Campaign update: 11 March 2016

International Women's Day | In the news | Free Miguel Beltrán | HE privatisation plans | Build the union | 'Anti-lobbying' regulation | Save Hastings campus | Refugees welcome | March for health, homes, jobs and education | Improve your skills | Egypt: justice for Giulio Regeni | Events and publications

Dear colleague

In this week's campaigns update:

  1. International Women's Day - the fight for equal pay continues
  2. In the news
  3. Free Miguel Beltrán - 'a warm hug' from La Picota maximum security prison
  4. Union responds to higher education privatisation plans
  5. Build the union week 16-22 May
  6. Research grants and 'anti-lobbying' regulation
  7. Save Hastings campus, University of Brighton
  8. Refugees welcome: stand up to racism events, 19 March
  9. People's Assembly march for health, homes, jobs and education: 16 April
  10. Improve your skills with UCU's free professional development courses
  11. Egypt: justice for Giulio Regeni
  12. Events and publications

1. International Women's Day - the fight for equal pay continues

UCU's focus on International Women's Day earlier this week was our campaign to challenge employers on the continuing gender pay gap in colleges and universities and we published a report detailing the discrepancies and discrimination that exist across post-school education. If you think you might have an equal pay or other discrimination claim, please call 0800 983 0344 (10am-5pm Monday to Friday).  

2. In the news

  • Report into gender pay gap
  • UCU welcomes passing of HE Governance Bill in Scotland
  • Guardian online debate on gender equality in HE
  • UCU responds to privatisation plans for higher education sector
  • University of Brighton's Hastings campus

Read all about it here.

3. Free Miguel Beltrán - 'a warm hug' from La Picota maximum security prison
Jailed academic, Dr Miguel Beltrán, has recorded this moving message thanking UCU for campaigning for his release and for an end to the persecution he has suffered for criticising the Colombian government. Our colleague Dr Beltrán, along with many other political prisoners, is being held in La Picota prison, Bogota, in appalling conditions, on charges of 'conspiracy' and 'rebellion' simply for publishing academic research on the Colombian conflict. As Dr Beltrán states, 'in Colombia critical thought is criminalised'. 

Please watch and share the film and sign the Labour Start petition calling for his release.

4. Union responds to higher education privatisation plans
UCU this week warned that government plans to increase the role of 'for-profit providers' in delivering English higher education risk damaging the status and international reputation of universities. You can read more here and find out about the union's campaign against the privatisation of education here.

5. Build the union week 16-22 May
Following the great success of the union's recent recruitment week which saw an 80% increase in new members compared to the same week last year, we are already getting ready for our next national week of activity to promote the union beginning Monday 16 May 2016. Please put the date in your diaries and contact your branch to get involved.

6. Research grants and 'anti-lobbying' regulation
UCU has written to ministers with concerns about proposals to ban organisations receiving government funding from using those funds to influence public policy or legislation. Please sign this petition calling for an exemption for grants for academic research.

7. Save Hastings campus, University of Brighton
University of Brighton vice-chancellor (VC) has announced she intends to close the Hastings campus within two years and set up a 'University Centre'. UCU believes these plans will mean the institution ceases to be a major economic force in the town and the union is joining community campaigners, students, the local council and other unions to campaign to save much needed jobs and educational opportunities in Hastings.

8. Refugees welcome: stand up to racism events, 19 March
To mark the United Nations (UN) international day for the elimination of racial discrimination UCU is supporting the 'Refugees welcome - stand up to racism, islamophobia, anti-Semitism and fascism' demonstrations on Saturday 19 March in London, Cardiff and Glasgow. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt will be speaking at the London event.

  • London demo assembles 12 noon, BBC Portland Place, London, W1A 1AA
  • Cardiff demo assembles 11:30am, Clare Gardens, Cardiff, CF11 6EN
  • Glasgow demo assembles 10:30am, George Square, Glasgow

9. People's Assembly march for health, homes, jobs and education: 16 April
UCU members will join the anti-austerity march for health, homes, jobs and education assembling at 1pm, Gower Street, London, NW1 on 16 April 2016. Invite your friends on Facebook.

10. Improve your skills with UCU's free professional development courses
There are still some places available on the following courses, which are free to all members. More details and registration:
Classroom management - Luton, 19 April
Voice care for educators - Sheffield, 21 April

11. Egypt: justice for Giulio Regeni
UCU has joined a growing number of organisations demanding justice for Giulio Regeni, an Italian doctoral student at the University of Cambridge, who was tortured and murdered in Cairo. Please sign the petition calling for the UK government to ensure an investigation.

12. Events and publications

All the best

Justine Stephens
UCU head of campaigns

 

Last updated: 23 October 2017