What’s happening?

Durham’s UCU membership voted to take part in strike action and action short of a strike, if required, both on the issue of pensions and on the issues of pay, inequality and casualisation. Strike action took place from 25 November-4 December 2019. Action Short of a Strike continues this term, and more strike action is possible.

Strike Pay / Hardship Fund

Pay deductions after the strike will be made in January and February.

UCU will provide strike pay as follows: members earning £30,000 or more will be able to claim up to £50 per day from the third day onwards; members earning below £30,000 will be able to claim up to £75 per day from the second day onwards. The maximum currently claimable by any one member is £500.

We also have a local hardship fund which you can apply to for funds beyond those covered by the central strike pay. Forms will be available on this website shortly.

You will need your pay slips for January and February (when the deductions will be made) to apply to the local and national funds (you may apply for both). If you need financial assistance because of strike action, please do not be afraid to apply for it, whatever your career stage or contractual status. During the 2018 strike, the local hardship fund disbursed many thousands of pounds.

If you need financial assistance because of strike action, please do not be afraid to apply for it, whatever your career stage or contractual status.

But if you can afford to, please contribute to our local hardship fund: much of the money disbursed last time came from donations.

Details for payments to the hardship fund are:

Account name:   UCU Durham LA17 Hardship Fund
Sort code:      60-83-01
Account number: 20392222
Suggested reference for transfers: DUCU Hardship fund

If you pay cash (rather than make a bank transfer) please let our Treasurer, Peter Craig (p.s.craig@durham.ac.uk), know so that he can ascertain the payment was meant for the hardship fund. Confidentiality over donations is guaranteed.  

Action short of a strike (ASOS)

Action short of a strike (ASOS) continues this term. If you are asked to report on your participation in ASOS, UCU head office advises that you send the following message: “Thanks for your email. UCU has already advised you that it is calling upon members to undertake action short of a strike.” DUCU is actively monitoring University management’s response to ASOS and UCU Head Office is supporting us with this.

As you will have seen in a recent email from Jo Grady, more strike action is possible this term, with escalating action on USS proposed from mid February. More information will be available after the UCU national executive committee (NEC) meets in late January, and one item for the branch meeting next week is to gather views to inform the NEC’s discussion.

About the action

Notice has been given to the university of a pstrike/eriod of strike action, if agreement on these issues has not been reached by that point, on the following dates:

Monday 25 – Friday 29 NovemberMonday 2 – Wednesday 4 December

There will be regular updates on this page. You may also want to follow the branch accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for up-to-the-minute news.


Picket lines will run from 08.00 to 10.00 each day of the strike. There will be picket lines at various entrances to the University. Your Department / section may have made arrangements to picket at a particular location – please look out for a communication from your rep, or ask them. If you are not sure where to picket, please come to the ‘map’ entrance of the University Science (Lower Mountjoy) site (close to the Bill Bryson Library and the Whitechurch cafe) – there will be people there to help and advise. Don’t worry if you can’t turn up at 08.00 or cannot stay for the full period – just do what you can. 

Picketing is a very important part of the strike action. It gives an opportunity to show strength of feeling and to engage people with campaigns. So please do your best to support the picket lines. We found in the last strike that being on a picket line was a great way to get to know other members of the University, and many people enjoyed the experience. So, wrap up warmly and come along!

This strike is over several issues, so we are going to have themed campaign days to highlight different areas of the dispute. This is the current plan, but may change a bit according to how things shift during the strike period:

  • Monday 25 November – general information about the dispute and summary of the main issues and events
  • Tuesday 26 November – anti-casualisation with a focus on issues surrounding hourly-paid academics and postgraduates who teach
  • Wednesday 27 November – anti-casualisation with a focus on fixed term contract issues
  • Thursday 28 and Friday 29 November – equalities (gender and BAME)
  • Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 December – workload
  • Wednesday 4 December – national Day of Action for Disability Equality, and reminder / update on main issues.

We will distribute relevant campaigning materials each day. Everyone is encouraged to get creative with placards and campaigning ideas!

Free events – everyone welcome

  • Tuesday 26 November, 11am-2pm: Anthropology Teach Out. Miners’ Hall, Redhills, DH1 4BE
  • Wednesday 27 November, 11am-3pm: Labour and Resistance Teach Out. Elvet Methodist Church, upstairs, DH1 3HL
  • Thursday 28 November, from 3pm: Education Teach Out, in collaboration with Durham Students’ Union. Miners’ Hall, Redhills, DH1 4BE
  • Friday 29 November, 1-4pm: Climate Action. Miners’ Hall, Redhills, DH1 4BE
  • Monday 2 December, 2-4pm: Archaeology Teach Out. Victoria Inn, DH1 3AS
  • Monday 2 December, 5:30-9:30pm: Mini Film Festival: Solidarity & The Big Meeting, in collaboration with Durham Working Class Students Association. The Old Cinema Laundrette, DH1 2HX
  • Wednesday 4 December, 1-5pm: Powerful Images (Centre for Visual Arts and Culture). Alington House, DH1 3ET