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In the news: 19 September

19 September 2014

Staff could lose £20,000 a year if radical pension changes are forced through

The Times Higher released modelling yesterday of what will happen to USS members' pensions under the radical reforms proposed by Universities UK. Staff risk losing as much as £20,000 a year from their pension. UCU said it would be contesting the methodology behind claims that the fund was in massive financial trouble and is developing modelling of its own. At the same time Private Eye drew attention to the £300,000 pay rise enjoyed by USS chief investment officer Roger Gray.

Extra student places must be properly funded, warns report

UCU warned yesterday that the increase in the number of university students must be properly funded. Responding to a report by the Higher Education Policy Institute, the union said that higher education was not something to be piled high and delivered on the cheap. The Financial Times and BBC reported HEPI's concerns that the lifting of number controls would place a severe strain on universities. UCU added that the UK was already falling behind competitor countries when it came to investment.

Worrying drop in pay for college teaching staff

A new analysis of the further education workforce in England paints a worrying picture of falling pay for teachers, according to UCU. The Further Education Workforce Data for England report, published today by the Education and Training Foundation, reveals the average annual pay for full-time teachers fell from £29,696 in 2011-12 and £29,647 in 2012-13. However, this amounts to a more significant fall in real terms. UCU head of further education, Andrew Harden, said: "The report lays bare just how badly further education lecturers are being treated and the inequalities in the sector."

UCU members in English colleges will join 14 October strike

UCU members in English colleges will be on strike on Tuesday 14 October in a row over pay. The union's further education committee met last Friday to consider the results of a member consultation on the 2014/15 pay offer. Eight-five per cent of members who participated in the e-ballot voted to reject the 1% pay offer and support strike action in an effort to secure an improved deal. UCU will be joining a number of public sector unions on strike that day.

Four days of strikes and protests at Aberystwyth University begin today

UCU members at Aberystwyth University are on strike today along with colleagues in Unison, Unite and Prospect in a row over pensions. The action will run for four days to target the start of term and will include a rally tomorrow morning. The university closed the Aberystwyth University pension scheme in June.

Ofsted chief urged to read UCU report on lesson observations

Ofsted's national director for further education and skills, Lorna Fitzjohn, has revealed that no decision has yet been made regarding graded lesson observations in colleges, despite them being abolished in schools. UCU head of further education, Andrew Harden said the current system of lesson observations was not fit for purpose and that a complete overhaul was required. He suggested that Lorna Fitzjohn reread UCU's report earlier this year where 85 per cent of members surveyed said they did not think lesson observations were the most effective way of assessing staff performance.

Last updated: 14 March 2019