UCU USS Industrial Action to Save Our Pensions

City UCU members, will be taking action to defend our pensions, alongside UCU members at 61 other institutions.

It is estimated that members will lose up to £200,000 in pension benefits. For a typical lecturer that may be the difference between a pension of approximately £18,000 and £10,000 a year. See a fuller analysis by First Actuarial and use this webpage by Cambridge UCU to reveal how much you stand to lose.

The pension cuts being imposed on us by our employers, Universities UK (UUK), are unecessary – there is a huge ‘best estimate’ surplus in the USS, our pension scheme. See more about why UUK’s proposals are the wrong solution to a made up problem and a helpful factsheet from UCL-UCU. Further info is available from www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss.

For members taking action.

If you have a question about what to do, please look at the detailed Strike and ASOS FAQ. If this doesn’t answer your question, please get in touch with the national UCU or contact City UCU. 

The most important thing you can do in the days leading up to the action is talk to your colleagues. Together we are stronger. And you will feel more able to take action for all of us if you are doing this with your colleagues.

It is important that members’ anger is visible. So please join us on the picket lines on strike days. More information to follow soon. There will be a London-wide Demonstration on 28th February.

For City Students.

If you want to know more about what’s going on, please see the slide show we have produced. UCU USS Strike 2018 – What’s it about and also this video.

The scheduled strike days are listed below. On these days union members will not be involved in teaching or other work. This means that lectures, seminars, labs, office hours and other meetings are all likely to be cancelled. Anyone involved in strike action will not be paid and so will not be making up lost work on other times.

We value education and are committed to working with our fantastic City students. That means that UCU members will be available to meet and work with you before and after the strike. We hope that you understand that we do not want to damage your education. Rather, we believe that if universities impose this change it will lead to many of the best people leaving and the best new educators being discouraged from entering the sector. This will damage future generations of students.

Please email the University President and tell him that you want him to publicly call on UUK to return to negotiations.

Scheduled strike days:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
22 Feb 23 Feb
26 Feb 27 Feb 28 Feb
5 March 6 March 7 March 8 March
12 March 13 March 14 March 15 March 16 March

UCU AGM 2017

Our AGM takes place on Tuesday 13th June, 5pm in C308. Spread the word!

At each Annual General Meeting we elect the branch committee for the following year. We have several vacancies for 2017-18, and invite nominations for all positions. If you are interested in standing or would like to know what is involved, get in touch:

  • email us at info@cityucu.org.uk
  • come to the drop-in advice session every Monday, 12.30-1.30 in B408
  • ring the UCU office on x 4839

Please print a copy of the poster below for displaying in your work kitchen, office door, window, notice board, etc.

Employers’ pay offer: branch meetings

As you will have read in recent emails from UCU Head Office, the employers have issued their final offer on the 2017/18 pay round.

The branch invites you to attend one of two meetings next Tuesday 9th May, to discuss the pay claim, ask questions, and contribute to City UCU’s response to the UCU consultation on the offer.

Tuesday 9th May

BLG08

12.30pm and again at 5pm

Read about the specifics of the unions’ joint pay claim here.

Read the full text of the employers’ offer here.

In summary:

The third and final timetabled negotiating meeting took place through JNCHES on 27 April and the national employers’ representatives UCEA made a final offer, which included an offer of base pay uplift of 1.7%, with higher increases for the lower paid. On other elements:

  • gender pay: UCEA has offered to develop some further joint work with the unions
  • precarious employment: UCEA want to wait for the outcome of the joint working group that already is considering fixed term and variable hours contracts
  • workload/stress: UCEA do not want JNCHES to progress this issue at a UK level
  • Scottish sub-committee: UCEA are interested to receive a report from the trade unions on dialogue that takes place in Scotland with Universities Scotland
  • external examiners: our claim for minimal rates for external examiners has been rejected.

taken from https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8691/HE-national-negotiations-2017-18

Branch meeting on the consultative ballot

Thursday 3rd November, 1-2pm, C304

21Jan Joint Union MeetingUCU have announced a consultative ballot to allow members to decide the way forward with the pay claim for 2016/17. As part of this ballot, we are being asked whether we think the employers’ current offer is sufficient, and whether further industrial action should be called.

You will have received an email from nreply@ucu.org.uk with a link to the online ballot on or around October 24th. It is vitally important that we all vote in this ballot.

The pay claim for 2016/17 comprised five separate elements with three main themes:

  • A 5% increase on all spine points to catch up and keep up: salaries have decreased by 14.5% in real terms since 2009
  • Concrete action to close the gender pay gap: females earn on average £6k less than male counterparts
  • Concrete action to end casualised employment: 75,000 academics are on insecure contracts, with 20,000 on zero-hours contracts

We invite City UCU members to a meeting on Thursday 3rd November, 1-2pm in C304 to come together and discuss the consultative ballot and the way forward for the pay campaign. Speakers will talk on the context to the campaign, the very real threats to higher education in the UK, and members will have a chance to discuss and debate the options open to us in the ballot. If you’re coming to the meeting, tweet us or post up on Yammer.

With the passage of anti-trade union legislation through parliament, it is essential that we use this ballot to send a clear message to the employers. Please use your vote. Please come to the meeting.

City joins University of London

As City joined the University of London, the UCU leafletted the launch event to remind staff that our accession should bring benefits for employees as well as students. Over the coming months we will be continuing to ask the same questions that we have been posing:

  • What are City’s plans for central and professional services?
  • Should staff be worried about centralisation, mergers or restructures?
  • What are the real benefits of accession to the University of London, for students and staff?

There are any number of comparisons to be made between terms and conditions at City and at other University of London institutions. The UCU branch wants to work with management and HR to ensure our staff get the best possible deal as a result of the accession. In this leaflet, we outlined some places where we can start. Do you know of any other areas we could be working with City management on?

University of London leaflet

Branch committee 2016-17

At the AGM on 7th June, members of the City UCU branch elected their new branch committee members for 2016-17:

President
Rebecca Lewis (LEaD)

Vice President
Keith Simpson (Law)
Chris Flood (SHS)

Secretary
Morris Pamplin (LEaD)

Treasurer
Greg Wellington (SAS)

Assistant Secretary
Martin Chivers (SASS)

Equality Officer
Chantal Hill (SASS)

Membership Secretary
Vacant

Health and Safety Officers
John Saunders (SHS)
Keith Simpson (Law)

Postgraduate Students’ Rep
Holly Powell-Jones (SASS)

Committee Members
Sadie Wickwar (SHS)
Lorna Ryan (CCSS)
Leon Cuthbertson (Cass)
Jamie Woodcock (Cass)
Alison Macfarlane (SHS)

Congratulations to all committee members and branch officers on their election.

No to Tory and EU austerity. The EU doesn’t protect workers’ rights

A post by Chris Flood, second of two posts in which City UCU members explain their position on the EU referendum.

The EU is an economic and political bloc acting in the interests of big business in Europe. While it is true that, particularly during the Thatcher era, the EU sometimes seemed to represent a softer form of capitalism, and some legal protections for workers were made through it, this era of so-called ‘social Europe’ is well and truly over. The EU now is at the forefront of globally applied austerity measures, and attacks on workers’ rights.

Even as the referendum debate is taking place EU representatives are locked in secret discussions with US representatives over removing “barriers to trade” between nations. Such ‘barriers’ include health and safety legislation and preservation of what remains of the public sector. The King’s Fund has recently stated that the NHS could not be exempted from EU procurement or competition rules, meaning it must be privatised.

Some trade union leaders’ support for the EU on the spurious grounds of defending workers’ rights ironically comes soon after the TUC and most of the trade union leaders failed to lift a finger to stop the Tory government ripping up the right to strike of millions of British workers with the Trade Union Act. That weakness and indecision is the real threat to British workers, not Britain withdrawing from the bosses’ trading club.

The EU is not internationalist either as we might like it to be. The EU is not Europe. On the contrary, the EU is a ‘Fortress’, doing everything it can – (including allowing refugees to drown in the Mediterranean) – in order to prevent those fleeing for their lives from Syria and elsewhere being able to enter the EU.

Nor does not the EU foster European solidarity within its borders; rather it increases tensions between different nations. It is a capitalist project attempting to impose unity between nations from above, in the interests of the capitalist classes of Europe, particularly the most powerful nations. It is increasingly neoliberal in its economics and undemocratic.

Over the last eight years the institutions of the EU – the hated ‘troika’ – have imposed terrible austerity and privatisation on the economically weaker countries of the EU – above all Greece, but also Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Romania and others. The governments of these and other EU countries have used EU rules as the excuse for the misery they have imposed on their populations.

Working people have huge common interests over and above their individual nationality. We are all facing the same fight against low pay, casualisation, cuts and privatisation in every country of Europe. Successful movements in one country would have huge support, and be emulated, across the continent. That is why the institutions of the EU were desperate to force the left-led Syriza government in Greece to its knees in order to demonstrate to workers in other EU countries that there was no alternative to endless austerity. In the next few weeks we will see a surge of support for a new left wing coalition force in Spain – namely PODEMOS (meaning ‘we can’) in combination with Izquierda Unida – the United Left. The reality is under the current EU arrangements – that even this surging new political movement, that is opposing austerity in Spain, will be powerless to act – just as the hugely popular SYRIZA elected government was in Greece. In other words it will be forced to kneel before the demands of the EU, the World Bank and the IMF irrespective of the wishes of the people.

Nothing is certain in the next period we go into. There could be another recession very soon even. Clearly we will have to fight for our living standards even if there is a remain vote or brexit vote. It isn’t beyond our imagination to see a General Election called in the aftermath of the referendum and to see a Corbyn led popular ‘Peoples Government’ being elected.