Students Stand in Solidarity with No Vote

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This letter was written and circulated by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), a coalition of students and workers dedicated to fighting fees, cuts, and privatisation in education.

Dear UCU members,

We are students who over the past month have witnessed the most extraordinary strike action the Higher Education sector has seen in years. We have stood with you on the picket lines because we understand that an attack on our staff is an attack on us: we see the struggle for fair pensions as part of the struggle against the marketisation of our universities, which is increasingly driving universities to behave like corporations, rather than the centres of knowledge and learning that they should be.

From the beginning of this dispute you consistently argued that ‘this is about more than pensions’; if this strike is won, students and staff will be in a much better position to roll back the marketisation of education, from an end to tuition fees, casualisation, the gender pay gap, and outsourcing, to the democratisation of our institutions. Together we have shown that #WeAreTheUniversity, that together workers and students run the show, and together if necessary we can shut it down: we have shaken higher education to the bone.

The recent four weeks of strike action have demonstrated the strength of student-staff solidarity, and the power of industrial action. Thousands have joined picket lines and demonstrations, many have organised teach-outs putting up talks and events challenging the boundaries of our current curriculums, and we have witnessed the biggest wave of student occupations (with a total of 24 across the country) since the 2010 student movement. On the 13th of March, the rank and file stood up to the UCU leadership and declared “#NoCapitulation” when UUK attempted to end the strike through a compromising, bogus proposal which simply pledged to delay the removal of defined benefits.

Today, you have received a ballot to vote on UUK’s most recent proposal. As it stands, this proposal is vague, offering few concrete guarantees. The USS pension scheme is in surplus, the deficit is fabricated, but this proposal could see UUK continuing to use the November valuation. We are disappointed that despite the majority of branches voting #ReviseAndResubmit, UCU leadership balloted this proposal. As #NoCapitulation demonstrated, a union is its grassroots members. While the proposal is a significant step forward from January, it is not the outcome you spent morning after morning shivering in the snow for.

We understand you have already lost 14 days of pay due to strike action, and we thank you for your sacrifice. Nevertheless we want to let you know that we continue to stand in full solidarity with you, and will continue lending our support if you reject this deal and go back to the picket lines after the holidays. We recognise that striking close to the exam period will put you under additional pressure, but students are conscious that UUK and university management is to blame for disruption. This strike action has already made significant gains, and we fear accepting UUK’s proposal would undermine the reason why the strikes started in the first place.

It’s not just students on your side. Your strength has given inspiration to the entire labour movement. You were the first to defeat the Tories’ ballot threshold with resounding, national action. Together you have clocked almost half a million total strike days, more than the rest of the UK combined over the last two years. You’ve received international solidarity from West Virginia, Germany, Delhi, and beyond. Furthermore, sister unions UNISON and EIS have announced a national ballot on the USS issue, while at the University of London, the IWGB is coordinating the biggest ever strike of outsourced workers in UK higher education history to coincide with USS strikes.

With the momentum growing and growing, now is not the time to accept an ambiguous proposal. This strike has changed everything. A different university is within our reach.  Now is the time to stretch our collective raised fist further and demand more. We express our full solidarity with the rank-and-file agitating for a ‘No’ vote and pledge to stand firmly beside you should industrial action continue.

Helena Navarrete Plana, Warwick For Free Education

Arthur Taylor, King’s College London

Ava Matheis, SOAS

Ky Andrea, Warwick For Free Education/ University of Warwick

Monty Shield, Alliance for Workers’ Liberty

Charlea Murphy, The University of Sheffield

Stan Laight, Sheffield Marxist Society

Jake Roberts, University of Surrey

Elliott O’Rourke, University of Sheffield

Jacob D Allen, University of Surrey

Alison Worden, Surrey University

Chris Townsend, The Free University of Sheffield

Jack Kershaw, UCL

Dominique Hua, UCL

Josh Chown, University of Surrey/Surrey Labour Students

Malcolm Lowe, University of Warwick

Dora Dimitrova, UCL Marxist Society

Alicia Shearsby, The University of Warwick/Warwick for Free Education

Stuart McMillan, Sheffield SU Education Officer, NCAFC NC

Rowan Davis, Oxford

Charlie Porter, Free University of Sheffield

Richard Somervail, UCL

Anika Heckwolf, University of Warwick

Thalia Cox, Warwick For Free Education

Malgosia Haman, The Free University of Sheffield

Jerome Cox-Strong, University of Reading

Ceri Bailey, Cardiff University

Cate Schofield, Cardiff University

Tassaneeya Robinson, Cardiff University

Siobhan Owen, University of Exeter

Alexander Lloyd, University of Sheffield

Felicity Adams, Keele University

Amin Lmoh, University of Warwick student staff solidarity

Hemal Gangani, University of Bath

Ana Oppenheim, NUS NEC

Patricia McManus, University of Brighton

Sam Burgum, University of Sheffield

David B, Warwick

Lauren Kennedy, De Montfort University

Andrea Aakre, #OccupyTheOctagon (QMUL)

Lughaidh Scully, Aberdeen Students Support the Strike / Aberdeen Student Left

Martin Leonard, University of York

Edward Williamson, Free University of Sheffield

Julie Saumagne, University of Warwick

Vijay Jackson, USS Occupation Edinburgh

Harry Vinall-Smeeth, Oxford

Aristidis Shukuroglou, University of Reading Marxist Society

George Briley, University of London, Goldsmiths

Emil-Dorian McHale, University of Reading Marxist Society

Jacob Elliman, University of Reading Marxist Society

Catherine Joanne McClane, University of Reading Marxist Society

Matthew Lee, UCL / UCL Cut The Rent / UCL Fund Our Mental Health Services / UoL Justice for Workers / UCL Free Education

Georgina Ryan, The Free University of Sheffield

Nick McAlpin, Exeter Students 4 UCU Strikes

Tyrone Falls, University of Bristol

Cam Galloway, The Free University of Sheffield

Hanin Abou Salem, Cardiff University

Mohammed Bux, University of Sheffield

Samar, Bristol University

Sam Walker, Manchester Plan C

Richard Somervail, UCL

Alice Wright, KCL

Dina Rider, Queen Mary University of London

Martin Young, QMUL

Robin Boardman, University of Bristol

Nathan Wiliams, University of Manchester/Save our Staff Manchester campaign

Ramona Kuh, Queen Mary University

Jasmin Bath, QMUL

Laura Barroso, SOAS

Prarthana Krishnan, Bristol Student-Staff Solidarity Group

Lily Baker, Queen Mary University London

Clementine, Bath Uni / Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts

Anna Klieber, University of Bristol/ Bristol Student Staff Solidarity Group

Marlowe MacDonald, University of Sheffield

Abby King, Royal Holloway

Luke Tyers, University of Bristol/Bristol Student-Staff Solidarity Group

Kerry Lambeth, QMUL

Filippo Iorillo, Queen Mary University of London

Molly Wilson, University of Warwick

Conor Shail, University of Bristol

Jack Shaw, Warwick Marxists

Lewis Williams, QMUL/Occupy the Octagon

Diego Millán Berdasco, Queen Mary University of London

Ursula Shaw, Cambridge

Pascal Salzbrenner, Marxist Society, King’s College London

Ian Cameron, The Open University

Alexander Simpson, Occupy Surrey 2018

Alexander Wilkinson, QMUL

Kendra Howard, Queen Mary University of London

Lois Davies, Bristol University/ BSSSG

Aiysha N Soddie, Queen Mary, University of London

Juvan Gowreeswaran, Marxist Student Federation (Warwick branch)

Paulina, Cardiff University

James Roberts, Free University of Sheffield

Tom Keene, Goldsmiths University of London

Ted Lavis Coward, Durham University

David Bullock, Durham University/NCAFC

Ellen Adamson, Queen Mary University of London

Eva Marcela Ponce de León Marquina, Institute of Education (UCL)

Josh Berlyne, Free University of Sheffield

Jessica, Bath students Against Fees and Cuts

Archie Mellor, BSAFC

Bonnie Carter, Bristol university

Piers Eaton, Durham Student-Staff Solidarity

Ada Wordsworth, UCL

Bradley Allsop, University of Lincoln student/UCU member

Jazmine Bourke, Durham University

Jonathan Murden, Durham University/Durham Left Activists

Zeid Truscott, Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts

Beth Douglas, NUS LGBT+

Lewis Jarrad, UCL

Rafaelle Benichou, Warwick University

Lewis Macleod, Aberdeen Students Support the Strike / Aberdeen SA

Aysha Khatun, University of Warwick

Chris Knutsen, Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts

Beckie Rutherford, University of Warwick

Jemima Hindmarch, QMUL

Kierin Offlands, Lewisham Young Labour

Niamh Ashton, University of Leicester

Rebecca Harrington, Oxford Brookes Student Union

Hansika Jethnani, Arts SU

Del Pickup, University of Sheffield

Nadia Sayed, Queen Mary Student + QM Socialist Worker Student Society

Mie Astrup Jensen, Aberdeen Students Support the Strike

Dan Davison, University of Cambridge

XingJian Li, SOAS

Ash Edwards, Queen Mary University of London

Siôn Davies, QMUL / #OccupyTheOctagon

Lisa Taylor, King’s College London

Simona Alexandra, King’s College London

Cecy Marden, University of Sheffield

Mark Crawford, Students’ Union UCL

Rebecca Larney, KCL

Harper Stephens, The Free University of Sheffield

Nicolás Navarro Padrón, SOAS // SOAS Marxist Society

Thomas Evans, King’s College London

Konstantina Melina Lourou Terzaki, King’s College London

Savannah Whaley, KCL

Sam Walton, University of Reading

Joe Attard, King’s College London

Sainab Nuh, King’s College London

Harvi Chera, University College London

Yasmin Huleileh, Warwick University

Ramona Sharples, King’s College London Occupation

Jacob Shackleton, Warwick University

Thushan Rajendram, King’s College London

Adam S. Jarvis, Warwick University

Tom Bolitho, King’s College London

Sean Benstead, Leeds Independent Socialists

Amy Norris, King’s College London

Megan Beech, University of Cambridge

George Craddock, Queen Mary Labour Society

Declan Burns, University of Nottingham

Nick Oung, UCL/Socialist Appeal

Sarah Combes, King’s College London

Khaled Eissa, Kings College

Jennifer Jackson, King’s College London

Elizabeth Collins, University of Southampton

Aaron Kwadwo Kyereh-Mireku, University of Warwick/Warwick Marxists

Polly Creed, University College London/ Power Play Activists

Mike Shaw, Edinburgh

Sofia Doyle, Bristol Staff Student Solidarity

Eve Bent, Salford University

Thea Smith, University of Bath

Eleanor Webb, University of Warwick

Harriet Carroll, University of Bath

Jordan Smith, QM Young Greens

Sam Bough, University of Kent – Canterbury

Thahmina Begum, Queen Mary University

Chelsea Thompson, University of Aberdeen

Jill L Crawford, UEA

Kelli Conley, University of Edinburgh

Ellinore Folkesson, Glasgow University Student Solidarity

Matthias Bryson, University of Edinburgh

Joanna Smith, University of Edinburgh

Grace, University of Edinburgh

Katherine Butterfield, Queen Mary university

Lorenzo Feltrin, University of Warwick

Amethyst Di Tieri, University of Edinburgh

Viktor Kardell, Glasgow University

Savannah Wood, University of Edinburgh

Alice Galatola, Newcastle University

Rory Kent, Cambridge Defend Education

Sean Currie, University of Strathclyde

Carlus Hudson, University of Portsmouth

Euan Ferguson, University of Edinburgh

Emily Donnelly, University of Edinburgh

Molly, University of Keele

Oresta Muckute, University of Reading

Matthew Gibson, Durham University

Neve Ovenden, Durham Student-Staff Solidarity

Elaena Elizabeth Shipp, Bangor University and Gwyrddion Ifanc Bangor Young Greens

James Crosse, Queen Mary University of London

Bohdan Starosta, Strathclyde Students Support the Strike

Chelsea Lowdon, Durham University/ Durham Student-Staff Solidarity

Carolin Zieringer, Goldsmiths

Artur Wilk, Leicester Student Action

Perry MEsney, Cardiff University

Anne Løddesøl, University of Edinburgh

Jamie, Newcastle Student-Staff Solidarity

Dylan Woodward, Bristol Uni

Niamh Sherlock, Leicester Student Action

Jess Taylor Weisser, Newcastle University

Ben Margolis, Cambridge/CDE

José Figueira, Newcastle University

Kayleigh Colbourn, Royal Holloway University of London

Anthony Sanderson, UEA

Matthew Sears, Durham University

Alexander Pool, Durham

Gwilym Evans, University of Sheffield

Eleanor Cawte, Cambridge University

Eleri Fowler, University of Edinburgh

Jennie Layden, Newcastle University

Holly Carter-Rich, University of Manchester

Isabel del Pilar Arce Zelada, Students Support the Strike Aberdeen

Emily Moore, University of Sussex

Doha Abdelgawad, Department of Political Science and International Relations.

Jack Mansell, Sydney University Education Action Group

Rory McKinley, Durham University

Amelia Talbot, Uni of Leicester

Abi Cooper, Durham University

Annie Jones, University of Manchester/UCU/PhD Student

Woody Phillips-Smith, University of Warwick

Howard Chae, University of Cambridge

Niamh MacPhail, University of Glasgow

William Campbell, University of aberdeen

Joseph Jorgensen, University of Manchester

Talia Reed, Bangor University

Pablo Charro de la Fuente, Business School

Herbie Hyndley, University of Birmingham

Mark Lawrence, Durham

Nomar Syking, Falmouth University

Tihana Vlaisavljevic, Queens University Belfast

Matthew Vaughan, University of Liverpool

Declan McLean, University of Strathclyde/Strathclyde University Labour Club

Lucy, University of Hull

Sara Pernille Jensen, University of Bristol

Scott Seton, University of Essex

Alex Kumar, Oxford SU

Scott lumsden, University of Glasgow

Conor Muller, University of York / University of York Labour

Aleph Ross, University of Cambridge

Ayse, Cardiff University

Declan Downey, The Free University of Sheffield

Nickolas Tang, King’s College London

Finn Weldin, University of Kent

Joseph Evans, University of Cambridge

Sophie Neibig, SOS Manchester / Uni of Manchester

Priyanka Moorjani, KCL

Warren Gratton, University of Surrey

Alexandra Briggs, University of Edinburgh

Rachel, Save Our Staff MCR

Eleonora Colli, King’s College London

Adam Jones, UCL

Heather McKnight, University of Sussex

Guy Forsyth, Durham Student-Staff Solidarity Group

Mr J H Lees, Leicester university

Amelia, Newcastle

Susie Gray, Cardiff University

Yvonni Gkergkes, University of Edinburgh

Kathryn Blagg, University of Sheffield

Charmaine Mandivenga, Queen Mary

Danielle Wright, University of Sheffield

Zack Murrell-Dowson, Bristol University/ Bristol Student Staff Solidarity Group

Max Riley, University of Reading Students Union

George Bunn, University of Sheffield

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