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
Lobby the Joint Negotiating Committee of USS
Friday 17 May, 9:30 for 10am
60 Threadneedle Street, EC2 8RP » Map
Nearest tube: Bank
Called by London Region UCU.
Our pension scheme is under attack from those who run it.
In 2018, members took 14 days of strike action in overwhelming numbers to defend our USS pension. We demonstrated that there was no deficit in the pension scheme. And the Joint Expert Panel (JEP), set up in the wake of the dispute, agreed.
There is no need to make cuts in pensions. There is no need for employees to pay more in to the scheme. The scheme is in surplus and is growing. The arguments that have been used to impose changes are specious. The JEP’s recommendations in their First Report are minor increases that the employers could afford to pick up in their entirety.
This is why UCU’s position is #NoDetriment.
However, the USS Board are refusing to implement the recommendations of the JEP. Consequently they are imposing large increases in contributions on both employees and employers. In March they pre-announced a 42.5% increase in contributions from employees — even though their own consultation of members overwhelmingly demanded no increase.
Those who run USS are undermining JEP by refusing to implement the first report. They intend to undermine the Second Report of JEP.
If they get away with this, we will pay more, and then the employers will demand 100% Defined Contribution at the next valuation round.
We have to restart the fight to defend USS.
- Come to the Lobby of the USS Joint Negotiating Committee on Friday.
- Prepare members to ballot for strike action to defend their pension.
UCU Congress, at the end of the month, will then vote on the next steps.
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
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
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.
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.
UCU London Regional Secretary
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!
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