UCU

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...

Open University: fight the cuts

Bosses at the Open University are planning to slash up to a third of courses to save £100m a year from its £420m budget. A voluntary redundancy programme begins this week. The OU has been badly hit by the slump in part-time student numbers following the 2012 rise in tuition fees. Whereas previously most OU students had been able to pay their way through alongside full-time work, they were now faced with taking out loans, and many decided against it. Staff at the Open University have voted No Confidence in the Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks after he claimed its distance learning model wasn’t...

USS strike ballot: Vote No!

University and College Union members are voting on a deal that would see strikes in over sixty universities called off in return for an independent review of pension provision. Voting ends on 16 April. Fourteen days of strike action in February and March forced university bosses UUK to ditch a plan to end guaranteed pensions. But now strikers are being asked to put their trust in a process that may produce nothing better. Back in March, employers offered a transitional three-year deal — better than their starting point but still a huge cut — which was forcefully rejected with the slogan ‘No...

UUK backs down, but no deal yet

On Friday 23 March UCU members were emailed by the union with a ″proposal for resolving the dispute″ on pensions from Universities UK. The new proposal is a significant step back by the employer, and shows victory could be within reach, but does not guarantee enough for strikes to be called off just yet. The new proposal commits UUK to a re-valuation of the USS scheme for the first time. This is a significant step back for UUK. This re-valuation is to be done by a formally agreed joint expert panel, comprised of actuarial and academic experts nominated in equal numbers from both sides. This is...

NUS Conference 2018: defeat the right, fight for left-wing, militant leadership

At last year’s National Union of Students conference, NUS’s broadly leftish leadership was displaced by a new, mostly more right-wing team of officers. President Malia Bouattia, whose re-election we critically supported, lost to incumbent Shakira Martin. Under Martin NUS has moved to a much less radical, combative and dynamic stance. The NUS leadership refused to support the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts-organised national demonstration for free education; failed dismally to mobilise support for the UCU strike and displayed hostility to the wave of student solidarity actions; and...

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