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Here’s everything you need to know about next week’s Notts Uni strikes

Christmas already?

It has been confirmed that lecturers at the University of Nottingham will be taking part in the upcoming strike action orchestrated by the University & College Union (UCU).

This strike action comes as a result of a ballot taken in the autumn term by UCU nationwide, with 79% of voting members backing industrial action over changes to pensions, and 74% of voting members backing industrial action over pay, conditions, and casualisation of work.

The strike will commence on Monday 25 November and is scheduled to end on Wednesday 4th December 2019.

Why are they striking?

The first dispute concerns changes to pension schemes. A staff member standing to strike revealed to the Tab that, “Since 2011, changes to our pension have meant that the average staff member stands to lose around £240,000 over their lifetime”.

Last year’s strike action stopped plans to scrap defined benefit pensions, but members now face steep rises in their pension contributions- from 8% last year to 9.6% with further increased planned in 2021.

The second dispute concerns falling pay, the gender and ethnic pay gap, precarious employment practices, and unreasonable workloads.

The staff member expanded, “For example, one third of academic staff are on fixed term contracts, women in academia are still paid 15% less than men on average, and black, Asian and minority ethnic staff are roughly 10% more like to be employed on insecure contracts.

“We feel that our employers at University of Nottingham have consistently failed to address these issues.

“Striking is our last resort: we would very much rather be teaching our students. But our current working conditions are harmful, unequal, and not sustainable and so we are going on strike to demand new negotiations with our employers.”

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When are the strikes?

The strike is eight days long. Industrial action is scheduled for the following dates:

• Monday 25 November

• Tuesday 26 November

• Wednesday 27 November

• Thursday 28 November

• Friday 29 November

• Monday 2 December

• Tuesday 3 December

• Wednesday 4 December

How will this effect classes and assessments?

The University released the statement:

“The University will remain open throughout the strike action and the majority of teaching and learning will proceed. Please assume that your lectures, seminars and classes will take place unless notified otherwise.”

So, if you have not heard directly from a staff member that they are striking, then classes and assessments are still on-going.

The University has also ensured that assessments and exams will only reflect the “learning that has taken place”.

What is the SU's position on the strikes?

The SU came out in support for the strikes in a blog post on Wednesday 20th. Their statement read that they "sympathise with the academics and their plight, yet we note the significant disruption this causes to students."

"We recognise that casualisation and pay inequality negatively impacts the quality of teaching for our student members. These issues also directly affect many of our postgraduate members who engage in teaching and research.

"We will continue to lobby the University on these issue, which are well within their control. We encourage UCU and UUK (Universities UK) to resolve the USS pension’s dispute through non-disruptive national negotiation. "

How can you show support?

Between the striking period of 25th November- 4th December, there will be picket lines at every entrance of the University; including campuses as University Park, Jubilee, King’s Meadow, and Sutton Bonington.

University of Nottingham students can show support by:

• Joining staff members on the picket lines (and by not crossing them).
• Students can also tweet support by using #UCUstrike @UoNUCU #UCUstrikesback.2