Author Archives: UCU - University and College Union

Historic mandates in Strike Ballots:

The results of the “four fights” and USS ballots amount to an overwhelming vote for industrial action, a clear mandate for our negotiators, and a clear message from staff to employers.

Cardiff UCU would like to thank the small but tireless team of local reps for their work campaigning to get the vote out, as well as our broader membership who voted so convincingly in favour of action to improve our Universities.

We’d also like to apologise to our members for hounding you about voting so regularly for the last month, and to thank you for your patience. It’s essential that as many of us vote as possible, and a steady stream of door-knocks, personal phone calls, and emails are the only tools we have at our disposal to do so.

Nationally, in the pay ballot, a record 55 post-92 and pre-92 branches are in a position to take industrial action, with a higher overall turnout (49%) and a larger yes vote (74%) than ever before. In the USS ballot, 43 branches are in a position to take action, with an even higher yes vote of 79% and an overall turnout of 53%.

At Cardiff, because of your collective resolve we met the punitive, anti-union, 50% threshold in both ballots, with a resounding vote in favour of strike action and ASOS in both too.

Although none of us want to go on strike again, this vote shows that most of us feel the sector needs to change. UCU nationally has called on employers to return to negotiations immediately. In the meantime, the union will plan for the next phase of each dispute. UCU’s higher education committee will meet shortly to discuss the results and consider our next steps, including the nature, timing, and scale of industrial action.

Guardian coverage here.

UCU press release here.

An older, local Welsh news piece which interviews Cardiff UCU activists about the issues underpinning the strike votes is here.

Cardiff UCU branch General Meeting:

Our branch General Meetings are incredibly important to the smooth and democratic running of your local UCU branch. The more of our members turn up, debate, and vote, the more reflective of our members’ interests the branch will be.

Our next general meeting will take place on Weds 6 Nov at 1.10pm in the John Percival Building, Room 1.57 – with lunch available from 12.45pm.

You can find the agenda here and all of the papers on the branch website here.

We have a big year ahead – come along and help shape our branch’s activities and campaigns!

Cardiff delegates needed for two national UCU meetings:

We are in need of delegates for the UCU special Higher Education Sector Conference (HESC) about USS on 6th December (http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/html/ucu971.html) and the UCU Democracy Commission Special Congress on 7th December (http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/html/ucu976.html). If we don’t get enough volunteers, we won’t be able to use the full extent of our branch’s influence in our Union.

For context, the HESC meeting is a one-off special meeting which will focus on deciding and planning our future position on the USS dispute. The Democracy Commission is a body set up after the 2018 strikes to ensure a grassroots, member-led, UCU after widespread disappointment with the way the former union leadership ended the dispute. This conference will consider the recommendations of the Democracy Commission and decide the future of the UCU’s democratic structures (something we all agree will be crucial if we are forced to strike again).

The Cardiff UCU General Meeting next week will be the last chance for confirming delegates – so if anyone thinks they might put themselves forward, or would like to know more, please email ucu@cardiff.ac.uk as soon as possible.

The meetings are in Manchester, but the branch will be able to provide travel and accommodation expenses.

Results of the Cardiff UCU branch vote in both ballots:

CARDIFF UCU PAY, CASUALISATION, EQUALITY & WORKLOADS BALLOT: Turnout 52%

ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION CONSISTING OF STRIKE ACTION?

77% Yes – 23% No

ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION CONSISTING OF ACTION SHORT OF STRIKE ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING A MARKING AND ASSESSMENT BOYCOTT?

84% Yes – 16% No

CARDIFF UCU USS BALLOT: Turnout 52%

ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION CONSISTING OF STRIKE ACTION?

82% Yes – 18% No

ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION CONSISTING OF ACTION SHORT OF STRIKE ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING A MARKING AND ASSESSMENT BOYCOTT?

88% Yes – 12% No

The full results for all local branches who voted can be found here

Monday 28th is your last chance to vote in the two active ballots:

There are only a few days left to have your say in the higher education ballots so please post your ballot paper by Monday 28 October at the very latest.

Voting now will improve the union’s bargaining position and empowers your negotiators. If we beat the 50% threshold for strike action we anticipate that the employers will seriously consider making us an offer before any action happens, because they will remember how effective last year’s strikes were. If we don’t, there is no realistic chance of us improving our lots in relation to pensions, pay, workload, casualisation, or equality. It really is that stark.

A strong turn-out in Cardiff specifically will also help the local branch in its on-going negotiations for improvements with Cardiff University. A weak one will have the opposite effect.

We as a union have democratically decided to encourage members to vote “Yes“ to strike action and ASOS in both ballots, but whatever you think about pay, pensions, job security or equality: please don’t leave it to others to speak for you. Please vote, and also remind your colleagues to vote by sharing this short video clip or by sharing this Facebook event

Could you be a UCU workplace rep?

Your local UCU branch relies on the work of its Departmental Representatives (Dep Reps) who play an essential role in raising awareness of the union and supporting members. We need more.

If you are interested in becoming a Dep Rep, please get in touch with Sally in the branch office (ucu@cardiff.ac.uk). You can also take part in the following regional training.

Induction to Representing Members – Venue: UCU Wales Office, Tondu, Bridgend CF32 9BS

UCU Wales will be holding an Induction to Representing Members on Wednesday 6th November 10am – 2.30pm

This 1 day course is aimed at new reps/caseworkers, activists and departmental contacts who are or will be undertaking a role in the near future. The induction course will cover aspects of representation of members, organising, recruitment and building a strong branch.

We are currently without reps in the following schools: Business School, CPE, School of Welsh, Healthcare, Architecture and Engineering. We are also very keen to increase the number of reps we have in professional services across the board.

The New Ken Loach Film: Sorry We Missed you

To tie in with the film, Anti-Precarity Cymru and Cardiff UCU are running a creative workshop on the theme of organising and resisting casualised, zero-hours and exploitative work – join us for zine-making and other activities! This will be followed by a screening of the film, tickets for which must be purchased separately.  This event will be taking place Saturday 2 November 2-5pm, at Chapter Arts Centre, Market Rd, Canton, Cardiff CF5 1QE

Book launch: Grace Blakely on financialisation

All of our lives are touched by financialisation in ways we often don’t even realise. For example, part of the reason Cardiff University is currently in a financial mess, and why we’re facing yet more disastrous cuts under Transforming Cardiff, is the amount of financialised debt (in the form of a public bond) we’ve taken on.

The author and economist Grace Blakeley will be having a launch of her new book Stolen: How to save the world from financialisation on 20 November 2019, 6.00 – 8.30pm, at the Glamorgan Building, King Edward V11 Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WT.

Grace Blakeley is the economic commentator for the New Statesman and an economist at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The book tells the story of the rise of global finance, focusing on how this change has affected the structures of the British and American economies. Grace is a prominent voice in the media and has recently appeared on shows such as BBC’s Question Time, Politics Live and ITV’s Good Morning Britain. You can find and example of her work here.

The UCU’s demands in both active strike ballots:

We *know* that this info has been shared a lot, but we still have to point people in the direction of info like this.

You can find the campaign leaflet for the “Four Fights” ballot on pay, the gender pay gap, workload and casualisation here. It goes into good detail about the issues we face and the demands we’re making.

You can find the campaigning leaflet in defence of our USS pensions here.

If you’d like to hear from our national negotiators first-hand what they’re bargaining for on our behalf, and what a mandate for strike action could get us, then  watch this video, recorded at a Cardiff UCU event a couple of weeks ago.

For those of you who want to prioritize: first up is Sam Marsh (one of our pensions negotiators), talking about USS (00:00-13:00mins); then comes Robyn Orfitelli (one of our negotiators on pay, casualization, equality and workload) at 14:00-32:30mins; followed by a Q&A with both (32:30-40:11mins)).

Robyn (@rorfitelli, r.orfitelli@sheffield.ac.uk) and Sam (@sam_marsh101, S.J.Marsh@shef.ac.uk) have both kindly offered to take any questions from Cardiff members, either by email or on Twitter.