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The Friday email: 6 May 2022

6 May 2022

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 are available here. The elected representatives on the higher education committee (HEC) will meet on Thursday 12 May, and will make decisions about the action in both disputes.

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.

Industrial action at FE colleges in North West England

UCU told the bosses of six colleges in North West England (Burnley College, Bury College, City of Liverpool College, Hopwood Hall, Nelson and Colne College Group, Oldham College) to urgently raise staff pay if they want to avoid strike action set to take place on Wednesday 18 May. Industrial action will happen at The Manchester College on Friday 20 May. On these days many GCSE students are due to take a crucial English exam. UCU members and branches are encouraged to send messages of support and where possible donate to the fighting fund clearly marked 'NW FE pay disputes'.

Goldsmiths solidarity rally, Thursday 12 May

You are invited to join Goldsmiths UCU's online solidarity rally, Thursday 12 May 18:00-19:00 and you can register here. Goldsmiths UCU has been fighting to defend the university from a vicious programme of staffing cuts, course closures, and restructure but after 37 days of strikes, management has persisted in forcing through compulsory redundancies of professional services and academic staff in two departments. Please show your support by joining the rally and donating to the strike fund.

Unfair dismissal an indictment of University of Northampton's toxic culture

UCU said University of Northampton needs to address a toxic work culture that led to a staff member being bullied out of their job. An employment tribunal found that the university had unfairly dismissed employee Chris Hill. Click here for a statement from Northampton UCU's branch chair.

Ten days of strike action at Queen Mary, University of London

UCU members at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) voted to take ten days of industrial action, starting from Thursday 5 May. This action is being taken because QMUL management has refused to provide a commitment not to deduct 100% of pay for action short of a strike (ASOS) in the Four Fights and USS pension disputes. Click here for more information and donate to QMUL's local strike fund if you can.

Climate and ecological emergency committee and annual meeting

UCU Congress 2021 called for the establishment of an annual meeting and an advisory standing committee on climate emergency and environmental issues. The national executive committee (NEC) approved the implementation in March 2022. Click here for more information.

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!

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.

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. 

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.

Last updated: 6 May 2022