UCU Edinburgh represents academic and academic-related staff at the University of Edinburgh.  UoE grades 6-10 and postgraduates are eligible to join UCU Edinburgh.  We work with other unions on campus as part of the Joint Unions Liaison Committee

What’s On

See also: Teach Outs: Edinburgh – Please note that teach-out times and venues can change at short notice, so use this site for up-to-date information.

Appeal for strike photos – Please send photos from picket lines and other strike events to – edinburgh.ucu@gmail.com or tweet to @ucuedinburgh with hashtag #UCUstrike

For any other enquiry, please contact us here.


Update and Next Week

Thank you all for your continued support as we reach the end of the current set of strike dates.

We recognise that the past few weeks have been tough on everyone, and particularly for those of you who have braved so many different elements out on the picket lines.

As you know, because we started a little later than most, we also continue into Monday and Tuesday of next week, along with Stirling, UCL, and Kings: it is therefore vitally important that we retain a strong presence.

For these final two days, we will be organising things slightly differently from our recent pattern.

So, if you are willing to join us, please email ucu@ed.ac.uk (using your preferred email address), and we will get back in touch with details.

Picketing slots are only for an hour at a time, and it truly has been wonderful to meet colleagues from different areas and the teach-outs have been inspirational.

(To get an idea of what’s available next week (or to volunteer to add a new session), please go to https://edinburghteachout.wordpress.com/)

Why We Are Still on Strike

On Monday 12 March, negotiators from UUK (representing university employers) & UCU (representing university staff) presented a proposal to the current pensions dispute. The proposal was strongly rejected by local branches of the Union, and consequently by the Union as a whole.


We welcome one part of the proposal: to convene an independent expert evaluation group to assess the future financial health of our pension fund. Much of the current dispute revolves around how healthy the pension fund is. UUK say the scheme has a multi-billion pound deficit. Others say the scheme actually has a multi-million pound surplus. An independent evaluation is therefore crucial.

We could not accept the proposal, however, because:

  1. The proposal accepted implicitly that the valuation is wrong and yet wanted to proceed with cuts anyway of between 30-35% to colleagues’ pensions.  That means losing £6000-£8000 per year from our current pensions, leaving most people on or below the poverty line in retirement.
  2. The proposal would still have disproportionately disadvantaged early career and lower-paid colleagues.
  3. It introduced a Consumer Price Index (a measure of inflation) cap of 2.5%. This means the ‘defined’ benefit will actually lose value in real terms whenever inflation is higher than 2.5% (like 2017, when CPI was 3%).
  4. Contributions by employers and employees would still have increased, amounting to a significant loss of income for staff.
  5. The expectation to recover missed teaching undermines the principle of strike action and is logistically impossible.

We seriously regret having to continue this dispute

We would much rather be doing our jobs. We have been encouraged by the support we received from students and the wider public. We have achieved some important concessions, but the struggle continues.


Strike days are scheduled to continue in Edinburgh up to and including Tuesday 20 March.

The UCU has also approved a further 14 days of strike action in case the dispute is not resolved after the current round of action, but dates for these have not been set. We hope the situation will be resolved without the need for further strikes.

Universities UK has lost the trust of its front line workers. The best course of action for UUK – if genuinely committed to front line staff – is to maintain the status quo until a truly independent expert group reports on the valuation of the scheme.

Academic and academic-related staff are seeing their work stripped of social, cultural and political value at a time when the economic value of universities is at an all-time high. In 2014/15 the contribution of universities’ work to UK GDP was £21.5 BILLION. In 2015/16, they also provided £3.2 BILLION worth of pro-bono (unpaid) work to the British economy.

If you support keeping our universities strong and socially vital, please contact the Principal, Prof. Peter Mathieson (principal@ed.ac.uk) and ask him to use his influence with Universities UK to bring this to a sustainable and fair conclusion for staff and students.

Please also sign the open letter to the Principal at http://bit.ly/LettertoPeter

You can also download this as a printable leaflet.



Week 3 Arrangements

We’re posting this information here and on our Facebook group as we do not have everyone’s non-university email addresses, and, as we were reminded at Friday’s General Meeting (GM), we should not be accessing our University email accounts (and certainly not replying to any messages on strike days).

Thank you all again for your fantastic support for the strike.

General Meeting

For those of you who were not able to attend Friday’s GM, there was a large turn-out, overwhelming support for the motions, and an intense discussion of the issues around lecture recording. There were a couple of minor amendments to the first motion, the updated text if which will be circulated shortly.

Local Updates

There are also two important updates: firstly, the Principal has offered to meet with staff and will be setting up times for discussions; secondly, the Head of Law is now asking colleagues to indicate whether or not they consent for their recorded lectures from last year to be shown again. UCUE Officers will be meeting with the Principal, the University Secretary, the Head of HR, and the Head of Law to discuss this further tomorrow.


So far, there is no update from HQ on the ACAS talks, so we really need to maintain our presence on picket lines this week. Please either email your local contact (see link below) or email ucu@ed.ac.uk for further information on when and where to picket.

Rally In Glasgow

There is a rally in Glasgow, 12.30 on Friday, and the branch is looking into organising transport. If you would like to join us, please sign up BY 12 NOON TOMORROW (Tuesday, 13 March) via this link

In solidarity,

UCUE Committee

Thanks for Week 1 and News for Week 2


New Rector, Ann Henderson, with pickets at Moray House

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who took part in this week’s strike action.

Whatever claims the University may make, there was a demonstrable impact, whether that took the form of staying away from work (which was clearly the case judging by the lack of people in, for example, the George Square area) or by the numbers who turned up for picketing.

It was truly wonderful to see so many of us make that public stand, and I imagine many of us were overwhelmed by the incredible support provided by our students (whether that was joining us on the picket lines or providing porridge!).

The strength of the action has already had a tangible impact. As most of you will know, talks with UUK, facilitated by ACAS, begin on Monday. Without our action, this would not have happened, and we should all congratulate ourselves for this achievement.

Obviously, this is a very welcome step in the right direction. However, talks are not the same as re-opening negotiations. Given UUK’s reluctance to do this without pre-conditions, UCU is continuing our strike action: so we will all be out again next week.

Locally, the Principal has agreed to meet with the Professoriate tomorrow (Friday 2nd) lunchtime to discuss the open letter they sent him last week. We understand we should expect a statement after that meeting, so look out for more news tomorrow.

Next Week

Our ability to plan for next week has been interrupted by the University’s closure; however, the committee are discussing options and will publicise these as soon as possible.

In the meantime, it would be very helpful if you could email ucu@ed.ac.uk to confirm that you would be willing to picket next week. Please bear with us, and if at all possible please send us a non-university email address at which we can contact you.

If you are unable to picket but would be willing to help out in other ways, please also email us and we will get back to you.

Declaration Forms

Finally, most staff will have already received a request from the appropriate person in their local area to declare when they were on strike. This is perfectly reasonable; however, please remember that you only need to declare strike action in retrospect, so – for now – you need only confirm whether you were on strike on Monday-Wednesday of this past week. As the University is closed today, UCUE would suggest members wait until tomorrow to fill it out.

Some Photos from Twitter

See loads more on our Twitter feed


And We’re Off

alloutforuss_bannerMonday 26 Feb will be our first date of 14 days strike action.  Members should all be receiving updates by email.  If you are not, please contact us

Members who have volunteered for picket line duty should have all received instructions.  Again, if you haven’t, please contact us

The national UCU website has live coverage on the Strike Live! page.

Further information on the strike can be found on the main Strike for USS pages

Check the website calendar for details of events planned for strike days.  Some events are in place and others will follow, so please check back.

Please send photos from picket lines and other strike events to edinburgh.ucu@gmail.com or tweet to @ucuedinburgh with hashtag #strikeforuss


Oxford’s and Cambridge’s role in the demise of USS

We recommend Mike Otsuka’s recent article on USS.

To be more precise: what follows is an account of the role of these two universities, and their constituent colleges, in the demise of USS as a multi-employer scheme that promises a decent, defined benefit (DB) pension to its members. In the past, this promise has been generous and affordable, owing to the risk pooling across 68 well-established UK universities that the last-man-standing mutuality of the scheme makes possible. It is clear, however, that Oxford and Cambridge now want out of such a DB scheme.

Read more