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UCU Strike, 25-26 May

(14 Posts)
MedSchoolRat Fri 13-May-16 12:34:35

I know academics don't really strike, we just work from home or even pretend to strike & lose a day's pay.

Are you nominally striking? The pay offer is 1.1% which I think is derisory (given CPI increases & predictions). But I hate to strike, don't want to lose a day's pay, either! What do you plan to do?

arclight Sat 14-May-16 10:36:17

Strike. And it will mean cancelling a lecture.

geekaMaxima Mon 16-May-16 19:25:01


No lectures to cancel but marking won't get done on time.

murmuration Mon 16-May-16 22:57:25

Ugh, I joined the union this autumn hoping I wouldn't have this moral dilemma to deal with for a while. My health is such that I will have no problem doing the 'work to contract' strike since that's all I can manage anyway. But I don't know what to do about two days. There is no way in the world I can possibly make up two days of work that I don't do. I am just not physically capable. And despite what the union says, that two days work is going to have to get done at some point. It wouldn't be late marking, it would be never-done marking. I can't do it in the evenings or weekends, and I can't just make it up during a normal working week by working 'harder'. My career is hanging on a thread's edge due to my health, and I'm not sure I'm willing to push it even further by taking two days during a peak period off. I've already had several days these last weeks off in hospital, and am desperately struggling. Don't really know what to do.

arclight Tue 17-May-16 12:41:43

That sucks Murmuration. Is your HoD a union member? Would provision of additional support for marking be a possibility? In our department marking is widely distributed so someone could easily be asked to pick up extra scripts here and there.

forkhandles4candles Thu 19-May-16 23:12:05

Anyone know if work to contract means quitting upcoming PhD vivas and external examiner board duties? Can find a clear answer.

arclight Fri 20-May-16 09:05:58

Not sure about vivas, but the union are calling on people to withdraw from external examining duties.

ScottishProf Mon 23-May-16 19:37:39

Have sent in apologies for meetings, but not said why. Tbh, my contract says I should be able to do my job in an average of 35 hours a week and I work so much more than that it's not even funny. I don't see, therefore, why I should lose pay to not work two week days. I think I may just say I'm not working because I don't have fixed hours and I've already worked my May hours.

What's not clear is whether that does any harm. The union wants to be able to say lots of people were on strike... but I don't remember anyone asking last time! I do specifically remember that my employer never asked (afterwards: they did ask if people planned to strike, but you don't have to answer that one, and I didn't) so nobody lost pay! I wondered whether it was an accidental-on-purpose expression of sympathy for the strike on someone's part, or something more Machiavellian: perhaps if they had no record of anyone having been on strike it didn't happen!

Exam marks are in and boards not happening yet, so it'll have no practical impact, anyway :-( I did resign my post as external though.

murmuration Mon 23-May-16 20:55:51

Feeling terrible, but I don't think I can go off work. Had some hospital tests that took way more out of me than expected, so I didn't work Wed and Thu last week. I am behind on so much that it's not funny. I managed to finish my marking though, as one major element had the student get an extension until much later, so I'll have to deal with that in a month or so instead of by the end of the week. Me sitting at home and not working on the two grant applications whose deadlines I may or may not meet at this stage will only harm me, as well. We do have some boards on Thu, but I see names of known union members in the schedule - only one has stepped out. If they're going to work, I don't see how me losing pay and not working when it's going to disproportionately harm me due to my health is justified. Or perhaps I'm just justifying it to myself, but at this stage I'm not willing to make my life so much more difficult as I'm barely coping in all areas.

LizTaylorsFabulousTurban Wed 25-May-16 11:24:41

Murmuration you have my sympathies, however you should go to your line manager and say that due to industrial action you have not finished this marking, and ask them what they would like you to prioritise and what they will reassign in order to get it done. A strike means that you do not complete the duties you would have done if you are in work that day. If we strike then end up doing the stuff that we would have done on the weekend, the only people the strike is inconveniencing is ourselves.

MaudGonneMad Wed 25-May-16 14:29:40

Anyone been out today? Mood on our picket line was good. Lots of activity on Twitter as well.

esornep Wed 25-May-16 20:34:28

say that due to industrial action you have not finished this marking, and ask them what they would like you to prioritise and what they will reassign in order to get it done.

But I don't think this works for many academics. I have exam marking that is due in around 10 days time, so I would have plenty of time to finish it after the strike. There's no way this marking would or could get re-assigned to somebody else. (Very specialist, everyone else equally over-loaded etc). I am also sufficiently senior that I am not really being allocated specific tasks, but allocating them to myself, so it's virtually impossible to assign non-teaching related tasks elsewhere.

I have a number of research related things to do over the next 10 days - conference talks, grant submission etc. If I leave my marking till next week I won't be able to do these properly - and hurt my career. If I work on my research during strike days, and leave marking till next week, then I am still working flat out at my job so why should I lose salary? And as scotsprof said above, I work so much beyond 35 hours per week without ever taking leave that I could happily not work for weeks and still deserve every penny of my salary.

Particularly at this time of the year, when there are few lectures, strikes do only inconvenience me.

murmuration Wed 25-May-16 20:57:49

But I can't ask my line manage to assign my grant proposal to someone else...

You've said things much better than I could, esornep. I acutally don't have any marking now, because the stuff I expected a short turn around on due to a student extension has been even further delayed (another extension). What I need to be doing is research right now. Was planning to, but was too ill today to do so anyway. Not even sure if that counts as striking. I feel terrible about it, but if I'm well enough to work tomorrow I'll do some literature searching - my good days are so limited I can't throw one away. And hope this recent severe downturn in my health is a blip and next week will be better.

NeverEverAnythingEver Thu 26-May-16 21:17:19

An article on the strike.

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