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July, 2016:

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

 

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