UCU Rising strike 2022-23

Kingston Staff Are Rising Up!

Alongside UCU members at 150 universities nationwide and 70,000+ staff, Kingston UCU took strike action over 11 days in February and March 2023 accompanied by ongoing action short of a strike (ASOS). 7 days of further planned strike action were suspended as part of negotations at the mediator ACAS but no agreement was made on pay.

In March, UCU members voted to extend our mandate for industrial action in this dispute beyond April and keep pressure on employers to deliver a better deal on pay and conditions.

Unless a better deal is put on the table by university leaders, UCU members will start a national Marking and Assessment Boycott on 20th April 2023. Find key local information here.

Kingston staff are taking industrial action as part of the UCU Rising dispute over falling pay, unbearable workloads, rising job insecurity, and entrenched pay inequality seen in ethnicity, disability and gender pay gaps. We took strike action last year over these issues, but university leaders refused to make change and are pushing ahead with another real-terms pay cut in the middle of a cost of living crisis,

This situation is not just damaging our mental and physical health, it is impacting our ability to do the best teaching, research, professional and support work we can. Students deserve better than exhausted undervalued staff burnt out by anxiety, insecurity, inequality and overwork. The future of higher education is at stake.

On strike days, staff who are Kingston UCU members will withdraw their labour. They do not undertake teaching, research, instruction, student support, respond to emails, go to meetings, attend conferences or events, do marking, prepare classes, or fulfil administrative tasks, whether on campus or online. Instead they form picket lines outside university buildings and ask other colleagues and students not to cross the line and enter.

Find out more about what the dispute is about here.

We’ve also made a strike explainer for students here.

All local information and links needed for the strike are on our linktr.ee/kingstonucu. Follow our strike action on twitter and instagram with the hashtags #ucuRISING #KUStaffStrikeBack. Find strike graphics & posters to download and share.



Previous strike days in February and November saw students and staff standing together on picket lines, with teach-outs and discussions about how we can imagine a better education system, as well as national demonstrations in central London.

How to support the strike (advice for members)

Do not declare in advance whether you will be taking strike action. You are only required to respond to a direct inquiry from your line manager after industrial action has taken place. Employers try to use generic forms to collect information about who will be on strike in order to undermine the action by mitigating its impact.

Do not rearrange timetabled activities scheduled for future strike days. These strike days are designed to escalate with many points in between for employers to table a better offer, in which case they may be called off. Rearranging sessions weakens the impact of strike action.

Join the pickets. Visible participation shows strength and support of strike action and amps up the pressure on our employers to make an offer that better meets our demands. We need to show them that they can’t sit back and ride this out. Sign up for picket lines for 15th – 22nd March here: signup.com/go/stMgccK.

Talk to your colleagues and students. Sign up to pickets together, encourage non-members to join. Talk to students about why we are on strike and encourage them to support us in putting pressure on university senior leaders to end this dispute by tabling a reasonable offer. Share our linktr.ee/kingstonucu which has a student explainer and letter for students to send to the VC.

Claim strike pay. Don’t forget to claim from the national UCU Fighting Fund for days of strike action. To claim you need to show evidence of pay deductions so it is important that HPL colleagues claim the hours they would have worked as usual.

Join our #strike-committee on slack: kingstonucu.slack.com.

There is FAQ guidance about taking strike action on the UCU national website. There is a separate FAQs for migrant members. Universities Resist Border Controls also have useful resources on their linktree

KU staff who are not UCU members are welcome to join and take part in this action.

From 23rd November 2022, UCU members are starting indefinite, national action short of a strike (ASOS).

This involves working to contract, not covering for absent colleagues, not rescheduling lectures, classes or sessions cancelled due to strike action, removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action, and not undertaking any voluntary activities. 

UCU members will only carry out duties specified in their role description during the hours stipulated per working week in their contract. Any ‘reasonable’ requests from line managers to do additional work over and above  normal weekly hours, must be put in writing and quantified.

Read our ASOS FAQs here.

Find further information and resources about excessive workload and unpaid overwork. UCU has also produced guidance to strike and action short of a strike (ASOS) for members on casualised contracts.