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Email to staff 9 November 2022

Dear colleagues and postgraduate researchers,

I am writing to confirm that the national University and College Union (UCU) has announced that industrial action will take place in universities across the UK in the form of three days of strike action, along with continuous action short of a strike.

  • Strike action will take place on Thursday 24 November, Friday 25 November and Wednesday 30 November
  • The action short of a strike is intended to be continuous and will start on 23 November and will finish no later than 20 April 2023
  • The action short of a strike is staff working their contracted hours and duties and not volunteering to do more.

This action is in response to disputes concerning pay and conditions, and changes to the USS pension.

Support and guidance

I recognise that the decision to take part in industrial action is not taken lightly, that many staff will be facing difficult decisions, and that colleagues across the University will have different opinions. I would like us to respect each others’ views and actions.

Our priority is to make sure we have the right support and procedures in place for staff and students. This week, we have held sessions for Heads of Departments to answer their questions, and we are working hard with all our Schools and Departments to draw up contingency plans to help minimise impact on our students and their studies. In addition I will both remain in discussion with the UCU at York and be fully engaged in national-level conversations about the dispute.

Local advances

As I have reiterated in recent weeks, and at our open meetings with staff across the University, our national-level processes have failed for some time to reach agreed outcomes on pay and pensions, and these discussions are not bringing stability to the sector at a time when it most needs it. I continue to believe we can help to change that, by finding ways of exporting our good local relations into new approaches at national level.

In York, we're making real advances on working conditions for staff and GTAs, thanks to a commitment by the University and trade unions to work in partnership to address key issues.

We’ve made a lot of progress locally on short term contracts, we are working together to understand how to narrow pay gaps, and we are in the early stages of working through issues surrounding workload in a newly established joint working group.

You can read updates about our progress on pay and pensions, casual work, pay gaps, and workload and wellbeing. This includes improved terms and conditions for our Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). We now have more than 350 GTAs on fixed term contracts rather than casual arrangements (up from 150 last year, which was already well above other comparable institutions).

Our unions were also consulted on implementing the proposed rise in the real Living Wage early from January 2023, and on our Cost of Living support for employees, which helped us ensure the fair distribution of these one-off payments for grades 1 to 8 in November. You can find out about other support available on our staff and student cost of living hubs.

I will continue to share regular updates on both the local and national position. You can find FAQs and links to further information and support on our industrial action page for staff and students (postgraduate researchers will be able to draw on different elements of both sections).

With best wishes,

Contact us

If you're a member of staff taking part in industrial action, please contact HR if you have any questions:

Use this email address for any other enquiries:

Contact us

If you're a member of staff taking part in industrial action, please contact HR if you have any questions:

Use this email address for any other enquiries: