Winning the pay campaign needs to start now

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. 

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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.

UCU box text on pay

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

Good governance would be good news

The paths of Higher and Further Education are increasingly diverging in the different nations of the UK. UCU Scotland president Douglas Chalmers writes about some of the proposed positive changes for governance of universities in Scotland, and why this might be a good example for others to use in their campaigning:

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Douglas Chalmers, President UCU Scotland

Examples of bad governance in the FE and HE sectors are of little surprise – we have to live with the results of it day by day. Proposed changes in the structure of HE governance in Scotland are something that can be of help to everyone however – in HE and FE, inside and outside Scotland.

Following some particularly bad examples of governance resulting in the merger of Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University in 2011, the Scottish Government was persuaded to set up a wide ranging examination of HE Governance chaired by Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, principal of Robert Gordon University, and with STUC input from UCU member Terry Brotherstone. The report, published in February 2012 recommended wide ranging changes to bring more transparency to the sector, with proposals for legislation which would lead (amongst other things) to trade union nominees on governing bodies, and elected chairs of court, voted on by staff and students at each institution. Continue reading