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

London Region Organising Day, Sat 31 January 2015

London Region Organising Day

London Region Organising Day flyer (click to download PDF)

Members of UCU in the London Region members are invited to participate in our second Organising and Networking day on Saturday 31st January.

Details:
Hackney College, N1 6HQ
Nearest tubes: Old St/Liverpool St/Hoxton Overground.
11am — 4pm.

We are particularly keen to encourage new or prospective reps to attend. The aim of the day is share experiences and to develop our networks across the region through practical workshops with some guest speakers.

Please email (Rose) rveitch@hackney.ac.uk if you would like to come so we have enough refreshments. Lots of people have already signed up and places are limited.

Open co-ordinating meeting for the USS dispute

* Defend USS * Defend Pensions *

– Building the action, building the union
– Defending ASOS, defending members against pay docking
– Challenging the necessity of cuts

Wednesday 12 November, 6pm
Room V122
SOAS Vernon Square campus
Vernon Square, Penton Rise
Kings Cross
Map

Open to all UCU members – Please send reps from your institution
Called by London Region UCU

uss-coordn-leaflet

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – A threat to democracy, a threat to UK education, a threat to your job?

Thursday 13th November 1-2.30pm
Speakers: Dr Gabriel Siles-Brügge, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester and Nick Dearden, Director, World Development Movement
Venue: Committee Room 2, Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4AX. Hendon Central tube.

Organised by Middlesex UCU.

TTIP meeting poster

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade deal between the EU and the US. It poses a profound threat to public services, including education, leaving them wide open not only to greater privatisation but will make it harder for any future government to regulate foreign private sector companies operating in our public services. TTIP is also an affront to democracy. The talks are being pursued without any transparency or democratic oversight by the EU and the US. If they succeed, they will take disputes between companies and governments away from independent courts and make them the preserve of unaccountable tribunals dominated by corporate lawyers.

Find out how it will affect YOU at this meeting. Open to all (members and non-members). See our event facebook group.

For more information about TTIP please see UCU’s briefing  and War on Want’s pamphlet

29 April: Planning meeting for UCU Anti-Casualisation Day 2014

Dear London Region colleague,

This year’s national Anti-Casualisation Day of Action is on 7 May.

At the last London Region meeting we agreed to build for a successful day.

We’ve organised a planning meeting for Tues 29th April at UCL.

flyer

From your branch, could you get a couple of your most active casualised / hourly paid colleagues to the meeting, along with a branch rep? We hope this will be a good opportunity for casualised colleagues to meet each other, get more involved and build for a successful campaigning day on 7 May.

The meeting is Tues 29 April 6.00pm.
UCL, Room B15, Darwin Building, Malet Place, WC1E 6BT
A map is below.

How to find the Darwin Building, UCL

How to find the Darwin Building, UCL

Joint Union Rally and UCEA protest, 6 February

At London Met, Unison and UCU are rallying outside the Tower Building at 12 noon.

In the Bloomsbury area, colleagues will protest outside the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) HQ, Woburn House, Tavistock Sq at 1pm, to progress collectively to Conway Hall for the Rally.

  • The importance of the Region coming together for a united protest has increased since it was announced that a number of institutions in London – QMUL, UEL, Kingston and others – have threatened to make deductions of a whole day’s pay for the current two-hour strikes.
  • We need to make good on the slogan: An injury to one is an injury to all.
  • Fortunately, during a one-day strike, if not a two-hour one, it is possible for colleagues to come together between different colleges across London. The purpose of the rally is thus one of mutual solidarity and to mark the beginning of the next phase in our pay dispute.

DETAILS:

UCEA PROTEST:
Protest outside UCEA
Pay up – No pay docking!
1pm, outside Woburn House, Tavistock Square

RALLY DETAILS:
London Region Joint Union Rally
Fair Pay in HE!
2pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square

Leaflet