Our Action

Dear All

Again, welcome to new members. For those of you who have just joined, please do let us know if you need to be brought up to speed on the industrial dispute.

We are delighted to inform you, that as a result of our Branch actions, management have backed down from their attempt to insist that you inform them in advance of your strike action. We would like to repeat in very strenuous terms: you are under NO obligation to inform any manager that you intend to take strike action. Your only obligation is to inform management, AFTER.

We promised to address, issue by issue, the management approach to strike action, which can be found here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/human-resources/pensions/uss-industrial-action2018/index.html
In this email, we address management’s attitude to Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) taking strike action. This is what they are saying:

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs)

It is for schools to schedule the hours of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). Where a GTA strikes on a day that they were scheduled to work in accordance with the terms of their GTA contract then a deduction to pay will be made reflecting the hours due to be worked, but not worked. The number of hours scheduled but not worked will be deducted from the 96 hours the GTA contract stipulates will be worked in any one year. The deduction from pay will be based on a daily rate of 1/365th (pro-rata to the hours they were due to work).

GTAs who participate in ASOS and refuse to reschedule a lecture or class, or provide cover when asked to do so, will have a 3.5 hour deduction made from the 96 hours that the GTA contracts stipulates that they are due to work in any one year. This work will not be re-offered.

The GTA scholarship stipend will not be affected by these deductions.”

This is draconian. The University plans to take action against its own students – students who are surviving on tiny stipends, while they attempt to study for their PhDs, no doubt in preparation for life as an academic. This will only serve to demoralise our GTAs and act as a disincentive to aspiring academics. It is mean-spirited, short sighted and puts paid to any notion that they are looking out for their students.

We urge all members who are not themselves GTAs to email the VC and protest against this in the strongest possible terms – vicechancellor@kent.ac.ukDo remember that UCU published national USS industrial action FAQs at

You can find some of our previous messages on our local blog:
We also have a Twitter account:

Best, Sian, Owen and Mark
Branch Officers