Campaigns and Issues

UCU at UAL participates in the national UCU campaigns and instigates local ones. Currently along with many universities across the country we are engaged in the long running Four Fights dispute. Scroll down this section of the website to learn more about this and our local (UAL level) campaigns.

We also support and often pay an active role in other campaigns, for example:

UAL: End Outsourcing – donate to the cleaner’s strike fund.

Precarious UAL, including UAL Short Courses tutors.

Defend Arts Education


Four Fights National Dispute (and local demands)

graphic 'we are at breaking point'
Along with many other universities across the country we are currently in dispute with the university employers association (UCEA). This dispute is called the Four Fights. The Four Fights are against pay devaluation, casualisation, workload, and gender and race pay inequalities. Find out more on the main UCU website and keeping an eye on your emails! This dispute has brought about ballot votes by UCU members at UAL for participation in national UCU strikes in February 2020, December 2021, February and March 2022. In the most recent national ballot for further industrial action, members of UCU-UAL voted in the majority for strike action and for Action Short of a Strike (ASOS), which includes a Marking Boycott.

LCC picket 2020
UCU-LCC Four Fights picket February 2020

The joint branches of UCU at UAL (UCU-UAL) also have a series of Local Demands which connect to the national Four Fights dispute. While sector wide issue are vital address collectively as UCU nationally (with the university employers associations UCEA and UUK), we also need to negotiate locally with UAL senior management. (This is always part of the ongoing behind the scenes work that your reps do). Our starting point demands are:

On Casualisation:
—Fulfil conditions of Security of Employment Agreement – and introduce fractionalisation in year 4
—Support professional development for Associate Lecturers (such as FHEA) 

On Race and Disability:
—Start by publishing pay gap figures in 2022

On Parenting policies and pay:
—Negotiate Maternity And Parental Leave Policies which are best not worst in sector.
(And which apply to all staff)

On Workload:
—Set up a Working Group to negotiate Academic Workload Planner which actually and accurately reflects admin and teaching load in a ‘hybrid’ age
(With clear terms of reference and powers to implement outcome)
—Adjust the ‘multiplier’ for prep, marking and admin from 2.25 to 3 (for ALs and salaried staff). This is explained in note below.
—Course Leader (CL) role review and Grade Review. CL is not Grade 6 role!
—Profs and Readers negotiate agreed Workload 

Note: Adjusting the multiplier. The 1hour = 2.25hours work is a pay calculation. The point is that not that we will be expected to do ‘more’ by changing the multiplier to 3, but to better recognise the time that is taken and as such the pay calculation (base rate x 3).

Support UAL Short Course Tutors in Legal Battle!

Short Course Tutors at University of the Arts London are fundraising for a legal case against the university in a fight against ‘Uber-style’ employment practices. Please contribute if you can — and read on to find out more. What’s happening at UAL is an insight into the bigger horrendous picture across the sector.

Continue reading

Stop the Attack on Modern Languages at UAL!

Modified graffiti image, 'we speak english' and several other languages
UAL Senior Management has decided to axe the university’s Modern Languages teaching. This proposal will result in 11 redundancies and deprive both staff and students of an essential resource. Furthermore the staff are one of the few ethnically diverse teaching departments at UAL. Selecting migrant and ‘BAME’ academics for redundancy in a sea of whiteness directly contradicts UAL’s much questioned racial justice and decolonising commitments. Many of those now threatened with redundancy discovered their fate by recorded announcement, and all were denied Trade Union representation in the early stages of the so called ‘consultation’. (A prime example of how HR at UAL ‘refresh’ policies to exclude trade unions, i.e. support for staff affected by those policies).

The reasons cited by senior management for the closure of Modern Languages are not cost— the department in fact generates a surplus— but that it is not ‘ scalable’. In other words it doesn’t and can’t make enough profit to be worthwhile. By some bizarre logic, senior management argue that their decision fits with the university ‘new’ social purpose strategy. We argue that multilingual education is fundamental to the struggle for equality: ignorance of and around language is used as a weapon for sowing division, from everyday racism to geopolitical conflict. Even the university’s own Internationalisation at Home working group were recently advised that UAL needed MORE Modern Languages provision not less.

Join us in calling on UAL’s Executive Board to reverse this act of social and cultural vandalism, here.

IWD 2022: UCU-UAL launch Maternity Leave and Pay Policy Open Letter! Sign here!

Poster credit: See Red Women’s Workshop

We are launching this Open Letter on International Women’s Day 2022, a day intended to celebrate women’s* achievements, and to coincide with the period of the UCU #FourFights strike action by 63 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) including University of the Arts London, UAL. However, we are using this occasion to highlight how women and pregnant people employed by one of the most prestigious arts universities in the world – UAL – are suffering from a Maternity Leave/Pay policy** which is objectively one of the worst in the Higher Education (HE) Sector.

UAL boasts that its gender pay gap is one of the lowest in the HE sector. According to 2020 figures, UAL’s median gender pay gap was 7.0% compared to the HE Sector’s median gender pay gap of 13.0%. UAL is proud to have a majority women workforce with 59.8% of UAL’s staff identifying as female. Yet despite these proud declarations, UAL’s parental leave & pay policies are significantly worse than many London and UK HEIs.

UAL UCU alongside sister unions GMB and Unison, have raised this issue many times with the university. A joint TU letter from March 2020 highlighted how drastically short UAL falls in comparison to other UK and London HEIs (see table below). Whilst comparable universities such as RCA (Royal College of Art) and London Met offer 26 weeks full pay, London Southbank University offers 20 weeks full pay, University of East London offers 18 weeks full pay – UAL offers only 4 weeks full-pay to its salaried staff as maternity pay, followed by 2 weeks at 90%, 12 weeks at half-pay. Where the same universities (apart from London Southbank University) offer either 4 or 2 weeks full pay as Paternity or Partner Leave, UAL offers just 1 week Paternity/Partner Leave. Despite this letter and many requests for the policy to be urgently reviewed since, UAL have refused to consider reviewing and improving its parental policies. With UAL achieving financial growth and stability despite the challenges of Covid-19 (income of £344.8 million, operating surplus of £10.5 million in 2021), this shocking provision compared to similar universities is confounding: it must change!

Furthermore, UAL UCU has become aware of further alarming details regarding the policy and practice of parental pay and leave for Hourly-Paid Lecturers. UAL relies heavily on hourly-paid lecturers, with over 3000 Associate Lecturers employed by the university according to the 2021 Annual Report. Casualisation is one of the #FourFights which UAL UCU members recently voted to a large majority to take strike action over. Part-time staff as well as fixed-term staff, often working under extremely precarious conditions for many years, unable to rely on job security from one year or term to the next, should be protected by law under the The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 & The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002. This means that part-time and/or fixed-term workers are protected in law from being treated less favourably than equivalent full-time and/or permanent workers. However, UAL UCU have uncovered that there are a number of discrepancies in the policies (a direct comparison between “Maternity Leave & Pay Policy – salaried staff” and “Maternity Leave Policy (Hourly-paid Academic Staff)”).

Read more and sign the letter here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/int-womens-day-2022-open-letter-to-ual-on-maternity-leavepay-policy/

UCU-UAL Strike & Pickets 21-22 Feb, 28 Feb-2nd March 2022: Info!

UCU-UAL will be joining 63 other universities in the next round of Four Fights national strike action starting on Monday 21 February 2022. Come and join your local college pickets! Make new friends, meet old ones! Bring banners, songs, yourselves. Dress warmly — and be Covid safe! If you are unable to attend the onsite pickets you can join the cross-branch digital picket running each day of the strike (Ask your branch reps for details).

UCU picket at London College of Communications, February 2020

BRANCH PICKET TIMES AND LOCATIONS ARE:
Monday 21 February
CSM: 9.30am-11.30am
Location: Central St Martins, Granary Square, N1C 4AA
CCW: 9.30am-11am
Location: Camberwell School of Art, 45-65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UF
LCC: 9.30am-11am
Location: London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SB
LCF: 9.00am-11.00am
Location: London College of Fashion, 20 John Prince’s St, London W1G 0BJ

Tuesday 22 February
After the pickets today we will be joining together in Tavistock Square for the London Region UCU Solidarity Rally and March
CSM: 9.30am-11.30am
Location: Central St Martins, Granary Square, N1C 4AA
CCW: 9.30am-11am
Location: Camberwell School of Art, 45-65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UF
LCC: 9.30am-11am
Location: London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SB
LCF: 9.00am-11.00am
Location: London College of Fashion, 272 High Holborn, WC1V 7EY

Monday 28 February
CSM: 9.30am-11.30am
Location: Central St Martins, Granary Square, N1C 4AA
CCW: 9.30am-11am
Location: Camberwell School of Art, 45-65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UF
LCC: 9.30am-11am
Location: London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SB
LCF: 9.00am-11.00am
Location: London College of Fashion, site tbc

Tuesday 1 March
CSM: 9.30am-11.30am
Location: Central St Martins, Granary Square, N1C 4AA
CCW: 9.30am-11am
Location: Camberwell School of Art, 45-65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UF
LCC: 9.30am-11am
Location: London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SB
LCF: 9.00am-11.00am
Location: London College of Fashion, 20 John Prince’s St, London W1G 0BJ

Wednesday 2 March
Today is the National Student Strike day, which we will be supporting.
CSM: 9.30am-11.30am
Location: Central St Martins, Granary Square, N1C 4AA
CCW: 9.30am-11am
Location: Camberwell School of Art, 45-65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UF
LCC: 9.30am-11am
Location: London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SB
LCF: 9.00am-11.00am
Location: London College of Fashion, site tbc

Strike funds

UCU Fighting Fund
If you participated in the Four Fights strike in December 2021 (or in the strikes Feb-March 2022) and can show you have had pay deducted you may be eligible to claim from the national UCU Fighting Fund for the second and third days of the strike. Detailed information can be found here.

Note that to put in your claim from the Fighting Fund, you will need to log in to myucu on the national UCU website and click on the Fighting Fund tab. You need your UCU membership number to log in to myucu.

You will need your payslip showing deductions and how many days are being taken. To see the days and rate you need to download your payslip pdf from ESS/iTrent. You will also need your bank details. 

The form itself is simple. There is section called Special Circumstances – this is where you can detail particular hardship. 


UCU-UAL Hardship Fund
We began to raise donations for this fund during the 2020 round of Four Fights industrial action and continue to do so. The purpose of the fund is to supplement what UAL members can claim from the UCU Fighting Fund in cases of particular hardship/impact from loss of earnings due to striking. It’s not an alternative to the UCU Fighting Fund and members are expected to show they have also applied to this. We require the same information as the UCU Fighting Fund for claims made (evidence of strike deductions on your payslip, bank details, ucu membership number etc).

To initiate a claim from this fund please email the UCU-UAL Coordinating Committee Treasurer, Jess Baines at ucubranchlcc@gmail.com

Donating to the UCU-UAL Hardship Fund
If you are not being deducted for strike action, and you able, please donate to the UCU-UAL Hardship Fund here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ucu-ual-hardshipfund?utm_term=9jZRAkEMZ