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We demand better: UCU at the TUC march and rally, 18 June 2022

The Friday email: 29 April 2022

29 April 2022

Respect FE: college staff deserve better

UCU submitted a claim for 2022/23 to the further education employer body, the Association of Colleges (AoC), calling for: a 10% pay increase on all points with a minimum uplift of £2,000; all colleges to become accredited Living Wage Foundation employers; and significant movement towards agreements on workloads. The claim comes after thousands of FE members in England voted in an indicative ballot with 91% of voters backing industrial action as part of our campaign on pay, conditions, and professional respect.

Moreover, data on the level of casualisation at FE colleges in England is now available for the year 2019-20. You can see how your college ranks here.

Higher education: sector conferences on Four Fights and USS pension disputes

The special higher education sector conferences (SHESC) on the Four Fights and USS disputes have now taken place. The results of the Four Fights voting are now available and you can read the key decisions and votes here. The results of the USS conference voting will be available soon followed by a meeting of the higher education committee (HEC) on Thursday 12 May, who will make decisions about the dates of action in both disputes.

No to 'fire and rehire': support Richmond upon Thames College staff

UCU is in dispute with Richmond upon Thames College (RUTC) due to its plans to dismiss its entire teaching workforce of 127 lecturers and offer re-engagement on inferior contractual terms. The college wants to force through cuts to holidays which would see lecturers lose 13 days holiday leave entitlement. RUTC UCU members unanimously backed moving to an industrial action ballot which will close on Friday 6 May. Please see this page if you wish to send messages of solidarity for the branch.

University of Kent UCU wins no compulsory redundancies deal

For the third year running University of Kent UCU have defended against all job cuts. Members balloted four months in advance of 'reviews' of Arts and Humanities subjects and launched a successful marking boycott. The willingness of members to take decisive action backed up by an all-women and non-binary lay negotiating team at Kent UCU have secured a significant victory: no compulsory redundancy processes in the calendar year 2022. For further details on this win please click here.

Workload Allocation Model dispute at University of Winchester

University of Winchester is seeking to impose changes to the Workload Allocation Model (WAM) and has ignored the established system of collective bargaining. UCU officers approved a ballot for strike action and action short of a strike (ASOS) to open on Thursday 5 May and close on Wednesday 25 May. Click on this page for more on this dispute.

Goldsmiths UCU escalates industrial action

Goldsmiths' Council approved senior management's plans and issued notification of redundancy to 16 members of staff in History, English & Creative Writing and Professional Services. Staff who are UCU members have been targeted; the branch co-president, departmental reps, and one of the branch treasurers have all been sent dismissal notices. In response, Goldsmiths UCU has escalated its industrial action and a marking and assessment boycott has now begun. Click here for further details, and please consider donating to Goldsmiths UCU's fighting fund.

Staffordshire University faced fourth day of strike action

Staff at Staffordshire University downed tools on Wednesday 27 April over management's decision to employ new staff via a wholly owned subsidiary company. The strike has come as the university welcomes student applicants. The university was already forced to cancel a previous applicant visit day, planned for 30 March. Staff were already out on strike on: Monday 28 March, Wednesday 30 March and Thursday 7 April. Click here for more on developments at Staffordshire University UCU.

Pay award at London South East Colleges (LSEC)

A 2% pay award backdated to September 2021 has been agreed at London South East Colleges (LSEC) for 2021/22 after successful negotiations with management.

Ukraine: education union solidarity

Education International (EI), the global union federation for education workers including UCU, has launched a solidarity assistance fund for members of Ukrainian education unions who are still in Ukraine or have been forced to flee the country and are now refugees. Please click here for details of how members and branches can contribute to the education union solidarity fund, as well as current statements from UCU and EI on the war in Ukraine. 

LGBT+ rights: international voices webinar

UCU members are invited to join this online webinar which focuses on international LGBT+ experience and issues in 3 countries: Brazil, Malaysia and Uganda. This is in the lead up to the International Day against Homo/Bi/Intersex/Trans phobia (Tuesday 17 May). The webinar starts on Friday 13 May 10:30-noon; please register using this form.

Equality research conference 2022

You can now register for UCU's Equality research conference 2022, entitled 'Equal voices? - demanding recognition and action in the struggle for equality'. Registration deadline is Tuesday 10 May, and the conference will be held over three online sessions from Tuesday 17-Thursday 19 May.

Equal Pay Toolkit

The Equality Trust, with union involvement, has drawn up an Equal Pay Toolkit to help employees, workers and union representatives to address unequal pay in their workplaces through examining the policies and practices that lead to this inequality. The toolkit explains what equal pay is, how it intersects with the gender pay gap and why issues occur in the workplace. It offers help with talking about pay, adapting policies and conducting equal (horizontal) pay audits. Members are encouraged to use the toolkit to address unequal pay issues in their workplace.

IFS research proves student loan requirements 'attack on the working class'

UCU said that minimum eligibility requirements for student loans 'would make a mockery of the government's proclaimed commitment to levelling up'. The union was responding to research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) which shows that requiring university applicants to have at least a 4/C grade in English and Maths GCSEs, or two A levels (or equivalents) at grade E or above would retrict access to student loans for around 40% of school pupils.

Sheku Bayoh vigil, Tuesday 10 May

This will take place on Tuesday 10 May at 09:00 at Capital House, Festival Square in Edinburgh. The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and UCU Scotland are supporting the vigil marking the opening of the public inquiry into the death in police custody of Sheku Bayoh (1983-2015). Please support the vigil. Black Lives Matter!

Build the TUC demonstration, Saturday 18 June

Please help build the TUC demonstration on Saturday 18 June demanding action on the cost of living and a pay rise for all. UCU is supporting the demonstration and will be highlighting our own campaigns on pay for education workers. Assemble: 11:00, Portland Place W1, march at 12 noon, rally at 13:00 in Parliament Square in London.

Political fund: right to give a withdrawal notice

A notice to members in Great Britain who joined the union on or after 1 March 2018 is issued today in respect of the union's political fund. More information about the political fund can found here.

Last updated: 29 April 2022