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Taking action in higher education

Campaign update: 17 March 2017


University of Leeds: no to the sackers' charter

Leeds UCU are campaigning against moves by management to make it easier to sack staff and the branch have entered into dispute over the university's decision to change the statutes that cover grounds for dismissal. The branch are currently considering potential industrial action and you can send messages of support to

Further education teacher numbers falling

The number of people training to teach in further education (FE) has dropped by more than a fifth in just one year. A report from the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) showed a 22 per cent decrease in the number of learners studying initial teacher education (ITE) courses for further education between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Speaking to the TES, UCU head of further education Andrew Harden said: 'To attract people into further education, the government needs to do a much better job of selling the sector. Unfortunately, massive cuts to the sector, attacks on pensions and falling real-terms wages have had exactly the opposite effect.

'We have lost around 15,000 teachers since 2009 and if the government is serious about the role FE has to play in getting Britain match fit for Brexit and beyond, then it needs to deliver a more attractive role for current and potential staff, and help people to complete their studies.'

Other news this week

1. In the news

  • Lords call for international students to be removed migration figures
  • Cabinet row over international students 
  • Government must act to stem loss of FE teachers

Read all about it here.

2. Defend jobs at Manchester Metropolitan University

Please sign the petition calling on Manchester Metropolitan University to commit to no compulsory redundancies. Following the decision to close the campus at Crewe the union is campaigning to save staff jobs.

3. Goldsmiths UCU put forward 'the Gold Paper' alternative

Goldsmiths UCU together with Unison and the student union have put together the Gold Paper, an alternative vision for the university to that proposed by the government's higher education bill. Campaigners invite you to support the initiative by signing their petition here

4. Legal corner: why you should not write your own will

UCU Law Extra partners at Slater and Gordon LLP explain the potentially disastrous consequences of writing your own will

5. Continuing professional development with UCU

Upcoming CPD courses include:
Classroom management, Liverpool - 30 March
Speaking up: voice care for educators, Manchester - 30 March
Speaking up: voice care for educators, Cardiff - 5 April  

6. March for Science - 22 April, London

Amidst fears of a growing climate of anti-intellectualism and what has been called the 'post-truth age', the science community has come together to form the campaign group March for Science to promote and celebrate publicly funded science, progress and academic freedom. There is a march in central London on Saturday 22 April. Contact Marsha Nicholson to get involved:

7. Stand Up To Racism demonstrations tomorrow

To mark UN anti-racism day, campaigners will be marching in London, Glasgow and Cardiff tomorrow, Saturday 18 March.

8. Show Culture Some Love: save the arts

The Show Culture Some Love campaign is calling for an end to cuts in arts funding including closures of arts courses in colleges and universities and you are invited to their 'Future of the Arts' conference taking place at the TUC Congress House in London on Saturday 25 March - to book your place please email

9. 'Abortion is a workplace issue' conference, 25 March, Birmingham

In this 50th anniversary year of the 1967 Abortion Act, please join West Midlands UCU to discuss abortion rights. Focusing on the importance of access to abortion in achieving gender equality in the workplace, the event will highlight issues around the legal status in different parts of the UK, emphasise why trade unions should support abortion, and discuss mobilization against the global anti-abortion movement. Facebook event here

Last updated: 4 April 2019