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Fighting racism in Southampton – 1 October 2016

The following message is sent on behalf of Southampton and South West Hampshire Trades Union Council

We have had news that the same group of Fascists that came to Southampton in July this year are planning to return this Saturday 1st October 2016. They are planning to hold an anti-immigrant protest under the banner ‘White Lives Matter’ but they have not publicised where or when in our city they plan to do this. Information will come out nearer the time but what we do know is that this is not a solitary event they propose but one of many and they have also announced an event in Portsmouth along the same lines to take place the week after on 8th October.

There is a proposal for those interested in a counter-demonstration as we had in July to meet at the Bargate at 11am in the city centre. It may be a ‘false flag’ operation with a no-show from the Fascists but just in case many want to meet and be prepared should they do. All are invited to come along as last time and Police have been made aware so should be in attendance also.

There is a meeting to discuss this on Tuesday evening held by Southampton Stand Up To Racism at 7pm in the West Itchen Community Trust, Ropewalk Centre, 53 Derby Road, Southampton, SO14 0DJ. All are welcome!

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.

 

Important local update – Changes to Ordinances and Pay Claim 2016

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 (ucu@soton.ac.uk).  You can find further information here:  

Denis Nicole

Branch President

 

 

Southampton UCU Extraordinary General Meeting 1pm 19 May 65/1175

Members are invited to a meeting to discuss the upcoming strike action on 25 and 26 May. We shall be joined by Steve Sangwine, UCU Higher Education Committee member, who will update members on the campaign and the plans for working to contract.
Please do come along and join the discussion.

Higher education committee (HEC) agrees programme of action


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.

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.

`Rate for the Job’ – are you paid fairly?

As part of our national campaign for fair pay within higher and further education, UCU have launched a new part of the website to collate and publish salary levels from around the country in order to create an upward pressure upon pay and support our national negotiators.

Use ‘Rate for the Job’ to:

1. Compare your salary to similar staff in your and other universities

2. See how the value of your pay has been affected by recent below inflation pay rises

3. Check how big the gender pay gap is in your institution

Help us to share this initiative by directing non-members colleagues to our blog and inviting them to partake or, better still, to join the union. https://www.ucu.org.uk/join

 

We need you to help Build the Union at Southampton

We are looking for active members to build the UCU branch at Southampton University. There are a variety of ways that members can get involved.

A branch representative

The main role of the branch or departmental representatives is to sustain the branch. This can be broken down into five main areas:

  • Recruiting – attending induction events, identifying non-members
  • Organising – talking and listening to members’ and non-members’ views to find out their problems and concerns; identifying areas of low membership density; encouraging members to get involved; distributing leaflets and newsletters; involvement with branch strategy.
  • Representing members – either collectively or individual members. This involves keeping up to date with procedures, agreements, policies and contractual conditions at your workplace; representing members at formal meetings with management; taking up collective issues with management.
  • Campaigning – on local, regional or national issues of importance to UCU, such as workload, stress, equality issues.
  • Other tasks – such as keeping records of meetings with the branch or members; attending meetings with other unions in your workplace.

A local/workplace contact

A contact is someone who is willing to take on a range of smaller tasks that help raise the profile of the branch among your immediate colleagues and who ensures that members in your work area feel that the union is present, relevant and listens to them. Some tasks associated with this role are to:

  • Distribute union literature on behalf of your branch or the national union to department or work area colleagues.
  • Act as a point of liaison between members in your immediate work area and the branch.
  • Distribute union messages to non-members

A local caseworker

When members are facing problems at work, they can expect the help of local caseworkers to discuss their concerns with, and to accompany them to formal meetings if necessary. As a local caseworker, you would:

  • Listen to members’ concerns and identify what outcome they are seeking.
  • Provide one to one support for individual members facing workplace issues.
  • Accompany members to meetings with managers to try and resolve issues informally.
  • Accompany members to formal hearings such as disciplinary, capability or grievance.

We understand that you may not feel you have the time to devote to one of these roles, but without local reps, contacts and caseworkers the branch would have a lot less influence at work. Research shows that union members in the UK receive higher pay and better terms and conditions than non-members. It is the power and influence of the union that comes from working collectively and the more people the branch/LA represents and the more unified they are, the more authority and bargaining power we have. So please do think about how you can get involved to Build the Union.

Please contact the local branch to discuss how you can help. Call Amanda on x 22364 or email ucu@soton.ac.uk

Academic Related Professional Service staff news

We are delighted that local officer Mark Dover has joined UCU’s national committee for ARPS staff.  Mark will be attending meetings with colleagues from across the country developing policy and strategies for supporting and improving the working rights of ARPS staff.  If you have anything that you would like Mark to address please let us know.

The latest version of the ARPS newsletter has just been published.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/7412/…and-related-winter-15/pdf/ucu_andrelated_arpsnews_winter15.pdf

Mark has written an excellent piece about the PWC review – you should read it!

We are looking to develop our network of Academic Related Professional Service staff at the University and ask that you consider being a part of this.  With the arrival of the new VC and the outcome of the PWC review due shortly, we envisage their to be some changes that may affect staff, particularly in this group.  Please get in touch with Amanda at the local office (ucu@soton.ac.uk) to offer your help.  Even if you can only offer a limited amount of time, that would be great – every little helps!