Next Round of Uni Strikes and Bradford and Queen Mary’s Effective Lock-outs

From the eduction workers’ soapbox, Zero for Conduct

The next round of strike action at UK Universities starts on Valentine’s Day, with workers out for 7 to 10 days between the 14th February and 2nd March – and with possibly more strike action to come. 

The fight between University bosses and workers is already ugly and getting uglier quickly. A number of vice-chancellors (VCs) have come out and stated their intention of deducting pay not just for strike action but also action short of a strike (ASOS). Cambridge University threatened to deduct staff 25% of their term’s pay if staff refuse to reschedule cancelled lectures. 

However, the “winner” in the league table for anti-worker actions (at least so far) is the VC of the University of Bradford, Shirley Congden, who has stated her intention to deduct 100% of staff pay – in effect forcing a lock-out. 

Like many VCs Congden likes to parade her progressive credentials, such as the University of Bradford being awarded “University of the Year for Social Inclusion”. But as so often such claims are not worth the paper they are printed on (in this case The Times and Sunday Times who gave the award). Real equity comes from workers getting better terms and conditions in their workplaces – exactly what the strikers are fighting for.

Queen Mary has done the same as Bradford. The QM branch of UCU says:

“Queen Mary have just announced possibly the most punitive ASOS deductions policy ever proposed by a UK university. They claim they will deduct 100% of pay each day that staff refuse to reschedule activities cancelled due to the strike. Staff are outraged and we are already planning the fightback.”