Post Congress Meeting, 9 June

After Congress: what next for UCU?

Open National Meeting for UCU members

Saturday 9 June, 2pm

Venue: G22 Lecture Theatre, Pearson Building, UCL.

The Pearson Building is in the UCL quad on the left as you enter. The entrance to the building is in the North corner of the quad.

Map | Nearest tube: Euston Square.
ucl-g22-lt-map
After the fallout of UCU Congress on Wednesday 30 May, 130 UCU delegates met and it was agreed that London Region UCU would call a National Meeting as soon as possible on:

  • UCU democracy
  • Campaigning in our sectors, how to build on motions passed at HE and FE sector conferences
  • What kind of union we want

After a year of transformative industrial action, UCU members are demanding discussion on where next for our disputes and union.

The strike action taken by UCU members in HE in defence of USS pensions has been inspirational. Some 40,000 lecturers, academic related staff, researchers and support staff have struck across 64 institutions. After a year of industrial  16,000 people have joined UCU. Many of these new members  are BAME, women and young members starting out their careers.

In FE colleges are involved in a campaign of escalating strike action in defence of their pay and conditions. There are another 146 branches that have submitted 168 claims to their employers that could form a second wave of action. This is 50% of all FE bargaining units across the UK. The claims range from, pay, casualisation, equal pay and workloads.

Hosted by London Region UCU. All UCU members welcome.

For clarity, this meeting will follow on from the London Region meeting which takes place the same day at Carlow Street.

Best wishes
Mandy Brown
UCU London Regional Secretary

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Post-ballot Strike Co-ordinating Meeting, Monday 16 April, 6pm

What next after the e-ballot?

  • Date: Monday 16 April, 6pm
  • Location: UCL Cruciform Lecture Theatre 2

London Region UCU is organising an open meeting to discuss what next after the e-ballot, where reps and activists can come to discuss the next stage in the dispute. 

The USS ballot will close on Friday 13th and some branches are due to strike on Monday 16th. The result will be public, one way or another, by Saturday, and most likely by mid Friday afternoon.

If the vote is NO, several London branches will take a week of strike action from 23 April. We will need solidarity from branches that are not striking!

The larger the turnout and the greater the vote NO the easier it will be to put the action on.

Outside of London, some branches are set to strike from Monday 16th.

If the vote is YES, then industrial action will be stood down, and reps will want to discuss what we do next!

Facebook event

UCU – A union transformed

 

A UK-wide activists’ assembly and organising school#UCUTransformed

Saturday 28 April, 10.30-5pm

Statement from final session

The 14 days of strike action against the attack on USS and the thousands of new members who have joined UCU show the massive potential for action to transform our union. The same process of transformation seen in USS HE branches is under way in FE, which have had a wave of strikes over pay and conditions, and in post 92 universities, illustrated by the recent disputes at Brighton University and LMU. However, we are deeply concerned about the opaque and undemocratic behaviour of the UCU leadership.

The imagination and enthusiasm shown by UCU members has been inspiring. We have seen expansion and participation at branch level. But this process has been uneven. We face an urgent task to maintain our numbers and develop the democratic control of our union, and our disputes, by our members.

We need to use the energy of recent disputes to continue the fight on pensions, but also to open up new fronts on equal pay, and put equality, disability, discrimination and casualisation – in its different forms – at the heart of the union.

The USS dispute has shown that a new generation of activists, including student activists, can be won to our union. It is vital we maintain the momentum and ensure it truly represents our members. The union must support members in developing alternative proposals to set against destructive management agendas of cuts, redundancies and punitive performance management.

We need to develop a genuine network of solidarity amongst branches. No UCU branch should fight alone. We support the establishment of a UCU solidarity network, and agree to meet again as a national group in the autumn term.

Resources

Event details
union-transformed-flyer

The USS ballot is over, but the dispute isn’t. We need to recognise the solidarities our dispute created and cemented, rise to the challenge of building on these solidarities, fighting for collective interests, and build the alternative university many of us got a chance to experience or envisage during the dispute. Come join us and be part of that conversation. – Jo Grady, University of Sheffield

Hosted by London Region UCU. Supported by UCU branches at Liverpool University, Dundee University, Goldsmiths College, Newcastle University, King’s College London, University College London, University of Brighton, Sandwell College, City and Islington College and Lambeth College… and more.

 

Timetable

10.30am-11.00am Registration
11.00am-12.15pm Workshops
i) Moving into Action: Campaigning to GTVO and organising strikes
Jim Wolfreys (King’s), Westminster Kingsway speaker
ii) #NoCapitulation: Using social media
Jana Bacevic (Cambridge), Rhiannon Lockley (Halesowen)
iii) Democratising the union: putting members at the centre of change
Jo Grady (Sheffield), Carlo Morelli (Dundee)
iv) Reclaiming our Colleges: Students and workers organising together
Sean Wallis (UCL), Feyzi Ismail (SOAS)
12.30pm-2.00pm HE open session: The USS pension dispute – reclaiming our Universities – (fighting to win) * Activist Guide * Ten points
Marion Hersh (Glasgow), Dennis Leech (Warwick), Sam Marsh (Sheffield), Carlo Morelli (Dundee)
FE open session: Pay and conditions in FE: Coordinating to win
Nita Sanghera (Bournville), Sean Vernell (City & Islington)
2.00pm-2.30pm Lunch
2.30pm-3.45pm Workshops
i) Building solidarity across the labour and trade union movement
Hull, Bradford and Liverpool speakers
ii) Equality Through and Through: Integrating equality demands in our industrial campaigns
Manali Desai (Cambridge), Dave Muritu (Sandwell)
iii) At the Heart of the Union: casualised workers in industrial action
Amy Jowett (Hackney ACE), Sai Englert (SOAS)
iv) An Injury to One… Defending international workers and students (fighting racism on campus)
Ioanna Ioannou (UCL)
3:45pm-5.00pm Closing session: Organising to win – building a democratic, campaigning union
Mandy Brown (Lambeth), Nita Sanghera (Bournville) and others tbc

UCU – A union transformed
– building a fighting union

A UK-wide activists’ assembly and organising school with practical sessions and discussion

The strike action taken by UCU members in HE in defence of USS pensions has been inspirational. Some 40,000 lecturers, academic related staff, researchers and support staff have struck across 64 institutions. In the first week of the strike 3,200 people joined UCU. Many of these new members are BAME, women and young members starting out their careers.

In FE 15 colleges are involved in a campaign of escalating strike action in defence of their pay and conditions. There are another 146 branches that have submitted 168 claims to their employers that could form a second wave of action. This is 50% of all FE bargaining units across the UK. The claims range from, pay, casualisation, equal pay and workloads.

UCU is in transformation.

This UCU UK–wide activist assembly, hosted by London Region UCU, invites all branches that want to be a part of developing a new campaigning UCU to come to the school. Each session will be led off by UCU members who have been on the front-line of this transformation; building the strike votes and picket lines, developing imaginative social media campaigns and creative campaigning strategies. Each workshop will be looking at ways that women, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled members can ensure that their concerns are central in shaping the union.

Equality issues have to be at the heart of a fighting UCU.

If you are in a branch that is about to enter into a dispute or in a branch that hasn’t yet been energised by the recent campaigning activity around USS and FE pay come along and be a part of the event.

**There will be a collection for a hardship fund on the day to help towards the cost of the fare for those who have travelled from outside London to get the meeting**

It is very likely that we have not seen the end of industrial action in this dispute over the future of the USS. While we must ensure that the terms of reference and appointments to the Joint Expert Panel are agreed transparently and without mission-creep, it is also precisely the right time to discuss the democratic structures of UCU to ensure that we are in the strongest possible position to robustly defend our pension in six months’ time, should we need to do so. – Sam Marsh, University of Sheffield.

London Region Xmas Party 13 December

Wed, December 13, 2017

6:00 PM – 11:45 PM GMT

London Region University College Union invite you to a XMAS Party. We will have cool sounds from three live acts. Time to relax and catch up with friends!

The Water Rats is 5 minutes from Kings Cross, and has a menu for small and big plates.

Special Guest: John McDonnell MP (shadow chancellor)

Acts:

Common Denominator Band – Soul and Reggae beats from an accomplished and loved band.

Kali Rayt – Soul r’n’b fusion singer providing music for the fearless and winner of the London Urban Talent award.

Tiger Blossom – A power mix of innovative psychedelic and world music to get the party started.

All funds raised will go to hourly paid teachers taking action in disputes.

Doors Wednesday 13 December 6.00pm.

First Act 7.15pm

Tickets

£5 (low paid) £10 (solidarity) – EventBrite to book

Open Solidarity Meeting for trade unionists – postponed

Organising solidarity with strikers in our universities

StrikingForEquality

Monday 12 June, 6pm

Executive Suite, 1st Floor, Front Engineering Building, University College London
(Torrington Place WC1, opposite Waterstones)

Update (10 June):

Over several months, outsourced cleaners at LSE and security guards at Senate House have been taking strike action, with support from their unions, the UVW and IWGB, in pursuit of basic workers’ rights. Their demands include implementing equal treatment with employed staff, paying sick pay, maternity pay and agreed pay rises, offering a pension, and ending ‘disguised’ zero hours contracts.

The workers’ treatment by our universities is a disgrace. The outsourcing companies are multinational employers that can easily afford to pay up. If the workers win, it will be a victory for outsourced workers, but their victory will also benefit every in-house worker in London colleges. It will show that outsourcing won’t stop us fighting for our rights.

We say: their fight is our fight! It is time to get organised to support the strikers.

Protest: Restore funding to ESOL: don’t scapegoat migrants

Outside Downing Street,
Whitehall SW1
Wednesday 27 January 2016, 6pm

Called by London Region UCU
Supported by Action for ESOL and Stop the War Coalition

UCU London Region, jointly with Stand Up to Racism, is calling an emergency demonstration on Wednesday 27th January at 6:00pm outside Downing Street.

Speakers include

  • Shakira Martin, NUS Vice President FE
  • Danielle Tiplady, student nurse fighting cuts to the student bursaries
  • Maz Saleem, Stop the War Coalition

Many colleagues will have been shocked and angered to hear Muslims scapegoated in a radio interview by David Cameron for not integrating into British society because they don’t speak English.

He announced £20m ‘extra’ funding for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) as part of a plan to ‘integrate’ Muslim women.

This is a scandal. There has been a furore in the press and I’m calling on you to join me next Wednesday at Downing Street to challenge this.

The sheer hypocrisy is staggering when people are desperate to learn English and are being turned away because of funding cuts by this and the last government he led.

ESOL funding has been cut by £160m since 2008. £45m was cut in the summer two weeks before the start of the new term, on top of the 24% cut to the Adult Skills Budget earlier last year.

It is frustrating to see the PM try to make political capital out of our students when we know the reality is that they are being denied the right to learn English. David Cameron did exactly the same thing in the summer when he spoke about how women needed English, and then went on to cut ESOL provision two days later.

Two thirds of ESOL students are women. They were the hardest hit by cuts and £20m will fall far short of what is necessary, especially when we consider that how many ESOL providers have lengthy waiting lists. At Lambeth College where I teach ESOL, the number of teachers has been cut from 65 to 31 in the last 18 months.

The language the PM used to single out Muslims is both inflammatory and islamophobic. It’s part of a racist narrative that says people don’t want to learn English and don’t want to integrate. It simply isn’t true. David Cameron suggests that if Muslim parents don’t speak English this could lead their children to become terrorists. It is dangerous to conflate these issues.

If the government are saying 850,000 people need English. Why only target a small proportion of Muslims? People of other faiths, or non, as well as men need to speak English too.

The government will implement plans in October for spousal migrants (and their children) to take a test after two and a half years to demonstrate English language improvement or face deportation.

His comments have caused widespread concern and criticism including from Baroness Warsi, John Prescott MP, Andy Burnham MP, Shabana Mahmood MP, Leader of the Lib Dems Tim Farron, Michael Rosen, Sally Hunt UCU General Secretary and more.

We should condemn these comments and call on David Cameron to restore ESOL funding and stop scapegoating Muslims.

We should promote the Action for ESOL Manifesto and hold meetings with local MPs and in our colleges and communities on it to restart a debate about what is required.

More urgently we have to unite to speak out and stop Islamophobia and scapegoating of Muslims in our schools, colleges and communities.

Join me on Wednesday.

What we want:

Mandy Brown
UCU London Regional (FE) Secretary
& Action for ESOL

* According to the Daily Mail, the PM’s proposal is that the women would be expected to have reached the A2 – elementary – level after two-and-a-half years, and B1 – intermediate – after five years.

Press

Public Meeting: Solidarity with the people of Greece

Drop the Debt – Let Greece breathe

Tuesday 24 March, 7pm

Called by London Region UCU & Greece Solidarity Campaign
Supported by UCL UCU

G03, Department of Geography
26 Bedford Way
University College London
WC1H 0AP

gksolidarity

Speakers include:

  • Marina Prentoulis, London Syriza and senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia.
  • John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington
  • Paul Mackney, Greece Solidarity Campaign, chair
  • Liz Lawrence, UCU president
  • Sean Vernell, UCU London Region