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October, 2011:

31 October – March to Defend USS

31 October is the first payday following the changes to your USS pension when your contributions increase.

We’re currently working to contract to defend our pensions, but as the changes have been implemented against the wishes of the USS members we want to mark the occasion.

So please join us on 31 October (Halloween) to mourn the death of our old USS pension!  At lunchtime UCU will have an information stand outside the Highfield Lattes/former Staff Club. Come along to find out how the pension changes affect you.

At 5.45pm we will gather outside the Arlott Bar before marching to Guildhall Square to join our colleagues in the Trades Union Council for their open meeting, where Mark Serwotka (General Secretary of PCS) will be speaking. As this is a solemn occasion – a mourning for our lost benefits – we ask participants to wear a black armband (which we will provide) and dark clothing (if you have some).  Some of us may wear suitably grim Halloween attire, so feel free to join us in ghoulish costume if you wish.

Come along at 5 . 45 – bring friends, colleagues and supporters of the cause – to say goodbye to the benefits we worked hard for, and join the march to defend our pensions.

The Union Cities Project

UCU is currently starting a new strategy for union organisation, based on a consultation conducted by Professor Waddington of the University of Manchester — and Southampton will be is the pilot for this ambitious project!

The goal of Union Cities is to create a positive community of branches in Southampton, with shared goals, clear bargaining agendas, inter-branch solidarity, engagement with the wider community and local politicians, increased member involvement, and increases in membership and numbers of trained reps.


The strategy originates from studies of the successful organisation strategies of American and Scandinavian unions.

One pioneer of this strategy describes a Union City as a community “where employers respect the contributions of workers and where elected leaders are held accountable to working families.  It’s where unions are organizing, mobilizing and reaching out to community allies — and building the power to change their lives”.

By focusing resources on our community, UCU will be able to set an example  — and mobilise a programme to set other cities in the UK along a similar path to building a better community for working people.

How can I get involved?

Call us at the Southampton UCU Office (ext 22364), or email us at and we will tell you more about the options available to you.  One of the goals of Union Cities is to produce a larger community of trained representatives, so please join us!

Southampton UCU Newsletter — Collegiality Issue 1

It’s a new academic year, and we’re pleased to announce the revival of the Southampton UCU newsletter — now titled Collegiality. A PDF version is available below, but our members are currently circulating hard copies throughout the campus. So check your building’s common areas and your pigeonholes and you may find one there.

In the meantime, here’s a PDF copy, feel free to print and distribute however you like:

Collegiality – Issue 1

Let’s Meet For Lunch Campaign flyer

Check out our flyer for the Let’s Meet For Lunch Campaign. Take a look, grab a colleague, and go reclaim your lunch hour! The full flyer — with text on the back — is available in PDF format below:

Let’s Meet For Lunch

Southampton UCU featured on Winchester News Online

Winchester journalism students have  done a feature on the Southampton UCU as part of their most recent broadcast, with particular focus on the current USS Pension Scheme dispute.  View their news broadcase on Youtube here (you’ll see us after 3 minutes or so):

“Let’s Meet For Lunch” Campaign

With recent changes to the USS Pension Scheme, our employers have demonstrated that despite our hard work, long hours, and constant sacrifice, they have no interest in maintaining one of the most important rewards in our profession: the opportunity for a dignified retirement.  They will be paying less into our pensions, our benefits will decrease substantially — and yet, our workloads will continue to increase, our stress levels will continue to rise, and the pressures upon us will continue to intensify.

If our employers have no interest in taking care of us, then perhaps it is time for us to take better care of ourselves and each other.  Rather than giving them a free hour of extra labour by skipping lunch — on top of all the extra hours we work anyway — let’s reclaim our lunch hour.  Let’s take some time every day to slow down, take a break, refuel our bodies and our minds, and socialise with our colleagues.

One of the benefits of university life used to be the collegial nature of the academic environment.  A campus filled with bright, driven people can be an exciting and motivating place to work.  We hope to regain that feeling of collegiality by recapturing the lunch hour.

With that in mind, Southampton UCU will shortly be launching our “Let’s Meet For Lunch” Campaign.  We urge all of our members to take part and reclaim that crucial mid-day break to keep their minds and their bodies in good health and good spirits!

Flyers and further information will be coming soon — here on this blog, via email, and from our members around the campus!

Fighting for public services: TUC Open Meeting 31 October

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS trade union, will address a Public Meeting on 31st October, called by Southampton & S.W. Hants TUC. Please try and support this meeting in our continued fight to defend public service cuts. See attached leaflet for further details.

TUC Public Meeting


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