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June, 2016:

Message from Sally Hunt on the EU referendum

Members will have differing views on the result of last Thursday’s referendum on EU membership.

However what is not in doubt is that the UK now faces a period of considerable economic and political uncertainty. That uncertainty extends into the places where UCU members work in three main ways.

First, in practical concerns about the loss of funding for projects within or related to universities and colleges supported by the European Union.

Second, in the impact of the referendum result upon government policy. For example, there is now speculation that the apprenticeship levy from which many colleges hoped to benefit may be postponed or scrapped.

Third, in a sector with a highly international workforce which itself teaches a diverse student body, the impact upon staff and students themselves.

I have therefore this morning written to the UK secretary of state with responsibility for further and higher education and UCU will be making contact too with the devolved administrations seeking some clarity in these three areas on behalf of members.

The referendum campaign has produced a rising tide of racism and hostility to migrant communities, as well as a worrying trend of anti-intellectualism (‘who needs experts?’ and so on). In the face of this universities and colleges have a vital role to play in fighting racism and intolerance and in continuing to promote the benefits of education to both the individual and society as a whole. In short we must stand up for our staff and students and celebrate education for all rather than hide away until the storm passes.

UCU for its part will continue to pursue these values  in line with a statement agreed by the National Executive Committee last Friday which you can read here.

Best regards

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

Latest message from UCU head of campaigns Justine Stephens: #fairpayinHE and victory at Hull College

Dear colleague,

Members will be shocked at the murder of Jo Cox MP. The full sympathy and solidarity of the union goes to Jo’s family, friends and constituents in this time. Jo had a record of supporting the most vulnerable in our society and across the globe in Sierra Leone and Syria. She was killed while doing her job and we share in the outrage of this violent crime.

In this week’s campaigns update:

Taking action for #fairpayinHE
Members at Bath and Bristol universities are taking strike action for #fairpayinHE today – targeting an open day and an open day plus exam boards respectively as part of UCU’s nationally co-ordinated wave of local strike action. Members at Essex and Coventry follow tomorrow, while University of Stirling UCU will on Monday be the first of 24 branches taking action over the course next week. Please help keep the pressure on institutions and send your solidarity to colleagues taking action by using the #fairpayinHE hashtag and see our marvellous wall of support here.

Victory for UCU members at Hull College
UCU members at Hull College have secured both a pay rise and an end to ‘no-notice’ lesson observations, bringing to an end a dispute which saw members taking strike action over the college’s lesson observation methods last month. The college has also finally agreed to implement a pay rise which was originally promised in September 2015, with payments backdated to last August. Congratulations to all at Hull College UCU on their victory.

Also this week:
1. In the news
2. Newcastle University UCU: a fantastic victory
3. Stand with Orlando – we need to come together
4. Release Professor Homa Hoodfar
5. Free professional development opportunities in Leeds and Hull
6. Equality chartermarks survey

Please click here.

All the best

Justine Stephens
UCU head of campaigns

Read the 5 five key findings from the UCU workload report

Dear colleague,

You will remember that earlier this year we surveyed all members to find out more about your concerns around workload intensification and working hours. The report and an executive summary are now available here.

Thank you to the 18,000 members who took the time to respond.

The results are astonishing. Our report has 5 key findings:

  1. staff in both the higher education and further education sectors are working an average of more than two days unpaid every week
  2. workload is unmanageable and unsustainable for the majority of academic staff and lecturers
  3. staff are taking on more responsibility and administration
  4. student expectations have increased
  5. professional and career development is suffering as a result of increasing workload pressures.

The report suggests that it is our members who are bearing the brunt of national policy reforms and increasing competition. The implications for not managing workloads effectively are huge, affecting not only your health and welfare but also the quality of education for students.

We will be working hard this year to provide branches with bargaining advice and support on how to tackle this insidious problem.

Thank you for your support.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary