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The Friday email: 21 October 2022

21 October 2022

Image: Respect FE picket line at Blackburn College

Respect FE: Cost-of-living strikes entered fourth week

UCU members at 22 further education colleges in England have been on strike for three days this week (Tuesday 18-Thursday 20 October; Monday 17-Wednesday 19 October for five colleges across London). This is the biggest wave of industrial action further education has ever seen. Overall, staff will walk out for up to 10 days in total in an action that started four weeks ago. UCU is demanding employers make a pay offer that reflects the soaring cost of living. Since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35% and the pay gap between school and college teachers stands at around £9k. Unqualified college teachers earn as little as £21k whilst qualified teachers earn as little as £26k.

UCU Rising: ballot closes today

As our national UCU Rising industrial action ballot in higher education closes (officially Friday 21 October, 17:00), congratulations to every single member, rep and supporter who has participated and encouraged others to get the vote out. There has been a huge effort from all parts of our union to maximise turnout. We are expecting results from Civica Election Services, the independent election scrutineer, on Monday 24 October. Participating branches will then be invited to send delegates to a branch delegating meeting (BDM) on Monday 31 October, followed by a higher education committee (HEC) meeting on Thursday 3 November. UCU members have also been sent a survey; please complete the survey and have your say on the next steps of the pay and working conditions and USS pensions disputes.

Imperial College: industrial action ballot results

This week Imperial College UCU received news of an excellent result in their industrial action ballot over pay and working conditions. Turnout was 61% with over 80% voting for action.  Imperial College, which is outside national pay bargaining and is one of the wealthiest higher education institutions in the country, has admitted that management is choosing to spend the bulk of its £162m surplus on buildings rather than staff. Imperial College UCU reps and members will be discussing what action they wish to take over the next few days.

Falmouth University two-tier dispute: three-day strike

Falmouth University UCU members were on strike from Monday 17-Wednesday 19 October in defence of post-92 agreements and against the rise of the subcos. Falmouth University is now employing all new academic staff through a subsidiary, Falmouth Staffing Ltd. FSL staff now not only lose continuity of service in the sector but also access to the Teachers' Pension Scheme. Please follow the branch on social media.

ACE member meeting with Margaret Greenwood MP

On Tuesday 1 November, 17:30-19:00, we are holding an on-line adult and community education (ACE) member meeting with Margaret Greenwood MP, chair of the adult education all-party parliamentary group (APPG). This is an opportunity to exchange ideas and to let Margaret Greenwood MP know about your experiences of working in ACE. The meeting is open to all members working in ACE; to register for the event please contact David Bussell.

October is Black History Month

Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate Black history and energise Black and white activists in the anti-racist fight. Please let us know what your branch is planning.

UK officer and NEC elections in 2023: nominations now open

Nominations are now open for vacancies for UCU vice president (becoming president in 2025-26), honorary treasurer and for more than 20 positions on UCU's national executive committee (NEC). Full details of terms of office for these positions, the full calling notice and nomination forms can be found here, or requested from Kay Metcalfe. The deadline for completed nominations is Friday 11 November, 17:00.

Review of Rule 13 (conduct of members) procedure: call for submissions

The Rule 13 (conduct of members) procedure is being reviewed by an elected commission. If you have been involved in the Rule 13 procedure in the last 7 years, whether as complainant, respondent, witness or in any other role, you are invited to give feedback on your experience to inform the Commission's work. A form for submitting comments and further information can be found here.

UCU climate and environment update

Please click here for October's UCU climate and environment update, including:

  • UCU COP27 statement
  • UCU CPD offerings on climate and sustainability
  • COP27 climate themed learning campaign
  • Climate and ecological emergency annual meeting: Thursday 10 November
  • Mass mobilisation on Saturday 12 November.

Solidarity with protesters in Iran

UCU strongly condemns the brutal crackdown on peaceful protests by the Iranian authorities. This includes the killing of children and violent attacks on student demonstrators. More than 200 people have been killed and many more injured and detained as a result of public outrage over the death of a young Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa (Jina) Amini on the Friday 16 September. Please sign Amnesty International's petition calling on the international community to take action now.

Last updated: 24 October 2022