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October, 2019:

Today is the last day you can post your vote to UCU

Today is the last day you can post your votes in either of UCU’s higher education ballots and be sure they will arrive by the Wednesday 30 October deadline.

Tens of thousands of votes have already been cast, but we can’t stop there. Every branch needs at least 50% of its members to vote in order to be able to join any industrial action.

The 50% threshold is not something we have chosen. Nor is the requirement to vote by post. Both are requirements imposed on us by trade union legislation. The higher the overall turnout and the higher the number of branches over the threshold, the more pressure we can put on our employers to negotiate properly with us.

We are campaigning for a fairer higher education sector. Bit by bit, we can get there – but only if you take the first step and cast your vote.

The ballot results will be announced later this week, and the elected reps on UCU’s higher education committee (HEC) will meet on Friday to discuss the results and consider our next steps. Please watch this space for further updates.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary

Powering Up not Running Out – CCCU, FAH and ‘STEAM’

The FAH REVIEW and Our University must not become bogged down in a degradation and fragmentation of ideas, values  and judgement based on ‘cost-siloing’ and false economics (the micro-management and leadership of FAH by fabricated politically driven cost analysis and ever ‘deeper dives’ into financial data alone).

The answer is NOT cutting modules that do not reach artificial profit levels leading to ongoing and related disastrous cutting of programmes, then jobs, then opportunities for students, then support for our communities and resulting in our collective impoverishment.

Education is profit.  

The University and SMT and their (and our values) must be involved in all Reviews.

For example  if there is a decline in recruitment in FAH to what extent is the University’s performance responsible ?

Investment is a big issue. It is occurring at CCCU but not everywhere. What are the University’s objectives what are its current cost burdens and investments and how do these reflect values ?

Engineering and Medicine are being invested in at CCCU.  The Arts and Humanities remain vital and the choice of investment in them is central to the FAH review.

STEM represents science, technology, engineering and maths. “STEAM” represents STEM plus the arts – humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design, media and new media.

THE FAH REVIEW NEEDS TO INCLUDE REPRESENTATIVES OF THOSE AREAS THE UNIVERSITY IS INVESTING IN.

REPRESENTATIVES of ENGINEERING AND MEDICINE SHOULD BE PRESENT AT FAH REVIEW AND A CONVERSATION WITH FAH STAFF FROM ACROSS THESE AREAS IS NEEDED.

IT MUST START NOW.

Leonardo Da Vinci is an early examples of someone using STEAM to make discoveries.Wikimedia Commons

The main difference between STEM and STEAM is STEM explicitly focuses on scientific concepts. STEAM investigates the same concepts, but does this through inquiry and problem-based learning methods used in the creative process the arts and humanities.

Why is STEAM important?

STEAM education provides students with the opportunity to learn creatively, using 21st century skills such as problem solving, visual communication, cultural awareness, multiple intelligences and multiple traditions of knowledge  .

See  how University of Kent has made the link:

https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/discover-stem/2019/07/02/open-days-at-kent/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=19_oct

Read the Independent on Steam

https://www.independent.co.uk/student/student-life/Studies/stem-vs-steam-how-the-sciences-and-arts-are-coming-together-to-drive-innovation-a7047936.html

Bryan Hawkins Chair UCU CCCU

UCU COMMUNICATION FROM BRYAN HAWKINS

Your UCU CCCU exec is working hard to improve your working environment.

We are moving ahead with your priorities.

Workload Planning

The current system is not fit for purpose.  UCU CCCU are negotiating an Urgent Review of WLP with HR and SMT and  with important interim decisions made by the end of this Semester.

WLP issues raised at  Branch meetings and by you through discussion and emails will be central to this review. UCU members will be directly involved. The University  can and must do better

Staff Survey

Thanks to your efforts and the UCU CCCU exec’s, UCU CCCU HR and SMT are involved in a serious discussion to develop a new approach to the SS and the poor recent results. This must not be more of the same it must involve all staff. SMT must create an Action Plan by the end of this Semester to address the problems you experience.

In Casework

We are currently TODAY supporting members with:

Disability issues, Legal Issues, Employment Rights, Early Retirement Requests, Return to Work Planning, Strong Representation in Disputes, Grievances and Investigations.

IN ORDER TO SUPPORT YOUR UNION AT CHRIST CHURCH AND NATIONALLY PLEASE VOTE IN THE UCU POSTAL BALLOT ON  PAY AND CONDITIONS.

THE TURNOUT WILL DETERMINE OUR NEGOTIATING STRENGH BOTH NATIONALLY and HERE AT OUR UNIVERSITY.

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR UNION – YOUR UNION – GET COLLEAGUES TO VOTE AND VOTE YOURSELF …….

Best Wishes,

Bryan Hawkins

Chair UCU CCCU

Jo Grady – lecturers wages are now 17% behind inflation

By the standards which our employers like to use university staff have achieved great things in the decade since the financial crisis. The sector’s income has increased by over £11 billion. Universities’ reserves have almost tripled. As we learnt only last week, more than 50% of young people now attend university.

We, the staff, have made those things possible. But over the same period the proportion of university spending on staff has dropped. The OECD has found that UK universities’ spending on staff as a proportion of income is 6 percentage points lower than the EU average. Our pay has repeatedly been cut relative to inflation, and our wages would need to increase substantially to return to the value they had at the time of the financial crisis. Even by employers’ own calculations, we have lost out to the tune of about 17% over the last decade.

Quite simply, our vice-chancellors no longer accept that we deserve to be rewarded for creating the world-class sector which they like to boast about.

What are we asking for?

Given how poorly we are being rewarded our claims in the current higher education pay dispute are modest. Every year UCU and other campus unions lodge a detailed claim to our employers covering job security, equality, workload, and pay. This year we are asking for:

  • a pay increase of RPI plus 3% (a total of 5.6% as at August 2019) or a minimum of £3,349
  • action to close the gender pay gap
  • work on closing the ethnicity pay gap based on an intersectional analysis of inequalities relating to race, gender, and other protected characteristics
  • adoption of the stress management standards (or equivalent) approach to workload management in universities.

Tackling casualisation, improving our job security

One of the most detailed parts of our claim concerns casualisation. We are asking employers to agree to a framework for ending precarious employment, including:

  • a commitment to end zero-hours contracts
  • moving hourly-paid staff to fractional contracts
  • a UK-wide review of the use of hourly paid lecturers in post-92s
  • an action plan to improve job security for researchers
  • proper contracts and guaranteed hours for postgraduate teaching assistants.

This is not an opportunistic raid on universities’ bank accounts. We are just asking to be valued properly for our hard work. In many areas of this claim we are not demanding immediate action; we are simply demanding that employers get round the table with us and come up with a plan to start addressing some of the problems that make our lives and our work much harder than they need to be.

Vote today

UCU has attended multiple negotiation meetings with employers over the past few months. They have offered us a pay ‘increase’ of 1.8%, which is well below the RPI index of inflation. On job security, equality, and workload they have essentially refused to negotiate.

Those of us who went on strike over USS last year will remember how effective our action was in getting an improved offer out of employers. The larger the mandate you give your union by voting in this strike ballot, the more likely it is that employers will make us an offer before any action has to happen. And don’t forget: if we do have to go on strike again, we are doing more than ever to support you through UCU’s fighting fund.

Finally, if you have lost or still not received your ballot papers please make sure that your membership information is up to date using My UCU, and request your replacement ballot paper here.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary