A ballot for strike action at the Open University (OU) has opened over the closure of regional offices and potential loss of over 500 jobs. The OU Senate has voted to advise against the plans despite the university’s attempts to prevent UCU lobbying the meeting.
Quoted in the Guardian, Philip O’Sullivan, lecturer in the faculty of social sciences, and a UCU rep. pointed out that this was the most fundamental change in the way the university had operated since its creation. Tony Coughlan, a tutor at the OU’s Bristol office also pointed out that closure of these centres means students do not get a person who can personalise the learning experience – this is something that the regions had always done.
Coughlan points out that its only through meeting other students that the sense of being in a learning community is created – something that’s vital if you’re having a difficult time as a student. Continue reading
How our union can be effective in winning better conditions including pay is a crucial question involving strategy, tactics and effective use of our resources based on an active membership. Here, Martin Levy, NEC member puts a point of view in favour of building a campaign that will be powerful enough to force management to concede.
Martin Levy, NEC and HEC member
Activists will be pleased to know, that at the Higher Education Committee (HEC) meeting last Friday, decisions were taken to enable UCU to pursue an active campaign about the HE pay situation. The official report is in the attached HE News, which you may already have seen.
Having heard from over 100 branches up and down the UK, it was clear that, while there was a widespread antipathy towards taking industrial action on pay at present, there was also a strong view that UCU needs to keep the pay issue active and that this requires a campaigning strategy from the centre.
Several options were considered, and the one which was supported by the majority on HEC, tasks HEC with:
- starting now and campaigning forward into 2016;
- early submission of our 2016 pay claim;
- the maintenance of a continuing campaign in parallel with next year’s negotiations.
This was an important decision – pledging us as a fighting union to develop the type of campaigning strategy that could realistically lead to a result rather than empty posturing. Continue reading