Published: 15th November, 2019
This is the Leicester UCU Strike Handbook 2019 – covering all strike plans and advice for the strike taking place between 25th November and 4th December. This page will be updated as strike plans and events change – please check regularly for updates.
Last revision: 10 December 2019
ALL MEMBERS ARE EXPECTED, IF ABLE, TO PARTICIPATE IN PICKETING! This is not an optional extra, it is an essential part of our action. During the 2018 USS strikes, the large crowds on our picket lines demonstrated to the University (and, indeed, to the whole HE sector – via social media) the strength of feeling and overwhelming support by members. We must repeat this!
|Archaeology & Ancient History||University Road Entrance 2|
|Attenborough Arts Centre||University Road Entrance 2|
|Cancer Studies||Victoria Park Road Entrance|
|Cardiovascular Sciences||Victoria Park Road Entrance|
|Chemistry||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Criminology||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Development & Alumni Relations||University Road Entrance 2|
|Education||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|ELTU||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Engineering||University Road Entrance 1|
|English||Victoria Park Entrance|
|Estates & Campus Services||University Road Entrance 1|
|External Relations||University Road Entrance 2|
|Finance||University Road Entrance 1|
|Genetics||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Geography||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Geology||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Health Sciences||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|History of Art & Film||Victoria Park Entrance|
|History, Politics & International Relations||University Road Entrance 2|
|Infection, Immunity & Inflammation||University Road Entrance 2|
|Innovation Hub||Victoria Park Road Entrance|
|Informatics||University Road Entrance 2|
|International Office||University Road Entrance 1|
|IT Services||University Road Entrance 1|
|Law||Victoria Park Road Entrance|
|Legal Office||University Road Entrance 2|
|Leicester Learning Institute||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Library||University Road Entrance 1|
|Mathematics||University Road Entrance 1|
|Media, Communication & Sociology||Victoria Park Entrance|
|Medical & Social Care Education||Victoria Park Road Entrance|
|Modern Languages||Victoria Park Entrance|
|Molecular & Cell Biology||Victoria Park Entrance|
|Museum Studies||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Neuroscience, Psychology & Behaviour||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Physics & Astronomy||George Davies Centre / MSB|
|Research & Enterprise Division||University Road Entrance 2|
|Student & Academic Services||University Road Entrance 1|
|Student Support Services||University Road Entrance 1|
|Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning||University Road Entrance 1|
Any other department, or for general support and questions, go to University Road Entrance 2.
The picket line is a key tool in making strike action effective. That’s why it’s so essential that that we organise them well and that all members make every effort to take part if they can. The strength and size of pickets show management, the public, the press and our colleagues how determined UCU is to win the fights. Although our pickets will be peaceful, their purpose is also to discourage anyone – colleagues, students and other workers – from crossing them. The goal of the strike, after all, is not simply to have wages docked – it’s to disrupt the normal working of the university.
In addition to the rewards associated with maximising the effectiveness of our action, picketing can be an incredible experience – it was for those who took part in February and March 2018. Besides the camaraderie, picketing is a great way to meet your colleagues and students, not only those from your own department or section, but from across the university. Unbounded by the strictures of University-Leadership-sanctified committees, seminars and grant workshops, the picket line can be thought of as the ultimate trans-disciplinary research event. (In 2018, one of our branch officer even made a contact that resulting in a successful grant application.)
First, you should not – and are not required to – declare to your manager and/or HR that you will strike beforehand.
When on strike, all UCU members are expected to:
UCU members should not read or respond to any emails whilst on strike, and should immediately delete, unread, all emails on return to work — except for those from students. During strike periods, we ask you to put an out-of-office auto-reply on your emails. We suggest the following text — though of course you may edit this if you prefer.
I am currently unavailable as I am striking over Pensions, Pay and Equality.
Background to the dispute can be found here:
You can support us by joining UCU (http://join.ucu.org.uk/) and taking part in strike action.
If you are a student, I will respond to your email on my return — though you may have to be patient.
Otherwise, I will not be reading this email, and will delete it, unread, on my return.
Tell them that you’ll be going on strike and why – we need their support and we need to make common cause with them! But don’t tell them that their lectures and classes will be cancelled. There are three reasons for this:
The initial strike is planned for the following timeframe:
For each strike day, please arrive at your designated picket location as early as possible – preferably 7:30am to 8am (allowing for childcare and other commitments). We plan, each day, to converge on University Road Entrance 2 at 11:30am. We would expect to end each day between midday and 1pm…
|Monday 25th November||Theme for the day: Strike materials production. Come and help us make placards and posters. At the end of the day there will be a prize for the best poster or the quickest placard maker.|
We will also be reminding students to register to vote.
Teach out event – “Corruption & Surveillance Capitalism” – 11:00 to 11:30, University Road Entrance 2
|Tuesday 26th November||Theme for the day: Music. Bring your instruments to the picket lines. Music volume is more important than musical talent. There will be a prize for the most musical.|
Teach out event – “The Politics of Northern Ireland” – Leicester Cathedral – 11:00
|Wednesday 27th November||Theme for the day: Bring you pet to the picket-line day. Prize for the best dressed pet.|
Teach out event – “Decolonizing the Curriculum” – 11:00 to 11:30, University Road Entrance 2
|Thursday 28th November||Theme for the day: Most magnificent hat. Whether fashionable, practical or colourful, there will be a prize for the best one. The prize will be another hat.|
Teach out event – “Precarity on trial” – 11:00 to 11:30, University Road Entrance 2
|Friday 29th November||Theme for the day: Bake-off – please bake a cake, biscuit, brownie, or other treat – there will be a prize for the best!|
We will also be supporting the Climate Strike.
Teach out event – “Border controls and the hostile environment in HE and ways of resisting” – Unis Resist Border Controls – 11:00 to 11:30, University Road Entrance 2
|Saturday 30th November||No weekend working (unless contracted to do so) – This is action short of a strike!|
|Sunday 1st December||No weekend working (unless contracted to do so) – This is action short of a strike!|
|Monday 2nd December||Theme for the day: 70s Disco. Proze for the best dressed and dancing.|
Teach out event – “French language for beginners” – 11:00 to 11:30, University Road Entrance 2
|Tuesday 3rd December||Theme for the day: #ExhaustionRebellion. Dress in PJs, dressing gown, slippers…|
Teach Out event – “The situation in Hong Kong” – 11:00 to 11:30, University Road Entrance 2
|Wednesday 4th December||Theme for the day: Festive Fun. Bring festive items to the picket-line – e.g. Christmas trees, reindeer (real or otherwise), jumpers or other non-Christmas festival items. Prizes for the best!|
This day is Day of Action for Disability Equality in Education. Find out more on the picket line.
|Thursday 5th December and onwards…||Back to work (until the next round of strikes). Don’t forget that ASOS still applies, and don’t catch-up with work not done during the previous 8 strike days!|
A much-sought-after UCU hat, mug or insulated cup will be the prize each day:
Leicester UCU are in regular contact with Leicester Students’ Union. We will hold “Ask us about the strike” events in which we make ourselves available to discuss the strike, what we are fighting for and the likely impact on the University. We will do this from Centenary Square on campus:
We are conscious that we should not affect students on tier 2 visas. Further advice is available here.
UCU have announced that there will be a strike fund to cover some lost salary. Full details are here. UCU have committed:
Non-members should be encouraged to donate to the strike fund: https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund
Leicester UCU will not be operating its own strike fund.
Strike reports are being written for each day of the strike:
We encourage lots of social media use during the strikes as this will get our messages to our colleagues, students and the wider public.
Please use #LeicUniStrike
Our union colleagues at Unison have generously offered all strikers on the picket-lines a hot drink from Ernie on Victoria Park. This will show support with Leicester UCU, and help The Bridge Homelessness to Hope charity.
Please show your picket armband to receive your hot drink.
More FAQs on the UCU website.
If you are on a research-only contract and you are taking strike action, you should not work and should follow all other advice.
For researchers, strike action does have an impact on the University. Your work will be slowed down and your email auto-responses will go to your funders, partners and colleagues. Your presence on the picket lines will help our action.
If you are employed by the University on an externally-funded contract and you take strike action you should not work and should follow all other advice.
If your employment contract is with an external funding body, or any other body or agency, you should not strike.
If you are employed on an hourly-paid or GTA contract and you take strike action you should not work and should follow all other advice.
If you are on research leave and you take strike action you should not work and should follow all other advice.
If you are not at work for these reasons during strike action, you cannot strike. We encourage you to donate any earnings to UCU fighting fund.
Since the UCU industrial action in early 2018, there have been changes to the immigration rules that make explicit that unpaid leave for the purposes of industrial action is exempt from the reporting duties for sponsors of Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas. The change was announced in July 2018 by Sajid Javid (see full statement here): “It is not the Government’s policy to prevent migrant workers from engaging in legal strike action; and, to date, I am not aware of any case where a migrant worker has had their leave curtailed, or been removed, as a result of having engaged in legal industrial action. However, to put the matter beyond doubt, I will be making changes to the guidance and Immigration Rules for migrant workers (under the Tier 2 and 5 immigration routes) and their sponsors.” You can view the updated rules here, and the updated guidance for sponsors here.
Further advice has been provided by UCU here.