Strike Resources

1 FAQ Info for students on mandate for action

Info for students on mandate for action | Brunel UCU

2 UCU HQ Out of Office (Strike and Action Short of Strike)

UCU – Out of office messages

3 BUCU Branch Out of Office (Strike)

I am not able to check email today as members of Brunel UCU are taking industrial action, along with members at 150 other universities, due to the urgent need to press for fair pay, manageable workloads, secure contracts and equality at work. The real-terms pay of HE staff has fallen by an estimated 25% since 2009. Members of Brunel UCU will be on strike on the following days – please do not email on these days as I will not be able to respond to emails sent to me on strike days on my return.

If you would like more information about the dispute, please go to UCU – FAQs. If you are a student, please visit our Info for students on mandate for action | Brunel UCU and contact to find out what steps the University is taking to avoid a dispute, we are urgently looking for meaningful negotiations so that we can all return to work. You can also contact the Students’ Union for independent advice and support: Home (

4 BUCU Branch PPT slide for talking through the action with students 


5 UCU HQ Strike FAQs

6 BUCU Strike Calendar

Monday 25th September 2023

Tuesday 26th September 2023

Wednesday 27th September 2023

Thursday 28th September 2023

Friday 29th September 2023

7 Physical Pickets

27th Wednesday Physical Picket Location: 1.00pm-3.00pm, EGW Entrance.

8 Virtual Pickets

Link in member inboxes:

Monday 25th September 2023 09:00-10:00

Tuesday 26th September 2023 09:00-10:00

Thursday 28th September 2023 09:00-10:00

Friday 29th September 2023 09:00-10:00

9 Teach Outs

Tuesday 25 September, 10am to 12pm online

Register to participate here:  

Title: Organising the Sep 2023 Four Fights Strikes through the lens of an Occupational Therapy Model: a Facilitated Discussion

Facilitator Profile: Jou Yin Teoh is a Senior Lecturer and Department UCU Representative for Health Sciences. She is also Chair of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Learning and Development Board and a 2022-23 Council of Deans of Health Fellow.

Wednesday 26 September, 1pm ESWG Picket Line

Title: Striking and Collective Organising as Transformative Occupations

Speaker Profile: Mike Griffin is a highly specialist occupational therapist in palliative care. He is also a shop steward and member of the national British Association of Occupational Therapists (Royal College of Occupational Therapists) / UNISON Panel.

Thursday 27 September, 3pm to 5pm online

Register to participate here:  

Title: Challenging Coloniality in Occupational Therapy Theory and Practice

Speaker Profile: Michael Iwama is a Professor at Duke University, USA and was formerly Dean of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at MGH Institute of Health Professions. He has held academic appointments in seven (7) universities in four (4) countries and is internationally renowned for his work developing the Kawa Model.

10 Emails and Outlook forwarding

Please set up auto forwarding during the strike days if your usual mode of communication for Brunel UCU is your work email. This means you will receive any updates from us without having to access your work email account.

11 Informing the University about your strike action

Members are under no obligation to inform HR, or indeed any other member of staff, about their intentions to undertake strike action if you are going to be on strike. If a manager asks, you can politely decline to answer that question in advance of taking part in any forthcoming action.

Members also do not need to notify the Director of HR, or anyone else, immediately after every day of strike action if strike days are consecutive. Our first day of strike action is on Monday 25th September. After that period of strike action, if full time, your next day of work would be Monday 2nd October. That’s the day to confirm that you have taken part in action, once you have been asked to notify. If you work part-time, then you would notify, if asked, the next day that you are scheduled to work after this period of strike action.

See the relevant UCU Strike FAQ here:

12 UCU Picketing guidance

What is the law on picketing?


Help us Get The Vote Out! #UCURising

We are getting ballot ready!

You will be aware that, following recent Congress and HEC decisions, UCU will be balloting its members on the UCU Rising campaign in the autumn.  This campaign was launched to members last Wednesday 10 August – if you missed the launch, you can find the recording here. 

This is a call for volunteers to help us with our local Get The Vote Out plans (GTVO).

If you have some time to spare to remind colleagues to vote, please get in touch, especially if your department does not currently have a UCU rep: Committee | Brunel UCU. Even if you only have a few hours over the Autumn, it would be much appreciated:

If you are new to GTVO, there are lots of resources and help on hand.

It is important to note that this time round the ballots will be aggregated, which means in order for all HE branches to be able to take action we need to exceed the 50% threshold nationally.  We are hopeful that with some early planning and actions from us all, we can beat the 50% barrier this time round.

Please see here for updated FAQ on the disputes: UCU – FAQs

We look forward to hearing from you!


220601 Twinning Motion: USS and 4Fights. Motion Passed

This Branch

  1. Notes:
  1. The current industrial disputes on USS Pensions and Four Fights,
  2. That some branches have called a marking and assessment boycott as part of the dispute,
  3. That this branch is not participating in the boycott, and
  4. The need for nationwide solidarity across all branches.
  1. Believes that:
  1. To sustain the current action, branches that are not participating in the boycott must support those branches that are.
  1. Resolves to twin with Heriot-Watt UCU and support them in this boycott by:
  1. Donating £500 to the branch’s local hardship fund directly from branch funds
  2. and raise awareness amongst this branch’s members about donating to the boycotting branch’s hardship fund directly as individuals, i.e. this branch will campaign actively to encourage members donating a day’s pay directly to the boycotting branch’s hardship fund
  3. Support the branch’s campaign on social media and other communications, and
  4. Work towards mutual support and mobilisation during future ballots and campaigns.

220330 Brunel UCU Ukraine Solidarity Resolution

Brunel UCU condemns the appalling Russian military invasion of Ukraine that is causing death and destruction to the people of Ukraine. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, who are fighting for survival and the right to live in peace and decide their own futures. We express our solidarity with all those affected by the conflict, and everyone raising their voices against imperialist war.

The branch notes:

This war does not happen in a vacuum. On the one hand, ‘Western’ governments, through NATO, have for years expanded their position in Central and Eastern Europe. On the other hand, Russia has sought to pursue its economic and military domination in the post-Soviet space, by eg. the annexation of Crimea, its role in suppressing the Kazakhstan protests in January this year, and the recognition of the independence of the so-called “People’s Republics” in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Irrespective of the pretexts used by Russia and the “West”, the military conflict in Ukraine is the result of the sharpening of competition, primarily focused on spheres of influence, market shares, raw materials, energy plans and transport routes. The war in Ukraine risks a dangerous broader escalation in Europe and Central Asia.

The consequences of this competition are felt far and wide through the sharp increases of the cost of energy and resulting cost of living we all experience. The high prices for fuel and the cost of living that we experience here in the UK is not only a consequence of the war in Ukraine, as the government wants us to believe. War and conflict are historically proceeded by economic recession and crises. The everyday people everywhere are the ones that not only bear the worst of the imperialist war, but also foot the bill during times of peace.

The branch believes:

As a trade union and as working people, we unequivocally side with the Ukrainian people. At the same time we cannot afford to side with any of the imperialist powers that are behind and who profit from this war. We know well enough what the cost of ‘democracy promotion’ is, what NATO and the ‘West’ leave behind in their invasions from the Balkans to Iraq and Afghanistan. Similarly, we note the war and devastation that the Russian invasion and ‘interventions’ bring, from Syria to Kazakhstan and now in Ukraine. We:

  1. Condemn in strongest terms possible the Russian invasion.
  2. Oppose the British government’s restrictions on the right to safety by refugees from Ukraine, as from anywhere else. The British government must show its solidarity in practice to the Ukrainian people and lift all restrictions.
  3. Stand up against war, militarism, and imperialism in all its expressions, whether NATO or CSTO.
  4. Call upon our own government to stop feeding the conflict and instead promote a diplomatic and peaceful solution.
  5. Unite our voices with Ukrainians and Russians who are suffering as a result of this war. Workers in Ukraine and Russia have nothing to gain from this war.

In addition to the actions that have already been taken by national UCU, the Brunel UCU resolves to:

  1. Publicise this statement of support and try to gather more branches, Unions at our university, and student groups to support it. Send it for publication to Brunel-run newspaper, the Hillington Herald. Send this statement to UCU London Region for adoption/support and to the annual UCU congress. The proposed actions will be undertaken by the Brunel UCU Action Committee. Membership of the AC will be open to all UCU members, from whom we’ll ask for volunteers during the EGM. The action committee will report the results of their actions in the next UCU branch meeting.
  2. Participate in protests and actions of solidarity organised with a similar framework, e.g. by the Stop The War coalition.
  3. Encourage members to contribute to Scholars At Risk fund, The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, and to other humanitarian organisations that are accepting donations:


220323 Solidarity motion with Queen Mary UCU

 This branch notes:

  • That Queen Mary management intends to implement punitive deductions of 100% pay for each day staff refuse to reschedule classes cancelled due to strike action.
  • The UK-wide trend of HE employers threatening punitive deductions, albeit not often as aggressively as Queen Mary.
  • Previous retreats from such threats by HE employers in the face of public and industrial pressure.

This branch believes:

  • That these employer tactics are disproportionate and dangerous, and risk escalating the disputes and further disrupting students’ education.
  • That the threat of punitive deductions of 100% pay for ASOS at one institution threatens the right to strike at all institutions and therefore requires a collective and nationally coordinated response
  • That members at Queen Mary are facing an increased financial burden for participating in industrial action.

This branch resolves:

  • To call on all members at this branch to resign their positions as external examiners at Queen Mary with immediate effect.
  • To send a message of solidarity to members at Queen Mary UCU.
  • To send a solidarity donation of £300 to Queen Mary UCU’s strike/hardship fund.

220324 Brunel UCU Chair Open Letter re EIA-USS

24th March 2022
Dear Vice-Chancellor,

On behalf of the Brunel UCU Branch, I wish to request a copy of the University’s Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) of the UUK proposal that was passed recently via the Joint Negotiation Committee.

The massive (averaged) 35% cut in the USS pension that will be imposed from 1 April 2022 is going to have a significant, adverse impact upon members of our Branch. I am deeply concerned that this cut may result in indirect discrimination on the basis of age. The key issue is the potential discrimination against one group of scheme members (i.e., younger, active members) to pay for deficit recovery contributions for another set of members (i.e., older, retired members). In addition, given that women and Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) members tend to be younger than men and White members within the USS pension plan, the prospects for indirect discrimination on the basis of gender and race exist as well.

The Brunel UCU Branch would like to understand how the EIA was considered by the University in its decision making process when it decided to support the detrimental UUK proposal. Alternatively, if an EIA was not conducted, then we would like to know on what basis was the decision made to forgo such an assessment, given the potential discriminatory impacts that I have outlined above. In any case, the Brunel UCU Branch would like to know whether the University sought actuarial or legal advice before making the decision to support the UUK proposal – and if not, then why not?

My understanding is that the USS trustee has refused to do an EIA. Amazingly, USS insist that they have no duty to conduct an equality impact assessment. I believe that USS has issued a statement regarding the impact on different groups of members. Nevertheless, I am sure that you can appreciate the difference between an informal statement and a formal equality impact assessment. Furthermore, my understanding is that UUK have not conducted their own Equality Impact Assessment regarding their own proposal. Apparently, UUK have advised employers regarding the need to conduct an EIA but do not know (or have refused to let national UCU know) whether the
employers have carried out EIAs. Rather, UUK simply have taken the position that employers may make their own decisions concerning EIAs, based on local considerations. In other words, even as they issue a misleading commentary regarding their consultation on reasons why the employers should not support the UCU proposal, UUK have conveniently left the EIA for individual institutions to conduct. Appallingly, as far as I know, none of the employers (including Brunel), who responded in support of UUK cuts to staff pensions, even bothered to ask UUK whether had conducted an equality impact assessment.

According to Brunel University London’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2021-24, “This strategy… aims to adopt a whole university approach to making Brunel a fairer and more inclusive University, with social justice at its heart. We are proud of our diversity – on campus, online and as part of our global reach and influence. We are committed to providing an inclusive culture and to
removing any barriers or institutional or structural social inequalities to success. We want this strategy to be bold, innovative and agile and aim to embed it into all aspects of the university’s operations, and into the daily life and experiences of the University community. We are determined to exceed our legal duty to eliminate discrimination however it occurs and to advance equality of opportunity and outcomes for all. . . .” (p. 2) Given the hugely detrimental decision for staff by Brunel University London, to support the UUK proposal, which potentially and unfairly discriminates against one or more groups of members or former members with protected characteristics when
compared with other groups, the Brunel UCU Branch look forward to your response to this urgent matter, at your earliest convenience

Brunel UCU Open Letter re USS

15th February 2022

Dear Vice-Chancellor,

You would have seen that the University and College Union (UCU) issued a set of new proposals for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) on 26 January 2022: ]

These new proposals would see retirement benefits protected in return for a small increase in contributions for both members and employers ahead of a new evidence-based valuation of the scheme. A USS consultation of scheme members concluded on 17 January 2022, and UCU understands that a significant majority preferred increasing contributions of members and employers in order to protect benefits over the alternatives, including benefit cuts. Moreover, USS confirmed on Thursday 20 January that its assets have jumped to over £92bn, more than £25bn higher than the previous valuation.

Last year UCU tabled proposals that would have protected benefits, but Universities UK (UUK) refused to provide the same level of covenant support to underwrite UCU’s proposals as they provided for their own.
UCU’s proposals are as follows:

-that UUK call on USS to issue a moderately prudent, evidence-based valuation of the
financial health of the scheme as at 31 March 2022, to be issued for consultation in June (at the latest)
-that employers agree to provide the same level of covenant support as for their own
proposals to facilitate a cost-sharing of current benefits throughout the 2022/23 scheme
year, starting 1 April 2022 at 11% member/23.7% employer until 1 October 2022, and
11.8%/25.2% thereafter
-that employers agree to pay a maximum of 25.2% and members a maximum of 9.8% from 1 April 2023 so as to secure current benefits or, if not possible, the best achievable as a result of the call on USS to issue a moderately prudent, evidence-based valuation.

On the 10th February, the USS trustee confirmed that UCU proposals can be implemented:

However, there has been subsequent concern that UUK have misrepresented the UCU proposals to Vice Chancellors:
UUK’s serious misrepresentations of UCU’s proposals (Pt I) | by Michael Otsuka | Feb, 2022 | Medium

UUK’s escalating misrepresentation of UCU’s proposals (Pt II) | by Michael Otsuka | Feb, 2022 | Medium

We are writing to ask whether you would support UCU’s proposals instead of UUK’s plan. Under UUK’s plan university staff would see an approximate 35% cut to their guaranteed retirement income based on a flawed USS valuation conducted in March 2020.

Yours sincerely

Brunel UCU branch committe


In March 2020, five trade unions within the UK (UCU, UNISON, UNITE, GMB, and EIS) issued a Higher Education Joint Unions Pay Claim to the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).  This dispute, which national UCU have labelled as Four Fights (due to its consideration of pay, equality, workload and casualisation as interrelated issues), is ongoing.  Here is a key passage from the letter that the trade unions collectively have submitted:

The joint unions are seeking:

  • a national, time specific, agreement detailing how action will be achieved by each HEI working with their trade unions to close the gender, race and disability pay gap,
  • An implementation agreement agreed by HEI management and their trade unions which is then progressed and reported back to new JNCHES.
  • a commitment by all UCEA affiliates to encourage their staff to declare their protected characteristics with their employers to help address discrimination; then the completion of a full Equal Pay Audit covering all protected characteristics by a specific date, and all the data to be shared with the campus unions. UCEA to collate and share with the unions nationally copies of all the Gender Pay actions plans drawn up by UCEA affiliates. (p. 14)

As you may know, four of the five trade unions in question (UCU, UNISON, UNITE, and GMB) are recognised by Brunel University London.  I am pleased to report that the Brunel UCU Branch are leading the way concerning the pay dispute at the local level, currently pursuing a re-ballot on industrial action (and action short of strike, or ASOS).  Even though well over 70% of our members who voted in November did support industrial action and ASAS, current UK government restrictions place a unique burden upon trade unions:  Not only do most of the voters need to support industrial action and ASOS; but most of our membership need to cast a ballot in the first instance.  Thus, the Brunel UCU Branch Committee ask – once again – that you cast ballots in favour of industrial action and ASOS concerning the pay dispute with UCEA.

Of course, as you know, the separate dispute between UCU and Universities UK (UUK) over Universities Superannuated Scheme (USS) pensions is ongoing as well.  Unlike the pay dispute (which is a joint union dispute), the pensions dispute is limited to UCU (because our members will be disproportionately and adversely affected by proposed changes to the scheme).  In any event, please be sure to cast your separate ballots (i.e., pay and pensions) in favour of industrial action and ASOS.  Thanks so much, in advance, for your support!