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Queen Mary University staff strike over losing 113 days of pay

Queen Mary University London staff give a rallying cry as they strike from 18-29 of September in protest of pay deductions with some staff losing 113 days of pay.

As new students start the year staff from the Queen Mary branch of the University and College Union (UCU) will be striking for 10 days from 18-29 of September. Staff are protesting the pay deduction from a marking boycott over the summer that has seen some staff lose 113 days of pay. 

Striking staff will take action at the Mile End Campus of Queen Mary University. They will set up picket lines at the East Gate and Queens’ Gate along the Mile End Road. 

The 10 days of strikes will be held during welcome week and the first week of classes from 18-22 September and 25-29 September as students start the new academic year.

During strike days striking staff won’t work meaning that for the first week of university, some students will have classes cancelled due to the strike.

On the picket lines staff are putting up banners, giving out leaflets, and talking to students about why they were striking. On Thursday afternoon, a teach-out was held at the East Gate picket line with lecturers and students listening to a talk on London’s housing crisis and global capitalism. 

The strike was called by the Queen Mary branch of the University and College Union. The UCU are a UK-wide union that represents 120,000 academic and support staff at higher education institutions across the UK. 

At the picket lines lecturers and other staff from different departments, Ph.D. students who are part of the union, and student supporters all took part. 

Queen Mary UCU are carrying out this local strike because of pay deductions from this year’s marking boycott. From April until September, the UCU called a nationwide marking and assessment boycott with participating staff not marking work. This left students, including some at Queen Mary, unable to graduate. 

In response, Queen Mary deducted pay with some staff losing up to 113 days of pay. This is despite staff continuing other work through the summer such as research, writing, preparing courses, and communicating with students. 

'113 days of wages stolen' written in chalk on the pavement as part of Queen Mary University staff strikes.
Image by Robert Postings © Social Streets CIC

While this strike at Queen Mary was called for a local dispute, it is connected to ongoing industrial action. Staff at universities across the UK have been striking in recent years because of pay, pensions, and working conditions. 

Last month the UCU announced a new round of nationwide strikes hitting 136 universities across the UK from Monday 25 to Friday 29 September.

Speaking at the picket line at Queen Mary, Charlie Pullen who lectures in the English Department said: “The staff who have been on the picket lines and who have been most impassioned about this action are some of our most dedicated and committed staff and that is because we really care about keeping this university a good place and making sure our students have the best education possible, but also about fighting for our right to sustainable jobs. So it’s got to be about hope in the end.”

He added, ‘What keeps us going really is a sense of hope.’

Image by Robert Postings © Social Streets CIC

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like our article on the Queen Mary University staff strikes in April 2022 .

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