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December, 2013:

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.

——-

Eric Silverman

Southampton UCU President

MEETING WITH UCU’S NATIONAL PENSIONS OFFICIAL – 21 JANUARY, 2014

Members are invited to meet with UCU’s National Pensions Official, Geraldine Egan, on 21 January at University of Winchester, 11.30am, The Boardroom, University Reception.   

Geraldine will be giving a short overview of UCU’s campaign to reverse the changes to the TPS and USS pensions and to comment on the future of FE and HE pensions in the longer term.  This will be followed by a question & answer session

ALL UCU members are welcome

More details can be obtained from the branch secretary, stevepark@guernsey.net or 07911 – 737960

Please confirm your intention to attend by emailing southern@ucu.org.uk

Strike action feedback

Dear members,

Yesterday’s strike action was a rousing success!  We had great support on the picket lines, covering all the most important and visible locations both at Highfield and Avenue Campuses, and our colleagues at UNISON and Unite greatly increased our visibility and impact.

At Highfield, the campus was extremely quiet, with very few students or staff coming in; notably, the car parks had many empty spaces and the bus interchange was largely empty.  At Avenue, the entire campus was largely vacant, and all entrances were covered by pickets.  At both campuses we distributed leaflets about the pay campaign and issues affecting members of staff across the whole University community, and we also distributed our own take on Vice-Chancellor Nutbeam’s Personal Performance and Development Review.  We had supportive responses from many passers-by, both students and staff, and many signatures were added to our petition for fair pay in higher education.

Following the pickets in the morning, we held a rally outside the Piazza, where we estimate more than 200 people turned up to hear our speakers.  We started off with our own UCU choir leading the crowd in our Fair Pay in HE remix of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  For those of who you missed out, we’ve posted the lyrics on our blog here: https://southampton.web.ucu.org.uk/2013/12/04/a-little-something-to-boost-your-christmas-spirit/

Barry Lovejoy, Head of Regional Organisations and Nations for UCU, came to speak to attendees about the pay issue, along with regional officials from UNISON and Unite, and colleagues from both Southampton Solent and Winchester University.  We also had significant press interest, with three separate camera crews filming the rally, and interviewers from various local and national press outlets circulating throughout the day.

All in all we were very pleased with the level of support and activity on the day.  To all of you who supported our action, THANK YOU!  

To keep the pressure on our employers, UCU is gathering information nationwide about activities which were canceled due to the strike action.  With that in mind, please let us know how YOU supported the action – cancelling lectures or seminars, avoiding meetings or other commitments on the day, joining the picket lines, etc.  We will take this information and send it to the national campaigns team to help counter the claims from UCEA that this day of action was not well-supported!

Also, please remember that we are still working to contract in support of the pay campaign.  Please take a look at the very detailed guidance on the main UCU website here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/workingtocontract

We will keep in touch with you about future developments on the fair pay campaign, including updates on related issues both local and national.

In solidarity,

Eric Silverman

Southampton UCU President

A little something to boost your Christmas spirit

During the strike action yesterday some of our members put together a rousing remix of The Twelve Days of Christmas which brings out some of the issues that concern us here in Southampton.  The lyrics are below, so next time you need a bit of extra Christmas spirit, do gather some voices together and give it a try!

Christmas Strike Song

 On the first day of Christmas my VC gave to me, a one per-cent pa–ay rise

On the 2nd day of Christmas my VC gave to me, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 3rd day of Christmas my VC gave to me, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 4th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 5th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, fiiiivvvve years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 6th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 7th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 8th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 9th day of Christmas my VC gave to me,  Starbucks’ in the staff club, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 10th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, a two tier pension, Starbucks’ in the staff club, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 11th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, rising cost of living, two tier pension, Starbucks’ in the staff club, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise,

On the 12th day of Christmas my VC gave to me, lots more students,  rising cost of living, two tier pension, Starbucks’ in the staff club, long working hours, low pay for women, zero hours contracts, five years of Don, four years of REF, Three angry unions, Two days of action, and a one per-cent pay rise!

 

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.