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220614 Respect FE ballot envelope version 2

The Friday email: 8 September 2023

8 September 2023

Respect FE: vote YES for a new deal for college staff

The Respect FE industrial action ballot opened this week so if you are at one of over a hundred participating college branches, please look out for your papers in the post and vote YES straight away. UCU is fighting for a new deal for college staff on pay, workload and binding national negotiations and every member can help by backing your union with a massive turnout for action.

This is UCU's biggest ever campaign in further education (FE) but to deliver the change we need, your union needs you!

England FE colleges' finances

UCU has analysed what England FE colleges have done with the £700m additional funding they received since 2019/20, and shows that the sector's financial health is improving and there is money available for a fair pay rise.

You can use this additional tool to see how much funding your college is getting (also includes principal pay data).

UCU Rising: industrial action update

The consultation of members on next steps in the marking and assessment boycott (MAB) closed last Friday and you can read the results here. 60% of members that voted supported a suspension of the MAB and consequently the union withdrew this part of the industrial action. Please see here for details of what this will mean for you if you have marking and assessment responsibilities.

The elected representatives on higher education committee (HEC) called a further five strike days over the pay and working conditions dispute from Monday 25 to Friday 29 September and members in participating branches are asked to support the action and join picket lines. Some branches have arranged variations to the dates based on local circumstances and you can read full details here.

The union is also once again gearing up to launch a ballot of members to renew our industrial action mandate should employers fail to negotiate a settlement. Please make sure your details are up to date on MyUCU and get ready to start campaigning for another ballot victory in the coming weeks. We will be in a position to release the full ballot timetable next week.

Northern Ireland FE fair pay and conditions dispute: important update

After the imposition of 1% awards for the last two years, continuing the treatment of Northern Ireland lecturers as the poor relations of the education sector, UCU has today notified all six college employers of widespread escalation of industrial action.

We are asking Northern Ireland FE members to tune into a live broadcast with general secretary Jo Grady and president-elect and national FEC chair Maxine Looby, on Monday 11 September at 12:45 as they set out the next steps in UCU's campaign for a fair deal for Northern Ireland lecturers. The broadcast will be recorded and available for viewing during and after the event: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Stop staff cuts at the University of the Highlands and Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) UCU members are currently fighting £3m cuts to the staffing budget and compulsory redundancies. The branch is asking members to sign their open letter to the university principal and management. The letter has had a great response so far, but the more people who sign the louder the message to management to rethink their massive cuts, rule out compulsory redundancies and stop damaging higher education in the highlands and islands.

Introduction to casework for prison education

Places are available for 'Representing individual members: an introduction to casework' for prison education reps or those thinking about getting more involved with the branch around casework. This course will take place on Tuesday 19 September, in-person at the Priory Rooms meeting and conference centre in Birmingham.

This course covers the basics such as documenting, interviewing and case management, as well as time limits, the employment tribunal process and the Labour Research Department's Law at Work publication. For more information about expenses, time off, and travel please see our FAQ pages. You can click here to apply for this course.

Online training for the workload campaign

Register for the workload reps 2 training session on Wednesday 11 October (online, 13:30-16:30). For more information on the workload campaign and the role of the workload rep please contact Alex Lancaster.

Annual equality groups conference 2023

This conference is an opportunity to discuss and agree strategies to progress UCU's equality work for Black, disabled, LGBT+, migrant and women members. The conference will be held from Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 November, in person in Manchester with the option to join plenary sessions online. You can find more information and register here by Tuesday 17 October.

UCU LGBT+ webinars

The first in a series of webinars is now open for registration. 'Moving beyond the binaries of sexual attraction: bi, pan and queer sexualities' (Tuesday 19 September 2023, 16:00-17:30, online). Registration is required and it is advised to register at least one week before the webinar.

Sudan Solidarity conference, 30 September

Along with a host of organisations, UCU is supporting a Sudan Solidarity Conference 2023 on Saturday 30 September. Speakers include UCU president Dr Justine Mercer. Please click here for further information.

Last updated: 8 September 2023