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May, 2015:

The Liberty Tree Thursday 21-Saturday 23 May at Bath Spa Uni

Still a few tickets left for The Liberty Tree on stage at Bath Spa University Thursday to Saturday THIS WEEK – see here for details.

The tickets are free, but if you do go we are asking for a donation to the branch (suggested £10 a ticket) to cover some of the costs of our sponsorship of this “rebellious, feel-good, jukebox musical for anyone sick of being overworked, underpaid and powerless”.

UCU Congress 2015 – pay, pensions and job security at top of the agenda

This weekend sees UCU hold its annual congress in Glasgow.   The Congress has been cut short by one day because of the strike action by railworkers, but there will still be time to discuss:

  • The threat of new, even more repressive anti-trade union laws
  • The miserly pay offer of 1.0% by our employers
  • A legal challenge to the Trustees of the USS pension scheme
  • The growing threat of casualization in our sector and beyond
  • The campaign against huge cuts in adult and further education (there will be a lobby of Parliament on 16th June
  • The increasing number of redundancies at universities and colleges across the UK – especially in professional services
  • The victimisation of trade union reps at Bolton and Salford Universities
  • Working with other trade unions to challenge ‘austerity’ in social and economic policy

and lots more.


Our Congress delegates Chris Roche and Michael Carley will be reporting back to a meeting for members on Wednesday 3rd June 1.15 pm in 1E2.4

New laws threaten to make most strikes illegal

Proposals to change the laws on strike action have been outlined by the Conservative Business Secretary and criticised as ‘an aggressive assault on our rights and our democracy’ by TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.  According to Union Solidarity International, almost half the Cabinet would not have been elected under the ballot rules propose by the Tories.

Staff and students express concerns about loss of classroom privacy

University managers have been pushing for changes to existing policy on recording of lectures.  In a poll of staff, 88% are in favour of keeping the existing arrangements, which permit the use of recorded lectures, but leave the decision to individual members of staff.  Many are concerned about the loss of classroom privacy, as well as the problems associated with intellectual property rights.   Students are also concerned about the loss of privacy.   For an informed point of view see the blog post from Prof. Charles Crook of Nottingham Uni

Employers want to cut pay again: branch meeting Thursday 7th May 1.15 pm 1E2.4

In the national pay negotiations, employers have now responded to the joint union pay and pay equality claims for 2015.  The offer of 0.9% on all points on the 51 point pay scale represents a further cut in the value of pay for those on the pay scale.   This is in addition to the 15% fall in the value of pay AND increased pension contributions since 2009.  The employers have also refused to enter into any negotiations on pay equality to address the off-the-scale explosion of high earners’ pay in the last 6 years.  You can read full details of the employers offer here. 

The University of Bath has been at the forefront in the push to drive up the pay of high earners and drive down the pay of everybody else.  Latest data from THE shows that Bath is sitting on one of the biggest surpluses for universities of its type, while at the same time it has been driving down staff costs as a share of total income.  In 2009, staff costs represented 61% of total income at the University of Bath.   This year the figure is 52%.  

The effect of this is that many of the jobs in this University are paid at lower grades than in other universities.  We will discuss this offer at a branch members’ meeting NEXT THURSDAY 7th MAY 1.15 pm in 1E2.4.   Please see the attached motion from the branch committee.