We are the University and College Union (UCU) branch for members at the Heriot-Watt University, Scotland. The Union Branch represents staff working at Heriot-Watt University - academics, researchers, librarians, IT staff, academic related staff and professional services. We are engaged in industrial action - a.k.a. on strike - over national legal disputes relating to equality and the gender pay gap (27.7% at HWU), excessive workloads, decreasing pay, casualisation of the work force (short and zero hours contracts) and pensions. The outcome of this dispute will affect, (we hope benefit), all staff at Heriot-Watt University and throughout the HE Sector. Making HE a fairer place to work. We have the support of our students Union in taking strike action. Striking is a last resort when your employer will not listen to staff concerns leaving them with no other option than to withdraw their labour. Striking staff are not paid. Many of our members will suffer financial hardship as a result of taking action. We are asking you to donate to the HWUCU Strike Hardship Fund to help our striking branch members who are most in need. Any donation - big or small - to support striking workers in struggle is greatly appreciated. Please share this on social media, tagging @UCU_HWUBranch on Twitter and using the hashtag #UCUStrikesBack. For any queries not answered in the below FAQ, please contact [email redacted].uk FAQ Why are we striking? UCU members are taking strike action on two separate but related issues: USS pensions, and pay and equality. Over the past ten years, we’ve seen pay in the higher education sector fall by over 17% in real terms (employers figures). At the same time, workloads have been on the rise. Thee of these changes are unevenly distributed across university staff, while also exacerbating the already existing pay gaps for women, BAME, and disabled staff. Many university staff are being forced to make higher contributions into their USS pensions, amounting to another pay-cut. This is after already having to take industrial action to protect our pensions in 2018. Falling pay and rising pension costs are unsustainable and unfair. (Text adapted from Cambridge UCU) What is striking / industrial action? Striking means that we withdraw our labour - we do not go to work or do work. Strikes are used as a 'last resort', as in this case, when negotiations with employers and representative bodies have not reached an equitable nor acceptable conclusion. When a worker goes on strike, they do not get paid for the duration of the strike - in this case, it is 22 working days. (The strikes began with 8 days of action in November and December). Some strikers may join a picket line to protest outside their place of work. Others stay at home. What will the money be used for? The Hardship Fund will be used to support striking members of Heriot-Watt UCU who require additional financial support (alongside the national UCU Fighting Fund). Taking part in industrial action and forgoing pay is difficult for everyone, yet can be particularly financially challenging for those on casualised, precarious and fractional contracts (e.g. part-time, temporary contracts, post-graduate students who do teaching, marking and research) Can I donate any other way? Yes! You can donate directly to the fund via our bank account The Bank: Unity Trust Bank Account name: UCU – Heriot-Watt University LA 023 Hardship Fund Sort Code: 60-83-01 Account No. 20391168 Or by cheque to our Branch office Heriot-Watt UCU office Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh EH14 4AS Thanks everyone for you support and solidarity!
- Greg Michaelson
- Edward Wray
Organizer and beneficiary
Heriot Watt University, Scotland, United Kingdom