March and Rally: Planet + Pay + Pensions
Fight for a future! Solidarity with School Student Climate Strike
Demonstrate 29 November
Assemble Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY
Assemble 11am — Depart 12 noon
March to Parliament for a rally
Venue + Speakers to be confirmed
Dear UCU London Region colleague
UCU has announced eight days of strike action in Higher Education starting on 25 November. See the official UCU strike date annoucement.
There are two legally distinct disputes, with two different employer groups involved in negotiating issues. This makes things a little complicated! But our members have given UCU a very strong mandate to negotiate and a strong mandate to lead action.
We now know the dates and can start planning.
There are many lessons of the USS dispute in 2018. But a key one concerned the importance of preparation and collective organisation across the region. London Region was very effective in linking up branches, and in taking London-wide initiatives (including two major demos and rallies, but also other protests).
London Region UCU has called a strike coordinating meeting this Thursday, 7 November, from 6.30-9pm in the Ricardo Lecture Theatre, B03, Drayton House, Gordon Street UCL.
- This meeting is open to branch reps and UCU members alike.
- Drayton House is behind Friends Meeting House (opposite Euston Station) on Gordon Street. » Map
With some branches taking strike action, and others unable to take it, there are some questions of basic solidarity we should consider. HE branches that are not being called out will still be part of one or both of these disputes.
- Where reballoting is going to take place, we should discuss how striking branches might also be able to facilitate that reballot.
- Striking branches should ideally have daily strike committee meetings. We might facilitate non-striking branches to book venues and host strike meetings, teach outs, etc.
We should also start thinking about what initiatives we can take regionally.
The dates will coincide with some key dates. 29 November is the next climate strike date and 4 December is UCU’s Day of Action on Disability. One thing that worked well in 2016 was themed strike days – we could start making plans for those.
We should also consider regional rallies etc.
These are just a few ideas. Please discuss with colleagues and bring your own ideas to the meeting this Thursday.
A big thank you from London Region UCU to Mandy Brown, who is leaving the sector after five years as Secretary.
During her time in office, London Region UCU led the way in the Further Education sector showing how to break through the TU Act threshold to launch effective strike action. The five years she spent as London Region Secretary saw the attacks on FE, HE and Adult Education intensify, yet we have seen the emergence of a strong rank and file in colleges committed to fighting back.
There has often been debate on how best to organise these struggles and Mandy’s stewardship of the Region meetings ensured both that different opinions were heard and that the region agreed on a clear direction.
As branch secretary at Lambeth College, she led a branch that has been in the front line of fighting back against attacks on FE provision and working conditions. Mandy was instrumental in progressing campaigns for migrant rights. She was first involved in our union in the Action for ESOL campaign. Her inspiring work for Care4Calais, particularly during the period of Calais Jungle in 2015/2016 meant that migrant solidarity was not an abstract policy but something real and meaningful for those that were inspired to get involved.
Mandy, we are going to miss you and we are going to keep this tradition going.
– all the best, from London Region UCU
Building a democratic, activist-led UCU
2 November 2019, 11-5pm
(doors open for registration at 10.30)
UCL Roberts Engineering Building
University College London
Joint session with Campaign Against Climate Change conference 1.00pm-2.00pm
Opposite Waterstones, Torrington Place
Nearest tubes: Goodge St/Warren St, Euston Sq/Euston, Russell Sq
What a difference a year makes!
One year on from the great USS HE Pension strikes of 2018 and the wave of Further Education strikes that have continued, UCU is gearing up for another strike wave in Higher Education. Nottingham College strikers are in a mammoth fight to stop pay cuts and skyrocketing workload.
Meanwhile the Tory government is in deep crisis, and climate strikes are spreading across the globe.
New struggles bring new questions. What role should UCU activists play? What type of union do we need? How do we encourage and organise a new generation of activists in our union? UCU has had major democratic debates, culminating in a new General Secretary and a commission on Democracy. But how do we organise our branches and Regions to be more effective – and more democratic?
Most of all, how do we organise a bigger, stronger union movement, one that demands people before profit, unites staff and students, and is capable of stopping the market madness in education once and for all?
Come to this one-day conference to debate the future of UCU. It is time to organise the future of our union.
Hosted by UCL UCU. Called by London Region UCU, supported by Branch Solidarity Network, UCU Left and others – To add your organisation’s name click here.
|Welcome – After the Ballots: GTVO and building the strikes – James Richards (Herriot Watt)
- Work till you drop? Pensions, cuts and USS Round Two – Deepa Driver (Reading, NDC chair) and Carlo Morelli (Dundee, UCU Scottish President)
- Organising a united pay fight in Higher Education – Bruce Baker (Newcastle), Mark Abel (Brighton) and Linda Cronin (Roehampton)
- One hundred years of Adult education: the fight for a hundred more – Jan Koene (Sutton College) and Naina Kent (Hackney ACE)
|Climate strikes, UCU and fighting for the future. Can we win free education and socially-responsible science? – Sean Vernell (CCCG, UCU VP FE), James Price (UCL) and the Campaign Against Climate Change TU group
|Resisting casualisation and uniting the union. How do we use the unity of strikes to win members to secure contracts? – Liz Lawrence (Sheffield Hallam retd), Lesley Kane (Open) and Feyzi Ismail (SOAS)
|Equality, from resistance to liberation. How do we win members to defend equality rights? Can we defend migrant students and staff? – Dima Chami (Leeds), and others
|Organising to win: how to turn the tide of marketisation in post 16 education – Vicky Blake (Leeds, UCU Vice President), Nottingham College Strikers and more
Organising the USS Campaign in London
An open regional organising meeting for all reps and activists
Thursday 27 June, 6.30pm
Garwood Lecture Theatre
1st Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building
University College London
(adjacent to the Quad)
All members welcome
Deepa Govindarajan Driver, Co-Chair, UCU National Dispute Committee
Carlo Morelli, UCU Scotland President and ex-UCU USS Negotiator
Marion Hersh, UCU USS Negotiator
Called by London Region UCU.
On Friday 7 June, UCU submitted a letter to every employer asking them to commit to No Detriment in contributions or benefits in the current (2017) valuation round.
The employers could agree to pick up the increased employee contribution costs that USS is imposing. Or they could agree to negotiate at the top table to jointly demand, with UCU, to implement the JEP recommendations in full. Either way they could avoid a dispute.
However, if as is almost certain, the employers decline to do so, UCU will organise a disaggregated ballot of members in each employer from September to October.
We need to get organised. We will need to ensure that in every branch more than 50% of members eligible to vote do so. The stakes are extraordinarily high.
Please come to this meeting, and encourage others to do so.
Lobby the Joint Negotiating Committee of USS
Friday 17 May, 9:30 for 10am
60 Threadneedle Street, EC2 8RP » Map
Nearest tube: Bank
Called by London Region UCU.
Our pension scheme is under attack from those who run it.
In 2018, members took 14 days of strike action in overwhelming numbers to defend our USS pension. We demonstrated that there was no deficit in the pension scheme. And the Joint Expert Panel (JEP), set up in the wake of the dispute, agreed.
There is no need to make cuts in pensions. There is no need for employees to pay more in to the scheme. The scheme is in surplus and is growing. The arguments that have been used to impose changes are specious. The JEP’s recommendations in their First Report are minor increases that the employers could afford to pick up in their entirety.
This is why UCU’s position is #NoDetriment.
However, the USS Board are refusing to implement the recommendations of the JEP. Consequently they are imposing large increases in contributions on both employees and employers. In March they pre-announced a 42.5% increase in contributions from employees — even though their own consultation of members overwhelmingly demanded no increase.
Those who run USS are undermining JEP by refusing to implement the first report. They intend to undermine the Second Report of JEP.
If they get away with this, we will pay more, and then the employers will demand 100% Defined Contribution at the next valuation round.
We have to restart the fight to defend USS.
- Come to the Lobby of the USS Joint Negotiating Committee on Friday.
- Prepare members to ballot for strike action to defend their pension.
UCU Congress, at the end of the month, will then vote on the next steps.
RESISTING RACISM, DEFENDING MIGRANTS
6pm, Wednesday 1st May
Location: Henry Thomas Room
(Tower Building entrance)
Holloway Road N7 8DB
organised by London Metropolitan University UCU
Racism is on the rise. The Trump presidency has encouraged a wave of racism and the growth of the far right around the world. From Bolsonaro in Brazil, Le Pen in France and the AfD and FPO in Germany and Austria have come a wave of Islamophobia and a resurgence of antisemitism. The killing of 50 Muslims in Christchurch illustrates the dangers we face. The Windrush scandal has shown the government’s ‘hostile environment’ for what it is.
The threat is huge but together we can turn the tide. Tens of thousands throughout the world marched against Racism on UN anti-racism day.
The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) is committed to fighting racism wherever it surfaces. Together with local anti-racists, the UCU London Met branch is organising a public meeting to expose racism and discuss ways in which racist attacks can be fought and limitations on freedom of movement can be exposed.
Nita Sanghera (UCU Vice President)
Dean Ryan (Islington Unison Local Government Officer and former London Met student)
Deepa Driver (co-Chair of the UCU National Disputes Committee)
– all speakers are in a personal capacity