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Strong support from UCU Congress for Bath moves on VC pay and tuition fees

There was overwhelming support for Bath motions at last week’s UCU Congress in Manchester.

VC Pay

The first motion calls for publication of Key Performance Indicators used by University Remuneration Committees to calculate Vice Chancellors’ pay awards.   This will now be taken forward to national negotiations. Our local campaign for greater transparency continues next week with the publication of an update to our 2012 High Earners Report.

Tuition fees

UCU also accepted Bath calls to reaffirm its support for the abolition of tuition fees and the reinstatement of public investment in higher education. This motion came out of our meeting with Andrew McGettigan in March, where he told a meeting of Bath students and staff that the new system of HE finance will soon become more expensive than the one it replaced in 2012.   With the National Union of Students also calling for the abolition of fees, this is the first time that UCU and NUS have taken the same position on the issue and lays the basis for a sustained campaign for ending student fees.

USS Pension

We also received a report on the USS pension scheme.   Remember that this scheme is half owned and controlled by its members – you.   We were unable to stop the ‘independent’ Chair Sir Andrew Cubie using his casting vote three years ago to increase contributions and cut costs, though we did secure some concessions.   The 2011 changes created a two-tier membership with existing members receiving a better deal than new members, and we warned then that the employers would come back to try to reduce the higher level benefits. This now seems likely though we have not been officially informed of any proposed changes.   We will keep you up to date on this and will call meetings for members as and when appropriate.

Bath’s proposal to allow postgraduate GTAs free membership of UCU received a sympathetic hearing and was referred to the National Executive for further consideration.

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