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austerity cuts

Rectify the albatross: Avian militancy at Bath

Professor Yoda's union card

Professor Yoda’s union card

Press: Immediate release (into the wild)


Following recent merger talks with ASCHUFF (Associated Society of Condors and Hawks, Fur and Feather), Bath UCU has acquired a president not only of the branch, but on the branch, a dedicated militant of the class struggle, red in tooth and claw. ASCHUFF, founded by Big Jim Lark, brings a long history of industrial action and a welcome ability to eat the internal organs of class enemies.
Baby owls on a branch

Branch meeting

Professor Yoda The Owl, well known for his role as a flying picket in the Mynahs’ Strike, and author of the oral history “Magpie! Magpie! Magpie! Out! Out! Out!”, is the first new member of staff taken on after management’s reversal of policy on so-called Zero-Owl Contracts. Professor The Owl’s presidency comes at a time of increased militancy on the branch, amidst staff concerns at uncontrolled rises in the pay of the Vice-Chaffinch at a time when ordinary members of staff are suffering real terms cuts to their chicken-feed.

Asked to respond to public unease about the size of her remuneration, in the midst of renewed avian militancy, Professor Dame Glynis Broadbill said of her all-the-seed-you-can-eat package, and exclusive nest on that gutter over the chip shop on Kingsmead Square: “I’m worth it. Tweet. Woo! Is that an abandoned plate of chips?”

The new branch president’s first act has been to negotiate a reversal of the Bath Against Cats policy of opposing cats, in the interest of building a Popular Front Against Them Fecking Seagulls, a city-wide movement opposed to seagulls nicking chips and generally making life a misery for hard-working families and drunks.

“Loose lips lose chips” said Professor The Owl when asked to justify this apparent Claws Four moment and reversal of traditional Liver policy. “If hard-working families are to enjoy the birthright of the working class, a bag of chips and some dodgy ketchup, then the scourge of scab seagulls will have to be dealt with, and by God it will be. We perch with all drinkers trying to get a falafel down on their way to the Brew House for a couple of scoops after a picket. Them up in Wessex House with their skinny so-called chips can expect just the solidarity they gave us. From a height.”

A union source has refused to confirm or deny rumours that Professor The Owl would rather eat mice than University of Bath campus food.


“Marx my words, a vote for Jeremy Corvid as leader of the Liver party is a vote for hard-working raptors and against the creeping Blairism of Liz Kestrel and the accomodationism of Andy Bushtit and Yvette Condor”, said Professor The Owl after a packed branch meeting agreed to endorse Corvid’s leadership bid.

“No, I will not be tweeting messages of support. What kind of cheep satire do you think this is?”

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 with your name, contact number, and the amount you will be paying. 

More info here:


Disabled Student Allowance under threat

Last week the TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference supported UCU’s emergency motion calling for a campaign against the ‘modernisation’ (abolition) of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). A day of action has been called on by the National Union of Students (NUS) on Friday 6 June 2014.

DSA is a vital support for many disabled students, helping many to access education. Students receiving DSA are more likely to reach a first or upper class second honours degree than disabled students who do not receive an allowance.

At a time when the government has already made savage cuts to disabled people?s benefits and cuts to local government funding, we cannot let this continue.

What you can do…. (more…)

TUC Bus comes to Bristol Friday 28th June

tuc bus





The TUC’s People United bus is at College Green, Bristol this Friday as part of the campaign against the Coalition Government’s austerity cuts. More details here