The result of the USS e-ballot held by UCU

The result of the ballot was as follows:

Total balloted: 53,415
Total votes cast: 33,973
Total number valid votes: 33,913
Turnout: 63.5%

Yes to accept the UUK offer – 21,683 (64%)
No to reject the UUK offer  –  12,230 (36%)

This represents the highest turnout in any national ballot or consultation of any kind in UCU’s history.

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary said:

‘In line with the decision of members the union will suspend its immediate industrial action plans but keep our legal strike mandate live until the agreement between UCU and UUK is noted by USS.

‘We will now get on with the job of making the joint expert panel work for you and your pension.

‘For the avoidance of doubt, all currently planned industrial action – including that scheduled for next week – is suspended and members should work normally.

‘However you voted, thank you so much for participating in this record breaking consultation and for all of your support for the union throughout this historic dispute.’

In Cardiff will now be focusing on the process to ensure an outcome in line with our expectation of no change in the Defined Benefit provision (1)

There is real concern that the recent valuation continues to apply to the current situation. As such, members worry that moves will be made using the current valuation period to alter the pensions before the expert panel has done its work.

UUK will need to provide clearer assurances about their intentions regarding what they expect to happen based on the current valuation.

The phrase “broadly comparable” which has been used by Alistair Jarvis has caused issues and undermined the very trust he wrote about rebuilding.

Trust remains the key issue and will be difficult to resolve unless there is a change in the “body language” of UUK . Simple steps that UUK could take to improve trust are:

  • For UUK to be transparent about the effects of their undeclared payment holiday and offer to make this loss good.
  • For UUK to give a commitment to complete transparency of the data, methodology and outcome of the proposed independent valuation.

It has become clear that one driver behind the proposal that Universities UK to de-risk their pension obligations by moving to a wholly defined contributions pension scheme – has been the ongoing push to marketise university education in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In Cardiff we have been thinking through these wider considerations and particularly the impact of marketisation.

Marketisation impacts the way staff are treated and increasingly controlled. Locally we have an ongoing campaign regarding workload. More information about that will be circulated as the campaign in developed.

(1) a pension ‘comparable with current provision’ means one that provides defined benefits that are not inferior to our existing provision

USS Update

Cardiff UCU Branch put forward the feeling of our meeting earlier this week at the open meeting held yesterday at Carlow Street.

This was a well-attended meeting by branches so limited time available to each branch to comment but Cardiff’s viewpoint of “revise and resubmit” was a feeling that many other branches also put forward.

So, in line with the opening of our motion …

This branch welcomes the recent proposal from UUK in the pensions dispute, and is pleased that the employers have now seen the need for a joint approach to re-valuing the USS pension scheme. We instruct our negotiators to seek some further assurances from UUK before the new offer is put to all members; in essence, to ask the employers to revise and resubmit.

The letter from Alastair Jarvis, the chief executive of universities UK (UUK), as included in the email of yesterday from Sally Hunt, does move towards addressing some of our points.  If we as a union move forward with the proposal, both sides would be doing so consciously in the full knowledge that we must stand by the future outcomes of the expert panel.

Addressing our specific points …

  • that a pension ‘comparable with current provision’ means one that provides defined benefits that are not inferior to our existing provision;

I know that some people are saying that clarification is needed around some of the wording and that trust in UUK is simply not there but taking what is said in good faith the clarification indicates that the DC solution has been dropped and there will be a status quo with a “meaningful” scheme going forward to the next valuation.

There seems to be concerns about the 2019 date. This needs to be seen in line with the requirements, legal requirements of the Pensions Regulator (tPR) who are indicating that this as an opportunity to bring all stakeholders together and avoid recurring disagreements around the methodology and funding framework for future valuations. So, to push dates further into the future would not be helpful in discussions with them as this is a big concession whereby they will allow USS to go beyond their implementation date to achieve a solution that will “avoid recurring disagreements”.

USS have already pushed the button that triggers rule 76.4 that sets a default position to address the funding challenge which would split the increase required on a 35:65 between members and employers such that employers would pay contributions of 24.11% (up from 18%) and member contributions would to 11.29% of salaries (up from 8%). Basically the tPR is giving USS the opportunity to not have to implement this from next April allowing the status quo until then (yes, nothing would probably have happened between now and then anyway) but we want the time beyond then to be able to continue the necessary work on the valuation by the expert group. With tPR on our side we have opportunity and with a majority on the USS Board (4 UUK members and 3 USS members out of 12 board members) we can at the highest level keep control of the way USS proceeds on this.

  • that all valuations are carried out on a transparent basis in relation both to data and decision-making, and subject to reporting at regular intervals to allow UCU to engage in effective industrial action;

Both sides are clearly indicating the need for transparency and UCU are absolutely open to their members reporting back on a regular basis so that we can keep an eye on what is happening with the valuation. This does not stop the option to go to further industrial action if we see the employers back stepping in any way, it really isn’t in their interest to do this as they now need, and concede, to rebuild trust both with staff and with students. If we can call them out publically for not following anything through then the reputation of university management will be hit, and very badly.

  • that there should be no recriminations for students or staff, including any requirement to reschedule work lost as a result of industrial action.

In addition to assurances from Cardiff University, UCU at a national level will immediately step in where any form of victimisation or recrimination were to be highlighted. This again comes back to what UUK are saying about rebuilding trust, victimisation is not the way to do that and whilst there could well be some VCs who would take a hard stance on this individual action by them will be seen as action against the sector as a whole to be stopped in its tracks.

  • If these assurances cannot be given by 16 April, then the current programme of industrial action should continue.

Absolutely, notice is being served for action at a number of universities to start from 16th April. Industrial action will be coming in waves as with differing time tables it makes sense to call action at different times at different institutions. Cardiff University are in the first wave of action.

So, we need to await further information from UCU that has been promised for next week about the ballot proposed. This ballot does not affect the current notice of continued action but we do need to note that we will need a re-ballot soon for continued action if this were to go into next academic year. There was a general feeling from UCU that this would be the legal position that our current mandate runs until July at the latest.

The fact that the final decision has always been noted will come from members could be one of the key points that the decision has been taken to go to ballot without reassurances and clarification being written into the proposal that came from UUK. That proposal itself was picked up as part of informal discussions and as such, as many of you have noted, hasn’t been through a negotiation process. We should note that this also means that it hasn’t had the same opportunity to be discussed by universities in the sector and so it is being taken as an opportunity to be looked at in a timely manner. UUK know, and I think UCU realise, that continued industrial action is going to have a severe impact on individual universities. Several branches did mention costs that were being estimated and as such these would be equated to redundancies. Now, we shouldn’t blur different issues but as an opportunity to move forward that doesn’t take away any further opportunity for us to call our employers to account and to return to industrial action is what we have here.

It is not perfect, but it is a way of addressing the valuation process that has been at the centre of this dispute and, of course, several previous valuations.

For those who haven’t yet seen it, Jo Stevens highlighted the current USS dispute alongside the more issues of marketization of universities with specific reference to the universities in Cardiff in Parliament recently https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=46&v=bHsp0xH8p8o.

The decision to go to ballot has caused quite a stir within the Union, given the fears of many that the membership has been ignored.  Some also feel that we could have extracted more from the employers before getting to this point. You can search Twitter for hashtags #reviseandresubmit, #wearetheunion, #rejectUUKdeal and #USSstrike for more information. There are many blog posts around the USS dispute but one of the most insightful bloggers, Michael Otsuka, highlights an important point in terms of the default position whilst the work of the expert panel continues https://medium.com/@mikeotsuka/ucu-members-need-to-know-what-uuk-will-choose-if-they-accept-the-proposal-99d98c52c0b8.

What is being offered though is a chance for members to have their say, not the delegates sent to a branch update having a say for you. There wasn’t a specific vote on whether this should go to ballot yesterday, we were told that our feelings would be taken on board at the HEC that followed (several members of that committee were present at our discussions).

In the end you have been given a vote and we want everyone to have their say.  Remember, current action has strengthened our solidarity and the membership of our union.  By maintaining that strength we can, together, at any point in the future ensure that our voice is again heard by taking further action.

75% Vote “Revise and Resubmit” on UUK Proposal

75% of 600+ Cardiff UCU members voted overnight for Universities UK to #ReviseAndResubmit its proposal on staff pensions. (You can read the full proposal and the letter from Sally Hunt on the national UCU website.)

The proposal is broadly welcome, but today UCU nationally will hear from us that explicit assurances on fair pensions are needed to end the strike.

The vote followed a meeting of over 100 members yesterday which agreed to put four options to the whole membership, and the results were as follows:

  • 19% – Yes the proposal from UUK is sufficient
  • 75% – Revise the proposal and resubmit
  • 5% – No, the proposal from UUK is insufficient
  • 1% – Abstain

Here is the full text of the ‘revise and resubmit’ option:

This branch welcomes the recent proposal from UUK in the pensions dispute, and is pleased that the employers have now seen the need for a joint approach to re-valuing the USS pension scheme. We instruct our negotiators to seek some further assurances from UUK before the new offer is put to all members; in essence, to ask the employers to revise and resubmit.

In particular, these assurances should establish:

  • that a pension ‘comparable with current provision’ means one that provides defined benefits that are not inferior to our existing provision;
  • that all valuations are carried out on a transparent basis in relation both to data and decision-making, and subject to reporting at regular intervals to allow UCU to engage in effective industrial action; and
  • that there should be no recriminations for students or staff, including any requirement to reschedule work lost as a result of industrial action.

If these assurances cannot be given by 16 April, then the current programme of industrial action should continue.

Strike Bulletin #14

Picket - Hadyn Ellis - 16th March

Picket – Hadyn Ellis – 16th March

Well done, everyone! We’ve completed fourteen days of striking over four weeks, and we have reached the end in a much stronger position than when we started. Clearly, we’re not out of the woods yet, but UUK has learned that we are not to be coaxed back to work by a modest improvement on the position they gave us back in January.

Membership has grown over the four weeks. Attendance on the picket lines has grown. Despite rejecting an offer, our relationship with the students remains strong, as seen in the open meeting organised by the students’ union and by the presence of fabulous students at our rallies and picket lines.

Locally, we have pressed our vice-chancellor to support an independent valuation of the USS. Moreover, this week had the university agree to divide the deductions for strike action over three months, and we have an (albeit ambiguous) relaxing of the university’s strict stance on action short of a strike. Hold that in your heads and hearts as you return to work next week, when you face questions about rescheduling teaching that was missed during the strike.

Rally Alexandra Gardens 16th March

Rally Alexandra Gardens 16th March

Rally Alexandra Gardens 16th March

Rally Alexandra Gardens 16th March

Support and cameraderie
We’ve been pleased by the strong attendance at the individual picket lines. And our habitual gathering at 11 was, as we hoped, sufficiently strong that we moved around Main Building to the Alexandra Gardens1. There, we had rousing speeches, excellent fancy dress, and musical support as well. Our thanks to Dominic McAskill from Unison for his message of solidarity as well as impassioned speeches from our own members Paul Brennan of MEDIC and Andy Williams of JOMEC.

Then it was time for our collective creativity to shine. MC VC and the Regulators entertained us with renditions of Jolene and Tubthumpin’, along with a popular reprise of Steven Stanley’s original rap, Get Your Paws Off Our Pensions. A group of singers from Biosciences at the Hadyn Ellis Building led us in adapted lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody, accompanied ably if inadequately by the ukulele2. And local skiffle band Railroad Bill sent us out with great tunes about gambling and debt – just perfect for a strike centred on pensions…

MC VC and the Regulators

MC VC and the Regulators

What happens next
We’ve all earned a rest this weekend. Next Monday, it’s back to work as usual. But we’re not clear of the dispute. Strike days are set by the national union, and we remain in negotiation with UUK over the terms of the pension. We don’t want to lose touch with members and other colleagues after all this effective enthusiasm.

First we have arranged a lunchtime open meeting on Monday 26th March in the Wallace Lecture Theatre. We may well organise another one that week at the Heath Park campus if that makes sense. This and any other open meetings will be aimed at communicating our position on the USS Pension to all staff. This then opens up a channel for communication with staff who are in USS but did not support the strike. More information about this event will be communicated on Monday.

Meanwhile, our resident pension experts have prepared to talk about the issues at the core of this dispute. Woon Wong will speak on Wednesday, 21 March at 3pm in Room 0.16 Post-Graduate Teaching Centre. The presentation will explain the basic principles used in the valuation of a defined benefit pension scheme, and then discuss the valuation methods adopted by USS as well as the guidelines of the Pensions Regulator. Empirical evidence from data analysis concludes that the annual valuations from 2012-2017 by USS are predicated on a flawed basis and it is necessary to fundamentally re-think how the correct message should be communicated to UUK, UCU, the Pensions Regulator as well as the public. Phantom Deficit of USS Pension – Summary version.

Staying involved with the conversation on the dispute and related matters
Once back at work it will be harder to sustain the conversations we’ve been having on the picket lines and at the rallies. These conversations have been immensely beneficial, not least because we’ve had the opportunity to communicate with colleagues normally separated from us by the organisational divisions within Cardiff University.

Cardiff UCU has available various online methods to enable us to extend the opportunity for these conversations to continue (between our meetings) but in a way that will dovetail with normal working practices or home life (you get to choose which or both).

Best,
Cardiff UCU Strike Communications Team

1More photos will be on the website version of this bulletin by Saturday morning

2The editor for Bulletin #14 is being too self-effacing! [Managing Editor]


More Images from the Rally on 16th March

 

Strike Bulletin #13

Ides of March

Beware the Ides of March! It’s a fateful day for our employers. Faced with such unity from UCU members here in Cardiff and across the country, as well as a substantial list of student occupations on campuses from Aberdeen to Exeter, we’re hearing VCs climb back on the removal of Defined Benefits and the undermining of strike activity, as with Cambridge. Others, such as Glasgow, say their position is ‘essentially the same as that of UCU’. Others still, such as Queen’s Belfast, state a commitment to independent valuation of the USS. Here in Cardiff, we received the welcome news through Twitter that Cardiff University will spread deductions over three months. Furthermore, they ‘do not envisage circumstances where colleagues [that’s us] will have pay withheld for action short of a strike.’ This is the effect our collective action has taken – the commitment to 14 days of strikes and the courage to say no to a bad deal offered this week.

Ways of reaching out

Members of Cardiff UCU continue to find new ways of reaching staff, students, and the public. Colleagues at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, conveniently located in Main Building, have set up a stall to explain their teaching, their research, and the reasons why they’re out on the picket line. It’s a high-traffic, high-visibility spot, and everyone’s welcome to come and find out a bit more about what they do. The idea comes from Marc Millet and Dave Thompson, and we thank Stephen Barker for telling us all about it at today’s rally. (Thanks also to Daniel Hobley for sharing his photo with us.)

People of Earth

Meanwhile, Paul Brennan and Renata Medeiros-Mirra represented UCU at an open session with about 50-60 students, including undergraduates and postgraduates, organised by the Students’ Union. This was a student-only affair, with Karen Holford and Amanda Coffey representing university management. Students were naturally worried about the impact of the strike action on their learning, but they showed strong support for the action and for the right and need to decent pensions. Their questions were directed mainly at the university management to understand what will be done to support them, whether they will receive compensation, and why the university isn’t communicating more with them. Many thanks to Paul and Renata for taking part.

Our continuing series of teach-outs met this afternoon. Environmental issues were on the table, including a provocative session from UCU environmental officer Paul Rock, Trevor Dale from Biosciences, and People Planet on sustainability and the kinds of companies and initiatives our contested USS currently invests in.

Taking the struggle further

An open letter is circulating to put our concerns about the USS in writing to the Welsh Government. Cardiff UCU member Vicki Wass has been invited to meet with Lynne Neagle Chair of the Education Committee to expand the discussion started in the open letter. There’s still time to sign the letter, however, by clicking here.

We had the potential for a double appearance of MPs at our rally. Sadly, Jo Stevens was called away to Westminster. We were nonetheless cheered to hear from Stephen Doughty, a firm union supporter. He reiterated what we heard at the Assembly on Tuesday: support for our struggle and affirmation of our vote to reject the proposed deal. Further, he agreed with our broader struggle to ensure universities are fair, open, and administered in line with public values. Steven told us he will be meeting with our vice-chancellor, Colin Riordan, next Tuesday, and he promised to report back on the outcome of that discussion.

Stephen Doughty with picketers

We’ll be back to work by then, but we have one day of strike action left.

Tomorrow

We want to put on the biggest rally yet to demonstrate the solidarity and growth that Cardiff UCU has shown over the last four weeks. If you haven’t joined us yet, here is your chance. If you have come down – once, twice, or every day – don’t miss it.

  • Join your school picket line from 8am.
  • A special note that CARBS will not be picketing at their building tomorrow, out of respect for the funeral that day. But any CARBS members who want to take some action prior to the funeral are encouraged to convene at Main Building so IT staff can picket outside their buildings instead of at Main Building.
  • That’s where everyone can gather at 11 for a mass rally of music, speeches, and fancy dress.

We’ve been so impressed by everyone’s commitment, and we’ve got a lot to be proud of. We’ll see you there tomorrow.

Best,
Cardiff UCU Strike Communications Team

Andy Williams in the Western Mail

Coverage in the Western Mail

Andy Williams in the Western Mail

Opinion piece by Dr Andy Williams

Strike Bulletin #12

Pickets outside Law

Pickets outside Law & Politics

Referring to Wednesday as “hump day” is a fairly modern tradition in American English. The term represents the idea that a week can be visualized as a mound or hill that a person climbs, with Wednesday typically being the middle or peak of the week. more… [external link]

Wednesday in the US and Canada1 is traditionally known in 9-5 office parlance as ‘hump day’. This is our only full week of striking in this set of actions, and now we’re over the hump. We felt what was, for many, confusion and despair on Monday night, followed by the collective resolve of Tuesday morning and the sunny, buoyant high of our political lobby.

All these views were expressed at our 11 o’clock rally at Main Building, and we’re sure they were mirrored on all the picket lines as people made sense of what had happened. Our representative to the national Higher Education Committee was Nick Russell, and he brought the strike committee upto date on how that meeting went. Negotiators noted that it was the strength of early picketing that brought them to the table in the first place. UUK’s starting position was the January meeting where the Defined Contributions scheme was forced through. Rejection of the proposed agreement would mean a return to square one.

One speaker at Wednesday's Rally

One speaker at Wednesday’s Rally

However, reject is what they did. Branch delegates described informal votes across the country very like ours here in Cardiff. Every branch but one rejected by overwhelming margin – often unanimous. One rejected but by a small margin. Discussion moved to the whys and hows of the negotiating effort, followed by a consideration of next steps. Nick mentioned focusing on the methodology: that the underlying assumptions are flawed and our expertise can speak to that. It was also encouraging to hear that support for the strike is growing and has grown universally, in every branch across the UK. The HEC heard all of this and voted to reject. Things will be tougher from here, but we have the resolve to see it through. The focus now is on maintaining the status quo of our pension scheme until we get an academically robust methodology to assess the value of the USS.

The forceful nationwide motion to reject was heard not only by our union but by our employers. Late afternoon, Universities UK issued a release saying they are planning more, urgent talks. Their statement notes, ‘We listened to the concerns of university staff, and proposed to increase employer contributions to the scheme to maintain meaningful defined benefits.’ As always, we’ll see what that looks like in practice, but it’s welcome language to hear. Some vice-chancellors have clearly heard the message: Cambridge’s VC suggests amendments to the rejected plan that address some of our own complaints. It’s not *the answer*, but it shows a humbler spirit.

Creative expression
Following the rally, members led small workshops in sketching and photography. As our ace photographer Jonathan Marsh notes, perspective is really important. That’s both a practical tip for snapping compelling shots and a metaphor for how we view this struggle. So take heart!

Others joined the University Matters teach-outs at Cathays Methodist Church. Values were up for discussion: Chris Graves spoke about balancing competing values, so that if you focus on competition and control, losing sight of collaboration and creation, you get out of balance and ultimately fail. One example is Apple, which got so successful it needed the money people to manage it. The result was firing this crazy guy called Steve Jobs and ceasing to collaborate and innovate. The company reversed that decision later on in order to succeed, bringing Steve Jobs back into the company. James Whitley gave this some historical perspective, noting that ‘city’ states in ancient Crete and Greece survived 700-1000 years when they had relatively flat structures. Archaeological evidence suggests that as and when they moved to hierarchical structures, they only survived on average about 150 years. In between, Steve Smith led a whole-group discussion on ethics and values. The key take-away here was that values can be seen differently depending on your perspective. In this way, philosophy can be a lot like photography.  A late session on archeology at Caerau finished just an hour ago.

Picket Support

Picket Support

Taking care of yourselves financially
As we approach the end of this phase of strike action, a reminder about strike pay. You can apply nationally to UCU’s fighting fund. We have a local hardship fund similarly set up, and you should register your interest by Friday 23 March. Details are here.

Cardiff UCU exec members have been canvassing with our comrades in other unions. PCS Wales and Unite both committed to making contributions, and we’ve been hearing generally about how important a victory is for us: if we lose this fight, it will be difficult for other pension schemes to fight back against these incursions.

You’re welcome to share details of our fund with others. Get this message out, as it’s a concrete way that others can support us.

Visits tomorrow
We will have two visits from Cardiff MPs tomorrow.

  • Jo Stevens from Cardiff Central will be our main speaker at the 11 o’clock rally at Main Building.
  • Stephen Doughty from Cardiff South and Penarth will visit us at 12.
  • In between, SocSci lecturer Steven Stanley will lead us on a walking meditation.

So be sure to come to your pickets and then join us at 11. The penultimate day of strike action promises to be a rousing one.

Best,
Cardiff UCU Strike Communications Team

1 We have a Canadian editor this evening
2 We have an honorary Welsh, English editor proof reading tonight and emailing out

Strike bulletin #11

Today was an important day – probably the most crucial day of our strike action so far. As probably all of you know, UCU and UUK reached a proposed agreement that went out yesterday evening. Response on Twitter was strong and consistent, but many of us were worried and confused. Was this really the deal we took such unprecedented action over? And what were the implications for us, our students, our employers, and the public by rejecting such a deal?

This was the feeling on the picket lines this morning, and no amount of home baking could soothe the unease. Nick Russell, our Cardiff UCU delegate, was already on the train to London to carry our response to UCU headquarters and the Higher Education Committee. So what would we tell him?

Move 1 – Responding to the offer

We met at the Cathays Community Centre, but strong numbers meant we had to move on. The bingo hall has a limit of 200, and given our impeccable attendance at rallies and pickets, it’s no surprise we exceeded that. We took a slow march to Alexandra Gardens, where several members expressed their views: their determination to reject, their ambivalence about the deal, and their constructive desire to accept as a step to greater change. It was then put to a vote (with our feet), and the 250 members in the park gave an unambiguous steer: Cardiff University UCU rejects the proposed agreement. See the attached document for a more thorough summary of that decision.

Move 2 – Lobbying the politicians

We then piled on coaches, bicycles, and other sets of wheels to meet outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. The sun sparkled on the water and warmed our faces, and we had a warm reception, too. Trade union representatives were there in solidarity, and politicians from Labour and Plaid Cymru came out on the steps to speak to us. They told us they understood our difficulties, that we were right to reject the offer, and that they would support us to get an acceptable deal. Throughout, we heard a litany of responses from other UCU branches who sent representatives to the Higher Education Committee meeting – at least 47 branches rejected. UCU rejected the offer, noting an ‘overwhelming’ response to reject from the members.

Some of us took the chance to speak with individual AMs and press our case. We received support and also good advice, such as building bridges with Scottish branches and organising a meeting of Wales vice-chancellors at the government’s behest. All ideas that we can take forward, because the fight is on in earnest, now.

Move 3 – Listening to the students

Many of us are worried about what we now say to our students. We have rejected a deal that would have brought us back to work this week. Some staff attended the teach-out sessions on neoliberalism at the Cathays Methodist Church. Alongside diverting discussions from Jan Machielsen about spin and discourse during the Protestant Reformation and from Val Walkerdine and Surhan Cam about the individualising aspects of neoliberalism – how it erodes our mutuality – we had constructive workshops with students, postgrads & precarious workers, and academic staff. This was our first chance to talk with students about this.

We heard again the message that they wanted their lecturers to speak more openly about the issues surrounding the strike before we went out. Some expressed as well a lack of consideration for students amid the rhetoric of protecting our pensions and winning our dispute with management. Certainly, if neoliberalism works to isolate us and pit us against each other, we all recognised the need to communicate well, to respect different views and not judge, and to put our own struggles in a wider context.

To quote UCU HQ, for the avoidance of doubt, this week’s strikes are on.

Best,
Cardiff UCU Strike Communications Team

University strikes remain on as UCU rejects proposals

13 March 2018

University strikes remain on as UCU rejects proposals

UCU has rejected a proposal drawn up at talks between the union and Universities UK (UUK) to end the university pensions strike. UCU representatives from the universities where staff are on strike over plans to cut their pensions met at the union’s headquarters today (Tuesday).

The union is calling for urgent negotiations with the universities’ representatives Universities UK aimed at resolving the dispute. The union said the strikes and action short of a strike remain on, and it would now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period.

Last week the union said that universities would be hit with a second wave of 14 strike days targeted at exams and assessment if the dispute was not resolved.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Branches made it clear today that they wanted to reject the proposal. UCU’s greatest strength is that we are run by and for our members and it is right that members always have the final say.

‘The strike action for this week remains on and we will now make detailed preparations for strikes over the assessment and exam period. We want urgent talks with the universities’ representatives to try and find a way to get this dispute resolved.’

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/9401/University-strikes-remain-on-as-UCU-rejects-proposals

Strike Meeting 10am Cathays Community Centre

Question Time - 5th March

An agreement was reached between UCU and UUK under the auspices of Acas following 6 days of talks.  UCU’s Higher Education Committee and branch representatives will meet tomorrow to consider its contents and whether or not it should be accepted.

Cardiff UCU will be holding a strike meeting at 10am in the Cathays Community Centre to review the proposals and gauge the response of the membership in Cardiff.  One of our executive committee members is travelling to the meeting in London and will be in touch whilst travelling.

[If you come to this meeting would you please use toilets elsewhere before coming so we do not put too much pressure on the facilities]

The Rally is still due to take place at 11am with bus(es) to the lobby at 11:30am.