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Pendant ce temps-là, de l’autre côté de la manche - màj 29 février 2020

jeudi 27 février 2020, par Mariannick

UCU announces 14 strike days at 74 UK universities in February and March.

"How the humanities became the new enemy within", William Davies, The Guardian,

The current British government looks on them with disdain, putting an entire infrastructure of culture under threat

The neoliberal position is that a humanities degree is a simple waste of money, as revealed in the earnings of graduates. To people of this mindset, the benefit of the post-2010 tuition fee regime, allied to a host of league tables and audits, is that it exposes latent inequalities in higher education that were previously concealed by public funding. If somebody chooses to study art history (and not, say, computer science), then this is a high-risk investment, which they should be personally liable for. The recent announcement by the University of Sunderland that it would be terminating all its history, languages and politics courses, and replacing them with vocational alternatives, therefore represents progress.

’It can’t go on’ : students join lecturers on the picket line Lucy Campbell, The Guardian, 20 feb. 2020

Early on Thursday morning, striking staff and supportive students braved wind, rain and hailstones to picket at the University of Manchester, demanding an end to unequal pay, unfair workloads, rising pension costs and the casualisation of work.

Outside the Samuel Alexander building, Spanish lecturers Adriana Bausells and Rubén Peinado said the precariousness of pay and contracts had become the norm for their department, increasing their workloads and stymieing prospects for promotion.

Peinado, 34, is on his fourth fixed-term contract in four years, which has seriously affected his income and economic security. “Every year I’m offered a contract renewal for only 10 months ‘to satisfy a temporary need in the department’. I get my last paycheck in June, then nothing until the end of September.

“How do you say to your landlord that you have no job over the summer so can’t pay rent for two months ? I go back to Spain, come back in September, then a few months in I’ll get a letter saying I’m no longer needed and the process starts again. It makes you feel really, really bad.” Bausells, 33, said she also had to move home three times in the last five years for this reason.

“When it comes to teaching it makes it so hard to innovate, because you don’t know if you’ll see these students next year. Last year was my first time seeing students graduate and the feeling was amazing – I’ve seen them from first year through their final year. It’s a brilliant but rare opportunity nowadays.”

Seventy-four UK universities* will be hit with 14 days of strike action in February and March, UCU announced today. The action will start on Thursday 20 February and escalate each week, culminating with a week-long walkout from Monday 9 to Friday 13 March.

The disputes centre on the sustainability of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and rising costs for members, and on universities’ failure to make significant improvements on [rouge]pay, equality, casualisation and workloads[/rouge]. The full strike dates are :

  • Week one - Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February
  • Week two - Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 February
  • Week three - Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March
  • Week four - Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March

UCU members at 60 universities walked out for eight days in November and December last year in action that affected around one million students. This next wave of strikes will affect another 14 universities and an additional 200,000 students, as more UCU branches crossed a 50% turnout threshold required by law for them to take industrial action.

The union also warned it would ballot members after this wave of strikes if the disputes could not be resolved, to ensure branches could take action until the end of the academic year. Strike mandates are only legally valid for six months, so branches who walked out in November would need to secure a fresh mandate to be able to continue to take action after April.

As well as the strike days, union members are undertaking "action short of a strike". This involves things like [rouge]working strictly to contract, not covering for absent colleagues and refusing to reschedule lectures lost[/rouge] to strike action.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said : ’We have seen more members back strikes since the winter walkouts and this next wave of action will affect even more universities and students. If universities want to avoid further disruption they need to deal with rising pension costs, and address the problems over pay and conditions.

’We have been clear from the outset that we would take serious and sustained industrial action if that was what was needed. As well as the strikes next month, we are going to ballot members to ensure that we have a fresh mandate for further action to cover the rest of the academic year if these disputes are not resolved.’






We are university staff and members of the University and College Union (UCU) and we are taking strike action over changes to our pension, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). University employers are ignoring pension experts and want us to pay more based on a flawed way of assessing the scheme.

In 2018, employers shelved their plans to radically redesign USS after UCU took strike action. Both sides agreed to take advice from the JEP – an independent panel of pension experts. At last, after a wasted year, the employers are now beginning to engage with the findings of the JEP’s two reports but there is a long way to go if we are to achieve our aims of reforming the fund’s valuation methodology and rolling back the unnecessary increases in the cost of your pension. The typical USS member will be around £240,000 worse off in retirement compared to 2011 thanks to the changes made to staff’s benefits since then. UCU believes that staff have given enough and we want the employers to step up to the plate and agree a fair way of valuing the fund and to reduce members’ costs.

UCU members want to be at work, not on strike, but this dispute threatens the long term ability of universities to recruit and retain high quality staff. Students and staff alike will be short changed if the worst pensions in education continue to drive away staff who can gain financial security elsewhere. UCU members want our employers and university leaders to work with us, end the strikes, and avoid widespread disruption for students, staff, their families and the community.

The National Union of Students (NUS), MPs, and others are calling on the employers to stand with their staff and recognise the importance of pensions to UCU members. UCU members are determined to continue our action until a fair, long-term solution can be found.

We ask you to stand with us and defend higher education

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UCU Strike

•Find out more about what’s at stake by visiting
•Visit the picket lines to express your support
•Tweet your support using the hashtag #UCUstrike
•Email the vice-chancellor to ask for fresh negotiations - you can do this online at by entering your institution name
•Support striking staff and donate to the UCU fighting fund at