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Bath UCU reminder to vote on the Ballot

Hi all,

If you have voted in the pay ballot well done.

If you haven’t done so please do, only  until 19th October 2018, then the ballot closes.

UCU central and the local branch committee recommends that you vote yes to both,

Even if you are minded to vote no, please make sure you send in your ballot paper, as we need to reach 50% for University of Bath.

 

If you have not received your ballot paper in the post, log on at https://ucu.org.uk, make sure your address details are correct and then order a replacement ballot paper.

https://yoursay.ucu.org.uk/s3/Replacement-postal-ballot-HE-pay-2018

 

Please inform your departmental rep that you have voted.

 

Thanks

 

Bath UCU Committee

 

UCU Pay ballot now until 19th October 2019

UCU Pay ballot now until 19th October 2019

Your pay and equality ballot papers should have arrived! Bath UCU committee recommends you vote YES to industrial action and YES to action short of a strike (including an assessment boycott). If you haven’t received your ballot paper you can request a replacement (first check that your address is correct on ‘My UCU‘). The ballot closes on 19 October 2018. Once you’ve voted please inform your departmental UCU rep.

In the recent consultative e-ballot, members of the UCU overwhelmingly rejected the employers’ derisory offer of a 2% increase in pay. This offer did nothing to make up the ground lost against inflation, which since 2010 amounts to a real terms pay cut of 21% . Nor did the employers make any meaningful offer to address the gender pay gap or to tackle the rampant casualisation across the sector.

In dispute resolution talks on the 17 and 23 July between UCEA (the University and Colleges Employers’ Association) and the Higher Education Trade Unions, including the UCU, the employers’ failed to take the opportunity to sufficiently improve their pay offer, or to move on pay inequality and precarious employment. Consequently, the UCU is now running an industrial action ballot on taking extensive industrial action in the autumn term.

Locally, our senior management team seem to believe that you’re easily bamboozled. In their emails they’ve tried to make the offer appear better than it is by conflating pay rises with the pay increments you are entitled to as you progress in your career, if indeed you are eligible for them. Don’t be fooled—all staff deserve fair pay and decent contracts!
We can win! The Higher Education Statistics Authority have reported that the sector has seen a £915m increase in income between 2015 and 2017, along with a £2.3bn surplus generated over the same period. In addition, current reserves are at £44.27bn (up from £12.3bn in 2009/10). In this financial context, keeping-up with inflation and catching-up with lost pay is affordable! We can pick up from where we left off in the USS strike and continue our fight against inequality and precarity in our universities!

Your help in publicising this to colleagues would be very welcome. You can download a poster to print off and put on your door or noticeboard and leaflets to give to people. Attached is a local Poster showing Campus Inflation prices versus pay decreases.

Some background:
UCU negotiates nationally with the employers’ body, the universities and colleges employers’ association, over pay and conditions for academic and research staff, and, in pre-1992 institutions such as the University of Leeds, for academic-related staff (sometimes called ‘professional and managerial’ staff at Leeds). These negotiations take place within the joint negotiating committee for higher education staff.

UCU members influence the pay arrangements by electing the union’s higher education committee and by submitting proposals to the UCU congress through general meetings, and by voting whether to accept or reject offers when the negotiators think they need to test the view of the membership on an offer. UCU members sometimes influence the pay arrangements by refusing to work when the employers are being unreasonable and not listening to the UCU reps negotiating on our behalf.

The employers – the senior management of the universities – influence the negotiations by telling the universities and colleges employers’ association what they can afford or what they want to see as an outcome. Although these are national negotiations, it is the senior management team of the individual higher education institutions who inform those national discussions.
The UK universities have cut our pay every year since 2009 compared with the cost of living. This loss is compounded by:

• a huge 23% gender pay gap because the University of Bath recruits and promotes more men than women into the higher paying jobs, and
• more than one in three academic staff in the UK being on insecure contracts so they often can’t progress steadily up the payscales.

For more from the national union on the dispute see ucu.org.uk/he2018 and keep an eye on the weekly emails from the UCU national campaigns team.

The result of the ballot on the USS dispute, is 64% in favour of accepting the employers’ offer.

UCU USS e-ballot result:

Yes to accept the UUK offer 21,683 (64%)
No to reject the UUK offer 12,230 (36%)

Further action is suspended

The  result of the ballot on the USS dispute, is  64% in favour of accepting the employers’ offer. Whatever your views on the merits of the decision, you should be aware of how much we have achieved in the last few months. Our industrial action has pushed back the employers and opened a space for restoring human and humane values to the centre of our university. As more than one person said, this is now our university and we intend to control it.

The solidarity which we have built in the snow and sunshine on our pickets is an asset which we will not give up lightly. There is plenty of work to do in taking control of the conditions of our employment, and we are in a position to do it. The questions of casualized contracts, the gender pay gap, low pay, and mismanagement have not gone away, and we are now conscious of our own strength and our ability to organize. 

In the last few months, nationally and locally, we have become a union, thinking like a union, and able to act like a union. Remember what we can achieve working together, and that we need not be afraid to demand what is ours.

In solidarity,

Michael Carley

Branch president

We are between strikes over USS pensions. Useful links

Thanks from all UCU Members to students for their support. Click me and share.

UCU USS pensions dispute: key URLs

Item
Join if you are staff or postgrad: https://www.ucu.org.uk/join or call 0333 207 0719_Postgrad membership is free! https://www.ucu.org.uk/whyjoin?detailid=5143
Why we’re taking action over USS – for students, parents, non- members, members https://www.ucu.org.uk/why-we-are-taking- action-over-USS
About the action for USS, inc links to downloadable posters and leaflets plus the latest on the action https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss

•   FAQs https://www.ucu.org.uk/uss-action-faqs _

•   Ask your MP to help protect staff pensions https://www.ucu.org.uk/USS-emailyourMP _

•   SW regional page http://southwestregion.web.ucu.org.uk/2018/02/08/uss- pensions-dispute/ _

Write to the VC asking her to resume national negotiations with UCU immediately: https://www.ucu.org.uk/studentvoice
Joint NUS UCU statement: NUS states full support and issues call to action for students https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/9248/National- Union-of-Students-message-of-support-to-staff-ahead-of-USS- pension-strikes
Use social media to show your support: see https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss for Facebook and Twitter profile covers, Twibbon and Facebook frame_@UCUBath_# UCU #USSstrike #UCUstrike #strikeforUSS
Donate to national Fighting Fund

https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund

Donate to University Bath’s Branch Hardship Fund:

https://www.crowdpac.co.uk/campaigns/6106/university-of-bath- ucu

Branch petition to request that all docked pay is used for hardship fund for students and towards improving mental health support for students and staff: ttp://bath.web.ucu.org.uk/2018/02/18/petition-strike-hardship- mental-health/
Item
“Strike on Teach Out” event from 3:00pm – 6:00pm on each strike day at Bell Inn, Walcot Street https://www.facebook.com/StrikeOnTeachOut/
Oxford’s and Cambridge’s role in the demise of USS, Michael Otsuka https://medium.com/@mikeotsuka/oxfords-and-cambridge-s-role- in-the-demise-of-uss-a3034b62c033

•   Cambridge Varsity article on the above _https://www.varsity.co.uk/news/14812 _

•   Blog article by Waseem Yaqoob https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2018/02/16/w-yaqoobgmail- com/why-we-strike/ _

Bath branch open letter to Graduate Teaching Assistants

http://bath.web.ucu.org.uk/2018/02/19/open-letter-to-our- graduate-teaching-assistants-gtas-colleagues/

Warwick student-staff solidarity video for students

 

Letter to students https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/9155/USS-strike- letter-to-students/doc/ucu_uss_support-our-strike_student- letter.doc
Video for students https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/9309/Strike- message-to-students
More info for students including Goldsmiths video to explain the dispute: https://www.ucu.org.uk/on-the-ground
UCU picketing guidelines:

https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/1132/Branch-picket- guidance/pdf/ucu_picketing-guidance1.pdf

Government code of practice on picketing:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice- picketing

To apply to national hardship fund: see

https://ucu.custhelp.com/app/fighting_fund

Petition: Put lost strike wages into mental health services & the student hardship fund

Staff at the University of Bath and other UK universities are taking strike action to defend their pensions. For each day we are on strike, we lose a day’s pay. We believe that our lost wages should go into a hardship fund for our students and towards improving mental health support for students and staff.

All staff and students are invited to sign this petition to university senior management.

To find out why staff are going on strike, see “Background: Why are we striking?” below.

The Petition

Dear Professor Lambert (Pro-VC Learning & Teaching),

The same marketisation agenda that sees universities cutting staff pay and increasing their workloads and job insecurity has led to ever-increasing tuition fees, ballooning rents, and growing numbers of students having to work part-time jobs simply to get by.

When staff are forced to take strike action to defend their pensions, their lost wages should go directly into a fund to support students and staff worst hit by university marketisation, including those hit by financial hardship and mental health problems. Lost wages should not be allowed to disappear into general university budgets or into senior management pay.

We call on you as the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching to commit to ensuring that all money saved on the wages of striking staff goes into the University of Bath Hardship Fund and towards improving mental health support for staff and students.

Put lost strike wages into mental health services & the student hardship fund

Dear Professor Lambert,

The same marketisation agenda that sees universities cutting staff pay and increasing their workloads and job insecurity has led to ever-increasing tuition fees, ballooning rents, and growing numbers of students having to work part-time jobs simply to get by.

When staff are forced to take strike action to defend their pensions, their lost wages should go directly into a fund to support students and staff worst hit by university marketisation, including those hit by financial hardship and mental health problems. Lost wages should not be allowed to disappear into general university budgets or into senior management pay.

We call on you as the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching to commit to ensuring that all money saved on the wages of striking staff goes into the University of Bath Hardship Fund and towards improving mental health support for staff and students.

[signature]

1,039 signatures

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Background: Why are we striking?

University Vice Chancellors are trying to take away our guaranteed pensions and cut our retirement income by an average of £10,000 per year. Our union, UCU, has tried to negotiate for months, but the employers will not listen. Professor Glynis Breakwell, our outgoing Vice Chancellor, is also paid £50,000 per year to be a Director of our pension scheme!

We desperately want to avoid strike action but have been left with no choice – we simply cannot allow Vice Chancellors, who have already taken so much from staff and students, to take away our security in retirement as well.

University staff have accepted pay levels that are lower than comparably skilled professions, partly because we had a decent pension. Now our right to security and dignity in older age is under attack. If employers get their way:

  • Final pensions would depend on how the stock market performs not on how much we pay in.
  • Our pension (i.e. retirement pay) would be cut by between 20% and 40%.
  • We will have the worst pensions in the education sector and universities like Bath will face a recruitment and retention crisis as staff seek better financial security elsewhere.

There is more information about the attack on our pension scheme and our strike action at the UCU national website.

We are grateful for the support of our students and for this message from the National Union of Students (NUS).

If you are a student and would like to support your staff, please contact the Bath UCU Secretary. If you are a Postgraduate student, you can join UCU for free!

University Senate Approves Scholarships for Refugees

Following calls from staff and students, University of Bath Senate has approved proposals to offer financial and welfare support, including scholarships, to refugees and others who have been forced to migrate to the UK.

(more…)

Bath UCU Update: Thurs 9rd Feb 2017

1. Support the NSS Boycott
2. Heart Unions: The Big Workplace Meeting (Thurs 9th Feb 12:30)
3. Pay Inequality – Lobby of Court (Thurs 23rd Feb)
4. #HE4Refugees
5. Urgent: Nominations for Committee Positions
6. UCU Day of Action against Workplace Racism
7. Vice President Elected to University Council
8. Minutes of Branch Meeting (Wed 1st Feb)
9. UCU Elections 2017
10. Mental Health – Time to Talk
11. Other Upcoming Events:
– NHS in Crisis (Thurs, 9th Feb, 19:30) (Thurs, 16th Feb, 19:30)
– Save Bath’s Libraries – Petition & Demo (Tue 14th Feb)
– Educate, Agitate, Celebrate – A Celebration of Migrants in the UK (Sat 18th Feb)
– One Day Without Us – Campaign to Support Immigrants in the UK (Mon, 20th Feb, 1 pm) (more…)

Branch Update: Fri 20th Jan 2017

  1. Save Bath Community Academy (Sat 21st Jan, 12:00)
  2. #HE4Refugees
  3. Orgreave Truth & Justice (Wed 25th Jan, 19:30)
  4. Branch Meeting (Wed 1st Feb, 13:15)
  5. Mental Health – Time to Talk (Thurs 2nd Feb, 10:15)
  6. Save Bath Library – Petition
  7. (more…)

USS pensions: more cuts coming ?

The USS pension scheme is the main scheme for academic and academic related staff in pre-1992 universities.  Three of its 10 directors are appointed by UCU.   UCU opposed the closure of the final salary scheme earlier this year.   We did secure some important changes to the scheme to protect members from the worst effects of the closure of the final salary scheme, but it has now ended.

The closure of the final salary scheme was the result of warnings to the USS Board that the scheme faced a huge deficit.   UCU challenged the way the scheme’s assets were valued and members supported strike action to defend the benefits that would be cut for future scheme members.  University of Sheffield UCU have produced a useful account of the events that led up to the end of the final salary scheme.

Now the scheme’s assets are set to be valued again, (for one of the more accessible descriptions of the issues at stake in the valuation process see this post from Mike Otsuka of LSE UCU)  and it is possible – perhaps even likely – that another huge deficit will be discovered and members will have to take further cuts to their benefits and/or increases to contributions.

University of Bath VC Glynis Breakwell has ruled herself out of any discussions with the local branch about USS because she is a paid member of the USS Board.  We have therefore set out to the University’s Director of HR the points we want the University to consider in any representations it makes on the future of the scheme.

For those with the appetite, USS have released a video stream of the meeting of institutions, including Bath University, held on December 1st.

We will keep you informed of any proposals that come forward.

United for Education Demo #Nov19

No to Fees, No to Cuts, No to Debt

The National Union of Students (NUS) and University and College Union (UCU) are holding a mass demonstration in defence of free, accessible and quality further and higher education and to demand an end to privatisation and cuts in universities and colleges. Staff, students and supporters from across the education sector and trade union movement will march in London on Saturday 19th November, in what promises to be a huge show of opposition to government policy on post-school education.

University of Bath Students’ Union are running coaches for students, staff and supporters. Bath UCU are proud to be providing financial support.

Join the Facebook Event: www.facebook.com/events/708038252677972/

Reserve your coach ticket today (£5 return):

Events before the demonstration:

  • Demo Information Session – Thursday 10th November, 18:15 in 8 West 2.5.
    Hosted by University of Bath Students’ Union.
  • Education in Crisis Tour – Thursday 17th November, 18:15 in TBC.
    Facebook Event: www.facebook.com/events/579719922236019/
    Open to all students & staff.
    ‘The agenda of this government is clear – they want an education system where our institutions operate in the interests of profit and business. But there are thousands of students, staff and education activists up and down the country who reject this vision. We want a system which is free, democratic and accessible to all, which values education as a social good. Come along to what will be a truly informative event, discuss the state of Further & Higher Education, and plan for the future. With speakers from Bath UCU, Bath Students’ Union and the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts.’