CRISIS ALERT: Important Update

NATIONAL ACTION NEEDED

This is not a drill.


Important Update

Dear colleagues,

 I am writing to you as Chair the Southern Regional Committee to invite you and your members to attend a rally of national importance for HE and FE  tomorrow at 12 o’clock. 

In today’s Bournemouth UCU branch executive meeting we agreed to postpone tomorrow’s branch meeting as we feel that it is more important that as many members as possible can register for tomorrow’s online rally to defend Further and Higher education.    

Yesterday we learned that Chesterfield College have been served an S188 notice which could result in up to 55 FTE posts together with a general voluntary severance package. We’ve also learned that Bradford College has received a similar notice, and Petroc College was served an S188 last week. These threats have been described as a ‘different kind of virus’, yet one that is equally devastating for workers in post 16 education.  

Branches in our region are under threat of redundancy, including Portsmouth and Southampton Solent. Various severance schemes have been introduced in many branches across the region, and now, academic and professional support staff in Liverpool, Imperial, SOAS, and Reading are at serious risk of losing their livelihoods, and their academic and professional careers.  

Last Friday in the Southern Regional Committee meeting we learned that Reading University (a sister branch in our region) is subject to unprecedented threats, which have been designated of regional and national importance by the UCU General Secretary.  

The Southern Regional Committee discussed an urgent motion, which was passed unanimously.

Please see that motion below: 

“SRC notes:

Staff at the University of Reading are at risk given that an S188 document has been issued. The University is demanding that staff volunteer to cuts in terms and conditions and agree to changes that would temporarily exclude us from national pay bargaining and permanently cause staff detriment both on pay and pension. A reduction of 500FTE is being proposed with the threat that staff will be fired and rehired on inferior terms and conditions if we do not come to agreement.  

SRC believes that:  

1.  Government should underwrite universities and colleges. 

2.  That other universities and Colleges will follow Reading’s lead unless we challenge this violent attack. 

SRC agrees:  to declare the Reading fight for jobs a matter of regional and national significance for this union and to ensure Covid19 is not used to disguise a planned staff restructure.” 

It is time for national action.

Now.

We have weeks, most likely less, to defend ourselves, our colleagues, and our profession from wholesale destruction.  

Many of you will know Moray MacAulay and Scott Alexander, our regional officials, who are working flat out to support members in this alarming development. However, we need to do more.  

This is a call to action. 

We need to organise. Join the rally on 25 June 2020 and demonstrate the awesome power of our union. 

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Minister for Education, and Vicky Blake, UCU President, will be among the speakers. 

Register online here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUqfuqrqDwsEtY01VT6_LF97deSlKzgEVza


The HE sector is under unprecedented savage attacks.  First they came for the casualised staff.

And we did not do enough.

We already knew about the inequality in pay, affecting BAME, women, disabled and LGBT+ members.

And we did not do enough.

Now SOAS, Imperial, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Reading and Roehampton are all bearing the brunt of brutal management, threatening to impose inferior working conditions, cut pay, and yet more people are losing their jobs.

At a well-attended Southern regional committee meeting on Friday, 19 June, 2020 we learned that an S188 notice has been issued to Reading UCU branch.  The proposed reduction of 500 FTE posts means that many more than 500 individuals will lose their livelihoods. This could number as many as 800-900. The exact figure is unknown, as, as is the case in many institutions, some staff are working on more than one fractional contract. The headline figure is serious enough.  In our regional committee meeting, every delegate expressed concern at the serious situation we now all find ourselves in. All of the HE institutions in the southern region were represented, the Arts University Bournemouth, Oxford, Southampton, Reading, Southampton Solent, Portsmouth, Winchester, and Bournemouth. All are facing job losses in one form or another, whether the ‘salami-slicing’ of posts in departments, the closure of successful programmes, voluntary severance schemes that managers are positioning as “better to go now that face worse in the future”. Reading University is the most serious example of the attacks on our sector.

The Southern regional committee discussed an urgent motion, which was passed unanimously. Please see that motion below:

“SRC notes:

– Staff at the University of Reading are at risk given an S188 document has been issued. The University is demanding that staff volunteer to cuts in terms and conditions and agree to changes that would temporarily exclude us from national pay bargaining and permanently cause staff detriment both on pay and pension. A reduction of 500FTE is being proposed with the threat that staff will be fired and rehired on inferior terms and conditions if we do not come to agreement

 SRC believes that: 

1.  Government should underwrite universities and colleges. 

2.  That other universities and Colleges will follow Reading’s lead unless we challenge this violent attack.

 SRC agrees:    

 to declare the Reading fight for jobs a matter of regional and national significance for this union and to ensure Covid19 is not used to disguise a planned staff restructure.”

It is time for national action. Now. We have weeks, most likely less, to defend ourselves, our colleagues, and our profession from destruction.

This is a call to action.

Please register for tomorrow’s campaigning and organising meeting –  Monday 22nd June, 7.30-9pm. Please come to the meeting and hear about the situation doubtless your branch will soon be facing if you do not already. We need to organise, take action on 25 June and demonstrate the awesome power of our union.

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/6115894856708/WN_UV-Y7F5URqKdj9v0tUE_Yw

Register here


This is a practical meeting to discuss:

UCU Solidarity: building the day of action on Thursday 25th to defend jobs and education called by last Tuesday’s mass rally.

Black Lives Matter: how to develop anti-racist and decolonising agendas in our universities and colleges.

The meeting will also include a report from Friday’s NEC and discussion on forthcoming UCU elections.

 

 

 

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