Solidarity message from UNISON’s Higher Education Service Group Exec:
On behalf of the higher education service group executive, I am writing to offer our full support and solidarity to members in the Birmingham University UNISON branch who will be taking strike action in support of the 2018/19 pay offer.
UNISON in Higher Education, stands with you in solidarity. It is not acceptable that Birmingham University imposed a 2% rise, a pay rise that didn’t keep up with the rising costs of living.
We support your call for reopening negotiations with the employer so that a meaningful offer can be made. We stand with you on your calls for Birmingham University to become a Foundation Living Wage accredited employer. Birmingham University, a major employer in the city, and a university with staff and students from around the world, should be an inspiration to others and leading the way in employment as well in teaching and research.
UNISON’s Higher Education members are committed to standing up for unfairness in the sector and attacks on UNISON members’ pay and conditions of service. The Higher Education Service Group Executive applauds the stand that you and your members are taking to defend your rights and wish you every success in your fight for pay justice.
Solidarity statement from Jo Grady, UCU general secretary elect
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.
Solidarity from Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek Finance Minister and University of Birmingham alumnus (1981 – 1982):
‘My support is a given. The proletarisation of University staff began during Thatcher’s reign and has now reached its apotheosis under a managerial model inimical to higher education’.
Solidarity photo sent by UCU’s Higher Education Committee
‘Solidarity! UCU HEC meeting today confirms our support for our comrades UNISON University of Birmingham branch taking strike action for a living wage and to end outsourcing. Condemnation of Prof Sir David Eastwood’s conduct from HEC today spans both USS & this dispute’.
Solidarity statement from Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington
Can I first apologise for not being able to be with you on your picket line today. Please read out my message of solidarity as follows:
Birmingham University is a world-class University. It is absolutely wrong that time and again those who work for the University and who are key to its success enjoy second-class treatment. You as Unison members provide essential services without which the University could not function. On the issue of the payment of the Living Wage, I was a founder member 15 years ago of the drive for the Living Wage and I cannot begin to understand why the University fails to formally accredit as a Living Wage employer.
On the gender pay gap, the University is wrong to fail properly to address the cause of justice for women workers. And on workers’ rights, the University is wrong to fail to recognise Unison to represent the workers in the Edgbaston Park Hotel.
I say this with a sense of sadness because the University has so much of which it can be proud. I hope, therefore, that your employer will hear your voice and that you win the justice you deserve.
Solidarity statement from SOAS UNISON branch
Solidarity Greetings from Birmingham Unite Community Branch for strike day – June 28th, 2019, for your ongoing campaign for a Living wage for All working at Birmingham University and to force union recognition at the university hotel.
We are a campaigning branch organising non-working and casually employed members:
- We campaign against benefit sanctions, against Universal Credit and in support of Claimants rights. We are building an event against Universal Credit in Bham city centre on August 1st.
- We actively participate in solidarity work with workers in struggle, lending our support and participating in pickets, rallies and campaigning work with the Bin Workers Strike, the Birmingham Care Workers Strike.
- Our members are a central part of the Campaign to Save Birmingham Council Nurseries and of the Say No to the PSPO campaign (against criminalisation of rough sleepers).
- We are also very involved in our local Labour Parties, we are affiliated to and send delegates to the Constituency Labour Parties and send forward resolutions agreed by our branch.
- We believe that the best path forward for our members and the working class is through the election of a Corbyn government!
- Labour policy to fund student grants and scrap fees is part of a major restructuring proposed by Labour. To create a free, publicly funded National Education Service available to all. This is part of Corbyn’s leadership pledges, the basis of his election as Labour Leader.
- We believe that business orientated university boards should be replaced by workers, student and community representatives. The publicly funded facilities of the UOB must allow fair access to the local communities.
- We call on students to join Birmingham Unite Community. We can assist you with work related issues. Together we can advance a progressive agenda for change at Birmingham University.
Unison – UCU – Unite Community: working together for Justice for all working and studying at Birmingham University.
Kick out the Cowboys – Our University!
Any time, any worker on this campus is on strike, UCU will stand shoulder to shoulder with that worker, and we will fight management tooth and nail with you, comrades. If there’s one thing we know that this management at this university are scared of, is when every worker, from the academics to the cleaners stands together and fights and doesn’t give ground.
And that’s what we’re going to do, from this day on, and whatever it takes to basically tell them: You’re not going to divide the workers at this University. From UCU to UNISON, solidarity comrades, you’re going to win it!
Please treat this as a message of support and solidarity for all of you taking strike action tomorrow for decent pay.
Message of solidarity from HE Greenwich UNISON branch
We’re emailing to send a message of solidarity from HE Greenwich UNISON branch. We heard about your strike at the HE delegates meeting at national conference and by email and discussed it at a recent branch committee meeting. We’re inspired by your action to keep fighting for a better pay deal under the national negotiations.
We’ve also sent a donation of £100 for your strike fund.
Good luck with any further action, and I hope your employer comes back with a better offer asap.
Message of solidarity from UNISON Teeside University
Teesside University would like send our very best wishes to you all and wish you every success in your action. We are behind you 100%. In solidarity.
Message of solidarity from UNISON Herefordshire Local Government Branch
I am writing on behalf of the Herefordshire Local Government branch to offer our support and solidarity over your dispute with Birmingham University.
It is absolutely right that these staff have decided to take action and we stand with them. We understand that many of these staff are part time and therefore on a low wage, and it seems outrageous to us that the Vice-Chancellor should be on such an astronomical wage, whist refusing to give staff the pay rise they are due.
It must be very disheartening for staff to know that investments in buildings are taking place, but there is no such investment in them as employees. We hope that they are no longer nervous about striking, and that other success stories such as the Home Care dispute will give them encouragement and hope.
We will be writing to the Vice-Chancellor in support of reopening negotiations and have asked our treasurer to see if we have funds available to support you financially.
Message of solidarity from UB145 Crook branch in county Durham:
‘Please give your pickets a message of solidarity from UB145 Crook branch in County Durham. You have our full support and we will raise awareness of your campaign up here and with our Trades Council. Hope it goes well tomorrow. Unite we Stand. Divided we Fall. We support you 100%. If we lived nearer we would be joining you on that picket line! In Solidarity Kathryne Wray Branch President’.
Message of solidarity from UNISON Southampton University branch
This is just a quick e-mail to say that your colleagues at the University of Southampton, Unison Branch are sending you a message of support. In Solidarity!
Message of solidarity from UNISON Worcestershire Branch
Our Branch Executive met yesterday and unanimously voted in favour of sending this message of support and solidarity to your branch for your forthcoming strike action.
We sincerely hope that the action brings the university management to its senses and ensures that they get around the negotiating table ready to find a resolution. We wish you well tomorrow and hope that you achieve a good turnout and plenty of publicity. Our fingers are crossed that a speedy resolution is reached.
Together we are stronger!