The University has released on the intranet more information about its current restructuring exercise, “Transforming Cardiff”. It boils down to a commitment to improving teaching, research, and professional services, while spending less money. They have commited to releasing more information about the voluntary severance scheme (VSS) , which will form a major part of this plan, next week.
Cardiff UCU have raised numerous concerns about Transforming Cardiff in general, and the severance scheme in particular. This is the third such scheme our members have had to contend with in six years, and the VC has repeatedly refused to rule out compulsory redundancies.
We are currently working with the other campus Unions on a statement which explains our shared problems with the new VSS scheme, and our plans to collectively resist compulsory job cuts in future. We’ll keep you informed.
Zac Williams a final year Sociology undergraduate doing his dissertation on trade unionism. He wants to talk to Cardiff UCU members about their values and experiences. If you can spare 30 minutes of your time, he would really appreciate hearing from you. He wants to talk to members who do not work in his own school (Social Sciences). You can find out more about Zac’s study by emailing him directly (WilliamsZJ@cardiff.ac.uk), or by contacting his supervisor, Finn Bowring (BowringF@cardiff.ac.uk).
Clare Gibbs (UCU Coleg y Cymoedd, Communication Representative)
College lecturers across Wales will be taking strike action over pay and workload on Tuesday 4th December, Thursday 13th December and Friday 14th December. This has been decided following the fantastic ballot result of University and College Union members who voted overwhelmingly to support. On pay the result was 90.5% in support of strike action with a 52.3% turnout. On workload there was a 53.8% turnout with 90.1% in favour of action. Both ballot results comfortably meet the thresholds set by the 2016 Trade Union Act indicating the strength of feeling amongst lecturing staff over these issues. Continue reading
Many members have expressed concern after reports in the Welsh media suggested the University was facing financial difficulties and considering widespread redundancies. We have been working, behind the scenes, to get more information from the University about its plans to make cuts, as well as to ensure we are consulted properly so we can represent you effectively.
Our priority is to work with the University to avoid compulsory redundancies, but the University has so far been unable to offer reassurances in this regard. We want to avoid a dispute over this, but we’ve been clear with the University that if it doesn’t engage with us we’ll consult with our members about next steps.
We have requested (for the second time) that the University convene a meeting of the Joint Negotiating Committee of campus unions so that real engagement can happen and a dispute can be avoided.
Read our letter to the Vice-Chancellor (PDF).
We will keep you informed of any progress that is made, and continue to fight against the threat of compulsory redundancies.
Numerous Cardiff UCU members will be participating in and speaking at this University event to mark the International Day of Disabled Persons. It looks to be a fascinating session, and we encourage members to attend.
Branch disability rep Irina Erchova and branch President Ryan Prout write:
UCU are holding a Day of Action for disability equality in education on Wednesday 21 November to launch disability history month. Continue reading
One of the Union’s biggest strengths during the pensions dispute came from rank and file members’ own critical examination of USS and UUK’s positions on our pensions. Members locally, and at UK level, continue to use their expertise as researchers to effectively demolish the case for decimating our retirement incomes.
We now need to draw on our members’ expertise around the University’s finances, business strategies, and spending priorities.
Our employers get away with redundancies, increased marketisation, inequality, casualisation, and cuts to pay and conditions by arguing they are financially inevitable. But as we know, cuts are always about priorities and choices, and we can much better counter these claims when we have our own facts, figures, and analysis to use in disputes and campaigns.
In short, knowledge is power: help us generate this essential information! If you’d like to be part of this working group please email UCU@cardiff.ac.uk to express an interest.
The UCU Branch Solidarity Network has just released a free, downloadable, “Activists’ Handbook” which collects bags of inspiring and amazing examples of UCU activism at UK universities and gives guidance on how to organize around a wide range of different issues. It’s an excellent resource, and well worth checking out.
We’re super pleased to see a number of contributions involving Cardiff UCU members in here. It references our on-going workload campaign, as well as the fantastic Common Room events run for Cardiff staff and students.
You can access the book for free.
Over the coming weeks the Common Room collective (among them, numerous Cardiff UCU members) will be hosting diverse sessions in venues across the university on Wednesdays 12noon until 1pm (see the flyer for the full programme).
Some of the sessions will feature presentations and thought-provoking discussion, others will be more focussed on practical activities. The aim of all events is to make a difference to the way we think of ourselves and each other in relation to the university. In doing so, Season 2 aims to continue the original ethos of the Common Room:
- Cultivating care & value in the academy
- Sustaining staff-student solidarity
- Reclaiming & democratising “the university”
One of the aims of the Common Room is to increase solidarity amongst all staff and students; the Common Room is open to all students – undergraduate and postgraduate – and all staff – academic and non-academic – alike. Please send a link to this post to any groups or individuals you think might be interested in this mission.
Anyone can join the Common Room Outlook Group by following this link.
At the recent TUC Congress, UCU raised a motion, seconded by PCS, noting the disturbing rise of racist and fascist activity across Europe. Congress agreed the need for a mass movement in Britain to halt the growth of the racist and fascist right and supported the call on the General Council to co-organise the national unity demo in London on 17th November, called by Stand Up To Racism and supported by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and a number of key figures from Labour, the trade unions and faith communities.
Members of Cardiff UCU executive committee will be attending the march with the branch banner and we would like to encourage members to attend. For more info please email email@example.com.