Several branches have today (Friday 22 May) voted to reject the employers’ offer in the ‘Four Fights’ dispute on pay and equalities and to revisit the situation in the autumn. Sheffield, KCL, UCL, Goldsmiths, Leeds, Queen Mary, Lancaster, Ulster and Strathclyde (that we know of) all decided that the offer was nowhere near sufficient but also that it wasn’t the right time to pursue a ballot in June. Both Goldsmiths and Queen Mary also called on the General Secretary to hold a “national meeting for members and representatives along the lines of the recent, highly successful mass meetings by the National Educators Union” with QM calling on HEC to “launch a national campaign in response to the mass redundancies threatened by university management”. We also link below to some important motions including one from Liverpool on a Joint Union Campus Campaign around Covid-19 (which adopts our manifesto) another from Strathclyde and finally Queen Mary’s great motion on a “Post Covid Settlement”.
Queen Mary UCU motions on USS and Four Fights
Goldsmiths UCU motion on USS and Four Fights
Strathclyde UCU motion on Four Fights
Strathclyde UCU motion calling for a national union strategy over COVID-19
Queen Mary emergency motion for a Post Covid Settlement
Liverpool UCU, Joint Campus Union Campaign (May 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a climate of uncertainty across the Higher Education sector. This crisis has highlighted the flaws in a marketised model of Higher Education that has emphasised revenue over the working and learning conditions of staff and students creating widespread precarity and inequality.
This Branch notes the work of the ‘The New Assault on Universities: A Manifesto for Resistance in COVID Times’ and believes such a manifesto can act as the basis for transforming universities into institutions that prioritise the interests of staff and students over profit and managerial vanity projects.
This Branch believes that the response to this crisis does not have to include threats to jobs or an undermining of our working conditions. An alternative is possible.
Therefore this Branch resolves to launch a campaign with the campus unions of UNISON and UNITE to put an end to the failed experiment of marketisation and create a sustainable university. To do this, the joint unions will make the following demands:
- Reiterate our claim that all fixed term contracts set to expire be renewed for a minimum of six months.
- Reiterate that our members refused to take on work previously done by fixed-term and casualised colleagues if asked.
- No redundancies, threats to jobs or changes to terms and conditions of employment.
To achieve this we demand the University:
- Scraps capital development projects. Any resumption of such projects would need the collective agreement of the campus unions.
- Develops plans and financial models drawing down on its unrestricted reserves before any consideration of job losses and erosion of terms and conditions of employment. These models should be shared transparently with the campus unions and all staff.
- Put an end to gross pay inequality by introducing a maximum salary package for senior management of £100,000 per annum which would equate to roughly six times the amount of the lowest paid full time member of staff.
- To campaign to roll out similar measures across the sector as a first step in moving towards a sustainable, de-marketised, system of higher education.