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.
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.
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
National organising meeting
Saturday 2 March, 12-3pm
1-19 Torrington Place
University College London
Nearest tube: Goodge Street
Registration from 11.30am
Called by UCU London Region. Supported by UCU Left, Branch Solidarity Network.
UCU in Transformation – Education in Crisis
- After the HE pay ballot – where next?
- What next in the USS dispute?
- After the strikes: building for FE Round 3
- The Augur review, Brexit and the threat of university bankruptcy
The unprecedented USS strikes last year triggered a huge upswing in union activism and membership. HE strikes inspired FE branches to win ballots for pay, despite a decade-long starvation of funds, a million course places lost and redundancies to match. But how do union activists keep up the momentum in the face of new challenges and threats? Continue reading
6pm, Tuesday 29 January
Lecture Theatre 505,
5th floor, Maths / UCL student union building
25 Gordon Street WC1
Speakers include UCU, UNISON, Kevin Courtney NEU
Called by London Region UCU and Camden UNISON
Nearest tube: Euston / Euston Sq.
- Show your solidarity
- Learn from workers fighting back
- Get the vote out in Higher Education
We have all suffered for over a decade a wage cut in real terms. Employers tell us the money is not there to pay us a decent living whilst their pay packets soar. Increasingly workers across different sectors are saying enough is enough!
Further Education colleges on the 29/30th January will start their second phase of strikes by taking two more days of strike action over pay. Traffic Wardens on the 4th February will enter their third phase of strikes to secure a decent living wage. In Higher Education seventy thousand workers across 143 Universities are being balloted for strike over pay.
Apologies for not being able to make the rally but you can rest assured that I support your campaign for fair pay. A decade of austerity has left far too many workers facing real difficulties making ends meet, whilst the richest have seen their living standards rise.
Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity. A Labour government would reverse austerity and make sure that no one in work struggled to support themselves and their families. I call upon all those in the trade union movement to show support for these campaigns.
Good Luck. In Solidarity – John McDonnell MP shadow chancellor
Resisting the Market, Uniting for: Pay, Pensions, Democracy, Equality and Justice
Organised by UCU Transformed, UCU Left, Branch Solidarity Network and OurUCU
Saturday 13 October 2018
This was an inspiring conference bringing people together who have fought for pensions and pay and campaigned to reclaim their university, are fighting precarity, oppose racism on campus and want to bring all staff in-house.
100 people attended from around 50 university and college branches.
Most of the day was made up of workshops hosted from a diversity of campaigns. The day ended with a general assembly and discussion of the success of the pensions and pay campaigns and how to win the coming battles including the pay ballot closing on the 19th.
The morning workshops included a meeting on USS: Where next after the JEP report? The session was run by a USS Briefs team including Felicity Callard, Jo Grady, Jaya John, Deepa Driver (left) and Carlo Morelli, national negotiator.
There was a very informative presentation on Adult Education, Devolution and Apprenticeships. Forogh Rahmani, a senior policy advisor from the London Mayor’s office, outlined how they were preparing for the devolution of adult funding. It was refreshing to be in a dialogue with policy makers who are listening and want to engage with unions. A link will be available here to the presentation. Continue reading