UCU has received a statement of support Angela Rayner, the shadow Secretary of State for Education, pledging full solidarity with ‘our brilliant university staff’. She also calls for negotiations for ‘as long as it takes’ to find a solution. “I am deeply concerned by the proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) which would leave hundreds of thousands of staff in many of our biggest universities significantly worse off in retirement. Decent pay and working conditions for those who work in education are vital to the success of the National Education Service that Labour is planning. We want our brilliant university staff to stay in UK higher education and to continue working for the public good. A race to the bottom will only create a brain drain in this crucial sector that the UK can ill afford. The last thing students and their parents need right now is a prolonged dispute in which they get caught in the middle. I would urge both sides, aided by USS and ACAS if necessary, to agree to sit down and negotiate for as long as it takes to agree an equitable solution. USS is the largest private pension scheme in the UK … continue reading
It would be great if you would let us know when you’ve voted in the pensions industrial action ballot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the word ‘voted’ in the subject box. (We’re not asking what you voted.) This will help us to remind colleagues who may have forgotten to vote, so we can deal with the obstacle of the Tory anti-strike law which says unions have to get a 50% turnout but forbids us from using electronic voting or having ballot boxes in the workplace because these would increase the turnout. (We will try not to ask you again once you’ve either told us you’ve voted or that you don’t want a reminder.) If you haven’t received your ballot paper by Monday 4 December, you can request a replacement by going to ucu.org.uk/ussballotrequest For the latest updates on the pensions dispute see the national UCU website www.ucu.org.uk/uss … continue reading
Yesterday, our university management posted an update on the USS Pension scheme, under “latest news” which has led to queries from members. The university management’s statement contains a wholly inaccurate claim that the USS pensions dispute is “not a national ballot” and goes on to claim the “University is the subject of a dispute which we have no power to resolve.” In fact, save for one detail, UCU is following the same process as we always do in a national ballot – which is to serve individual ballot notices to each institution on whose behalf negotiations are being conducted. The only difference in this ballot is that, as our first national ballot since the unfair, anti-trade union Trade Union Act passed in 2016, every ballot now has to pass a 50 per cent threshold before action can take place. UCU has therefore decided to count each ballot separately in order to maximise the opportunity for branches to take action and minimise the possibility that low turnout in one or two institutions would stop action elsewhere. Every USS branch is being balloted, and this is a national campaign. Two Leeds UCU officers (Lesley and Vicky) are members of the UCU’s Higher Education Committee. They were both … continue reading
Leeds UCU will be making our views known about our statutes dispute and about pensions in a very festive way at lunchtime on Tuesday 5th December. We’ll be singing Christmas carols – with slightly different lyrics – around campus, with a brass accompaniment. The ‘UCU choir’ is great fun, and you don’t need to be a good singer, just come along and enjoy yourself. Festive costume (e.g. tinsel) entirely optional. We’ll be assembling at 1pm in room G.03, Baines Wing for a quick practice before going off to sing our hearts out. We’d love to have suitable lyrics for more Christmas carols – send your suggested wording to email@example.com And how would you complete a Christmas card to management that starts “All I want for Christmas is…”? Send us your thoughts! Some festive decorations: … continue reading
All members are welcome to the next Action Group meeting on Tuesday 7 November from 1-2 pm (see email for venue). Please come along to work on the next steps in the Statutes campaign, including discussing future action and to help develop the inspiring ‘University of the Aire’ theme which emerged in the ‘Striking Insights’ teach-out.