Solidarity Statement from Jo Grady, UCU General Secretary Elect

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We’re grateful to Dr Jo Grady, UCU Gen Secretary Elect, for supporting our struggle! Solidarity is key to any transformational & progressive movement – including the Trade Union one!

University of Birmingham UNISON Solidarity Statement

As General Secretary Elect of UCU, I’m sending my support and solidarity to your branch as you prepare to take strike action against your employer. Nobody goes on strike lightly: when workers organise to take industrial action, it signals a breakdown of responsibility and a failure to listen on the part of employers. But you have achieved something truly impressive by standing up for yourselves and beating the 50% turnout requirement imposed by Tory anti-union legislation. In UCU we know how hard it can be to break that threshold, and you’ve done amazingly well to outperform the national average in pay ballots by a margin of twenty percentage points.

Cooperation between campus trade unions is really important. We can all learn from each other and identify shared interests and opportunities if unions like UNISON and UCU work together. Your branch and the local UCU branch have led the sector in that respect. You’ve produced a wide-ranging set of collective demands in the form of your Joint Unions Report – not just on proper Living Wage accreditation, but also workload, equality, and job security.

I am informed that your Vice Chancellor, David Eastwood, has been slow to negotiate and barely made any concessions. For an institution with the financial strength of the University of Birmingham, built on the back of the hard work of its staff, that is not good enough. Perhaps he’s been too busy with his duties as Chair of the USS pension scheme? In any case, it’s time for the University to come to the negotiating table. It shouldn’t have to take strike action, but if it does, I wish you all the best and hope that all staff and students on campus will support you.

Jo Grady

UCU General Secretary Elect

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