Emergency Lobby of Parliament over HE Bill – 12 noon 26.4.17 – Parliament Sq

URGENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AND CIRCULATION

Lobby of Parliament

Government ‘concessions’ not nearly enough, say academics and UCU


London Region UCU has called a lobby of Parliament today (26 April) at 12 noon. The lobby is supported by UCU and the Campaign for the Public University.

What is at stake

The Government has made some concessions to attempt to get the Higher Education and Research Bill onto the statute books before the General Election. The Bill faced nearly 250 amendments proposed by the House of Lords. They need votes in both Houses of Parliament to get approval.

The House of Commons will take a decision on the future of the Bill later today. London Region UCU has called a protest and lobby in Parliament Square from 12 noon. Union members are being urged to write to MPs.

Analysis by UCU, the Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU) and the HE Convention is that these “concessions” do not go far enough.

Yesterday UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt wrote to all members. She writes that

Amendments which are NOW AT RISK include:

  1. blocking plans for a crude rating of teaching quality
  2. removing the link between teaching excellence and tuition fees
  3. ensuring any organisation awarding degrees meet improved quality standards
  4. removing international students from net migration targets
  5. protecting overseas staff

Prof David Midgley, a leading member of the CDBU, notes that the Government has provided little detail in its response to many of the Lords Amendments, and some amendments are not addressed at all.

His analysis, published today by the HE Convention, observes that the Government has potentially made minor concessions on points 1 and 3 above, but has refused to remove the link between the TEF and fees, and has made no improvements to protect international students and staff.

Pledge your support for the UCU boycott of London Metropolitan University

LATEST – UCU calls for an international comprehensive academic boycott of London Metropolitan University

Boycott!

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 mwaddup@ucu.org.uk

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.

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.

Press

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

Zero tolerance for zero-hours contracts

Zero-hours contracts have no place in Higher Education

Wednesday November 13 2013, 5.30pm

Public Meeting

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.

See also:

London Region HE pre-strike rally 29 October

Time to strike for fair pay in HE

All out this Halloween!

Pre-strike Public Meeting:

Tuesday 29 October, 6:30pm

Speakers including Paul Bridge (UCU), Andrew Murray (UNITE), Max Watson (UNISON NEC), Lorraine Monk (UCU NEC, FE), Ciara Doyle (DPAC) + more tbc

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Vernon Square Campus, Hall V211
Penton Rise, Kings Cross, London WC1X 9EW

Called by London Region UCU, supported by UNITE and UNISON

Publicity