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fair pay in HE

Southampton UCU General meeting – 1pm Weds 26 March, room 27/2003

The next UCU General meeting is taking place on Wednesday 26 March from 1.00pm – 2.30pm in room 27/2003.  The main topic of the meeting will be the upcoming marking boycott and we shall be joined by Terry Hoad, UCU HE committee member.  We would encourage you to come along and share your views with us.

Day of Action – 6 February 2014

On Thursday 6 February 2014, Southampton UCU, UNISON and Unite members joined colleagues across the UK in taking strike action for fair pay in UK higher education.  EIS in Scotland also participated in this joint industrial action.

Southampton University staff braved the monsoon-like weather to stand on picket lines throughout Highfield and Avenue campuses and disseminate flyers informing students and passersby about the current pay dispute.  Members also solicited signatures on a petition which is drawing attention to the issue of skyrocketing senior management pay in universities and the growing wage inequality in the sector generally.

At 11AM members gathered outside Building 37, the home of University management.  Malcolm Ace (Chief Operating Officer), Professor Adam Wheeler (Provost), and Janice Donaldson (Director of HR) come out to talk with strikers about the pay issue and listen to their concerns.  Afterward there was a brief rally before strikers were urged to make their way home, dry out and warm up!

Thanks to all who came out to join us despite the weather.  UCU will be taking further strike action for two hours on Monday from 9-11AM; please come and show your support.

Strikers outside B37

Strikers outside B37

Gathering to hear some speakers

Gathering to hear some speakers

Malcolm Ace (Chief Operating Officer) comes out to speak with strikers

Malcolm Ace (Chief Operating Officer) comes out to speak with strikers

Spirits were high despite the downpour!

Spirits were high despite the downpour!

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Eric Silverman

Southampton UCU President

 

IMPORTANT: Information on strike action Thursday 6 Feb and feedback from 28 Jan

Colleagues

Firstly a big thank you to all of you who supported the second 2-hour walk-out on Tuesday afternoon.  It was a great day of action with around 50 members occupying the Arlott Bar for a teach-in.  Members joined in lively discussions on various important issues in higher education, including recruitment and retention at the University and concerns for the future of HE, and we rounded the strike off with a tribute to folk singer and activist Pete Seegar with a rendition of “Union Maid”.   Many of you who weren’t able to attend the teach-in withdrew your labour by cancelling classes and meetings and just absenting yourselves from your workplaces – we would ask that you help us show what impact the action is having by completing this very short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ucustrike28thJanuary2014

A reminder that the next 2-hour walk-out is planned for Monday 10 February from 9.00 – 11.00 am.  Further details on this to follow.

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Secondly you will all be aware of the next full day of strike action planned for Thursday 6 February.  This involves all three campus trade unions – UCU, UNISON and Unite – as well as the Scottish union EIS.  We are currently planning our joint local strategy and will be meeting with sister unions later this week.  Once we have firm plans in place we will send these out to you.  In the meantime we would ask you to:

Publicise the Pay Campaign as widely as possible within your department/academic unit by printing out and displaying the attached posters/leaflets.  These are intended to get students and non-members thinking about the action, so the more people that see these, the better.

*Poster 1 http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/k/8/ucu_hepay_a4stacksposter.pdf

*Poster 2 http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/l/6/ucu_hepay_a4bulgeposter.pdf

*Leaflet 1: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/2/t/ucu_hepay_stacksflyer.pdf

*Leaflet 2: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/m/g/ucu_hepay_bulgeflyer.pdf

Talk to students and colleagues about the action and explain why you are taking part.

Sign the online petition calling for University management to urge UCEA to return to the negotiating table  http://www.fairpayinhe.org.uk/

We are aware that University management are continuing to send out Faculty-wide emails asking that “union members who intend to take strike action inform their line manager by email or writing as soon as possible”.  We would reiterate that you do NOT have to alert your line manager about your decision to take strike action in advance.  When asked afterwards, however, you MUST answer truthfully.  See UCU strike FAQs here:  http://fairpay.web.ucu.org.uk/strike-questions/

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 Thirdly, as part of the ongoing dispute, we would like to remind members that we are still working to contract – further information on what this means and how you can support this action can be found here: http://fairpay.web.ucu.org.uk/working-to-contract-what-action-is-the-union-asking-me-to-take/

Thanks for your continued support

Southampton UCU

Two-hour strike on 23 January

Southampton UCU members participated in the first of three two-hour strikes in support of fair pay in higher education.  We saw strong turnout and media interest, with stories appearing in the Daily Echo, BBC South Today, and the Morning Star, along with local websites like portswood.info and others.

Members picketed Building 37, the home of University senior management, to express our discontent at the increasing wage gap between top earners at the University and academic staff.  Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam spoke to strikers about the pay issue, and members challenged him very robustly on issues ranging from zero-hours contracts and the living wage campaign, to the broader national issue of the 2013 pay claim.

The next two-hour strike will take place from 2-4PM on 28 January, with another to follow on 10 February.  A day of joint union strike action on 6 February will incorporate all three on-campus trade unions (UCU, UNISON and Unite).

Some pictures of the events yesterday:

Southampton UCU gathering in the Piazza

Southampton UCU gathering in the Piazza

Preparing to move to Building 37

Preparing to move to Building 37

 

Picketing Building 37

Picketing Building 37

Coverage on BBC South Today

Coverage on BBC South Today

 

Members debating the issues with Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam

Members debating the issues with Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam

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Eric Silverma

Southampton UCU President

Information for Thursday’s action

Dear members,

A reminder that we are taking industrial action on Thursday 23 January between 11am and 1pm in support of the campaign for Fair Pay in HE.  ALL MEMBERS should withdraw their labour between these hours.

We will be gathering at the UCU office at 47 University Road promptly at 11AM.  Please join us to show your support for the campaign.  We have placards, flyers and other materials for distribution on the day.  

As this is a new form of action for us, UCU has prepared a useful FAQ on the website.  The document summarises various useful points about this type of action, so please have a read: http://fairpay.web.ucu.org.uk/your-questions-answered/taking-2-hour-strike-action/

We’ve also produced a series of posters and information sheets and would ask that you print these out and display in your department/academic unit.

*Poster 1 http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/k/8/ucu_hepay_a4stacksposter.pdf
*Poster 2 http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/l/6/ucu_hepay_a4bulgeposter.pdf
*Leaflet 1: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/2/t/ucu_hepay_stacksflyer.pdf
*Leaflet 2: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/m/g/ucu_hepay_bulgeflyer.pdf

On Thursday please do the following:

  • Set up an out of office message during the 2 hour strike.  Something like this  – “I am currently taking industrial action in support ofUCU’s campaign for Fair Pay in HE and not able to deal with your email.  I will be back at my desk after the action concludes.”
  • Print out the  “On strike desk poster” (sent to you by email) and pin on your door/computer/workstation which states that you are currently on strike.
  • Come along to the picket lines.

 Throughout the upcoming period of action please do the following:

  •  Talk to students and colleagues about the action and explain why you are taking part.
  •  If you have ideas for future actions or would like to get more involved, tell us!
  • Please distribute our new joint trade union newsletter, Southampton Solidarity (sent to you via email), to your students and colleagues

Further points of clarification:

  • Members at Avenue, NOCS and other University sites, please come join us at Highfield!  This action should be a good opportunity for us to convene in one place, discuss issues facing staff at the University and plan for our next action.
  • Contrary to what you may have heard elsewhere, remember that you are NOT under any obligation to tell your line manager about your decision to participate in the strike action prior to the action itself.  You must respond truthfully if and only if you are asked afterward.

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Eric Silverman
Southampton UCU President

The Vice-Chancellor’s Pay Rise

The University quietly announced yesterday that Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam has accepted a £17,000 pay rise, taking his salary up to £294,000. He has also had £39,000 paid into his pension pot by the University.

Following the strike action, the Vice-Chancellor told us that there was no chance of any movement on the 1% pay offer, as the University is not in a sustainable financial position.  As we can see from this 6% pay rise, and the jump from 64 people on £100k+ in 2011 to 299 people in 2012, there is certainly money around — but apparently only for those on the top of the scale.

Meanwhile, staff are expected to cope with yet another real-terms pay cut, 140 staff at the university earn less than the living wage, and 198 of our lecturers are on zero-hours contracts. For our many colleagues who earn less than £17,000 in an entire year, seeing the Vice-Chancellor accepting this pay rise is simply insulting.

Our union’s demands are reasonable and proportionate — as outlined in the initial pay claim, we want our pay to go up in line with prices, action to address the gender pay gap, progress on disability leave and living wages on campus. Doing these things would make our universities more supportive and equitable places to work.  We suggest that if the University can afford to pay the VC twice the salary of the Prime Minister, it can afford to pay a decent wage to the staff that actually keep the university running every day.

Your support so far has been brilliant, with over 200 of us at the rally on the 3rd, and many more taking part in the strike. It’s vital that we continue to work together, and with our colleagues in UNISON and Unite to demand fair pay on campus.

If you think pay rises shouldn’t just be for Don Nutbeam, then please do the following:

Email the Southampton UCU office letting us know why you think this is unacceptable

Speak to your colleagues, inform them of this and encourage them to join the union if they haven’t already done so

Email University senior management and ask them to justify this pay increase, when they are telling staff they can’t afford fair pay on campus.

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Eric Silverman

Southampton UCU President

Strike action is on at the University of Southampton

UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE UNION (UCU)

PRESS RELEASE

date: Monday 2 December 2013

for immediate release

Strike on at University of Southampton tomorrow

Staff at the University of Southampton will be on strike tomorrow (Tuesday 3 December) as members of the University and College Union (UCU) take action in a row over pay.

Staff will be on picket lines at University Road and Highfield Road in Southampton and will then make their way to a rally at 12.30pm at the Students Union Piazza, Highfield Campus. See map here – http://tinyurl.com/nlgvzsb

At the University of Southampton, staff are particularly angry that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam, has seen his salary increase by £66,000 in the past four years*.

In the financial year that ended on 31 July 2012, the Vice-Chancellor’s salary was £277,000, of which £40,000 was a one-off non-pensionable performance payment. Lecturers have highlighted that as stand-alone payments, both Professor Nutbeam’s annual bonus and pension contribution are greater than the annual salary of many lecturers and academics working at the university. A member of the cleaning staff on Grade 1 would have to work nearly three years to earn the equivalent of Professor Nutbeam’s annual bonus or pension contribution.

Lectures will be cancelled across England as lecturers walk out. Following on from a pay offer of just 1% this year from the employer’s representatives Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), staff are angry that as the cost of living has risen, lecturers’ pay has been slashed by more than 13% in real terms since 2009.   

The union’s negotiators have offered to clear their diaries in an effort to resolve the dispute before Tuesday’s strike and the union says it hopes strike action can be avoided. However, UCU added that lecturers were making it clear enough was enough when it came to keeping down their pay.

Eric Silverman, UCU President and Full Time Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, said: “Staff at the University of Southampton have seen their pay slashed in real terms since 2009. This year’s miserly pay offer, at a time of rising bills and increased pension contributions, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. And as we can see, those at the top have enjoyed more than generous pay increases.

“Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted. We hope the employers’ representatives will meet with us in an effort to resolve this dispute before Tuesday. Nobody wants to take strike action and lose a day’s pay, but lecturers need to take a stand about year on year real terms pay cuts.”

UCU members in colleges will join their colleagues and members of Unison, Unite and the EIS who are on strike in universities across the UK on strike on 3 December. Staff in universities are taking a second day of strike action over a ‘derisory’ 1% pay offer from their employers, which represents a 13% drop in real-terms pay for university staff over five years. More on that dispute here

Ends

*Professor Don Nutbeam was appointed vice-chancellor at the University of Southampton in 2008. He took up his post the following year in 2009.

31 October 2013 Industrial Action

Here are a few pictures of some of our picket lines and our afternoon rally from yesterday’s strike action:strike2strike1strike3GJL_9605GJL_9589

And to spice things up, some of our colleagues singing protest songs over at Avenue Campus: