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HEFCE Inquiry into University of Bath governance and decisions on senior management pay

The regulator for Higher Education in England has announced that it “is making enquiries of the University of Bath…about governance practice in relation to the remuneration of senior staff.” Investigation by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) follows a formal complaint by the former Education Minister Lord Adonis who, last month, issued what has been described as “a scathing attack on [the] ‘greed’ of Bath University Vice Chancellor Dame Glynis Breakwell”.

Local politicians have responded with condemnation. Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, reacted to the HEFCE complaint by saying that “the university has brought itself into disrepute” and that the Vice Chancellor’s £451K salary is “morally indefensible”. B&NES Councillor Joe Rayment blamed the “Vice-Chancellor’s outrageous pay and perks” on “governance that is rotten to the core”.

The unions at the University of Bath have long fought to address staff and student grievances about failures of the governing body to tackle pay inequality and excessive senior management pay rises.

Most recently, in early July, the unions sent a letter to members of University Council, requesting the suspension of decisions of the remuneration committee pending an immediate and thorough governance review. One month later, the letter remains unanswered.

Despite the damage they are inflicting on the reputation of the university, and on staff and student morale, there is still no evidence that senior managers or governors are willing to acknowledge the need for significant and prompt changes.

Your unions remain committed to arguing for and helping to create a university that is fair, open and democratic, and in which the collective voices of staff and students are listened to and respected. Thank you for your continued support.

University of Bath UCU
University of Bath Unite
UNISON at the University of Bath

The SU, University of Bath

If you would like to become more actively involved in your union, or to join if you have not yet done so, contact the UCU Branch Secretary.

Pay and pensions fights ahead

Over 40 members attended a branch meeting on July 20th to hear UCU National Executive Committee member Denis Nicole outline the current position on pay and pensions.

Pay

The employers have increased their offer to 1.7% but made no meaningful concessions on either the gender pay gap or casualisation. Members are now being consulted in an e-ballot on whether to accept the offer or not. The deadline for voting is July 28th. If you have not received an email containing your link to the ballot check your junk mail and if you still can’t find it contact UCU head office.

Pensions

As predicted, the employers are coming back to make further detrimental changes to the USS pension scheme. In 2014 the employers introduced a new Defined Contribution element to the scheme for earnings over £55,000. Defined Contribution schemes provide no guarantee of pension benefits. UCU managed to mitigate some of the worst elements of the employers’ proposed changes, but now they say the scheme’s assets are insufficient to meet future payments, UCU disputes the method used to value the scheme’s assets. It is likely that members will be called on to take action to defend pensions at some point during 2017-18.

House of Lords in shock at size of Bath Vice Chancellor’s pay packet

On the same day that Lord Adonis launched a scathing attack on pay inequality in UK universities and the ‘greed’ of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bath, the joint trades unions (UCU, Unite and UNISON) and Students’ Union wrote to all members of University Council calling on them to suspend the University Remuneration Committee pending a full and immediate review of its decisions and decision making processes. (more…)

University Senate Approves Scholarships for Refugees

Following calls from staff and students, University of Bath Senate has approved proposals to offer financial and welfare support, including scholarships, to refugees and others who have been forced to migrate to the UK.

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Bath UCU Update: Tue 7 March

1. Branch Meeting – Mon 13 March, 1.30pm
2. LGBTQ Rights: Call Me Kuchu – Tue 7 March, 6.30pm
3. International Women’s Day in Bath – Wed 8 March
4. Refugees Welcome – Over £2,000 Raised!
5. Pay Inequality – Report from University Court
6. Why are Students Boycotting the NSS?
7. Panopto: serious breaches of confidentiality
8. Go Green Week – Mon 6-Fri 10 March
9. HE Bill Defeat for Government in Lords
10. Union Democracy – Elections & Branch Committee
11. New LGBTQ Group for Staff & PGRs
12. Refugee Solidarity – Collection for Calais

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Bath UCU Update: Tue 14th Feb

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1. Pay Inequality – Lobby of Court (Thurs 23rd Feb)
2. #HE4Refugees
3. Support the NSS Boycott
4. Quotes of the Week:
5. Nominations for Committee Positions
6. UCU Elections 2017
7. Survey: Take Action on Racism
8. Other Upcoming Events:
– We Love Bath – Demo Against Cuts to Libraries, Arts & Social Care – Petition & Demo (TODAY)
– NHS in Crisis – You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til it’s Gone! (Thurs 16th Feb, 19:30)
– Educate, Agitate, Celebrate – Celebration of Migrants in the UK (Sat 18th Feb)
– One Day Without Us – Campaign to Support Immigrants in the UK (Mon, 20th Feb, 1 pm) (more…)

Bath UCU Update: Thurs 9rd Feb 2017

1. Support the NSS Boycott
2. Heart Unions: The Big Workplace Meeting (Thurs 9th Feb 12:30)
3. Pay Inequality – Lobby of Court (Thurs 23rd Feb)
4. #HE4Refugees
5. Urgent: Nominations for Committee Positions
6. UCU Day of Action against Workplace Racism
7. Vice President Elected to University Council
8. Minutes of Branch Meeting (Wed 1st Feb)
9. UCU Elections 2017
10. Mental Health – Time to Talk
11. Other Upcoming Events:
– NHS in Crisis (Thurs, 9th Feb, 19:30) (Thurs, 16th Feb, 19:30)
– Save Bath’s Libraries – Petition & Demo (Tue 14th Feb)
– Educate, Agitate, Celebrate – A Celebration of Migrants in the UK (Sat 18th Feb)
– One Day Without Us – Campaign to Support Immigrants in the UK (Mon, 20th Feb, 1 pm) (more…)

Branch Update: Fri 20th Jan 2017

  1. Save Bath Community Academy (Sat 21st Jan, 12:00)
  2. #HE4Refugees
  3. Orgreave Truth & Justice (Wed 25th Jan, 19:30)
  4. Branch Meeting (Wed 1st Feb, 13:15)
  5. Mental Health – Time to Talk (Thurs 2nd Feb, 10:15)
  6. Save Bath Library – Petition
  7. (more…)

“A Source of Embarrassment” – Pay Inequality at Bath

In October, the University received national press attention during the week of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, but for all the wrong reasons, as half a dozen newspapers ran stories focused entirely on the pay and expenses of the Vice Chancellor. (more…)

Bath UCU AGM 2016 Policy Motions

Members voted on four policy motions at our quorate AGM on Wednesday 14th December. The motions, detailed below, covered a range of topics: Welcoming Refugees to Bath, boycotts of the NSS and TEF, the loss of confidence in the Remuneration Committee over VC Pay, and affiliation to ‘Bath for Europe’. All motions were discussed and passed.

Motion 1: International students & Refugee Scholarships [Passed]

Bath SU has recently adopted a policy of support for international students in the form of scholarships for refugees who wish to study at Bath. Bath UCU expresses its full support for the SU policy. The policy includes an action for “SU Officers on University Senate submit a proposal and request a vote that ‘refugees are welcomed to the university through provision of scholarships'”. The branch will encourage members of UCU sitting on Senate to support this motion. The policy also references plans by students and staff to launch a crowdfund with the aim of opening up access to Higher Education for refugees. The branch encourages all members to contribute to the fund and will match the first £500 of contributions from members.

Motion 2: Boycott of the TEF and NSS [Passed]

In agreement with national UCU policy on supporting NUS opposition to the TEF and NSS, the local association offers its full support to Bath SU in its policy of joining twenty other students’ unions in supporting a boycott of NSS and the TEF. These measures are detrimental to higher education and staff and students are united in opposition to them. We encourage UCU members to support Bath SU in practical measures to end TEF and NSS and to take part in national action in support of these aims.

Motion 3: Fair Pay & University Remuneration Committee [Passed]

The local association notes the policy position taken by the University of Bath SU on transparency and fairness in staff and senior management pay, in particular the policy of rejecting use of Zero Hours Contracts, limiting executive pay to five times that of the lowest paid member of staff and the expression of no confidence in the remuneration committee. Staff have also lost confidence in the committee. We offer our full support to the SU in working towards the objective of transparent and fair pay for university staff and senior managers. In order to restore confidence, the remuneration committee must include democratically elected staff and student representatives and should be required to publish proper minutes and a list of Key Performance Indicators used to justify executive salaries.

Motion 4: Bath for Europe [Passed]

Bath UCU still believes that some form of membership of EU institutions is crucial for higher education and the success of Universities such as Bath. It therefore agrees to become an associate member of Bath for Europe (BfE) which is affiliated to Britain for Europe: a federation of local groups campaigning for the UK to remain in, or close to EU membership. The link with BfE will entitle UCU representatives to attend BfE events and propose its specific concerns for inclusion in BfE campaigns. In return, Bath UCU will keep its members informed of news, developments and events led by BfE. https://bathforeurope.com