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December 4th, 2013:

Strike action feedback

Dear members,

Yesterday’s strike action was a rousing success!  We had great support on the picket lines, covering all the most important and visible locations both at Highfield and Avenue Campuses, and our colleagues at UNISON and Unite greatly increased our visibility and impact.

At Highfield, the campus was extremely quiet, with very few students or staff coming in; notably, the car parks had many empty spaces and the bus interchange was largely empty.  At Avenue, the entire campus was largely vacant, and all entrances were covered by pickets.  At both campuses we distributed leaflets about the pay campaign and issues affecting members of staff across the whole University community, and we also distributed our own take on Vice-Chancellor Nutbeam’s Personal Performance and Development Review.  We had supportive responses from many passers-by, both students and staff, and many signatures were added to our petition for fair pay in higher education.

Following the pickets in the morning, we held a rally outside the Piazza, where we estimate more than 200 people turned up to hear our speakers.  We started off with our own UCU choir leading the crowd in our Fair Pay in HE remix of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  For those of who you missed out, we’ve posted the lyrics on our blog here: http://southampton.web.ucu.org.uk/2013/12/04/a-little-something-to-boost-your-christmas-spirit/

Barry Lovejoy, Head of Regional Organisations and Nations for UCU, came to speak to attendees about the pay issue, along with regional officials from UNISON and Unite, and colleagues from both Southampton Solent and Winchester University.  We also had significant press interest, with three separate camera crews filming the rally, and interviewers from various local and national press outlets circulating throughout the day.

All in all we were very pleased with the level of support and activity on the day.  To all of you who supported our action, THANK YOU!  

To keep the pressure on our employers, UCU is gathering information nationwide about activities which were canceled due to the strike action.  With that in mind, please let us know how YOU supported the action – cancelling lectures or seminars, avoiding meetings or other commitments on the day, joining the picket lines, etc.  We will take this information and send it to the national campaigns team to help counter the claims from UCEA that this day of action was not well-supported!

Also, please remember that we are still working to contract in support of the pay campaign.  Please take a look at the very detailed guidance on the main UCU website here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/workingtocontract

We will keep in touch with you about future developments on the fair pay campaign, including updates on related issues both local and national.

In solidarity,

Eric Silverman

Southampton UCU President

A little something to boost your Christmas spirit

During the strike action yesterday some of our members put together a rousing remix of The Twelve Days of Christmas which brings out some of the issues that concern us here in Southampton.  The lyrics are below, so next time you need a bit of extra Christmas spirit, do gather some voices together and give it a try!

Christmas Strike Song

 On the first day of Christmas my VC gave to me, a one per-cent pa–ay rise

On the 2nd day of Christmas my VC gave to me, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 3rd day of Christmas my VC gave to me, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 4th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 5th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, fiiiivvvve years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 6th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 7th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 8th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 9th day of Christmas my VC gave to me,  Starbucks’ in the staff club, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 10th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, a two tier pension, Starbucks’ in the staff club, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 11th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, rising cost of living, two tier pension, Starbucks’ in the staff club, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 12th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, lots more students,  rising cost of living, two tier pension, Starbucks’ in the staff club, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise!