Post-July strike updates

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Summary of the July strike days:  

We had a fantastic time during the two days of strike action. A new samba band emerged on the pickets, many supporters travelled from afar to be with us and show support, many brought food for the strikers, and children had the opportunity to learn about what solidarity means. The pickets were made up of support, academic-related and academic staff. We received very positive response from the graduating students and their parents who were shocked by the way in which support staff are being treated by the University. Many have also signed our challenge letter (please sign it if you haven’t done so yet): uobunison.org.uk/challenge

We have posted a few videos from the strike in June, and will update our playlist shortly with more videos from July: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbpPRNAGza2EGOdB50_LT_Il4PDY36NK

Hardship fund – open to all, just need proof of deduction

Everyone who took strike action in June and/or July can apply for the hardship fund, whether or not you were on the pickets. The only evidence we need is your payslip (so we can see how much pay has been deducted from your salary). We will provide you with a cheque very soon afterwards. 

Fundraising: on top of our strike fund which members’ approved a few months ago, we have also been raising thousands of pounds, as trade union branches and individuals from across the UK have donated (Wolverhampton UNISON, for instance, donated £500!). Please send this link to anyone whom you think could donate further: http://gofundme.com/uob-unison-strike-fund

Boycott Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre

At our members’ meetings in June, members voted unanimously in favour of boycotting the Edgbaston Park Hotel. This means that we will be asking UCU branches from across the country, and other potential clients of the Hotel, not to use their services until and unless the University of Birmingham and the board of directors of the Hotel agree to bring all outsourced staff back in-house. Please encourage UoB staff and anyone else to look elsewhere, and to openly boycott the Hotel. The latest in-sourcing victory comes from Birkbeck University: https://bbkjustice4workers.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/victory-for-the-cleaners-campaign/

We note that the University of Birmingham is the majority shareholder of the Edgbaston Park Hotel, with two of the four members of the Hotel’s Board of Directors being also University of Birmingham senior managers. The other two members of the Board are also appointed by the University. Despite this, the University negotiators are refusing to talk to us about the hotel by saying that the decision to recognise unions or to bring staff in-house is one that the Hotel needs to make. 

Do you feel strongly about the problem of outsourcing on campus? Join the Hotel working group

Please contact us; we would like to hold a meeting about this soon.

Press coverage of the strike 

Times Higher Education and the BBC have published articles about our strike. We have also been told that the BBC Breakfast show covered the strike. 

Here are some links: 

The media are interested in covering personal stories of members of staff on campus. If you would like to volunteer to talk about why the dispute is important to you, please let us know. 

Write to your councillor/MP

Over the next few weeks, we will be contacting politicians, alumni, and any other potential allies to ask them to support our demands. Please help spread the word by contacting your councillors, MPs, or any other individuals, groups, or organisations for their support. 

The University of Birmingham puts students at risk of injury in order to break UNISON’s strike

We have received reports that students were asked to do cleaning work at short notice, as a way of breaking our strike. We will be raising the health and safety implications of this, as we are concerned that it could put students at risk of injury. Worklink mentioned that no experience was needed, and cleaning involves working with chemicals and cross contamination risks – cleaning staff have a minimum of 2 weeks training before taking up their roles. To see their email and our comments, click here: http://uobunison.org.uk/strikebreaking-worklink

What next? We need volunteers to organise a social event 

We intend to organise a social/fundraising event later in the summer. If you’d like to become part of the working group that organises it, please let us know. If you have ideas of what would work best for the event, email us!

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