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General election 2024

The Friday email: 14 June 2024

14 June 2024

General election 2024: UCU's manifestos

With the general election fast approaching, UCU has set out a bold vision for a fairer and more sustainable post-16 education system that has the interests of students and staff at its heart.

Built around five core principles for an improved system, our manifesto sets out demands for wide-ranging reforms of funding, regulation and staff engagement across further, higher, adult and prison education. Click here to read the manifesto.

Higher education policy is devolved and many of UCU Scotland's demands are directed to the Scottish rather than UK government. Other important policy areas, like immigration policy and employment law, are reserved. UCU Scotland has a manifesto for this election that members living in Scotland are encouraged to use to contact candidates in the general election.

Click here to visit UCU's general election 2024 page, which also contains links about voter registration. UCU encourages members to remind their students to register to vote.

Reclaim Higher Education: Live on Wednesday 19 June

Join us for the next Reclaim HE UCU Live on Wednesday 19 June, 18:30-19:45. Hosted by Afua Hagan, with UCU general secretary Jo Grady and John McDonnell, most recently Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington and former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Join us on YouTubeFacebook, or Twitter/X.

Please support the following university branches where UCU members are continuing to defend jobs and education:

  • Aston University: the employer has announced a proposal for significant redundancies among professional services staff, currently over 150 are at risk. This comes at a time where redundancy selection is taking place in chemistry and maths, and languages staff are also a separate redundancy process. The initiation of a third redundancy consultation, as well as significant job losses though a general voluntary redundancy scheme, illustrates the broad attack on staff and their working conditions
  • Edge Hill University: Edge Hill UCU is leading a campaign to stop job cuts in the Department of English and Creative Arts. The employer has confirmed that 11 out of 29 academic staff will be sacked, and that formal redundancy notices will be issued in June. Please sign this petition which has already attracted over 2,000 signatures
  • Goldsmiths, University of Londonlast week UCU announced a global academic boycott of Goldsmiths over the institution's confirmed plans to cut one in six academic jobs. Staff at Goldsmiths are already undertaking a marking boycott and will be striking for two weeks later in the month in a dispute over management's attempt to sack these staff. 
  • University of LincolnLincoln UCU members have voted to take industrial action over drastic cuts to over 200 jobs. 80% of members who voted supported industrial action, on a turnout of 55%. Dates for strikes will be announced in due course, but may be as soon as next month which could impact clearing and open days
  • University of Portsmouth: in its ongoing campaign to defend job and education at the university, Portsmouth UCU has launched an online petition asking for the withdrawal of compulsory redundancies. Please show your support by signing the petition here
  • Sheffield Hallam University: UCU members at Sheffield Hallam have voted to strike over drastic cuts and erosion of terms and conditions. Dates for strikes will be announced in due course.

Further FE lobbying success

UCU has received further lobbying success for the further education sector, after the Education Select Committee inquiry into 'Teacher recruitment, training and retention' published its report recently, acknowledging the shortage of staff in the FE sector. You can read UCU's evidence to the inquiry here. For further information, contact UCU FE policy officer Rhianwen Roberts.

Coventry Adult Education Service UCU petition

Coventry Adult Education Service UCU branch are asking for support with signing the e-petition, 'Save the Adult Education Service creches and course provision'

A major restructure was announced in January 2024. The employer's proposals mean a mixture of some new lecturing roles on different contracts and redundancy as part of a £700k cost-saving exercise. A further blow to the Service is that we will lose all seven of our creche facilities that have been provided to learners' children for many years. It is deemed too costly to continue running the creches. Twenty-two of the twenty-three creche staff will be losing their jobs too at the end of July.

The Coventry Trades Union Council have put the petition on the Coventry City Council website. Please note that only individuals who live, work or study in the Coventry area is eligible to complete the petition.

Anti-casualisation wins at Sheffield and Sussex

University of Sheffield UCU has won a new and significantly more secure contract for graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). This agreement will see zero-hour contracts being replaced by fixed-term, guaranteed-hours contracts, which will enable postgraduate researchers to access full employment rights and the employer's rewards and recognition scheme. The branch now enters into negotiations around minimum lengths for fixed-term contracts and the development of a framework that will see permanent employment become the default for research and/or teaching staff.

Following an intense and sustained period of organising, campaigning, and negotiating, University of Sussex UCU has secured an agreement on a new contract for postgraduate researchers who are contracted to teach (doctoral tutors). This deal meets all five of their key demands--most notably, a new workload allocation model which will result in significant pay rises for many members.

USS pensions: Early Retirement Factors

Click here for the UCU pensions official's summary on the ongoing work carried out by the UCU Superannuation Working Group (SWG) on USS pensions and Early Retirement Factors. USS members considering early retirement should read this update and act accordingly.

General secretary hundred day plans: giving members a voice

UCU general secretary Jo Grady has produced a set of discussion documents on the following areas:

  • building local bargaining in higher education
  • building local bargaining in further education
  • building and improving on our equality and policy work
  • building and improving on our legal scheme
  • improving participation in our union's democracy.

Click here to download the hundred day plans document and you can register below for online briefings:

UCU continuing professional development workshops

Join us for the following 90-minute online interactive workshops that are free and open to all UCU members:

Please look out for our Monday CPD email with details of all the online workshops running this term.

London Pride 2024

UCU has a few wristbands available for joining the UCU walking group at London Pride on Saturday 29 June. If you are available that day and are interested to join, please click here for more information and complete the form.

Ceasefire NOW! and demonstration in Glasgow

UCU joins with many others in Palestine, the UK, and beyond to reiterate the demands for an immediate ceasefire, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, unrestricted access to humanitarian aid, and the lifting of the siege of Gaza. 

We are very concerned by the sharp rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia across the UK and beyond since October. We restate our unwavering opposition to all forms of antisemitism and Islamophobia--hate has no place on our campuses or in our society. UCU also has a dedicated 'Ceasefire Now' web area where you can find downloads, information and resources.

UCU and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) are supporting the national demonstration on Saturday 15 June (11:00) at George Square in Glasgow. Its central call is for a ceasefire, the end of weapons sales to Israel, and against the spread of war in the Middle East.

Last updated: 14 June 2024