On 2 July the Southampton Trades Council are organising a demonstration against the Pie and Mash Club (the South Coast Resistance) a fascist and racist group intent on littering the streets of Southampton with their “Refugees not welcome here” hate fest.
If you are interested in going along to this, to show solidarity and to celebrate the multi-cultural communities in which we live, please meet at the Bargate, Southampton at 11am on Saturday.
The attached leaflet provides further information and you’re welcome to print off copies for distribution to colleagues, friends and family.
You can find out further information about SCARF here:
We have set up a Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/897401817056016
We have written several blog posts about the group and their history:
On Wednesday and Thursday this week we had a strike and a picket line at the Highfield and Avenue campuses. We are very grateful for the members who showed up to support this current set of issues we are disputing. We are also very grateful for the members of the public, crucial to support, who came and asked questions and took pamphlets.
The picket lines are not only a great way to show support for number of issues that you might find important, they also allow for greater sense of communication and community within the union that is crucial to its continued ability to help its members. In truth, the idea of the union is based on strength in numbers and even if some people have different opinions and ideas, they are more than welcome to come and share them among the union and that only makes it stronger. We chatted to many people – students, staff and the public – who in the main were supportive of the action. It is a shame that a very small minority of non-union colleagues were not quite so polite in their engagement with us.
Support for the action was mirrored across the country – check out some of the action here.
We thought you’d be interested to learn why members at Southampton support the strike:
“After 10 years of being on casualised contracts, I’ve had enough”
“I believe that collective action is the best way to protect all of our working conditions”
“To make sure pay is in line with inflation”
“To explore in closer detail whether the national gender pay gap is reflected in this university”
“To end the complete disparity in pay between the workforce and the senior executives”
You can continue to show your support for the industrial action by working to contract. As staff at the University at L4+ have no set hours we are asking that you work no more than 37 hours a week – check out our FAQs from para 21.
We hope that our action will force the employers to return to the negotiating table. If not, UCU will begin preparations for strike action on 18 August, the day when A Level results are released in England, as well as a setting and marking boycott to commence at an agreed point during the autumn term.
Many thanks again for all your support.
Strike action commences 25 May and takes the form of a two day strike (25 and 26 May) with working to contract commencing 25 May. We would ask all members to support the action in the following ways:
Withdraw your labour for 25 and 26 May
Attend the picket line on Wednesday 25 May at Highfield campus – meet at the UCU office from 7.45am. You are welcome to join the picket later if necessary.
Attend the picket line on Thursday 26 May at Avenue campus – meet at the entrance to the car park from 7.45am. Join later if necessary.
Set your email to Out of Office with the following message:
“I’m sorry but I am currently unable to respond to emails as I am partaking in strike action. Please contact me again after 26 May”
Inform your students of the action and the reasons behind it by passing on this leaflet
Join the rally of UCU members at 1pm at Guildhall Square, Southampton on Wednesday 25 May.
A reminder that you do not have to inform management in advance that you will be taking strike action. We are also asking members to work to contract from 25 May. As staff at L4+ at University of Southampton have no set hours, we are asking that you work no more than 37 hours/week. Details of Working to Contract and other FAQs can be found on the UCU website.
Many thanks for your support.
Changes to Ordinances
The University is proposing to streamline our ordinances and policies in a number of key areas for staff: discipline and grievance, capability, redundancy & redeployment, and incapacity on health grounds. When conducted properly, our present arrangements give substantially better protection to colleagues than the minimum required by UK law; such protection is essential to ensure that academic freedom and freedom of speech remain genuine features of our day-to-day work. The plan is to “update” the rules to make the University more “agile” and to align them with standard practice in other businesses.
Unfortunately, when these changes have been made at other Universities—Reading is a recent example—they have not improved collegiality. The revised rules have made it easier for managers to change procedures in individual cases, to hasten redundancy processes, and generally facilitate the rapid removal of unwanted colleagues. A University is not a typical business; its Royal Charter is a manifestation of its role in providing a public good, including a safe haven for unpopular research and contentious ideas. We should not tinker lightly with the rules that protect us. Our employer is currently selecting a firm of solicitors to help them rewrite these rules; please help UCU engage with this issue and obtain the best possible outcome for staff and for the University’s mission.
Pay Claim 2016
Our employers have offered us a pay rise of 1.1%. For most of us, this almost exactly matches the loss in take-home pay from recent changes to USS pension and national insurance contributions. We would see no cash increase in our pockets. UCU calculates that our real-terms pay has declined 14.5% over the last seven years, while senior manager (e.g VC) pay has risen sharply; we need to start to restore our loss with a substantial pay settlement.
The dispute is not just about pay; we are also seeking to turn back the rise in casual “zero hours” contracts and to reduce the gender pay gap whereby female academics are still paid less than men: a pay gap the employers have refused to address nationally. Locally, we have been making real progress with the University in developing new “fractional” contracts to replace “zero-hours”; there has also been some progress in improving the proportion of women who are promoted. But there is much still to do. And the basic pay decline must be resolved nationally.
Our members voted for strike action in the recent ballot, and the Union has called a two-day strike on 25th and 26th May. Please join us and help make the action effective. Contact Amanda at the UCU office for further details about picket lines, etc (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can find further information here:
The higher education committee (HEC) has now agreed the following programme of action aimed at improving the offer from 1.1%:
- A two day national strike Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May.
- An instruction to members to work to contract with effect from 25/05/2016. Full guidance will be issued this week on what you should and should not do.
The HEC has also agreed to make preparations for further action aimed at student admissions and at the setting and marking of students’ work should the employers not improve their offer.
Finally, outside the action, the union will also be appealing to all members to resign, giving due notice, from currently held external examiner positions and not to take up new ones until the dispute is settled.
Higher education members are being balloted on the 2016 pay offer and you should by now have received your ballot paper in the post.
The ballot closes on 4 May. Please don’t leave it to others to speak for you – cast your vote now.
- Pay Claim 2016 – ballot for industrial action
- Congress 2016 – representatives needed
- UCU subscriptions – Change to Direct Debit
- National recruitment week #3
- Your membership record – are your details up to date?
- Get involved with your local branch
Pay Claim 2016 – ballot for industrial action: Further to Sally Hunt’s recent email we would like to remind members that, following an unacceptable response to the Unions’ pay claim, UCU will be balloting members for industrial action. Ballot papers will be sent out on 14 April and the ballot will run until 4 May. If you have not received your ballot paper by 21 April please contact the UCU office. It is really important that we get a good turnout for this ballot so PLEASE USE YOUR VOTE. Further details of the pay claim can be found here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/he2016
Congress 2016 – representatives needed: UCU Congress is the national decision-making body of the union. This year it is being held from Wednesday 1 June to Friday 3 June at the ACC Liverpool. As a branch we are entitled to send three delegates along to Congress and it is important that we fill our quota. We are currently seeking members who would be interested in attending to represent the views of the branch. All expenses are paid by UCU and, as a formal delegate, you are entitled to paid time off to attend. Could you please let me know by 22 April if you would like to attend; if you need any further information please give me a call to discuss.
UCU subscription – change to Direct Debit: Do you currently pay your UCU subscription via salary deduction?? In an attempt to weaken trade unions and leave staff without effective representation the new Trade Union Bill proposes to cease such arrangements within the public sector. We are therefore asking you to change your payment method to direct debit as soon as possible. There are some quick and easy steps to follow – please contact the UCU office for further information.
National recruitment week #3: Following two very successful national recruitment weeks which have resulted in an increase in our local membership, UCU will be running a third event w/c 16 May. We are keen to engage with as many departments/disciplines/professional services as possible so if you would like us to hold a recruitment stand in your building/department please get in touch so that we can plan this. We would also ask for offers of help during this week to make the event as visible and successful as possible to enable us to engage with members and non-members alike. If you would like to get involved or have any ideas please get in touch.
Your membership record: As always, may I ask that you spend a few minutes reviewing your membership record to ensure that your information is up to date. This is particularly important in relation to your subscription band should you need legal support from the union, as this may affect your eligibility. You can access your record here: https://members.ucu.org.uk/
Get involved to build your local branch: And finally, we are constantly seeking active members to help build the branch. There are several ways you can do this from becoming a local officer or departmental representative to representing members or just putting up leaflets. In particular we are seeking representatives in several departments at the moment (including Physics and Astronomy, Engineering, Ocean & Earth Science, Law, Business, Education) – could you help? Every little helps so do please consider volunteering a small amount of your time. Thank you.
Over the last few months, I have been trying to get lighter and fitter. The weight reduction is driven mainly by a diet of fish and vegetables: mackerel, fresh sardines, herring etc., often from the Monday stall outside the student union. The exercise for fitness has mainly been by running. I would commend to you the Saturday morning 5km Parkrun on Southampton common; hundreds of us gather north of the Hawthorns by 09:00 and are finished before 10:00. It’s all free, and led by a cheerful band of volunteers including retired mathematicians Gareth and David. Quite a few runners are recovering from injuries or sickness; it does not matter how slow you are, you will be encouraged and supported. All very much in the positive spirit of trade unionism.
Yesterday, however was a bigger run, the Eastleigh 10k. From the Union, we had Moray, our regional official; Amanda, our branch administrator; David, our retired treasurer, and at least one more member from our lab. We were running alongside, amongst a couple of thousand others, Adam Wheeler, our former Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Of the group, I was both slowest and second-oldest.
Thank you all for coming to today’s General Meeting in building 45. I hope you found it interesting and useful. This has been a busy week for your branch committee; events in Modern Languages have been moving quickly.
I have uploaded the slides from the meeting, complete with the motions as amended. Please:
- continue to let Amanda know any information you find out about changes to working practices, or anything else you think important;
- tell us how you got on with the new L4-6 appraisal. Was teaching given due prominence?
- Think about coming to UCU Congress as a delegate, and
- prepare to take action to support our pay claim.
Remember that changes to USS pensions and National Insurance will cost you money this year. Colleagues in the Final Salary scheme will pay 0.5% more; newer colleagues in CRB will pay an extra 1.5%. And you will lose about a further £500 in NI payments. So, if we don’t receive at least a 2% pay rise, many of us will actually be paid less in the coming year.