Fighting fund banner


UCU Westminster flag

The Friday email: 21 June 2024

21 June 2024

UK general election 2024

With the UK general election taking place in under two weeks, 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.

Our manifesto sets out demands for wide-ranging reforms of funding, regulation and staff engagement across further, higher, adult and prison education.

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

What you can do in the run up to polling day (Thursday 4 July):

Reclaim Higher Education updates

Earlier this week we held a Reclaim HE live event, featuring UCU general secretary Jo Grady, industrial correspondent Alan Jones, Goldsmiths UCU branch and former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell. We reflected upon UCU's demands for the next government and what UCU members can do to continue to push for the radical reform of education that we all need. You can watch this on catch up on YouTube.

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 in 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
  • Goldsmiths, University of Londonthis month 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 are striking in a dispute over management's attempt to sack these staff
  • Middlesex University has announced that a further 181 people are at risk of being made redundant. This follows the reduction of teaching disciplines last November where 23 posts were at risk. Debbie Driscoll, UCU regional support official (London HE), said: 'The university has shown a blatant disregard for their obligations to consult UCU about these restructures. We are very concerned about what looks like the targeting of the older and more experienced workforce and the side-lining of the unions in the so-called "consultation process". We would urge the university to rethink this proposal and talk to UCU about avoiding redundancies wherever possible'.
  • University of Portsmouth: in its ongoing campaign to defend jobs and education at the university, Portsmouth UCU launched an online petition, which has already received over 1,000 signatures, asking for the withdrawal of compulsory redundancies. Please show your support by signing the petition here.

North East college group CEO given vote of no confidence by staff

UCU members at five colleges in Cleveland, Redcar and Stockton-on-Tees have today called on management to make an improved offer after they delivered an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the CEO and group principal of Education Training Collective (ETC). The no confidence vote is the latest escalation in the long running dispute over the 2022/23 pay award. It comes after staff took strike action, having rejected ETC's offer which did not include any improvement on pay and was limited to two extra 'wellbeing days' and additional points on the lecturer and course leader pay scales.

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. The service will also lose all seven creche facilities that have been provided to learners' children for many years. Twenty-two out of twenty-three creche staff will be losing their jobs 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 are eligible to complete the petition.

Report shows universities are failing disabled postgraduate researchers

Less than four in ten (36%) postgraduate researchers (PGRs) with non-visible disabilities are happy with the support they receive from their university. Click here to read the new UCU report, 'Non-visibly disabled PGR experiences of studies and careers', written by Tanya Osborne, Phoenix Andrews and Zara Bain.

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 select a date below to register for an online briefing:

USS pensions updates: Capita data breach; Early Retirement Factors

Click here for an update on the 2023 USS Capita data breach. Should any member believe that their USS data has been used illegally, they can contact USS to raise concerns and can also email the UCU pensions mailbox for advice.

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

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.

Ceasefire NOW!

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.

Urgent appeal: support rescue workers in Ukraine

On behalf of the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NGPU), the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign is organising an appeal to assist a miners' rescue squad in the Donetsk region of East Ukraine, who undertake rescue and firefighting in the towns under regular bombing. Donations will be used to pay for PPE and rescue equipment.

Last updated: 21 June 2024