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Campaign update: 8 July 2016


EU nationals must not be used as pawns in Brexit negotiations, says UCU

UCU this week called on the government and Conservative party leadership candidates to make a firm commitment that all EU nationals already in the UK can stay. The union was responding to a refusal from Tory frontrunner Theresa May to confirm that EU nationals could stay, and the suggestion that their status could be up for negotiation as part of Britain's Brexit strategy. UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Politicians have been ducking the difficult fallout from the Brexit vote for too long. It is simply not acceptable to try and use EU nationals who have been living, working and paying tax in this country as pawns in any Brexit negotiations. It's time for the government, and those who wish to lead it, to clearly state that EU nationals can remain in this country.'

HE pay campaign - Forty universities hit by strikes this week with more to come

UCU members at 40 universities were on strike across the UK this week from Scotland, to Plymouth. Thirty-three institutions took action on Tuesday with many joining regional rallies with colleagues in the National Union of Teachers, who were also on strike on Tuesday. Ten institutions will be out next week with Edge Hill and Exeter kicking things off on Monday. Writing in Public Sector Focus magazine, Sally Hunt takes the employers to task for their failure to close the gender pay gap and refusal to make a fair pay offer. She also says it's a scandal that universities have allowed insecure contracts to become the norm and warns that the more normal they become, the more their existence will lower the bar of acceptable employer behaviour. 

You can see all the action as it happens over at our wall of support, and please continue to post picket-line pictures and send messages of solidarity on Twitter using our #fairpayinHE hashtag.

Sainsbury review of technical education

The government must invest properly in colleges and the further education workforce if proposed reforms of technical and professional education are to succeed, said UCU today. The union was commenting ahead of the Sainsbury review of technical education, due to be published today. The review is expected to recommend significant changes such as young people at 16 being asked to choose between an academic A-level option, or to take one of 15 new technical options. The new technical routes will be delivered through a mix of college-based courses and apprenticeships, with a focus on developing core skills including English and maths, as well as specialist occupational skills. UCU welcomed the report's emphasis on college-based learning as a key part of each new route, but warned that government will need to invest in colleges and address the falling value of lecturers' pay if it wants to ensure that the new routes are high-quality and delivered by expert teaching staff.

Other news this week

In the news

  • EU nationals must not be used as pawns in Brexit negotiations
  • Strikes continue in universities across the UK
  • Biggest overhaul to post-16 education for 70 years
  • Date set for UCU and NUS national demonstration
  • Sally Hunt challenges universities to ask students what they think about shiny buildings
  • Socrates spotted the problem with for-profit education in 400BC, why didn't we listen?
  • Report warns of difficulties for Scottish students to secure university places
  • University of Bolton under fire over cash and iPad incentives to recruit students
  • Cornwall College principal resigns after UCU scrutinises his pay hike with jobs on the line
  • South Downs College strike off after new deal is accepted

Read all about it here

Emergency demonstration: No To Austerity, No To Racism

12:00, Saturday 16 July: Assemble at Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA

UCU is calling on ALL members to support us in securing a big UCU presence at this important event. Now more than ever, it's crucial we stand in solidarity with migrants, our friends, colleagues, students and fellow UCU members who now face an uncertain future. We know our sector is stronger in diversity - that's why we want to see a big turnout from UCU members at the demonstration to send a clear message that we reject racism and xenophobia in all its forms.

Please circulate details of this event to all of your colleagues and friends: an emergency demonstration against racism and austerity. If you are able to help on the day with handing out UCU materials and carrying the banner -please contact Justine Stephens ( as soon as possible.

New standards for literacy and numeracy

The Education and Training Foundation are seeking feedback on the new (draft) national standards for literacy and numeracy as part of the reform of Functional Skills. Please respond by 25 July.

'Dying to Work' campaign: success at Central College Nottingham

Congratulations to the UCU branch at Central College Nottingham, who negotiated with local management to make the college the first further education institution to sign up to the TUC's 'Dying to Work' campaign, which is pressing for additional employment protection for terminally ill workers. Every person battling terminal illness deserves protection and peace of mind - you can find out more about the campaign and sign the petition here.

Last updated: 9 May 2019