The Friday email: 5 January 2017

Fight to save USS: vote YES for action

The fight to save USS pensions continues apace. Wherever you work and whatever you do the current proposals to end guaranteed USS pensions will drastically affect you and your family.

The law says we need at least a 50% turnout in each workplace so if not enough members vote in your institution you will not be able to join any national action the rest of the union takes. Please vote now if you have yet to do so or request a replacement ballot if you've lost it.

Please also email your MP via the UCU website and encourage them to sign a parliamentary motion on USS, write to universities minister Jo Johnson on your behalf and to contact their local vice-chancellor.

The unbelievable Toby Young appointment 

The government sneaked out the names of members of the new Office for Students (OfS) board over New Year. The one that drew the most criticism was Tory cheerleader Toby Young. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said if the OfS was to have had any credibility it needed a robust board looking out for students' interests. Not Toby Young dressed up as the voice of teachers.

It didn't take long for Young's offensive and juvenile tweets on an extraordinary range of subjects to be revealed. Women in particular were under attack in a string of puerile and objectifying tweets. The man-child also insulted disabled people, working class people, gay people, teachers and even flirted with eugenics.

While the academic community rejected his appointment, Labour called for him to be sacked and petitions were set up to have him removed from the board, foreign secretary and former colleague Boris Johnson defended Young and his 'caustic wit'. The 54-year-old Young described his comments as 'sophomoric'. He made them in his 40s.

Further education pay campaign

UCU is campaigning for better pay and better jobs in FE. A large number of FE branches are building now towards an Industrial Action ballot. You can read more about the campaign and watch our film here.

In the news...

  • Prime minister faces international students rebellion
  • Vice-chancellors' defences over pay taken apart
  • Private equity-backed colleges hoovering up public money

Read all about it

Health & safety case study - win for UCU member

The latest Hazards magazine features a case study of a Bradford College lecturer who, with the support of UCU, won compensation because the college failed to take seriously risks to her mental health. The article can be found here.

Calling academic-related professional staff

UCU is the voice for academic-related professional staff including information services, computing, support and administration and if you would like to get involved in your union the annual meeting is on 1 March 2018 and you can see here for more details.

Last updated: 8 January 2018