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June, 2015:

Members urged to reject 1% pay offer

UCU Congress and your branch are recommending you reject the current 1% offer from employers.

Pay: why we need to catch up, not just hope to keep up with inflation

The attached graph plots the real-terms value of pay (August 2008 = 100%), showing that we have not begun to recover the effect of below-inflation pay increases since. In summary

  1. We have not recovered from a massive pay cut. Salary is worth 88% of what it was in 2008 (against RPI)
  2. Last year’s 2% pay increase merely halted the decline
  3. RPI and CPI are at record unsustainable historic lows (oil and food prices are predicted to rise)

Remember to Vote – Vote to REJECT 1% – Vote Yes to Both ASOS and Strike – Remember to Vote.

Have you voted yet? Check your email for a message from Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary (search for “@ucu” in your in-box). You have been sent a unique voting link in that email.

UCU National Congress delegates and University of Bath UCU branch agree: members should vote to REJECT the offer and vote Yes to both forms of industrial action.

Please make sure you vote.

Big cuts to HE budgets

The British Universities Directors of Finance notes this week:

“The Treasury Announcement last week confirmed what many in the sector had suspected – that in England BIS has to find £450million in efficiency savings from its annual budget. It is not yet known how the savings will be found, but an article in the Times Higher suggests HEFCE could claw back some of the £4billion already allocated for 2015-16. It adds that “If the £450 million cut were to fall squarely on Hefce’s allocation to universities, it would be equivalent to roughly one-third of all teaching grants for 2015-16 (a total allocation of £1.4 billion) or a third of research funding (£1.56 billion allocation).”

The announcement comes during a week when both the OECD and the IMF expressed concern that the government was implementing too much austerity, and that it should reduce the scale and speed of the cuts.”

 

Pay talks stall but UCU makes national and local gains for members

Last week’s branch meeting heard a detailed report from our delegates to UCU national congress, and also news of a couple of wins for union members nationally and locally.

The employers’ pay offer remains at 1%, with slightly higher increases for those in Grades 1 and 2.   UCU is recommending members to reject this offer, which consolidates our 15% loss of pay since 2009.  Members will be consulted on the offer in an e-ballot starting this week

Nationally UCU have defeated an attempt by the University of Warwick to create a new agency for hourly paid teaching staff, TeachHigher.   Terms and conditions of employment would have been even worse than those on offer to hourly paid staff currently.  Their plan was to roll this out nationally, so its collapse is a significant victory.

Locally UCU is continuing to seek improvements to the terms and conditions of casualised staff at the University of Bath, and there will be a further meeting with university managers on this later in June.

The university has withdrawn its plan to change the way that lecture recording is organised.  The existing system, where staff opt IN to recording rather than opting OUT, will continue.  This follows strong representations from local UCU reps.

UCU has won concessions for some of our student members who are resident tutors.   Those who are Tier 4 visa holders were facing the prospect of losing all their opportunities for paid work but following a productive dialogue with university managers this has been mitigated.

UCU is supporting the anti-austerity demonstration in London on 20th June.   There are coaches from Bath.

 

END AUSTERITY NOW, London Saturday 20th June – People’s Assembly

With a Conservative majority in the Commons, it’s vital we make it clear the government does not have a mandate to raise tuition fees, further cut education spending, introduce £12 billion welfare cuts, abolish the Human Rights Act, or privatise the NHS and other public services. This demonstration will be a big affair, with a large contingent from Bath – so come along and make your voice heard. 

Bath Against Cuts and Bath Students against Fees and Cuts are organising a coach from Bath, supported by Bath UCU, UNISON and Bath Trades Union Council. It will depart Avon Street coach park at 8:30 and depart London at 16:30. Tickets are £8 return waged, £4 unwaged.  

To reserve a space, please email bathstudents@gmail.com with your name, contact number, and the amount you will be paying. 

More info here: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/687828528011384/

http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/

 

SUCCESS! Joint Campaign Forces University of Warwick  to back down  over ‘TeachHigher’

 Friday 19th June – Anti-casualisation Assembly, Warwick

University of Warwick has been intending to ‘insource’ all of its hourly paid academic staff via a scheme called ‘TeachHigher’. The scheme entrenches a two-tier system where hourly paid academics are contracted by a third party and further separated from those on secure contracts. It also makes it increasingly easy for the university to take on more hourly paid staff on casualised, insecure contracts, decreasing the number of permanent positions. The staff working through TeachHigher would have been employed on worse terms and conditions than are currently offered to hourly paid staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, the Warwick Employment Group were planning to sell TeachHigher as a commercial franchise to other universities, and so there was a real risk that we could have ended up in the same situation here at Bath.

However, Warwick UCU, Warwick for Free Education, and NCAFC, along with Warwick Student’s Union, have successfully campaigned against the programme, building for a large demonstration on University of Warwick’s open day in June. As a result, it was announced on Tuesday that the scheme would be disbanded!

This is a great example of how collective action works – through public meetings, extensive media coverage, direct action and a departmental boycotts of the scheme, staff and students at Warwick have achieved a massive victory. As well as the abandonment of TeachHigher, the university has announced it will run pilot schemes in individual departments to improve the current casualised system and to ensure PGs are paid at nationally-agreed rates.

There will be an assembly at Warwick university on the 19th to discuss how best to campaign against casualisation nationally – TeachHigher was indicative of a movement towards casualisation in HE that is still a real threat to job security and quality of teaching. If you would like to join our delegation, please contact ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk

More info:

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/insite/news/intnews2/th_update

https://www.facebook.com/events/877394662349003/

https://warwick4freeducation.wordpress.com/