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The Friday email: 17 November 2023

17 November 2023

Exposed: campaign launches next week

Next week UCU will be launching our union-wide Exposed campaign to uncover government interference, monitoring and meddling in our sectors. 

Further education staff are being forced to monitor their students and have come under investigation themselves under the Prevent duty. In higher education, a government minister has smeared our members. As a result, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have suspended their advisory board on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Even worse, we have discovered that government employees are compiling secret dossiers on our members.

Click here to watch back our panel event from last week with Owen Jones, Priyamvada Gopal and Daniel Kebede to find out more about why this campaign is so important. 

We have reached out to your local reps to find out how these attacks are manifesting themselves in your workplaces and will be exposing case studies from across our sectors and across the country. We will be providing you with resources and tools to get involved individually, as part of your branch, and to support our national campaign. 

The government, opposition parties, the media, legal avenues - we will leave no stone unturned in our campaign in defence of our members. 

Respect FE college strikes

Congratulations and solidarity to members participating in the fantastic further education (FE) strike action this week. Our picket lines at colleges where no acceptable offer has been made were big, noisy and vibrant and thanks to all our reps, members and supporters who delivered three days of solid strike action. College staff fresh from the picket line joined our packed Rally for Respect on Tuesday and heard from FE union leaders, John McDonnell MP and of course our own striking reps and members.

32 colleges across England have made acceptable offers and avoided strikes. Now the remaining employers need to do the right thing and invest in their staff or face further action.

UCU Rising: strategy consultation closing on Monday 

In higher education members are being consulted on the next steps in our national pay and conditions dispute. If you have not yet completed the consultation, please find an email entitled 'have your say in the UCU Rising strategy consultation' (check your spam/junk folder in case the email has ended up there). The email contains your unique link to take part in the consultation, which closes on Monday 20 November at 12.00 noon.

Our elected pay and conditions negotiators have also provided an update on where we stand in our negotiations with UCEA, which can be viewed on the website here

Climate and ecological emergency

Register here to join us online for our annual meeting which includes opening remarks from UCU general secretary, Dr Jo Grady, a panel discussion on divesting from fossil fuels, and a panel on critical engagement with COP28.

Read more about the critical role of industrial relations and trade unions for progress on climate adaptation in our education institutions.

Defend jobs at Oxford Brookes University

Oxford Brookes University has announced plans to reduce academic staff numbers in humanities and social sciences and technology, design and the environment leaving 48 jobs at risk of compulsory redundancy.

UCU reps have challenged the need to make the proposed £2 million savings given the apparent positive financial situation of the university and concerns have also been raised about lack of meaningful consultation with the union and affected staff. Please send messages of support and follow the branch on Twitter/X.

March against racism on St Andrew's day, Saturday 25 November, Glasgow

Assemble: 10.30am, Glasgow Green, rally at Strathclyde University, Technology & Innovation Centre from 12.00 noon. The theme of this year's STUC march is 'From Erskine to Elgin, the far right is not welcome.'

Sheffield UCU push against restructures

UCU and other campus unions at University of Sheffield have released a report, showing that members have serious concerns about management's 'New Schools' restructure. Staff have raised issues including workload, respect for staff and university governance. Unions have urged the university executive board to withdraw the proposal.

Take action to protect Palestinians and education in Palestine under attack: email Your MP

Fobzu (Friends of Birzeit University) urgently calls on you to join their 'Email Your MP' campaign to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the alarming attacks on education in Palestine. Time is of the essence and as Israel's military campaign persists without restraint, swift action is vital to safeguard lives and support the Palestinian people's pursuit of education and their right to live in freedom and dignity. Don't wait - click here to use their quick template email to contact your MP today.

Last updated: 17 November 2023