Join the Fight for Higher Education: Stand with Roehampton

Please support this statement. You can add your name with this Google Form.

On 4 May 2020, a brutal assault on Higher Education began when the University of Roehampton announced aggressive proposals to cut jobs with the launch of a severance scheme and — significantly — a proposal to cut pay for academics and professional staff from 1st August. Subsequently there has been a further attack on our working conditions with the announcement of increases in academic workloads and the suspension of research sabbaticals. This has occurred whilst staff are continuing to deliver high quality teaching and exceptional research, as well as rapidly develop new programmes to help increase university income during the pandemic. To date, details of the university’s plan for socially distanced teaching have not been clarified, but additional labour will certainly be required to adapt our programmes. In the given context, it is clear that any cuts would be unsustainable, unfair, and would have a damaging impact on the quality of teaching and research in the university, as well as on staff health and student satisfaction.

We already know that universities are capitalising on the good will of staff, their dedication to students, and their willingness to work well beyond contracted hours, which makes these moves to undermine collective solidarity, security, and support particularly egregious. We also know that the most vulnerable among us are now facing a double attack arising from the pandemic, as well as the marketisation of tertiary education: temporary and casualised workers, migrants, disabled, women and BAME staff and students will be the most affected by cuts. Meanwhile, the highest salaries and the proportion of senior management continues to balloon, undeniably problematic in the context of dwindling resources.

The marketisation of HE continues to play a significant role in the situation that universities now find themselves. Post-92 universities like Roehampton represent a key dimension of this increasingly challenging marketplace, particularly as the government seems to pursue ideological shifts driven by ill-informed notions of vocational skill and inappropriate assessments of ‘value for money’. These moves would amplify inequalities for staff and students, including those arising from the widening stratification of teaching and research.

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Indro Sen 1952-2020

Indro Sen 1952-2020

Former secondary maths teacher, primary school governor, College of North West London lecturer — and, most importantly, trade unionist — Indro Sen has died shortly before his 68th birthday.

In 2016-17 Indro was involved in a dispute at CNWL over his allegations of corruption in an apprenticeship scheme. He was suspended from his job allegedly because of his support at an employment tribunal for a sacked colleague and his opposition to the CNWL’s merger with Westminster College.

At the time Peter Murry, Trade Union Liaison officer for the London Federation of Green Parties and for Brent Green Party supported Sen and said, ‘Both of these actions are entirely proper for a University and College Union Branch Secretary to carry out. If Indro Sen’s suspension is a result of his performing the legitimate duties of a UCU Officer, then he himself seems to be threatened with unfair treatment and victimisation.’

His son Shenin said on Twitter:

On Wednesday we lost my father Indro Sen. Being unaware of his underlying health issues, this has been a complete shock for me & my family, which is where my full focus is right now.

His whole life was dedicated to helping others, I couldn’t have asked for a better role model.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said:

So sorry to hear of the loss this week of Indro Sen. Long time NUT and then UCU militant.

Long time school rep at Kingsland secondary school. Successful fights against victimisation.

Highly regarded Maths teacher. Brilliant ally in fights as a parent, and governor, at Benthal Primary school.

Many condolences to all the family. Rage against the dying of the light. Rest in Peace Sen.

Bernard Regan, long time member of the NUT, summed up Indro Sen, the person:

A great comrade and campaigner. At the centre of fighting many injustices. I will remember him for his strength of character and gentleness of being. I will remember his laugh with fondness. His hat, which he wore all the time — his eye for detail and passionate commitment to fighting injustices, including those inflicted on him. We will remember him.

March for Education & The Earth – 13 March – CANCELLED

March for Education & The Earth – 13 March – CANCELLED

Protest for Pensions, Pay and Planet

 

March for Education & The Earth

Victory to the UCU strikes!

Our Future is Not for Sale!

This march has now been cancelled due to concerns over Covid-19.

#UCUstrikesback #4fights

Called by London Region UCU. Supported by the Campaign Against Climate Change, XR Universities, Parents4FutureUK, Scientists 4 XR, UKSCN, UCL Environmental Collective, QMSU, RCA SU, City SU…

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Resources

Lobby the UCU/UUK talks on USS pension, Wednesday 4 March

Lobby the UCU/UUK talks on USS pension, Wednesday 4 March

UCU and UUK negotiators meet on Wednesday at Woburn House, Tavistock Square

Assemble at 2.30 for 3pm, Wednesday 4 March

Lobby the talks!

UCU members are out on strike at universities across the UK again in pursuit of the Four Fights and USS disputes. On Tuesday, UCU ‘Four Fights’ negotiators met with UCEA representatives. This Wednesday it is the turn of USS negotiators.

We are making real progress on USS. The key issues are the discredited valuation ‘deficit’ and whether employees should be expected to pay for it. A combination of rising costs and our industrial action have pushed the employers back from the assumption that they can simply impose increased costs on employees, as a pathway to bullying staff to accept 100% Defined Contribution.

Talks continue on both disputes, with negotiators on both sides tasked to find a prompt and effective resolution. Our strikes, pickets, lobbies and demonstrations keep the pressure up.

Come to the lobby, bring placards, friends, supporters and students. Support the UCU negotiators, help us make the case!

The employers could negotiate to end the strike, in the interests of staff and students.

See also

Regional strike co-ordinating meeting, Wednesday 4 March

Regional strike co-ordinating meeting, Wednesday 4 March

Regional co-ordinating meeting, open to all reps

Central London, 3.30pm, 4 March

[reserve the time + watch this space]

– hosted by UCL UCU – All UCU members welcome –

This meeting will be a chance to take stock of where we are in Week 3 before the Week 4 (5 day) strike begins. Picket lines have held up well, especially when you consider that for many members, Monday 2nd represented the 14 day point!

In the last week we organised one impromptu lobby of UCEA, one strike assembly and one march to the City – and we were only on strike for 3 days!

We have to up our organisation and initiative in preparation for the 5-day strike week. If the employers make concessions, we know they will try to drag it out. One of the things we can do as London Region is take initiatives.

So come to this meeting, bring reps, strikers, supporters and friends.

 

 

 

Lobby the UCEA / UCU talks – Tuesday 3 March

Lobby the UCEA / UCU talks – Tuesday 3 March

Further talks take place between UCU and UCEA negotiators on Tuesday at Woburn House, Tavistock Square

Assemble at 2.30 for 3pm, Tuesday 3 March

Lobby the talks!

UCU members are out on strike at universities across the UK again in pursuit of the Four Fights and USS disputes. On Tuesday, UCU ‘Four Fights’ negotiators have a second meeting with UCEA representatives in Central London.

So far the employers have not increased their pay offer. They have made very limited concessions on casualisation, pay inequality and workload. At best their offer is warm words that would have little effect on improving conditions for ordinary members of staff. We are striking because we have to address the ‘race to the bottom’, and we must do it this year, while the sector is booming.

Come to the lobby, bring placards, friends, supporters and students. Support the UCU negotiators, help us make the case!

The employers could negotiate to end the strike, in the interests of staff and students. Join the protest:

  • Fight for a decent pay rise
  • End the scourage of casualisation
  • Stop spiralling workloads
  • Address the shameful levels of race and gender pay inequality in the sector

More info

 

Post-demo strike meeting, Rich Mix, Shoreditch – 26 Feb, 3.30pm

Post-demo strike meeting, Rich Mix, Shoreditch – 26 Feb, 3.30pm

Post-demo strike meeting, Rich Mix, Shoreditch

3.30-6pm, 26 February

– hosted by UCL UCU – All UCU members welcome –

We have called a strike meeting at the end of this phase to give reps a chance to talk to each other and plan phase 2.

This will be an important meeting.

It will be a chance for a proper discussion between colleagues and branches about the next steps in the strike. Our demo will mark the end of the first phase, but we need to discuss what next before we embark on two weeks of four and five-day strikes.

Getting there from Bank:

You can walk to Shoreditch up the A10 Bishopsgate, but there is an easier option.

There are several buses that take you direct from Bank/Threadneedle Street to Rich Mix. Two buses drop you very close to Rich Mix itself. (Alight at: Bethnal Green Rd/Shoreditch High St.)

  • Bus 8 from Bank Station (Stop C on Threadneedle St.)
  • Bus 388 from Bishopsgate at the top of Threadneedle St.
  • Bus options

Map