***Exeter UCU members: CLICK HERE for additional ‘Strike 2023 Guidance’***

Over 70,000 members of UCU at 150 UK universities are being called out on strike in 2023 to defend the pay and working conditions of every single person working in the UK Higher Education sector – whether or not they are themselves a member of UCU. This is the Pay/Working Conditions national dispute and this is what UCU members are fighting for.

Those UCU members employed at the 67 universities linked to the USS pension scheme are being called on strike at the same time in order to defend the pensions of all 500,000 members of the USS Pensions scheme – whether or not they are themselves a member of UCU. This is the USS pensions national dispute and this is what UCU members are fighting for.

Here at Exeter, we are one of 62 UCU branches fighting for a fair NATIONAL deal in BOTH disputes. Unless employers make acceptable offers, members will be striking for up to eighteen days during February and March. There will also be a nationwide reballot for further action from April/May, to ensure that employers do not make the mistake of thinking they can just sit this out (a tactic they have often tried in the past).

Here at Exeter, everyone can play their part in resolving these disputes:

1. Exeter UCU members: answer the call to strike. Do NOT disclose to management beforehand that you intend to strike (there is zero legal obligation to do so).

***Exeter UCU members: CLICK HERE for additional ‘Strike 2023 Guidance’***

Our next days of strike action are Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February. Picketing is scheduled to only take place on TUESDAY this week, but there are teach-out events on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons (Exeter) and Tuesday afternoon (Penryn). Full details are available HERE.
Strike action has now forced one of our employer’s national negotiating body, UCEA, to agree to negotiate with UCU under the auspices of ACAS for the first time in the current dispute over pay/working conditions. Members can therefore use strike action this week to remind our employer of our collective commitment to winning these disputes and to ensure Exeter UCU plays its part in the nationwide effort to put maximum pressure on UCEA when they sit down opposite our national UCU representatives this week. We also continue to highlight our campaign for a fair resolution to the USS pension dispute, where UCU is still calling for our employer’s other national negotiating body, UUK, to commit to restoring members’ benefits and to agree to join UCU in pushing for significant improvements to the way this pension fund is managed for the future.

If you are able to afford it, please also consider donating now to the national Fighting Fund and/or the local Hardship Fund so that the maximum support is available when strike deductions start appearing on payslips.

2. Exeter staff who are not UCU members: join us, or support our fight by making a donation to support members who will be deducted pay when they strike (both the national Fighting Fund and the local Hardship Fund support striking members). Any amount, however big or small, will make a difference.

If UCU wins these disputes, every single employee at Exeter will benefit – not just UCU members. Please consider supporting us in any way you can.

3. Exeter students: support us! Our working conditions are your learning conditions. Read about why we are striking and find out what has gone wrong with the Higher Education system. Encourage the Students Guild to back strike action and UCU’s demands. Join us on the picket line. UCU members are always happy to see and chat with students.

There is an important poll being run by the Students’ Guild to gauge student opinion. Please vote in this as soon as possible and encourage other students to do likewise. Exeter UCU members – the staff all around you on campus – really need your help and support. The Exeter Students’ Guild page on UCU’s industrial action is available HERE.

Please write to our Vice-Chancellor Professor Lisa Roberts (vice-chancellor@exeter.ac.uk) to signal your support for striking staff and to demand that Exeter management use their considerable influence on the national stage (for example, our Vice-Chancellor even sits on the board of Universities UK) to finally offer meaningful dialogue and a fair offer to staff on pay, working conditions and pensions.

Recent coverage in your student newspaper Exepose has covered student opinion on strike action and Exeter UCU statements.

4. Exeter management: Yes, we know you are reading this. Hello! Stop pretending to students that you can ‘mitigate’ the impact of industrial action. Instead, work fast, hard and publicly to get the two representative bodies negotiating on your behalf (UCEA and UUK) to improve their attitude and ambition in searching for a settlement to these two long-running national disputes.