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Fri 12 March 2021

The Friday email: 12 March 2021

USS: save our pension! 

The higher education employers' body Universities UK (UUK) has written to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) Trustee calling for a review of the scheme valuation and questioning the role of the Pensions Regulator.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'UCU has been demanding changes to USS's fundamentally flawed 2020 valuation methodology as it risks destroying a healthy pension scheme. We welcome today's statement from employers, which shows they have been listening to UCU's concerns. But we need employers to continue working with us to get the best possible outcome for our members. 

More on the USS valuation here.

Further education: Ofsted suspends inspections 

The education watchdog Ofsted has suspended progress monitoring visits of further education (FE) colleges and has said it will discontinue visits from next week except in exceptional cases. UCU had raised concerns over continuing inspections in the current circumstances. The full government guidance is here.

UCU members fighting back

UCU branches across the UK are fighting to defend jobs and conditions and you can read our roundup of local disputes including announced strike action dates at the University of Central Lancashire here.

'Taking care of yourself' mental health tips 

We've just updated our popular poster addressing mental health issues during the pandemic and you can download our latest tips here.

Supporting teachers in Colombia

Colombia is the world's most dangerous country for trade unionists, with at least 35 academics and teachers murdered in the last three years alone. UCU is a committed supporter of trade union rights and human rights in Colombia, working alongside Justice for Colombia (JFC). For more information on JFC's campaigning or to affiliate your branch, please see this new leaflet on supporting teachers in Colombia.

UCU sexual violence task group - two weeks left to have your say 

The UCU sexual violence task group is surveying all UCU members on the issue of sexual violence in our sectors. You can access the survey here.

You have two weeks left to complete the survey which will close at 5pm on Friday 26 March.

Mental health and Covid-19 meeting: 24 March 2021

TUC North West are hosting this meeting live online at 4:30pm - all union members welcome. Guest speakers include UCU president elect Janet Farrar. For more details and to register, click here.

Prison education - has your MP signed the motion?

UCU has worked with MPs in Westminster to get a parliamentary motion tabled calling for more investment in prison education technology and greater support for staff and prisoners.

Please contact your own MP and encourage them to add their name to the current list of signatories, you can find your MP's contact details here.

LGBT+ mental health webinar Wednesday 17 March, 4pm

UCU LGBT+ will host an online event about LGBT+ mental health on Wednesday 17 March 2021, 4.00- 5.30pm. 

Tell us your views on admissions reform

UCU is undertaking further work to inform our response to the government consultation on post-qualification admissions. If you are involved in higher education admissions please take a few minutes to complete this short survey. Responses are invited by Wednesday 24 March.

Last updated: 12 March 2021