University of Bath UCU Rotating Header Image

Branch meeting for all members WEDNESDAY 5th OCTOBER 1.15 pm 1E2.4

The meeting (agenda) will hear reports on:

the outcome of the Foreign Languages Centre disputelatest moves in the national dispute over fair pay, casualization and the gender pay gap

latest moves from employers in the national dispute over fair pay, casualization and the gender pay gap

the joint UCU/NUS demonstration on November 19th for free, accessible and quality further and higher education across the UK, and to demand an end to the marketisation of university and college education

19novdemo_fb_1_3

 

 

 

 

 

UCU secures improved deal for FLC staff facing dismissal, but cuts still go ahead

University managers have implemented cuts to the Foreign Languages Centre proposed during the summer. The Centre has lost three (possibly four) languages, seven staff on fractional posts and a further ten staff on zero hours contracts. UCU called for a one year freeze on the proposals to allow wider consultation with staff, students and the local community, but this call was rejected despite a 2600 name petition to the University’s governing body, Council.

UCU secured an improved offer from the University for the seven staff on fractional contracts, together with a promise to review the University’s redundancy avoidance strategy. This offer was made after branch members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action if there were any compulsory redundancies. There were no compulsory redundancies.

On the plus side the UCU branch managed to win an improved offer (redundancy payments enhanced by 50% for people accepting voluntary redundancy) for those staff on fractional contracts (including non members) who were facing dismissal. The downside is that the enhancement was only 50% and that some people lost their jobs. The other serious problem is that the ten staff on zero hours contracts who lost their jobs were offered NOTHING.

This small gain shows that UCU members have more bargaining power than we might think. Faced with the threat of local action against cuts and job losses, there was some movement from University managers.

For a full review of the dispute and the issues raised see report from UCU Branch Secretary.

Donations for Convoy to Calais: Drop off times

Bath Welcomes Refugees are running a convoy for its members to help in Calais “Jungle” refugee camp and some of our Bath UCU members are going to volunteer with Help Refugees. (more…)

Action to defend FLC jobs and courses – have your say here

At a well attended branch meeting on July 6, there was clear concern expressed over both the threat to dismiss 18 staff in the Foreign Languages Centre. The dismissals arise from a proposal to cut 20% of FLC provision, including 3 languages and all the higher level courses more information (more…)

Non-UK EU citizens left in limbo after referendum vote

15% of the University staff are non-UK EU citizens, and the University has a target of increasing that proportion as part of its international strategy. Yet many were left feeling confused and let down by the University’s attitude of leaving their future in the hands of the Government and national bodies such as UUK. We think the University’s senior managers should be more openly proactive in defending the right of the 3 million non-UK EU citizens to indefinitely stay in the UK.

UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt warns in this week’s THE  that if people from the EU no longer feel welcome in UK universities, the damage to our international academic reputation will be near fatal.

Here in Bath UCU and Unite have invited the Vice Chancellor to make a joint call on the Government to grant Indefinite Leave to Remain to all non-UK EU citizens, removing uncertainty and insecurity over this from all our minds.  We will update this post with any reply we receive.

Higher Education and Research Bill – contact your MP before 19 July

The Government is rushing the HE Bill through to its Second Reading in the House of Commons.

The Second Reading has been called, at very short notice, for Tuesday 19 July.

The decision to rush this Bill through its Parliamentary stages is despite the current political turmoil created by Brexit, and the economic uncertainty facing the HE sector as a whole. Our analysis is that the HE Bill will compound, rather than solve the Brexit problems facing universities.

Urgent action: Write to your MP

Notes for lobbying your MP

Political risks of the Higher Education and Research Bill

(more…)

Underpaid, (semi) casualised, mainly women and now the SACK ! Foreign Languages Centre staff need your support NOW !

Γειά σου ! Cześć ! Здравствуйте !

Last week we submitted our response on behalf of 18 members of staff in the Foreign Languages Centre who face being made redundant in August. The redundancies would be part of a 20% cut in FLC provision. We called for a 12-month freeze on the proposals to allow wider consultation with students, staff and members of the local community about the future of the FLC. On Thursday we presented a 2600 name petition to the Chair of University Council calling on the University to mark its 50th anniversary by expanding its foreign language teaching, not cutting it. The petition has support from a wide range of staff, students and local people who have taken the community language courses. It is the largest petition ever presented to the University.

There has been no response to the petition, but on Friday University managers rejected our call for a 12-month freeze and started to implement the proposals on Monday. The 18 members of staff in the Foreign Languages Centre who face being made redundant in August represent all the issues at the heart of our current national dispute over unfair pay, casualization and the gender pay gap.

Unfair pay

In addition to the 14% cut in the value of pay that all of us have faced since 2009, these staff are paid at Grade 6 for professional teaching work. This is less than the rate for the job at most other universities. They were promised that they could expect to progress to Grade 7, but this has not happened as the University has failed to honour its agreement with UCU about that. There are hundreds of people working here, mainly GTAs, who are in the same position. They are not alone. Staff in professional and technical grades are frequently paid less by Bath than other universities, and many are given responsibilities above their paygrade.

Casualisation

For years the FLC staff have been strung along on zero hours contracts. UCU did secure a marginal improvement in their position in 2009, but 20% of the work is still done on zero hours contracts, some by staff who have worked here for many years. In 2013, Bath came out on top in a survey of the use of zero-hours contracts for teaching and research.

Gender pay gap

Most of the FLC staff facing the sack are women. As well as having a greater of chance of being on the receiving end of unfair pay and casualization, women are more likely to lose their income altogether. We already know this is the case because the regular notices we receive from HR about the termination of fixed term contracts always contain more women than men. And when people are made redundant from the University of Bath they learn that the University has the meanest redundancy payments in the whole country.

Consultative ballot for action in support of FLC staff facing redundancy

UCU has formally registered a ‘failure to agree’ with the University, and this will now be dealt with under a procedure agreed between UCU and the University in 2011. We are calling on all members to support our colleagues in the Foreign Languages Centre. We will be consulting you about this with an electronic ballot for action in the next ten days. If you are taking holiday in this period and want to be kept informed of the ballot without opening your University email (we are, after all, still working to contract) please contact ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk

 

The_world_flag_2006

 

TODAY: Bath Rally in Solidarity with Migrants & Refugees

Reports of racist and xenophobic attacks in the UK have increased in the wake of the EU referendum result. Regardless of whether a Remain or a Leave vote was the best decision for the country, we must not allow the outcome to be used to fuel racism against migrants, refugees and black and minority ethnic members of our communities.

Today, Bath Welcomes Refugees and Bath Amnesty are holding a solidarity rally from 5:30 pm (until a little after 6 pm) outside Bath Abbey. The speakers will include refugees and EU citizens living in Bath, who will be talking about their experiences and their fears, and hopes, for the future. At a time of deep division, it is vital that we come together to say clearly and categorically that we will not accept a nationalist, nativist, xenophobic narrative that blames migrants and refugees for the economic problems we face.

Please do come down to Bath Abbey at 5:30 pm today, and invite as many of your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues as possible. The more of us there, the stronger the message of support and solidarity we can send to migrants and refugees in Bath and beyond.

This is an opportunity for all of us who live and work in Bath to publicly reject the bigotry of fascist organisations and the rhetoric of those who enable them. Please join us.

Refugees Welcome Here

From the event organisers:

Some groups and political leaders used the EU referendum debate to make immigration and nationalism the central issue.

In the wake of a Leave vote, it is more important now than ever before to show all members of our community that we welcome individuals from any country and any continent, whether migrant or refugee.

Come and join us outside the Abbey on Tuesday to show our city that we stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees, and will not condone or accept a rhetoric that scapegoats them and blames them for the economic problems of our country.

Please invite your friends and bring along flags, placards and banners.

More: https://www.facebook.com/events/261275074264022/

Open Day strikes bite at Bath and other universities

Our strike action on the University open day was very effective. We spoke to thousands of prospective students and parents about the worsening inequality and job insecurity in Higher Education, and of how this affects staff University of Bath. Most expressed shock at recent changes to staff pay and conditions, and a number of parents refused to cross our picket lines, one very publicly on Twitter.

SUPPORT GROWS FOR OUR CAMPAIGN

The strike was also another opportunity to discuss the dispute with colleagues – to great effect. Not only did our members support the action in greater numbers than they did the two day action in May, but we have had another surge in membership applications, leaving the branch larger than ever.

We also had good support from the local community. We know that many members of other campus unions refused to take on work that was intended to plug the gaps left by people walking out in support of our action and we received delegations to our pickets, and offers of donations to our hardship fund, from other trade unions, including FBU, CWU, Unite, NUT, TSSA, Unite Community and the BMA, as well as the Students’ Union, Bath Trade Union Council, Bath Labour Party and Bath Green Party. A number of our alumni also came back to Bath on Friday to show their support.

MORE ACTION THIS WEEK

The action is being repeated this week in 24 universities across the country.

WORKING TO CONTRACT

We urge all members to continue to work to contract. For details of working to contract see the FAQs at http://bath.web.ucu.org.uk/2016/06/12/industrial-action-2016-faqs/

Your branch committee will be looking closely at the latest workload survey from UCU and will circulate further advice on that.

HARDSHIP FUND

Members who joined the action in May will notice pay deductions in their June pay advice. If you have any questions about these please contact us for advice. You can also get support from the hardship fund operated by the branch. Please reply to this message for details of that.

You can make a donation to the hardship fund to support your colleagues who lost pay because they walked out. You can do so by BACS transfer to

Account No: 20057787
Sort Code: 60-83-01

or a cheque to UCU Bath.

Strike action Friday 17th June

close the gap 2UCU members are called on to support further strike action on Friday 17th June in support of our claim for fair pay, and an end to the gender pay gap and rampant casualization of the HE sector.

17th June is a University open day, so we will have a chance to talk with members of the public about what is happening inside universities.

Pickets will operate at all three entrances to the University from 0730, and all members are invited to join colleagues there.

Industrial Action at University of Bath in June 2016: FAQs (Updated)

What Is Happening?
(more…)