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Campaign update: 22 May 2015

In the news | #lovefe lobby of parliament | 'End austerity now!' demonstrations | Ofsted graded lesson observations | University of Salford strikes | London Metropolitan University cuts | Stamp out casual contracts | Bolton march in sackings protest | Aberdeen UCU staff cuts | executions in Egypt | Demonstration against casualisation and TeachHigher | classroom management course | teaching in further education | Events, updates and publications

Dear colleague

In this week's campaigns update:

  1. In the news
  2. Save adult learning: #lovefe lobby of Parliament 16 June 2015
  3. 'End austerity now!': People's Assembly demonstrations in Glasgow and London, 20 June 2015
  4. Ofsted: no more graded lesson observations from September 2015
  5. More strikes at University of Salford in row over sackings
  6. Strike against the cuts at London Metropolitan University
  7. Stamp out casual contracts campaign
  8. Hundreds march through Bolton in protest at sackings
  9. Aberdeen UCU calls for alternative to staff cuts
  10. Stop the executions in Egypt
  11. Demonstration against casualisation and TeachHigher, 19 June 2015
  12. CPD course in Cardiff: classroom management, 27 May
  13. 'Beyond the consumerist agenda' -  teaching in further education
  14. Events, updates and publications


1. In the news
Staff on casual contracts are struggling to meet their household bills, warned a report released by UCU yesterday. There was more bad news for the sector as a Guardian survey revealed high levels of unhappiness amongst staff and a think-tank said student repayments may need to increase to try and avoid a crisis over unpaid student debt. One Swansea University dean who has tried to make a career out of abusing staff and students got his comeuppance when his chair of governors, Sir Roger Jones, apologised unreservedly for Professor Piercy's "puerile" remarks about trade unionists.
One university boss who could learn a lot from Sir Roger is George Holmes at Bolton University. Hundreds of people marched through the town on Saturday calling for the reinstatement of Damien and Jennifer Markey who Holmes sacked in March for allegedly leaking stories to the press - something both they and the press deny. Strike action at the University of Surrey is off after a breakthrough in talks about compulsory redundancies this week.
Read all about it here.

2. Save adult learning: #lovefe lobby of Parliament 16 June
UCU is holding a lobby of parliament at Westminster on the afternoon of Tuesday 16 June 2015 calling on newly elected MPs to stop proposed 24% cuts to the England adult education budget and commit to properly funded lifelong learning.

  • Assemble: 2pm, Parliament Square and then lobby and meeting with speakers between 3pm-5pm at Houses of Parliament.
  • Transport from regions across the union is being organised - please contact your regional office for details.
  • If you are able to attend and also hope to meet with your MP then please let us know here.
  • Please continue to sign and circulate the petition now over 40,000 signatures.

UCU Wales is also running an 'FE for everyone' campaign against the savage cuts in Wales and you can find details, reports and campaign materials here.

3. 'End austerity now!': People's Assembly demonstrations in Glasgow and London, 20 June
Trade Unions and anti-cuts campaigners across Scotland will be staging a Scotland United Against Austerity event in Glasgow to coincide with the People's Assembly demonstration in London on 20 June. Thousands will be joining the protests against austerity and UCU members are encouraged to make plans to attend and help build these important events.

4. Ofsted: no more graded lesson observations from September 2015
At a recent Ofsted standing group of teaching associations UCU was given verbal confirmation that Ofsted will not make a judgement on the quality of teaching, learning and assessment using graded lesson observations.  Graded observations of lessons will not be used in any part of the inspection process.  The new inspection handbook and instruments are due to be published in mid-June at which point we look forward to seeing written confirmation of this. 

5. More strikes at University of Salford in row over sackings
Staff at the University of Salford are set to take part in a four-day strike next week (Tuesday 26 May to Friday 29 May) in protest at the treatment of two colleagues who were put on forced gardening leave, sacked and refused any appeal. UCU members in the school of nursing, midwifery, social work and social sciences will be on strike next week. That four-day strike will be followed by a week-long walk-out (Monday 1 June to Friday 5 June) by members who work in the school of marketing and student recruitment, where the sacked pair worked. Please show your support by signing the petition here

6. Strike against the cuts at London Metropolitan University
Members at London Met took strike action this week against proposed 165 job cuts which the union  believes could signal the end for the university. Sign the petition to save London Met here.

7. Stamp out casual contracts campaign
A report this week announced that more than two-fifths of university and college staff on casual contracts struggle to pay the bills. Read more on the union's campaign against casualised employment and on some of the progress we've made here

8. Hundreds march through Bolton in protest at sackings
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Bolton on Saturday  in defence of two University of Bolton staff Damien and Jennifer Markey who were dismissed for allegedly leaking information to the press about vice-chancellor. Students, lecturers and union members marched from Queen's Park to a rally in the town square calling for an end to trade union victimisation. Please sign the petition here.

9. Aberdeen UCU calls for alternative to staff cuts
UCU members at University of Aberdeen are currently being balloted for industrial action to stop planned job cuts including compulsory redundancies and you can sign the petition calling on the university to find more progressive ways to save money here.

10. Stop the executions in Egypt
UCU members are encouraged to sign a new Egypt Solidarity statement condemning the recent death sentences that have been announced by the Egyptian authorities. One of those condemned to death is Professor Emad Shahin from the American University in Cairo.   

11. Demonstration against casualisation and TeachHigher, 19 June
Warwick UCU have called a demonstration against casualisation and their own university's plans to engage hourly-paid teaching staff as casual workers through TeachHigher. The demonstration will take place on the university campus on 19 June and will feature local and national UCU speakers. More details on the event Facebook page here.

12. CPD course in Cardiff: classroom management, 27 May
There are still some places on a UCU classroom management course taking place in Cardiff next week Wednesday 27 May. Delivered by an experienced education psychologist this is part of our free 'Learning for Life' continuing professional development (CPD) programme and is aimed at helping members develop strategies for managing student behaviour in the classroom.

13. 'Beyond the consumerist agenda' -  teaching in further education
We are consulting members on this draft statement on teaching in further education which reflects UCU policy on a range of issues from teaching qualifications and professional development, to lesson observations and funding. Please email your comments to Angela Nartey at anartey@ucu.org.uk or Rob Copeland at rcopeland@ucu.org.uk by Friday 31 July 2015. 

14. Events, updates and publications

All the best,

Justine Stephens
UCU head of campaigns

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