While it is disappointing for the local branch officers and almost 500 branch members who voted for strike action that we were not able to join the strike we stand in full solidarity with striking UCU members at universities across the country.
We are supporting the strike in every possible way, including social media presence and financial contributions to the UCU fighting fund that supports those on strike and which has already received more than £85K. We are amazed by the enormous solidarity and support shown by students all over the country which shows that staff and students are a unity and form the core of Universities. 17 Vice Chancellors, the media, and politicians, including Jeremy Corbyn, have taken the side of UCU and called for further negotiations.
The group of stubborn hawkish VCs who have taken control of some Universities and UUK are becoming more and more isolated. They have now agreed to further talks. But the question is why now and why not earlier? Why did they wait for a nation-wide escalation until they admitted that their USS figures and data analysis were wrong? This strike is not just about pensions; it shows that the time of autocratic VCs, like our own who is the Chair of USS, and anti-democratic governing bodies which cannot be trusted, including UUK, is over.
Dr Roland Brandstaetter
University of Birmingham branch of UCU