Vicky Blake’s rousing speech on why this strike is so important for us all.
Text from branch president Ben Plumpton’s email to members 22nd November Dear members, First, apologies if you have sent a query to me or to firstname.lastname@example.org and you haven’t received a personal reply yet. We’ve had a LOT of messages. I hope that the comprehensive FAQ at https://www.ucu.org.uk/heaction will answer most questions. You could also watch the video of today’s live Q&A session with Jo Grady, UCU General Secretary. Picketing! Thank you to everyone who has signed up already. You can just turn up on the day, but it’s helpful to get an indication of how many people we can expect, please sign up here. The pink gazebo will be at the main entrance from 7:30 am every day – please come here first to sign in and get placards and leaflets. We’ll suggest where to go with the aim of covering all the entrances, but if you have a particular preference (e.g. if you prefer to picket outside your nearest entrance, or the opposite) you can tell us when you sign in. If you haven’t picketed before, we’ll make sure you’re with someone who’s experienced (not that it’s difficult, honestly). Wrap up warm with waterproofs/umbrella – the weather forecast at the moment is “light rain … continue reading
As you probably know a many university staff will be on strike for eight working days (Monday 25th November – Wednesday 4th December). This includes lecturers, researchers, librarians, IT staff and student support staff. The strikes are about precarious employment (‘casualisation’), excessive workloads, pay inequality (there are substantial pay gaps for women and black and ethnic minority staff), reduced pay and threats to pensions. Staff feel conflicted about this – we don’t want to harm your education, but our union has tried incredibly hard to negotiate on these issues and it now seems the only thing university employers will listen to is strikes. These are national disputes and 60 universities across the UK will see strike action (unless the university employers come back to meaningful negotiations first). What are the strikes about? You can read some background here. The National Union of Students supports the strikes, see this joint statement and watch this short video. What to expect All activities during the strike action are potentially at risk; Teaching will be cancelled on strike days; Other activities such as emailing and marking will also be delayed. Strikes and picketing Staff who are on strike don’t work and don’t get … continue reading
Your ballot papers should have arrived – look out for a white A4 envelope with the UCU logo. If you can’t find it, request a new one at www.ucu.org.uk/ballotrequest (deadline Wednesday 23 October 12 noon). For queries about the ballot process please check our ballots FAQ. LAST DATE TO POST YOUR BALLOTS IS MONDAY 28 OCTOBER to get there by the deadline Wednesday 30 October. Best to post them before then to be safe. Please vote – don’t let that envelope disappear under the piles on your desk! It’s really important to have your democratic say, and your union needs to know what you think. The two disputes are linked. Inequality and casualisation in employment lead to inequality in retirement. Pay stagnation will reduce our incomes in retirement as well as squeezing us right now. Increased pension contributions mostly wipe out the tiny pay increase that has been imposed. Four fights dispute We were not impressed by the employers response to our annual pay and conditions claim. Pay inequality, casualisation, and excessive workloads are all significant problems at Leeds, as elsewhere. We had hoped that this year, the employers’ side (represented by UCEA) would negotiate sensible national agreements on these issues … continue reading
Text from branch president Ben Plumpton’s email to members If you pay into a USS pension you will have received an email today from the university’s pensions manager, informing you that your pension contribution will increase to 9.6% of your salary from 1 October 2019 until October 2021. This is up from the current 8.8% and the 8% that it was before the USS pensions dispute began. This will impact on your take-home pay, erasing any uplift from the inadequate 1.8% pay offer, and the increased contributions will do nothing to increase your projected pension. The email from USS, forwarded by the university’s pensions manager, presents this as a decision of the Joint Negotiating Committee, but in reality the JNC was firmly split on the matter and it was the chair’s casting vote that set the new situation in motion. This response to the USS’s 2018 valuation is a wholesale rejection of the proposed solutions presented by the Joint Expert Panel last year. Your union’s position remains that the employers should shoulder any additional costs of maintaining our benefits. We will be balloting for industrial action on pensions soon. When your ballot papers arrive, we would ask you to consider … continue reading