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


#UCUTransformed : After Congress….Where Next? National Meeting Report

#UCUtransformed meeting (1 of 1).jpg

On Saturday 9th June, around 80 UCU members, all but one or two of whom attended this year’s congress two weeks ago, came together in London for a meeting to discuss After UCU Congress…where next?

The meeting was called by London Region’s #UCUTransformed, agreed by 130 Congress delegates who met on the evening of the first staff walkout, and was supported by Branch Solidarity Network.

Members came from branches all over the country: universities of Edinburgh, Bournemouth, Leeds and Leeds Beckett, Liverpool, Lancaster, Brighton, York, Kent, Oxford, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Royal Holloway, SOAS, Imperial, Kings College, Central School of Speech and Drama, City, St Georges, Reading, Queen Mary, London Met, LSBU, Roehampton, Westminster, Writtle University College, Sheffield Hallam, Goldsmiths; colleges of Bourneville, Epping Forest, Westminster Kingsway, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham Southwark, Lambeth, Hackney, North West London, Redbridge, Croydon, City and Islington; Sutton and Hackney Adult Education; South West Region, London Region and Yorkshire and Humberside Retired Members branches; and Disabled Members and Black Members committees.

The discussion was centred around the fallout of the staff walkouts, the refusal to allow motions 10 & 11 to be heard, the shutting down of congress and how the issue of democracy links to the campaigns on pay, pensions and equality in HE and FE.

There was a wide-ranging and serious debate about how to respond to the aftermath of Congress and was conducted in a calm, thoughtful way as members sought to find a way forward on issues by engaging with each others’ contributions, processing arguments and suggestions and building organically towards some jointly agreed outcomes and proposals.

Key discussions centred around:

* the importance of intertwining the pay, pensions and Equality campaigns in both sectors with the issue of democracy and who runs our union, which arose from the mass pickets, teach outs, lobbies, marches, strikes committees etc. And that it’s our collective activity that allows democracy to flourish and gives us power to hold the leadership to account

* getting as many branches a possible to at least support hearing motions 10 & 11, whilst recognising many more will want to call for resignation of the General Secretary,

* How we overcome the division in the union between the leadership and members

There was general agreement on recognising the importance of challenging the GS and linking the campaign for democracy with the struggles over pay, pensions and Equality and, through this, building new democratic structures from below.

The meeting voted to take forward the following ideas and practical proposals:

– counter the post-congress emails to all members from Sally Hunt with the majority view held by #OurUCU

– send a note of condolence to the family of our HE comrade Dr Malcolm Anderson of Cardiff  University

– collate questions to the GS that we need answers to and publish on the #OurUCU website

– ask as many branches as possible to pass the model motion calling for motions 10 & 11 to be heard, and to submit to NEC members

– build the lobby of NEC, called by London Region on Friday 22nd June at 10.30am outside UCU Head Office, Carlow St. “Allow dissent to be heard”

– demand that we get a GTVO campaign from HQ on HE and FE pay like the one for the USS campaign

– call for a discussion on having a layer of officials who are elected, as in other unions

– call a London Briefing on pay

– organise twinning of branches. More organised with less so, and cross sector

– ask for an ‘organogram’ of who does what at HQ

– request for UCU, not Unite, to staff the recall conference

– request a mechanism for NEC reps to contact, and be contacted by, their constituencies

– broaden the discussion by speaking to local Trade Union councils and other unions about our disputes

– find out how we can put motions passed at congress into action

– explore possibility of changes to motion 10 (Note: technically this can’t be done as the motion is already submitted to congress)

– get as many branches as possible to register for the Special HE Sector conference (SHESC) on 21st June. The closing date for registrations is 5pm on 13th June. Link to register is here:

– get as many branches as possible to the FE Pay National Activist meeting on 29th June in Manchester. Details to follow.

The meeting also agreed to hold a further meeting in October which unites all the groupings under one roof – #UCUTransformed, Branch Solidarity Network, UCULeft, #OurUCU etc.

Thanks to all the branches and delegations who supported this meeting.

NEC member contact info

Continuing members

Mandy Brown (Lambeth College) – FE UK-elected :

Christina Paine (London Metropolitan University) –  HE Casually employed members :

Rhiannon Lockley (Halesowen College) – FE Midlands :

Marion Hersh (Glasgow University) – HE UK-elected and USS Negotiator :

Julie Hearn (Lancaster University) – HE UK-elected :

Sean Wallis (University College London) – HE London and East :

Sue Abbot (Newcastle University) – HE Women :

Sean Vernell (City and Islington College) – FE London and East :

Chris Jones (Neath Port Talbot Group) – FE Wales :

Margot Hill (Croydon College) – FE UK-elected :

UNTIL Congress 1 June 2018

Rachel Cohen (City University) – HE London and East :

Nita Sanghera (Bournville College) – FE Black Members :

Lesley McGorrigan (Leeds University) – HE UK-elected :

AFTER Congress 1 June 2018

Nita Sanghera (Bournville College) – Vice President :

Mark Abel (Brighton University) – HE Post-92 UK-elected :

Pura Ariza (Manchester Metropolitan University) – HE Women  :

Steve Lui (University of Huddersfield)  – HE North East :

FE College strike dates

(If you are a college taking strike action, please email the dates to Mandy Brown UCU London Regional Secretary at so we can add to this list)

Wednesday 9 May

 Hull College Group

Friday 11 May

 Tower Hamlets College   

Hackney Community College


Monday 14 May

 Tower Hamlets College   

Hackney Community College

Tuesday 15 May

 Tower Hamlets College   

Hackney Community College

Sandwell College


Wednesday 16 May

 Sandwell College

Thursday 17 May

 Hull College Group

Epping Forest College

Sandwell College

Friday 18 May

 Hull College Group

Sandwell College

Tuesday 22 May

 Lambeth College

Lewisham Southwark College

Wednesday 23 May

 Lambeth College

City and Islington College (CCG)

College of Haringey Enfield and North East London (CCG)

Westminster Kingsway College (CCG)

Lewisham Southwark College

Thursday 24 May

 Lambeth College

City and Islington College (CCG)

College of Haringey Enfield and North East London (CCG)

Westminster Kingsway College (CCG)

Friday 25 May

City and Islington College (CCG)

College of Haringey Enfield and North East London (CCG)

Westminster Kingsway College (CCG)

Tuesday 5 June

 City and Islington College (CCG)

College of Haringey Enfield and North East London (CCG)

Westminster Kingsway College (CCG)

Havering College

Wednesday 6 June

 City and Islington College (CCG)

College of Haringey Enfield and North East London  (CCG)

Westminster Kingsway College  (CCG)

Thursday 7 June

 City and Islington College (CCG)

College of Haringey Enfield and North East London  (CCG)

Westminster Kingsway College (CCG)

Havering College

Friday 8 June

 City and Islington College (CCG)

College of Haringey Enfield and North East London (CCG)

Westminster Kingsway College (CCG)

Havering College

Tuesday 12 June

 Havering College


Ten Points for the USS Valuation, #UCUTransformed

At the UCU Transformed meeting on 28 April, Dennis Leech (Warwick) posed the following points and questions that the Joint Expert Panel should consider.

  1. How does a scheme that is currently cash flow positive go into deficit?
  2. What do cash flow projections for income and outgo look like?
  3. Why use index linked gilts (currently producing a negative return)?
  4. Consider using the internal rate of return.
  5. Are investment returns really too low?
  6. Investigate the ‘best estimate’ valuation.
  7. Focus on income from investments not asset price.
  8. Question the facile assumption that equities universally riskier than bonds.
  9. Examine in detail projections of key parameters e.g. mortality, growth, inflation, etc. Also the level of prudence.
  10. Distinguish between risk and short-term asset price volatility.

See also

FE Delivers Stunning Response! How can we build the USS and FE strikes?

LR-demo-280218UCU FE branches have delivered an equally stunning response in their campaign for decent pay as USS branches did over pensions.

Protest at Higher Education Bill Second Reading, 19 July, 12 noon

The Government is rushing the HE Bill through to its Second Reading in the House of Commons. The Second Reading has been called for Tuesday 19 July.

parlt-lobbyThe NUS, UCU London Region and other organisations have called an emergency protest in Parliament Square at noon.

Emergency Protest against the HE Bill
Tuesday 19 July, Westminster
Assemble 12 Noon, Parliament Square (Westminster Tube)
Called by London Region UCU, NUS, FACE, NCAFC and others

More information, including lobbying your MP…

London Region Plan for 25, 26 May strikes

Wednesday 25 May

Morning picket lines

1.30pm UCEA, Tavistock Square
End the Gender Pay Gap Now!
Protest at UCEA’s offices on Tavistock Square

March to UCEA:

2.30pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square
Strike rally and activists’ forum
Speakers include

  • John McDonnell MP (Shadow Chancellor)
  • Shelly Asquith (NUS vice president)
  • Michael MacNeil (UCU)
  • Donna Merriman-Rowe (UNISON)
  • Rachel Cohen (City University UCU, UCU NEC elect)
  • Mark Campbell (London Region UCU HE)
  • Alex Kenny (NUT NEC)
  • Christina Paine (UCU Anti Casualisation Committee)
  • Frances O’Grady (TUC General Secretary, invited)

LMU rally 26 MayThursday 26 May

Morning picket lines

1pm London Met University, Tower building, Holloway Road

Zero tolerance for zero hour contracts
End all forms of casualisation

See also

Bursary Or Bust National Demo 4 June

Bursary Or Bust National Demonstration!
Saturday 4 June

Twitter #bursaryorbust @nhsbursarycuts
Facebook Group: nhsbursarycutsforum

#Bursaryorbust is a grassroots campaign set up by students to save the NHS bursary and oppose the imposition of tuition fees on health care students.

The NHS bursary gives means tested financial support to those studying to be nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. In the 2015 Autumn Statement, Georges Osborne announced plans to axe the NHS Bursary and replace it with a system of loans. We believe axing the NHS Bursary is unfair and unsafe.

Firstly, students work on placement for up to 50% of their courses. We believe that paying to work is wrong. Continue reading

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.