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Donations for Convoy to Calais: Drop off times

Bath Welcomes Refugees are running a convoy for its members to help in Calais “Jungle” refugee camp and some of our Bath UCU members are going to volunteer with Help Refugees. (more…)

Action to defend FLC jobs and courses – have your say here

At a well attended branch meeting on July 6, there was clear concern expressed over both the threat to dismiss 18 staff in the Foreign Languages Centre. The dismissals arise from a proposal to cut 20% of FLC provision, including 3 languages and all the higher level courses more information (more…)

TODAY: Bath Rally in Solidarity with Migrants & Refugees

Reports of racist and xenophobic attacks in the UK have increased in the wake of the EU referendum result. Regardless of whether a Remain or a Leave vote was the best decision for the country, we must not allow the outcome to be used to fuel racism against migrants, refugees and black and minority ethnic members of our communities.

Today, Bath Welcomes Refugees and Bath Amnesty are holding a solidarity rally from 5:30 pm (until a little after 6 pm) outside Bath Abbey. The speakers will include refugees and EU citizens living in Bath, who will be talking about their experiences and their fears, and hopes, for the future. At a time of deep division, it is vital that we come together to say clearly and categorically that we will not accept a nationalist, nativist, xenophobic narrative that blames migrants and refugees for the economic problems we face.

Please do come down to Bath Abbey at 5:30 pm today, and invite as many of your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues as possible. The more of us there, the stronger the message of support and solidarity we can send to migrants and refugees in Bath and beyond.

This is an opportunity for all of us who live and work in Bath to publicly reject the bigotry of fascist organisations and the rhetoric of those who enable them. Please join us.

Refugees Welcome Here

From the event organisers:

Some groups and political leaders used the EU referendum debate to make immigration and nationalism the central issue.

In the wake of a Leave vote, it is more important now than ever before to show all members of our community that we welcome individuals from any country and any continent, whether migrant or refugee.

Come and join us outside the Abbey on Tuesday to show our city that we stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees, and will not condone or accept a rhetoric that scapegoats them and blames them for the economic problems of our country.

Please invite your friends and bring along flags, placards and banners.

More: https://www.facebook.com/events/261275074264022/

Open Day strikes bite at Bath and other universities

Our strike action on the University open day was very effective. We spoke to thousands of prospective students and parents about the worsening inequality and job insecurity in Higher Education, and of how this affects staff University of Bath. Most expressed shock at recent changes to staff pay and conditions, and a number of parents refused to cross our picket lines, one very publicly on Twitter.

SUPPORT GROWS FOR OUR CAMPAIGN

The strike was also another opportunity to discuss the dispute with colleagues – to great effect. Not only did our members support the action in greater numbers than they did the two day action in May, but we have had another surge in membership applications, leaving the branch larger than ever.

We also had good support from the local community. We know that many members of other campus unions refused to take on work that was intended to plug the gaps left by people walking out in support of our action and we received delegations to our pickets, and offers of donations to our hardship fund, from other trade unions, including FBU, CWU, Unite, NUT, TSSA, Unite Community and the BMA, as well as the Students’ Union, Bath Trade Union Council, Bath Labour Party and Bath Green Party. A number of our alumni also came back to Bath on Friday to show their support.

MORE ACTION THIS WEEK

The action is being repeated this week in 24 universities across the country.

WORKING TO CONTRACT

We urge all members to continue to work to contract. For details of working to contract see the FAQs at http://bath.web.ucu.org.uk/2016/06/12/industrial-action-2016-faqs/

Your branch committee will be looking closely at the latest workload survey from UCU and will circulate further advice on that.

HARDSHIP FUND

Members who joined the action in May will notice pay deductions in their June pay advice. If you have any questions about these please contact us for advice. You can also get support from the hardship fund operated by the branch. Please reply to this message for details of that.

You can make a donation to the hardship fund to support your colleagues who lost pay because they walked out. You can do so by BACS transfer to

Account No: 20057787
Sort Code: 60-83-01

or a cheque to UCU Bath.

Strike action Friday 17th June

close the gap 2UCU members are called on to support further strike action on Friday 17th June in support of our claim for fair pay, and an end to the gender pay gap and rampant casualization of the HE sector.

17th June is a University open day, so we will have a chance to talk with members of the public about what is happening inside universities.

Pickets will operate at all three entrances to the University from 0730, and all members are invited to join colleagues there.

Industrial Action at University of Bath in June 2016: FAQs (Updated)

What Is Happening?
(more…)

University of Bath should celebrate its 50th with MORE language teaching, not less.

The University of Bath is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Since it was founded in 1966 it has had a commitment to teaching a wide range of foreign languages at every level from beginner to near native speaker. Language courses have been provided by the University’s Foreign Language Centre (FLC) for students and staff at the University, and for the wider public.

The University is now proposing to make cuts of up to 20% in  its FLC language learning, despite more than doubling in size and posting a surplus of over £16 million in its most recent accounts.

If you think this is no way to mark the University’s 50th anniversary, and that the University should be maintaining or expanding, not cutting its language teaching, please sign this petition which will be presented to Vice Chancellor Professor Glynis Breakwell at the end of June.

To the University of Bath: we want MORE foreign language teaching not less

"We - students, staff and members of the public living in the Bath area - condemn the proposals to reduce language courses at the Foreign Language Centre for students, staff and the local community by 20%. The cuts will mean that three of the 11 languages now taught will be withdrawn, along with 2 of the 6 levels of learning in all languages. This is likely to lead to redundancies.

"The University of Bath should not be marking its 50th birthday by abandoning its longstanding commitment to providing a full range of language teaching to its staff, students and the wider public. It has the resources to continue and expand its provision, and should use the occasion of its 50th birthday to renew its commitment to language learning."

[signature]

2,617 signatures

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What’s Up Doc?! Talk from a Junior Doctor on Strike, Tue 26th, 13:15

This week, as UCU members across the country vote on whether to take industrial action over our own pay and conditions, Junior Doctors will begin an “all out” strike, including in emergency services, for the first time in the history of the NHS.

Over the weekend the government rejected calls from across the political spectrum to return to negotiations and declared that they will continue to impose a new contract on doctors from August this year. Junior Doctors and the British Medical Association have said that the new contract is unsafe for patients, unfair and discriminatory for staff and have described it as representing “an existential danger to the NHS”.

Bath UCU Committee has passed a policy to support the Junior Doctors and their campaign, and with so much at stake, we have organised an event to ask:

Why are a group of professionals dedicated to the well-being of their patients resorting to such drastic action, what does this mean for our NHS, and how should we respond?

EVENT: What’s Up Doc?!

Bath UCU are pleased to host Dr Ed Mew, a Junior Doctor at Bath Royal United Hospital, who will give his perspective on the dispute and strike.
Time: Tuesday 25th April, 13:15-14:05
Venue: 3 East 2.4.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/238487703178660/

All union members, other staff and students welcome – please forward this email to your colleagues and invite your students.

If you cannot attend, but want to know more about the Junior Doctors dispute and/or support their campaign, see this post from Bath Trades Union Council.


IMPORTANT REMINDER: UCU Industrial Action Ballot

There are just five working days until the members’ ballot closes:

  1. If you have already received your ballot paper, please fill it in and post today.
  2. If you have not received a ballot paper, you can order a replacement here.
  3. If you have already voted, encourage others to do the same – email ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk for more info or collect materials for your department at the meeting tomorrow.

For the latest news on the ongoing dispute between university employers and higher education trade unions see the national UCU website and Bath UCU blog.

Refugee Solidarity: What’s Going on This Week? (Lots!)

As the refugee crisis worsens, and while our university senior management continue to avoid supporting refugees in the UK, the fight for refugee rights in Bath and further afield continues. There is lots going on this week. Please have a read through the below to see what you can get involved with:

1) CREATE: Yarl’s Wood Protest Banner Making Session

Tue, 8th March, 6.15 pm
Chancellor’s Building 3.7

To mark International Women’s Day, University of Bath Amnesty Society are holding a banner and sign making workshop in preparation for Saturday’s protest outside Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre (see below). All welcome!

2) ORGANISE: Bath Welcomes Refugees Meeting

Tue, 8th March, 7 pm
BRLSI, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN.

This meeting of Bath Welcomes Refugees will focus on the support being given to refugees settled in Bath and the help needed from local residents (including University staff and students). We will also be discussing training and how to effectively support solidarity efforts in Calais.

3) LOBBY: Scholarships for Refugees

Wed, 9th March, 3 pm
Outside East Building

Despite a massive call from students and staff to create scholarships for refugees in the UK, the University of Bath senior management team continue to resort to gestures instead of meaningful action. Students and staff will be lobbying University of Bath Court, asking them to push for an urgent review of the inadequate response. Please join us from 3 pm outside East Building on Wednesday.

4) PROTEST: Bath Goes to Shutdown Yarl’s Wood

Sat, 12th March, 9.30 am
Leaving from Riverside Coach Park

Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre holds 400 women who have committed no crime but to seek asylum in the UK. They are detained indefinitely, lose contact with the outside world, and many have suffered violence and other abuses. Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts, Bath Against Cuts and University of Bath Amnesty Society are running a coach to join others from around the country to protest the treatment of women in Yarl’s Wood and other detention and “immigration removal” centres. The coach will leave the centre of Bath on Saturday morning and return in the evening. Tickets (£8 unwaged/£10 wages) can be bought online. More information: Facebook event.

5) DONATE: Support Refugees in Calais

Three PhD students, Karlijn, Tamsyn and Alaa, recently volunteered in the refugee camp in Calais, where they witnessed the desperate situation that people there are in. They want to continue supporting refugees in Calais, who are currently facing additional pressure as a result of the actions of the French police. They have almost raised their £1500 target – please help them go beyond it by donating online. All donations will go to Help Refugees charity, who will use your money to buy necessary food and clothes for the camp. For more information, see their Facebook event.

6) DONATE: Fundraising for Bath Welcomes Refugees

Two members of the Bath UCU committee, Chris Roche and Kim Luetchford, are running the Bath Half Marathon to promote Bath Welcomes Refugees and Labour Behind the Label. You can sponsor them and see other ways to get involved at their fundraising page.

If you would like to get involved with any of the above initiatives and actions, or are interested in setting up your own, don’t be shy, get in touch – the more of us who get actively involved, the more effective we will be.

Gestures

Following lobbying from members of the University of Bath asking that the university provide funded studentships for refugees from Syria, the senior management team has laid out a response under the title `Partnership, not gesture: Jordan commitment‘. The substance of the management plan is outlined below, with a response.

Following our discussions in Amman two weeks ago we now undertake to make a range of brand new commitments in Jordan to build that resilience:

1. Working with a local University in Amman with a focus on STEM we will support the training of faculty to doctoral level in areas such as engineering and mathematical innovation, essential for the development of resilient systems.

Laudable though this contribution to Jordanian Higher Education might be, it is not a proposal to offer any chance of higher education to Syrian, or other, refugees. There is an additional impediment: according to a report on the status of Syrian students who have sought refuge in Jordan, Jordanian universities require Syrian students to produce documentation on their previous studies:

students reported to us that although in some cases documentary requirements have been eased, some Jordanian universities continue to require documentation. Since many Syrian refugee students were forced to leave home without this paper work, failure to waive these requirements creates an effective bar to accessing higher education in Jordan.

For obvious reasons the Syrian embassy in Jordan is not helpful to Syrian refugees looking for copies of their educational qualifications, so in practice Syrian refugees find it almost impossible to enter a Jordanian university.

2. We will commit to partner with the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan to conduct research in areas of national priority.

Again, this is a laudable proposal, although it does require some detail. For example, is this to be funded by the University of Bath, or does it depend on external funding? If the latter, it is simply a strategic internationalization decision, and not an act of generosity or solidarity by the university. In neither case is it an offer of assistance to refugees fleeing war in Syria: it is cooperation on work of national importance to Jordan.

3. We have now launched a Study Centre in partnership with the Amman Baccalaureate School where we will deliver our MA in Education. We will teach the teachers to provide future leadership in education.

This is not a `brand new commitment’: the `new study centre’ was opened at the end of January by Princess Sarvath, an honorary graduate of the University of Bath.

4. We will strengthen our partnership with the British Institute in Amman to develop research which can inform how governments, NGOs and other parties might more effectively respond to the long-term impacts of the crisis.

Neither is this.

5. And we will provide scholarships on our postgraduate MA Education programme in Amman to refugees displaced by the crisis. These scholarships will complement work being undertaken by the British Council, whose EU-funded LASER (Language, Academic skills and E-learning Resources) Project is developing English language skills with refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon.

This is a very limited offer. The MA in Education programme is open to `qualified educators‘. This translates into a requirement that students on the programme be `qualified teachers‘. At best, this is an offer of scholarships (of what value?) to refugees who already hold a teaching qualification: it offers nothing to those who hold a qualification in any other discipline, and nothing to those who have not started or completed a qualification.

These are all new initiatives for the University. Together, they form a multi-layered commitment to Jordan in its vital stabilisation efforts in this deeply troubled region.

On a charitable reading, some of these initiatives are new `for the University’. They are not, however, a response to the humanitarian crisis of refugees fleeing Syria: they were in place long before the issue of aiding people fleeing war was even raised. Indeed, the word `Syrian’ does not appear in the proposals, and there is absolutely no proposal to offer assistance to Syrian refugees in the United Kingdom.

Our community started out with a call for support for refugees. We are going far beyond what was sought.

It is true that `our community started out with a call for support for refugees’. This plan is not a response to that call but the passing off of existing initiatives as aid for refugees. It does not go `far beyond what was sought’; it is not even movement in the same direction.

Prof. Saiful Islam on race equality in academia

Professor Saiful Islam, Bath UCU Contact for the Department of Chemistry, has been quoted in an article hosted by the Royal Society of Chemistry, discussing his experiences as a British Asian person working in academia in the UK, and reflecting on the creation of the Royal Society’s diversity committee.

Read: The race to equality (External Website)