Building for the higher education pay strike

Stewards and activists in higher education will be looking to encourage all members to make a stand on 31 October, as they join with colleagues in UCU and Unite in industrial action.

A well-supported strike is vital in making the employers see the strength of support for better pay.

UNISON members across the UK have put together a short film highlighting why they will be taking strike action this Thursday.

View the film on YouTube

Higher education branches preparing for the dispute should use the branch checklists in the branch industrial action handbook.

Branch Industrial Action Handbook

Higher education branches should also consider the following when planning their strike:

Take the opportunity to recruit new members;

Picket lines offer a great opportunity to increase UNISON’s visibility, so make sure that you have campaign materials to hand out.

Materials can be ordered via the UNISON website or by emailing by 10am on Tuesday 29 October 2013. Branches can order rain ponchos, baseball hats, UNISON golf umbrellas – any orders received by communications by 10am 29 October 2013 will be despatched to be received no later than noon Wednesday.

You can also use the campaign leaflets to explain to students why we are taking strike action. Orders can still be placed, but they can also be downloaded as PDFs for printing.

Downloadable higher education pay dispute leaflet [PDF]

Branches that are organising strike action should consider organising breakfasts/lunches/hot refreshments for members standing on the picket lines.

Some workers in higher education are not eligible to take part in industrial action – for instance, outsourced workers. Those who aren’t part of the dispute can show their support by taking time to meet with members on the picket lines in lunch and tea breaks, and sign petitions of support.

And whether you work in higher education or not, supporters of the dispute can sign a national petition supported by UNISON, UCU and Unite.

National petition

Hold drop-ins around the campus to encourage people to take strike action.

Send a letter or email to your vice chancellor asking them to explain their position and whether they support an improved offer that you can share with members.

Discuss any other local issues that members and staff have on the picket line.

Check if any high-profile visitors are attending the campus and use this in publicity.

If you have a hardship fund, ask staff and students crossing the picket line to contribute, to compensate those members taking action for the future benefit of all the staff.

If you have any queries, contact