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
LATEST – UCU calls for an international comprehensive academic boycott of London Metropolitan University
Sign the pledge
How you can support the boycott
Members are asked to support the academic boycott in any way that they can. This may include not doing the following at London Met:
- applying for any advertised jobs
- speaking at or organising academic or other conferences
- giving guest lectures
- accepting positions as visiting professors or researchers
- writing for any academic journal which is edited at or produced by the institution in question
- accepting new contracts as external examiners for taught courses
- collaborating on new research projects.
NB: UCU members employed by LMU itself must not participate in the academic boycott in order to protect their contractual position.
Please note that the above advice will not ordinarily preclude members from supporting the boycott with regard to such things as refusing to apply for, or accept an external examiner’s contract, choosing not to provide a visiting lecture at LMU, choosing a research partner and so on since these are generally matters of individual academic autonomy. Members in any doubt about their contractual position should seek the union’s advice before acting.
For the avoidance of doubt, where any of the above activities forms part of your existing contractual duties or where you are otherwise unsure about this you should only refrain from doing them after your head of department (or line manager) has given you prior permission to do so. UCU is not asking or encouraging academics to act in breach of their contracts of employment.
If you have any queries please contact Matt Waddup at firstname.lastname@example.org
What you can do to support London Met UCU
Even if you do not currently engage in any of these activities, we ask you to make a public commitment to boycott in advance, and ask your colleagues to do likewise.
Further, we ask you to write to London Met’s Vice Chancellor and Chair of Governors to pledge your support for our campaign:-
Finally, we ask you to do your utmost to publicise the boycott and the issues at stake.
Letter – Resist the privatisation of HE – we pledge our solidarity to London Met UCU
An abridged version of this letter appeared in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday 6 August 2016.
We the undersigned, commit ourselves to a campaign of solidarity and support for the UCU branch at London Metropolitan University (LMU), in their battle for the future of the university.
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.
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
Zero-hours contracts have no place in Higher Education
Wednesday November 13 2013, 5.30pm
London Metropolitan University, GCG08
(Tower Building opposite Holloway Road Tube Station)
Speakers to include: John McDonnell MP (tbc), Liz Lawrence (Vice President UCU), Katherine West (Leader Labour Group Islington Council), John Fox (Branch Chair Bakers Union Hovis), Jane Thompson (UCU HPL National Officer) plus UCU Member Edinburgh University
Jointly organised by London Met UCU, UNISON and Students Union
In some universities as many as half of all staff are on zero hours contracts.
The revelation that Zero Hours contracts (where the contract does not name a minimum number of hours to be worked) are used in Higher Education will come as a shock to many. Such contracts have been widely publicised in industries such as clothing (Sports Direct) and food retail (MacDonalds) but their use in universities has until now been under- reported. In fact the Higher Education sector is the second most casualised in the UK! The widespread use of ‘Hourly-Paid Lecturers’(HPLs) by universities is one example of the practice but it also applies to many technical and admin staff.
Zero-hours contracts give the employee only minimal rights. They lack job security, proper facilities or holiday pay and many have no access to sick pay or opportunities for professional development. HPLs have little control over their job and can’t plan their working life as their timetable can be changed without warning. Yet they have to hold themselves ready for any work that is going. Both the HPLs and the students they teach lose out in this system which can result in cuts and course changes to suit management priorities without proper consultation.
But the trend towards zero hours can be stopped and reversed. UCU members in Edinburgh University have forced management to stop using such contracts and strike action at Hovis in Wigan won permanent contracts for casualised workers. Others can do the same. Join our campaign for decent contracts for all hourly paid lecturers at all Universities in London.
Come to the meeting at London Met and help develop a charter for zero-hours workers.
The HPL Action Toolkit, an initiative of London Region UCU, has been published on our new website.
For more information click on the link above or explore the menu at the top of the page.