Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders May Day Celebration 2024

We will be assembling at the top end of Johnston Terrace from 11.30AM for march off at 12:00. Our route is down the Royal Mile and St Mary’s Street then up to the Pleasance Theatre for a rally. Please make your way upstairs into the theatre on arrival.


  • Tasneem Ali, Muslim Women’s Society
  • Amanda Fyfe,  Living Rent
  • Mike Cowley, EIS FELA
  • Mick Hogg, Ex-Miner

The event will be compered by Susan Morrison and there will be music from Penny Stone, Elsie MacDonald and the Stockbridge Pipe Band. Stalls in the Cabaret Bar.

Solidarity with Palestine

The Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders May Day Committee extends its unwavering solidarity with the people of Palestine. We share the deep concerns of many people around the world over the ongoing conflict and the worsening impact it is having on civilians in Gaza.

In order for peace and justice to prevail, we urgently call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further suffering and create a path towards a just and lasting resolution to this decades long conflict. Together, we hope for a future where all people in the region can live in peace, security, and dignity.

Posted on behalf of Edinburgh TUC and the Edinburgh and Lothians May Day organising committee.

The Great Edinburgh May Day Cabaret 2024

The Great Edinburgh May Day Cabaret is a celebration of International Worker’s Day. It is being held in The Stand comedy Club on Thursday 2 may 2024. Doors open at 7.30PM and the show starts at 8.30PM. Ticket £12.50 online.

Performers include:

Hosted by the second best poet out of Ayrshire, Jim Monaghan. Supported by Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders May Day Committee, ASLEF, The STUC, Scottish Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament and Fair Pley.


International Workers’ Memorial Day 2024

Safe work is a right not a privilege but more people are killed at work than in wars every year.

Every year on 28 April we come together to remember everyone who has been killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work. International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) is officially recognised by UK government and in 19 other countries.

In Edinburgh we will be meeting at the Memorial Tree in West Princes Street Gardens at 12.30 on Sunday 28 April 2024. Nearest entrance is west side of the Mound and down the lowest path.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Scott MacRory, FBU.
  • Joanna Cherry MP

After there will be the Laying of Wreaths and Songs from Protest in Harmony.

This commemorative event is organised by Edinburgh Trade Union Council and Scottish Hazards. City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government buildings will lower their flags

Working in a bad climate

The theme for 2024 is the impact of climate change on occupational health and safety. Stand with us to remember the early victims of climate change-caused heat stress, UV radiation, air pollution, industrial accidents, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases, and chemical exposure. Commit to fight for a world that’s more, not less, safe to live and work in.

Keffiyeh on campus

The UCU Palestine solidarity group will be running a stall on the bridge link between main reception and the Hugh Nisbet Building on Wednesday 27 March 2024 from 10:00 to 15:00.

Join us to learn more about Palestinian history and culture, sample Palestinian dates, and much more.

There will be a group photo at 15:00 outside the main reception. Wear your your Keffiyeh, or the colours of the Palestinian flag in solidarity with the people of Palestine.


Strike action confirmed for week of 25-29 September

A big thank-you to all of the local members who were able to attend the online EGM yesterday and contribute to the discussions and vote at such short notice. The meeting was quorate and the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of continuing the strike action, consistent with the branch position at the end of August when members voted in favour of using the remaining mandate for strike action.

It is the beginning of a new session and no-one wants to be on strike but we need to hit our employers hard in order to force them back into negotiations over pay and working conditions. The only way to do this is with a complete withdrawal of labour. We will be standing with UCU members from branches up and down the UK as well as colleagues from Unite and Unison who remain committed to collective action as a means to secure fair pay and working conditions across the sector.

Picket line

The picket will form 8.00am each morning at the main gate and there with a group photo opportunity at 10.00am.

Strike Pay

Members will be able to apply to the national fighting fund for days 3,4 and 5 of the strike. We will take a vote to the branch members to enable the local hardship fund to be used to support members for days 1 and 2.



Emergency Members’ Meeting 19 September 2023

We will be holding and online Emergency Members’ Meeting via Zoom at 4.00pm on Tuesday 19 September 2023 to consult branch members about next week’s strike action over pay and working conditions as requested by UCU national.

Please check your inbox for the link to the meeting.

We will try to keep it short with a brief introduction from the branch committee that sets out the current position with all the relevant information. Make no mistake, our employers and UCEA are continuing to try and sit this out with little regard for staff and student welfare, or academic standards. After this there will be an opportunity for questions, clarification, and debate. We will move to voting as close to 4.30pm as possible.

After any votes there will be some time for a more general discussion on how to progress the dispute both locally and nationally, and what we might want to feed back to UCU national.

There will be an opportunity to raise and discuss other issues relating to working at HWU under AOB at the end of the meeting.

It is very short notice but it is very important that you attend and have your say at a quorate meeting. Please attend if at all possible.

Annual General Meeting 2023

The AGM will be held 31 May from 1-3pm via Zoom. Invitations with links have been sent via email, and BSL interpreting will be provided.

We will be hearing motions for local strike days and subscription changes, and if you are interested in standing for any of the remaining vacant positions please come forward during the meeting.

It is important that this meeting is quorate, so please attend. Joining the discussion and voting is the best way to ensure that your voice is heard.

If you are unable to attend you can vote by proxy. First, please read all of the motions which have been sent to you and decide how you want to vote. You can then ask a member who is attending, or your school or service rep, to vote on your behalf. Please confirm the request in writing by email to your colleague or to the branch secretary.


  1. Welcome
  2. Attendance and apologies
  3. Minutes of the AGM 2022
  4. Report from the committee
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Appointment of auditor
  7. Election of Officers and Representatives of the Committee
  8. Election of Congress / Conference Delegates
  9. Subscription Increase
  10. Disputes
  11. AOB

A Day’s Pay in May

Tomorrow is pay day and we are asking members and colleagues who are not taking part in the boycott to donate the equivalent of a net day of pay to support those who are facing deductions for taking part in the Marking and Assessment Boycott.

The first deductions will be taken out of May’s pay and for a number of members these will be substantial due to the unnecessarily harsh stance taken by Heriot-Watt University.

Participating members will be deducted at the punitive rate of 50%, which is far in excess of the time allocated for marking. The deductions will be applied from one week before the marking was due and will run open-ended for 7 days per week (except for when leave has been booked) until the marking is done or the dispute is settled.

This action is being taken to improve pay and conditions for everyone, so lets give generously to support our colleagues. We cannot let our own members be bullied into undoing their own actions by these excessive and unfair deductions.

Details of how to donate can be found on the branch website at https://heriotwatt.web.ucu.org.uk/donate/ and the more people who donate the lighter the load on each of us.

Please circulate this among non-members and remind them of the value of collective action and sacrifice which has already seen significant movement in the restoration of our USS benefits.

You can also contact to your MP/MSP and urge them to write to the Principal and demand that he withdraw his threats and work with the unions to reach a settlement.

Guidance for donations

  1. No member should put themselves into debt or hardship in order to donate.
  2. Members who are boycotting, student members, those on casualised contracts and/or employed part-time at G6 or full-time G5 (and below) are not expected to donate.
  3. Members on fractional (part-time) contracts should pro rata any donations in line with their contract. So, “a day’s pay” on a 0.5 contract would be half a day’s pay.
  4. Those wishing to support the MAB financially are encouraged to:
    • Donate a day’s net pay on 31st May, equivalent to what they would lose if they had been on strike for a day, to the Branch hardship fund.
    • Pledge at least 3 further day’s pay in June (circa.10% pay) to be donated if required, and then the same each month for the full duration of the boycott. We will set up a form for pledges in June.
  5. Amounts pledged will only be called in if deductions are made and calls are made on the hardship fund, such that they are required. The suggested net daily donation per grade is as follows:
    G6 £56
    G7 £72
    G8 £85
    G9 £96
    G10 £105
  6. This guidance will be updated if threatened deduction amounts are changed.

Draft text for writing to MSPs on MAB deductions


You will be aware members of the University and College Union (UCU) are currently campaigning for long overdue improvements to pay and working conditions. Having taken strike action in recent months staff are back at work full time but have begun a marking and assessment boycott which will impact on a range of activities including exam invigilation and the processing of marks.

You may not be aware that vice-chancellors and principals across the UK are, on the recommendation of the employer body Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), now threatening to deduct up to 100% of staff wages even though  staff are still  at work and carrying out most of their duties, including teaching, lecturing, researching and supporting students.

Making such punitive salary deductions is not only deeply vindictive but also counter-productive. These threats will not bring the dispute closer to a resolution and risk worsening any disruption. Administering these excessively punitive attacks on local staff taking part in a national dispute is a poor use of a university’s time and resources. 

Staff are the backbone of our universities and they dedicate their working lives to supporting students and ensuring they can get the best out of their time studying. They deserve to be treated with respect at work. They do not deserve to be on the receiving end of such disproportionately massive deductions during a cost-of-living crisis.

I am urging you to write to the Principal of Heriot-Watt University, Richard Williams at R.A.Williams@hw.ac.uk and demand that they withdraw the threats against their own staff and instead use their influence with UCEA to resolve the disputes as quickly as possible.

I would also like to draw your attention to the attack on students’ education by the employers who have decided to bypass academic quality processes which could affect students’ future employment. Staff at Heriot-Watt have organised an open letter to raise concerns about the university’s response to the Marking and Assessment Boycott. A link to the open letter and further information can be found at  https://forms.gle/ZBnEtZYziko7jooV9

Yours sincerely


Members’ Meeting 10 May

There will be an online meeting on Wednesday 10 May from 12.00 to 1.00 to vote on wage sharing motions and discuss the ongoing MAB.

Discussion with HWU management are yet to produce a shift in their position on deductions but we remain hopeful. For members who have any questions or concerns you can contact your local school rep or email hwgtvo2022@gmail.com in confidence.

Zoom links have been sent by email. Please attend if you can. If you need a reminder please contact your rep or one of the officers on the branch committee.