm
No rescheduling of teaching
The national union position on rescheduling of teaching is clear. Once cancelled, lectures and seminars are lost and are not to be rescheduled in any form.
Statement from Birkbeck UCU Branch meeting 9 March 2018 on the current negotiations
A well-attended meeting discussed the current pension negotiations and although we had been unable to circulate and debate formal motions, the sentiments of the meeting were very much in line with motions passed at Goldsmiths, Imperial and other institutions:
We noted:
 the unprecedented level of participation by UCU members in the current strike action, both at meetings and on picket lines, and including academic, professional, T&S staff and PhD students;  the widespread support from students;  the significant increase in UCU membership during the strike action;  the shifting balance of power during the dispute owing to the strike remaining solid and widely-supported whilst the employers are isolated, unpopular and divided;


Consequently, we believe the employers’ defined contribution plan must be completely rejected.
We also believe that the flawed and unsound methodology that has conjured up the so-called deficit must also be rejected and replaced by an independent valuation, to be carried out as soon as possible.
We believe there must be a reappraisal of the governance of USS and the role of the so-called independent chair.
And in light of the above we urge our negotiators to take a tough line in talks in defence of our existing defined benefit pensions plan.
Statement from Birkbeck UCU Branch meeting 9 March 2018 on Industrial Action Phase 2
The same meeting discussed the plans for a second phase of industrial action and noted the following points:
Whilst agreeing on the importance of having a detailed timetable of action, there was a strong feeling in favour of well-targeted, smart action with strikes scheduled to cause significant disruption, rather than simply interfering with academic research in a light teaching or no-teaching term (Exam boards, graduation ceremonies, recruitment and other high-profile events would be obvious targets (and at Birkbeck these are spread over late April through to late June).
There were mixed views on exam setting and marking boycotts.
There was strong support for insisting on no pay deductions for precarious workers such as teaching and scholarship staff, GTAs and PhD students.
Local hardship fund now established
Details as follows:
Unity Trust Bank
Birkbeck UCU Hardship Fund
Sort code: 60-83-01
Acc No. 20391922
Picketing rota WwQ/edit#gid=1304531884


Guide dogs back UCU!

Diary dates
Mon-Fri 12-16 March
Strikes week 4
Mon 12 March
Picket of Academic Board. Assemble Main Building 1.00 pm.
Wed 14 March
Education March. Assemble Malet Street 12.00 pm
Fri 16 March
Rally to mark the end of Phase 1 of industrial action; Torrington Square, 1.00 pm
Join the UCU!
If you have received this bulletin as a non-member, and you are employed at Birkbeck, join the hundreds of colleagues who are already union members and sign up NOW! Just follow this link to the online form and it will take only a few minutes:


General queries - John Kelly
T&S staff queries - Mike Berlin
USS pension queries – Nick Pronger
Picketing – Sophie Hope
FAQs about the strike -
Action Points
 Please circulate this bulletin to all staff in your Dept, using Departmental email lists, to ensure that non-members can read about the dispute and join the union.  Social media: spread news of the dispute through Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Join the picket!
Sunday 11 March 2018