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Fri 21 June

The Friday email: 21 June 2019

Hands off our pensions: UCU to boycott Trinity College

UCU has today officially censured Trinity College, Cambridge and will call on higher education (HE) staff worldwide to boycott the institution unless it reverses its decision to pull out of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). At a meeting of the college's Fellows this morning, a motion to reconsider the decision to withdraw from USS was lost by 43 votes to 73. Trinity's decision is based on the unlikely scenario of being left to carry the can for pensions if the entire higher education sector collapses. The union will set up a special committee to consider what action the boycott would entail and it may include asking HE staff to:

  • not attend, speak at or organise academic or other conferences at Trinity
  • not apply for jobs at Trinity
  • not give lectures at Trinity
  • not accept positions as visiting professors or researchers at Trinity
  • not write for any academic journal which is edited from Trinity
  • not take up new contracts as external examiners.

Nationally UCU is stepping up the fight to defend University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pensions as the employers refuse to rule out contribution rises for members and the union is preparing for a potential industrial action ballot in September. Please watch and share this new short video about latest developments.

Reinstate sacked UCU rep Dave Muritu

Our rep Dave Muritu has been sacked by Sandwell College for writing 'racist' on a poster for the controversial Prevent programme. We believe this disproportionate response was motivated by Dave's trade union activism and a wider agenda to weaken the union at Sandwell College. A ballot for strike action opened at the college today and closes on 12 July.

Dave has always stood up for UCU members and now it's time for you to stand up for him:

Save Stourbridge College march and rally, 29 June

Please help save Stourbridge College which is facing closure by August 2019. Local campaigners and staff unions UCU, NEU and Unison are holding a rally next Saturday 29 June assembling at 11.30am at Stourbridge College, DY8 1QU and you can also help by signing the petition here.

In the news

This week's UCU news coverage includes stories on VC pay, Trinity College boycott, Dave Muritu sacking and Bradford College dispute. 
Read all about it here.

Senior pay scandal: VC's still attend remuneration committees

UCU published the results of a Freedom of Information request this week which showed that despite calls to improve transparency around senior pay at universities, four-fifths of institutions (81%) still allowed their vice-chancellor to attend meetings where their pay was set last year, and only a third (32%) provided full minutes of the meeting. UCU acting general secretary Paul Cottrell commenting on the report said: 'The recent pay and perks scandals at our universities have been incredibly damaging, yet these figures suggest that the higher education sector still refuses to act.'

Bradford College fighting back for fair pay and jobs

UCU members at Bradford College have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action over job cuts and pay and will strike for three days next month. 94% of members who voted supported strike action over job cuts and 86% for pay. Both ballots smashed the anti-union threshold with 61% and 62% turnouts respectively. Please support this fantastic campaign by:

Durham Miners' Gala : Saturday 13 July

The 135th Durham Miners' Gala will be held on Saturday 13 July. UCU are assembling at 8.00 am under the viaduct near the old County Hospital. Bearpark and Esh Colliery Band will be leading UCU on the march to the racecourse and general secretary elect Jo Grady will be joining us.

Nottingham College UCU to strike over contracts

Members at Nottingham College will strike on Monday 1 July over plans to impose new contracts which cut staff holiday and sick pay. UCU is calling on management to work with the us to make the college a better place to work for staff who have not had a pay rise for over nine years. Please send messages of support to our reps Rob Peutrell and Kitty Howarth.

'Nae Pasaran!' and 'Chile's 9/11' film screening, Manchester, 28 June

UCU, Unison North West and Thompson's Solicitors are hosting two fantastic political film screenings on Friday 28 June, 6.30pm at the Mechanics' Institute, Manchester, M1 6DD. Felipe Bustos Sierra's 2018 documentary Nae Pasaran tells the poignant story of the power of unions and international solidarity. Listen to the story of Andrea Woods, Unison activist, and how her father survived Pinochet's military coup. Attendance is free but please register here. There will be light buffet and refreshments available before the screening.

Last updated: 28 June 2019