Open Letter Against Punitive Deductions for UCU Industrial Action

We are calling upon our international networks to release statements of support for UCU members and highlight/criticise the punitive measures adopted by universities and their representative organisation UCEA (Universities and Colleges Employers Association).

As many colleagues will be aware, the University and College Union (UCU) members have been taking industrial action for several years to address:

  • rapidly deteriorating working conditions, systemic workplace inequalities and long-term real-terms pay cuts faced by university staff;
  • deeply unjust and financially indefensible cuts made to our collective pension fund.

In the 2022-2023 academic year, 70,000 university staff at over 145 institutions won two consecutive national ballots and took strike action. This is unprecedented and a considerable victory in and of itself given the excessively restrictive trade union laws that govern industrial relations in the UK. Collective action has brought us closer to a resolution in the pensions dispute, but it has, unfortunately, not produced sufficient movement in the pay and working conditions dispute.

The union members are now engaged in a Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) to compel employers back to the negotiation table. While marking and assessment-related duties constitute a small percentage of our workloads, many universities have responded to this legal industrial tactic by threatening to dock 100% of our pay. These punitive pay deductions will have a significant impact on all participating UCU members, but they will impact most harshly on our early-career and precarious colleagues—disproportionately women and people of colour—who are already struggling with low pay and job insecurity.

We are therefore calling upon our international networks to release statements of support for UCU members and highlight/criticise the punitive measures adopted by universities and their representative organisation UCEA (Universities and Colleges Employers Association).

What can you do to support UCU members?

  • Sign our open letter: If you would like to add your name to our brief open letter you can do so by filling this form.
  • Send us your own solidarity message: You can also send us a personalised note to express your support. With your consent, we can add your message to the open letter and circulate it on social media. Please also consider expressing your support via your own social media accounts.
  • Bring solidarity motions to your union branch: If you are part of a workplace union at your own institution, please consider bringing a solidarity motion to your next union branch meeting. A solidarity statement released publicly by your union branch would be much appreciated.
  • Contact University Vice-Chancellors: Vice-Chancellors are in a key position to influence the bargaining position of UCEA. We would greatly appreciate it if you could contact them and express your support for UCU members. You can use the union’s email template to contact VCs.
  • Contact your own networks: Feel free to share this page and the open letter with your own networks.
Click here to access our open letter against punitive deductions for UCU industrial action.


Last update: 23 May 2023

Name Institution
Dr Amira Abdelhamid University of Portsmouth
Dr Joscha Abels University of Tübingen
Professor Fiona B. Adamson SOAS University of London
Dr Ilias Alami Uppsala University
Dr Greg Albo York University
Dr Francesco Amoruso Tampere University
Professor Felix Anderl University of Marburg
Dr Diego Andreucci University of Barcelona
Dr Alexander Anievas University of Connecticut
Dr Fulya Apaydın Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals
Dr Roberto Aringhieri University of Turin
Dr David Attewell University of Zurich
Dr Uğur Aytaç Utrecht University
Professor Mona Baker University of Oslo
Professor Banu Bargu University of California, Santa Cruz
Dr Tom Barnes Australian Catholic University
Dr Núria Araüna Baró University Rovira i Virgili
Dr Valeria Bello Ramón Llull University
Dr Paul Beaumont Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Professor Jacqueline Best University of Ottawa
Dr Ali Bhagat Saint Mary’s University
Dr Adi Saleem Bharat University of Michigan
Dr Arda Bilgen LSE
Professor Renate Bridenthal City University of New York
Dr Alexi Brooks University of Wisconsin-Stout
Dr Gareth Bryant University of Sydney
Dr Richard Budd Lancaster University
Olivia Butler Uppsala University
Dr William Callison Uppsala University
Lucy Carolan Newcastle University
Dr Claudio Cattaneo Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Dr Jana Cattien University of Amsterdam
Dr Carolina Cepeda-Másmela Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá
Professor Iain Chambers Università di Napoli “L’Orientale”
Dr Hannah Chapman University of Oklahoma
Dr Liberty Chee Ca Foscari University of Venice
Dr Ramón I. Centeno Universidad de Sonora
Dr Tom Chodor Monash University
Professor Mònica Clua Losada
Professor Blanche Wiesen Cook John Jay College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Ewan Coopey Macquarie University
Dr Maria Micaela Coppola University of Trento
Elizabeth Cox York St John University
Dr Adriano Cozzolino Università della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”
Dr Guy Crawford Queen’s University
Dr M. Kerem Çoban Kadir Has University
Dr Antonia Lucia Dawes King’s College London
Carlo De Gaetano Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Audrey Deveault Goldsmiths, University of London
Dr Rachele Dini University of Roehampton
Andrew Dockett Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Professor John Dryzek University of Canberra
Professor Rosaleen Duffy University of Sheffield
Dr Chandni Dwarkasing SOAS University of London
Dr Daniel Edmondson York St John University
Professor Steve Ellner Universidad de Oriente
Dr Mariano Féliz Universidad Nacional de La Plata
Dr Jana Fey University of Sussex
Dr Desiree Fields University of California, Berkeley
Dr Graham Finlay University College Dublin
Dr Adam Fishwick University of Akureyri
Professor Barbora Foley Rutgers University-Newark
Dr Philippe M. Frowd University of Ottawa
Dr Jasmine Gani University of St Andrews
Cynthia Gao New York University
Professor Jorge García-Arias University of Leon
Dr Gustavo García-López University of Coimbra
Dr Giulia Giorgi University of Milan
Tony Gregory UWE Bristol
Dr Marco Guidi University of Glasgow
Dr Caroline D. Hardin Western Washington University
Dr Ronald Hartz Universität Duisburg-Essen
Dr Christian Henderson Leiden University
Dr Richard Helliwell RURALIS - Institute for Rural and Regional Research
Professor Tracey Hill Bath Spa University
Dr Daniel Hirschman Cornell University
Dr Kelley Holley Rochester Institute of Technology
Dr Laura Horn Roskilde University
Dr Aida A. Hozić University of Florida
Professor Suzan Ilcan University of Waterloo
Dr Beste İşleyen University of Amsterdam
Dr Ana Ivasiuc Maynooth University
Dr Alke Jenss Arnold Bergstraesser Institute
Dr Ari Jerrems University of Western Australia
Eun A Jo Cornell University
Dr Melissa Johnston University of Queensland
Dr Bonn Juego University of Jyväskylä
Dr Laura Jung University of Graz
Dr Isaac Kamola Trinity College
Dr Sarrah Kassem University of Tübingen
Professor Patricia Keeton Ramapo College
Dr Christopher Kirkland York St John University
Dr Višnja Kisić Forest University
Elisabeth Koch University of California, Los Angeles
Professor Insa Koch University of St Gallen
Dr Kai Koddenbrock University of Bayreuth
Dr Panagiota Kotsila Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Professor David Laibman Brooklyn College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Shreeta Lakhani SOAS University of London
Professor Erick D. Langer Georgetown University
Dr Ganaele Langlois York University
Dr David Lawson University of Bristol
Dr Stephan Liebscher Free University Berlin
Dr Imogen Liu Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Dr Matthias Leese ETH Zürich
Professor Jens Lerche SOAS University of London
Professor Sonia Lucarelli University of Bologna
Dr Vincenzo Maccarrone Scuola Normale Superiore
Professor Megan MacKenzie Simon Fraser University
Dr Maria Mälksoo University of Copenhagen
Rachael Malott Carleton University
Dr Nuno Marques KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Dr Carl G. Martin Norwich University
Dr Claire M. Massey University of Rostock
Dr Gillian Mathys Ghent University
Professor Greggor Mattson Oberlin College and Conservatory
Dr Dóra Mérai Central European University
Professor Sandro Mezzadra University of Bologna
Dr Laura Mills University of St Andrews
Dr Alison Milner Aalborg University
Dr Paul C. Mishler Indiana University
Dr Stephen Montgomery University of Bristol
Professor Adam David Morton University of Sydney
Dr Sara C. Motta University of Newcastle
Professor Samuel Moyn Yale University
Dr Can E. Mutlu Acadia University
Professor Deborah Mutnick Long Island University
Professor Daniel Mügge University of Amsterdam
Suraj Nair SOAS University of London
Professor Andreas Nölke Goethe University Frankfurt
Paul O’Donovan University College Cork
Dr Daragh O’Reilly University of Sheffield
Professor Gerardo Otero Simon Fraser University
Dr Umut Özsu Carleton University
Dr Polly Pallister-Wilkins University of Amsterdam
Dr Leo Parascondola William Paterson University
Dr Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra University of California, San Diego
Professor Heikki Patomäki University of Helsinki
Professor Jamie Peck University of British Columbia
Dr Oscar Perea-Rodriguez University of San Francisco
Professor Nina Perkowski University of Hamburg
Dr Dieter Plehwe Berlin Social Science Center
Dr Aleksandra Piletić University of Amsterdam
Professor Stefano Ponte Copenhagen Business School
Professor Richard S. Pressman Saint Mary’s University
Professor Sujatha Raman Australian National University
Dr Claire Ravenscroft International Christian University
Professor Jacob Remes New York University
Dr Raquel Ribeiro Universidade Nova de Lisboa NOVA/FCSH
Professor Lisa Richey Copenhagen Business School
Daniel Rosenblum Uppsala University
Dr David Rossati Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Dr Alina Sajed McMaster University
Rohit Sarma Central European University
Dr Emilio Sauri University of Massachusetts Boston
Dr Gabi Schlag University of Tübingen
Dr Moritz Schmoll Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique
Dr Benjamin Schuetze Arnold Bergstraesser Institut
Dr Rachel Schwartz University of Oklahoma
Dr Somdeep Sen Roskilde University
Professor Sima Shakhsari University of Minnesota
Professor Nandita Sharma University of Hawaii at Mānoa
Dr Hariati Sinaga University of Indonesia
Dr Subir Sinha SOAS University of London
Professor Quinn Slobodian Wellesley College
Zinaïda Sluijs Uppsala University
Professor James Smethurst University of Massachusetts Amherst
Professor Susanne Soederberg Queen’s University
Professor Vicki Squire University of Warwick
Dr Meg Stalcup University of Ottawa
Professor Margaret Stevens Essex County College
Dr Maurice Stierl University of Osnabrück
Dr Maria Dyveke Styve European University Institute
Professor Darko Suvin McGill University
Dr Hanna Szemző Metropolitan Research Institute
Dilruba Taş University of Florida
Dr Lana Tatour University of New South Wales
Dr Diana Teggi The Open University
Dr Chon Tejedor University of Valencia
Dr Vineet Thakur Leiden University
Dr Charlie Thame Thammasat University
Dr Sergio Tirado-Herrero Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
Professor Tiziana Terranova Università di Napoli “L’Orientale”
Professor Cihan Tuğal University of California, Berkeley
Dr Ethemcan Turhan University of Groningen
Dr Mirjam Twigt Leiden University
Dr Ahmad Rizky M. Umar University of Queensland
Dr Kayhan Valadbaygi Leiden University
Professor Michel Vandenbroeck Ghent University
Dr Peter Verovšek University of Groningen
Dr Feliciano Castaño Villar University of Jaén
Nikolaos Vrantsis Uppsala University
Professor Alan Wald University of Michigan
Dave Watton University of Birmingham
Dr Carola Westermeier Giessen University
Dr Tom Western University College London
Dr Emily Kidd White Osgoode Hall Law School
Dr Angela Wigger Radboud University
Dr Zhun Xu John Jay College & the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Dr Deniz Yonucu Newcastle University

Please contact me if you spot any errors on the list of signatories.

Cemal Burak Tansel
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in International Political Economy & Politics of Global Development

I teach and write about the political economy of capitalist development.