UCU

Post-grads as workers?

We should welcome the opportunities Labour’s mooted National Education Service (NES) presents to transform education. One area that especially deserves attention is postgraduate and early career research. Graduate teaching assistants, hourly paid tutors, and other precarious education workers would benefit immediately from Labour’s policy commitments on workplace rights, including their commitments to repeal the 2016 Trade Union Act and to ban zero hours contracts. Nevertheless, abolishing tuition fees and providing maintenance grants at the postgraduate level can only go so far to provide...

UCU branches should keep pushing for democracy

Comment by a Workers' Liberty UCU member on UCU Congress can be read here. Jo Grady, UCU activist and Lecturer in Employment Relations at the University of Sheffield, spoke to Solidarity about the USS dispute, UCU Congress and where next? Solidarity: Where are things with USS at the moment? In April members of UCU voted to accept the offer that was on the table. This involved keeping the arrangements we currently have for the time being and installing a Joint Expert Panel (JEP) which has equal member representation from UCU and UUK. It was not entirely clear what the remit of that panel would...

Unite UCU walk out is abuse of trade union principles

The actions of full time officials of the UCU in walking out of the union's Congress is effectively a dispute with their own members. It is unprecedented in the history of British trade unionism and an abuse of trade union principles by the Unite branch to which UCU full-time officials, including General Secretary Sally Hunt, belong. The initial walkout was in response to a motion (B19), from the University of Sheffield branch, calling for the establishment of a democracy review within the union. This had originally been left off the order paper but when delegates voted to put it back on the...

FE strikes win a pay rise

UCU members at Further Education (FE) colleges in Hull, Sandwell, and across London have been on strike over a variety of dates in May over pay and jobs. As a result of the strike management at Sandwell college have offered a pay rise equating to 6.45% over three years. The deal has been endorsed by UCU, as well as by Unison. The deal also includes an increase in the minimum pay level to bring all workers onto the voluntary Living Wage, and the establishment of a joint working group to look at working practices, including staff well being. FE colleges can set their own pay rates, though there...

FE workers strike

Workers at Further Education (FE) colleges in Hull, Sandwell, and across London will strike in May. As previously reported in Solidarity, workers at Hull Colleges Group will strike on Wednesday 9, Thursday 17, and Friday 18 May. The Hull Colleges Group plans to cut 231 full-time equivalent posts across the three campuses. The London colleges strike is part of a ″second wave″ of action over pay and jobs in FE organised by the UCU, which had previously included colleges in Sunderland as well. Workers at Tower Hamlets College, Hackney Community College, Epping Forest, Lambeth College, Lewisham...

UCU rank and file meets

On 29 April 2018, approximately 50 Higher Education activists from across the UK met as part of a newly formed Rank and File network within the University and College Union (UCU). UCU Rank and File emerged from the USS pension strikes, which saw a surge in activity within the union at the grassroots level. While 64% of UCU members voted to accept an offer from Universities UK (UUK), many UCU members – myself included – saw the handling of this ballot as a capitulation by the union and particularly by general secretary Sally Hunt. The Rank and File meeting therefore had a central objective of...

Hull College strike over job cuts

UCU members at colleges in Hull, Harrogate, and Goole employed by Hull Colleges Group will strike on Wednesday 9, Thursday 17, and Friday 18 May. The Hull Colleges Group plans to cut 231 full-time equivalent posts across the three campuses. On 19 April UCU members passed a vote of no confidence in the colleges′ chief executive officer. Management have also attempted to bully and then bribe staff to not attend a protest against the running of the college. Staff were sent an email the day before telling them that those who joined a lunchtime protest against the job cuts ″risked doing so...

UCU: Build the rank-and-file revolt!

Workers' Liberty UCU members produced a bulletin for the UCU rank-and-file revolt meeting on Sunday 29 April. You can download the bulletin as a PDF here.

"A union that belongs to its members"

Written for a Workers' Liberty bulletin for the UCU rank-and-file revolt national meeting on 29 April 2018 An often cited example of a rank-and-file network transforming its union for the better is that of the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) in the Chicago Teachers’ Union. The change in the union came to wider attention during their 2012 contract strike. Where the strength that CORE as itself, and then through the structures of the union, had built up was put to the test — and performed spectacularly. There are many lessons to be learnt from that strike: how the ballot was built for...

UCU: new network launches

Planned strikes by members of the University and College Union (UCU) in pre-1992 university, aimed to stop cuts to the University Superannuation Scheme for academic workers’ pensions, have been suspended after union members voted to accept an employers’ offer. UCU members voted by 64% to 36%, on a turnout of over 60%, to accept an offer from bosses’ organisation Universities UK which proposed to set up a joint “expert panel” to review pension reform. However, many UCU activists argued that the deal, which did not contain any firm guarantees to abandon plans to reform pensions, or any long-term...

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