Rally for our Future
Defend Public Services
Defend Pensions, Pay & Jobs
Saturday 14 July 2012
Assemble 11.30am Devonshire Green
Devonshire Street Sheffield S1
March 12 noon to Barkers Pool (front of City Hall)
Demonstration backed by:
Sheffield Trades Council, Barnsley Trades Council,
Yorkshire & Humberside UCU,
South Yorkshire & District Amal CWU,
Sheffield GMB and the Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance
Follow this link to see the motions and decisions, speeches and reports
Here is a list of the motions from the FE Sector Conference .
UCU National Congress 2012 Manchester
Congress was larger than ever, with 472 delegates attending. Over three full days, delegates debated a huge range of motions relating to UCU members’ issues, either in the workplace or in the wider struggle to defend pensions and education in the face of what delegate after delegate referred to as “a wholesale attack by this government”. Also robustly debated was the very nature of UCU and the type of union we all need in this hostile climate, not only to defend members and education but where necessary to take the lead.
FE Sector Conference
Barry Lovejoy (Head of FE) introduced the first day of the FE Sector conference by stating categorically that UCU stands for lecturers – whether they be women, black, disabled or LGBT, and whether they are hourly paid, fractional or on full time contracts – “against privatisation, however that is dressed up”. Barry referred to UCU’s successes: the Lingfield Report/ IFL, resisting job losses, gains made in the pension dispute and three key disputes at Gateshead, Sunderland and Chesterfield, where UCU members have been fighting vicious attacks through well attended branch meetings and strike action. Barry talked of further threats from the employers on pay and observations and the need to nurture and mobilise branches: “That is where the strength of the union is.”
Observations, which were universally condemned as increasingly punitive and bullying, are an issue which it was agreed the union needs to fight, both by seeking a national joint agreement with the AoC and by seeking to link up the many college disputes which are breaking out.
Conference received, with some derision, a report on the current pay negotiations, in which we have been offered 0.5% in exchange for ‘commitments to greater flexibility’. Congress agreed the need to build a campaign on pay in the face of this attack and attempts to cut pay at colleges such as Sunderland.
The FE Sector Conference heard motions on pay, anti-casualisation, workload, observations, and supporting branches and Equality reps in the face of attacks that often hit hardest those most vulnerable: women, black disabled and LGBT members. A motion from Yorkshire and Humberside Regional FE Committee (FE15) on worsening contracts in FE addressed the growing employers’ offensive on FE contracts and the drive towards unlimited flexibility. This motion highlighted problems which Bradford College UCU members are facing, and urged congress to treat “local disputes over contracts as ‘local disputes of national significance’ and to encourage resistance and offer union resources appropriately”. This was carried unanimously. This motion can be found on the Bradford College UCU website: https://ucubradfordcollege.wordpress.com/
TPS Pension Campaign
On Friday 13th June, Congress debated the vital issue of how UCU should move forward on the TPS dispute. Congress delegates spoke of the fantastic days of action, especially those in November and March. Delegates referred to the need to build the widest possible united action with other unions, especially with other teacher unions, for an autumn of action. A motion from Barnsley College was carried, along with supportive amendments to continue and build a defence of our pensions. Delegates voted for escalating industrial action alongside other unions in the autumn.
Equality and Anti-Casualisation at the UCU Congress
Equality was at the heart of every discussion at this year’s congress, not just in the motions directly addressing equality issues. Delegates spoke about the impact of cuts and attacks on our pay and conditions from an equality perspective.
There was healthy debate about democracy within the UCU and how equality is part and parcel of union democracy. Many delegates urged branches to use equality as part of their bargaining tools against management’s attacks on our pay and conditions.
Bradford delegates proposed and spoke on anti- casualisation motions. These motions urged delegates to encourage their members to become more active over this issue and to organise campaigns to tackle the casualisation of FE staff in their branches. It was agreed to organise a day of action.
The discussions on Sunday 15th June concentrated on how best to prepare UCU for the struggles ahead. A regional briefing on Thursday night, organised by 5 regions and very well attended by 150, had begun what was to prove a robust debate on this issue with speakers from all sides – in particular on the need to respect the democratic structures of UCU: the branches, regional conferences, the NEC and Congress itself. Congress opposed the motion to move to a smaller NEC and supported the motion from City and Islington College that Congress believes: branches are the democratic foundation of the union, annual congress and annual sector conferences are the sovereign decision making bodies and that Regional Committees play a crucial role. Congress did decide to establish a Commission on Union Democracy from the delegates to Congress. Rather than the limited, servicing union model supported by the General Secretary, delegates confirmed that they want a member-led, organising and campaigning union.
To join UCU: http://www.ucu.org.uk/join
Unanimous Vote to Defend Contract
It’s been a number of weeks since Bradford College UCU had one of its best attended AGMs at which members voted unanimously in favour of balloting for strike action to defend their contract. Throughout this academic year, UCU members have been steadfast in their determination to defend their contract in the face of the threat from management of possible redundancies if we do not roll over and sign away our holidays and current protection on contact time.
So where are we now?
Following the declaration of an Industrial Dispute, UCU negotiators followed the College’s Disputes Procedure and took our case to a panel composed of the Principal and Ian McAleese and Andrew Chang , two members of the Corporation. The UCU case was strongly put by Julie Kelley, Regional Official: UCU members had clearly signalled their support for the present contract. The proposed contract will have a detrimental effect on the quality of education and the health of staff. Will result in the redundancies of hourly-paid staff. UCU had offered to discuss ways to enable the college to use the existing contract to achieve the “flexibility” they require. UCU’s perception of negotiations had been that the college was stringing us along with a plan to introduce the new contract in September. The college had at that point refused to give a guarantee that this would not happen. UCU believed there was no option but to declare a dispute.
The Panel’s decision. Both sides should return to the negotiating table. Each side should be clear and explicit about the contentious issues and the questions that needed addressing. A recommendation that an independent facilitator be appointed.
Following this outcome, UCU negotiators were adamant that the threat of the introduction of a new contract had to be explicitly removed. College agreed this. Andy Welsh wrote to UCU stating, “We will not seek to implement a forced contractual change this September.” This is a significant move and comes as a result of the solid vote by members to declare an industrial dispute. Having said this, members need to know that the fight to defend our contract is very far from over. There has been no serious move by the college from its original position. It is still seeking a massive worsening of our conditions.
ATTEND THE NEXT BRANCH MEETING. DETAILS BELOW
What the college still want for us.
Fewer holidays, more contact time (880) and an increased working week. The result: one of the worst colleges to work for in the country. The college has not made any significant move on any of these.
UCU believes management’s proposals to smash our contract:
Are not justified by any objective criteria about staff efficiency
Are aimed purely at driving up staff productivity, driving down labour costs, and increasing the college surplus
Will result in the loss of work for hourly – paid staff
Threaten to compromise academic standards
Will further increase workloads
Will increase staff stress and illness and undermine the notion of a “healthy college”
Despite the need, we are told, for us to work harder i.e. “more for less”, the college is financially healthy enough to plough ahead with its new build. We are being made to pay for a new building! UCU has consistently questioned the need for, and the timing of, this initiative.
Bradford College UCU members need to continue to stand together as we have demonstrated we can. A united branch, with members clearly expressing their opposition to a proposed contract that will make Bradford College’s one of the worst to work in, is how we will defend our contract.
Resist the attack and build the branch. Every member should try and sign up a colleague. People can join on line at. http://www.ucu.org.uk
Or – fill in the form overleaf.
Classes Closed Branch meeting 14th June, C28, Law Lecture Theatre, Lister Building from 11.30 am.
Give this newsletter to a non-member, explain the threat, resist the attack and build the branch. Read Bradford College UCU’s blog @