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Events

UCU Anti-casualisation Open meeting – 23 November 2016

Are you or your colleagues employed on a fixed term/hourly paid/zero hour contract? Do you feel treated less-favourably than permanent staff?  Do you face difficulties planning your future career development?  Or even face financial problems through insecure contracts?  If so, we would like to invite you to attend a meeting to discuss your concerns.

The campaign against casualisation is one of UCU’s national priorities and we are delighted that Jonathan White, UCU’s Bargaining Policy and Negotiations Official, will address the meeting to discuss the work UCU is doing to improve working conditions, and to help move staff onto contracts that give them stability and continuity of employment.

You do not need to be a member of UCU to attend this meeting.

Please join us at:

12:30 to 13:30

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Room 58/1007 L/T C (Murray Building)

Highfield Campus

Southampton UCU General meeting – 12pm 9 November

Colleagues

The coming year is going to be very busy for Southampton University UCU.

The new University Strategy puts many jobs at risk and we have to decide the Union’s approach to the proposed changes.  At a national level, we have the ongoing Industrial Dispute, along with extra pressures from EU exit and the Higher Education Bill.

We will be holding our General Meeting on Wednesday 9 November in room 58/1007 (Murray Building L/T C) from 12pm – 1.30pm.  Please join us for lunch and help guide the direction of Southampton University UCU over the coming months.  For catering purposes please email your attendance and any dietary requirements by Friday 4 November to Amanda at ucu@soton.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing you there.

 

Open meeting for academic-related, professional staff

Dear colleagues

UCU is holding a meeting for academic-related professional staff at levels 4 and above on Wednesday 27 July from 12- 1.30 pm in room 32/3077.  We would like to provide an opportunity to discuss issues that are specific to you and to understand how UCU can work to improve working conditions for you at the University.

A light lunch will be provided so if you wish to attend please email Amanda at ucu@soton.ac.uk so we can cater accordingly.

Many thanks

Successful strike action at Southampton

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.

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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.

 

Local update for members

Colleagues

  • 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.

On the run

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.

Denis Nicole
Branch President

TUC heartunions campaign – Big Workplace Meeting

Big Workplace Meeting today showing solidarity amongst the University of Southampton’s trade unions – UCU‬, UNISON and Unite – in support of the TUC’s ‪#‎heartunions‬ campaign. Thanks to all those who came along and joined in the discussion.

There’s still time to sign the petition against the TU Bill:  https://campaign.goingtowork.org.uk/petitions/david-cameron-don-t-threaten-the-right-to-strike

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Southampton UCU General Meeting – 1pm, 3 December

Please come and join us at the next UCU General Meeting which is being held from 1pm – 2.30pm on Thursday 3 December in room 2/1085, Highfield campus.  The theme of the meeting is Workloads and Wellbeing and we are delighted that Professor Adam Wheeler, DVC University of Southampton, and Shruti Verma, Vice President Education SUSU will be joining us to address our members.  There will be an opportunity for open discussion at the meeting and we hope that many of you will come along and share your views.

PwC Business Model Review

The University is currently conducting a Business Model Review in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Your UCU branch has offered to provide input to the review, but our offer has not yet been taken up. Meanwhile, as part of the process, survey questionnaires have been sent to a number of staff. The first version for Academic staff did not have ethical approval and was withdrawn on 22nd July. An amended version was approved in August. Meanwhile, another survey has been sent to MSA staff. That too does not seem to have ethical approval, but it has not been withdrawn. Both ask staff to estimate, at very short notice, the proportion of their time that they spend on various activities.

We are rather concerned about the likely trajectory of this review. PwC have an agenda of their own, The 2018 university, which envisages outsourcing a number of support activities. They also say: Gone are the days of lecturing, tutorials, reading library books and then exams. Disruptive digital technologies are and will transform education forever.  We understand Deakin University in Australia was advised by PwC to invest in IBM Watson to deliver student advice. Yes, that’s the IBM Watson that won the American Jeopardy quiz show. Coming to a student services near you. Meanwhile, Manchester University are cutting 68 IT staff; we have contacted the UCU branch there to check whether PwC are involved.

Denis Nicole

Tolpuddle Festival

There was a good UCU turnout this year at the annual TUC Tolpuddle Festival  in Dorset, on 18th to 20th July.

UCU South-West region (led by Bath) had a gazebo on the lawn in front of the main stage. That’s the first time, I think, UCU has had a stall of its own.

We marched with four UCU banners: Southampton, Bath, Keele and Newport (Wales). We also had members from Birmingham City in the march. And University of Southampton Unison marched with their banner too. In the past, Southampton has been on its own.

I bought a miners strike anniversary badge from Anne Scargill. I’ve been down a working (then) pit (Markham, by the M1 near Bolsover): out and back on the man-riding belt and crawling along a working face between the coal-cutter belt and the collapse behind the props. It’s not a career I’d want to take up.

Rose brought along the copy of Zola’s Germinal that she has been reading since we visited the Calais Mining Museum at the end of June.

But now—still—there’s no work at all in many of the villages. Visit Easington Colliery if you dare.

I was also only a couple of years out of junior school myself when the Aberfan disaster happened. The A470 dual carriageway to Merthyr runs over the tip site. And the government stole from the disaster fund to finance moving the tip—eventually to make way for the road.

That was a Nationalised industry cutting fatal corners—although the pits were even worse under private owners. At least they all  got pithead baths when Nationalised.

Denis Nicole