In the news: 21 October 2016

UCU launches FE transforms lives project

UCU this week launched a research project to understand and provide evidence of how the FE sector is vital in transforming lives and communities. The case studies draw out the role of the teacher in making a difference to quality teaching and learning. They also show the strong link between people's lives and their engagement in learning.

Writing in the TES, Dr Vicky Duckworth and Dr Rob Smith, who are behind the research, said the study provides learners and teachers with the opportunity to tell their stories, linking the distinctness of FE to the impact it has on individuals, society and the economy.

Hull College dispute resolved without any compulsory redundancies

A long-running dispute at Hull College has been resolved following positive talks between UCU and the college. On Wednesday, UCU members agreed to cancel strike action planned for Thursday as a deal was reached where no UCU member would be made compulsorily redundant. 

The dispute has arisen after the college announced a fresh round of redundancies affecting up to 142 staff. Speaking to ITV, UCU regional official, Julie Kelley said: 'Following positive talks, the college has now removed the threat of compulsory redundancies for UCU members. Strike action is always a last resort and we are pleased that on this occasion we have been able to negotiate a resolution which avoids the need for industrial action.'

Report says government's counter-radicalisation policy is flawed and counter-productive

The government's counter-radicalisation policy is badly flawed, potentially counterproductive and risks trampling on the basic rights of young Muslims, says a study from the Open Society Justice Initiative released on Wednesday.

Following a nine-month examination of Prevent the body recommended a major rethink, particularly on its use in the education and health systems. As acknowledged by Diane Abbott MP in a blog piece for the Huffington Post, UCU has consistently raised concerns in opposition to Prevent, arguing that universities and colleges must remain centres for debate and open discussion, where received wisdom can be challenged and controversial ideas put forward in the spirit of academic endeavour.

Universities urged to do more to tackle sexual harassment

A new report from Universities UK published recommendations for institutions on dealing with violence against women, hate crime and harassment affecting staff and students. The report called for a more robust and coherent approach by universities, and for greater sharing of good practice.

Responding in Times Higher Education, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said that the report was 'a timely reminder for all universities to revisit policies in these areas and prioritise work that keeps staff and students safe', adding that 'areas such as online abuse needed urgent attention'.

Coventry University staff secure return to original contracts and union recognition

UCU members at Coventry University today welcomed a decision by CU Services Ltd to reverse the decision to move them onto agency contracts and remove them from the scope of collective baragining arrangements.

The decision was announced following pressure from members and the media, which likened the practices at the university's subsidiary compacnies to those at the beleaguered Sprts Direct. UCU national bargaining official, Jonathan White, said: 'We welcome this decision to reinstate staff on their original contracts, and look forward to engaging in what we hope will be positive talks around the issue of recognition across Coventry University Group's subsidiary companies. We would like to thank the thousands of people from across further and higher education that supported the campaign and signed the petition calling for the staff to be reinstated.'

Last updated: 21 October 2016