Resisting Transforming Cardiff

On Wednesday February 13th, representatives of Cardiff UCU Branch Committee and the other campus unions met with the Vice-Chancellor and representatives from UEB and HR to discuss the paper that was recently approved by Council and published.

The Vice-Chancellor conveyed that all the pillars of the “Transforming Cardiff”/”Trawsffurfio Caerdydd” programme remain at the ideas stage, and offered to consult further before more detailed proposals are put to Council.

UCU representatives are holding meetings in various Schools and Departments in order to register members’ questions and concerns and we encourage members to get in touch with your concerns.

We also encourage members to attend the events being held with our Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor on Monday and Tuesday of next week. It is particularly important that professional services colleagues and postgraduate student members attend these events and pose questions for our leaders, and express their concerns. Information about the meetings can be found here on the intranet.

Prior to attending these events, and to inform any questions you might ask, we recommend you read the Vice-Chancellor’s email and the Transforming Cardiff Proposal to Council alongside the FAQ we have prepared relating to our two ballots.

Do you want to help make the university a better place to work and study?

This is your last chance to vote in our two ballots – the local ballot defending against the threat of compulsory redundancies arising from the Transforming Cardiff scheme, and the national ballot demanding a 7.5% pay rise (or £1,500 per year, whichever is greater), that the gender pay gap is closed by 2020, and that the problems of excessive workloads and casual contracts are urgently addressed nationally. Your ballot papers will need to arrive in the post with UCU before 12 noon on Friday 22nd February. Return your ballot papers NOW!

  • If you have lost or not received your national ballot, there is still time to request a new one now, which you will need to post as soon as you receive it.
  • If you have lost or not received your local ballot, please request one immediately from the UCU Wales Office, providing your membership number and date of birth.
  • If you are a postgraduate student member and you work for the University in any capacity, teaching or doing research, you are eligible to vote and should have received your ballots. If you have not received your ballots, you may need to change your membership from ‘postgraduate’ (student) member to ‘standard free’ (or ‘full free’) via My UCU … please do this urgently!

Withdrawal from the Gold Award assessment

The Cardiff UCU Branch Executive Committee has made a decision to withdraw from any further participation in the University’s re-application for the Corporate Health Standard Gold award because it does not believe that there has been sufficient progress on the substantive issues of workload stress and bullying. On the contrary, UCU believes that these very serious threats to the health and safety of University staff will worsen as a consequence of the intended reduction in staff numbers from the current Voluntary Severance Scheme and the recent threat of compulsory redundancies.

From UCU’s conversation with Ava Fine, who leads the assessment process, we understand that Cardiff University is likely still to be awarded the Gold Standard due to the prescriptive nature of the process but that recommendations based on our feedback will be included in their report.

Elections for UCU Vice-President (HE)

On Monday, Feb 18, we are hosting a hustings for candidates running for Vice-President (HE) of UK UCU: the successful candidate will serve as vice-president for a year, and then a further year as president, the highest lay office within our union.

We have invited all three candidates: Vicky Blake, Jo McNeill and Adam Ozanne, and Vicky and Jo will be joining us to set out their visions for UCU, and also to offer support for our local campaigns. Come and meet and question them!

Monday Feb 18, 4pm, Beverton Lecture Theatre, Main Building. All UCU members are welcome.

You can find the candidates’ election addresses on the UCU website.

Two Ballots: the FAQs

As you are aware, members face TWO strike ballots this month and we have posted a comprehensive FAQ (‘Frequently Asked Questions’).

Your papers for both ballots must reach Head Office by 22nd February.

A reminder of the issues:

  1. Pay & Equality (UK ballot, 15th Jan-22nd Feb): Negotiations made no progress on the issues of wages, tackling the gender pay gap, reducing casualization, and impossible workloads. UCU nationally, and the Cardiff UCU Executive Committee recommend that you vote ‘YES’ in favour of strike action and ASOS.
  2. Protect jobs (local ballot, 1st-22nd Feb): There is a threat of compulsory redundancies at Cardiff University. Our VC has refused to provide assurance there will be no compulsory redundancies as part of the Transforming Cardiff campus redevelopment scheme. Cardiff UCU Executive Committee recommend that you vote ‘YES’ in this local ballot favour of strike action and ASOS to protect our jobs.

And there’s further details in our previous post.

Can you give an hour of your time to help strengthen UCU’s bargaining position?

If so, please join our phone-banking team! We need to personally contact our members to remind them to dig out their ballot papers and put them in the post. It will really help us to achieve the 50% turnout we need for the ballot to count.

We are asking you to commit to just one hour over the coming week. You can work by yourself or in pairs or in groups of three, as you prefer. It’s a great opportunity to meet other members and do something positive to improve your working conditions.

If you can help, please contact Lucy Riglin (RiglinL@cardiff.ac.uk) or Steven Stanley (StanleyS1@cardiff.ac.uk)

UCU NEC and national officer ballot (yes, another one)

Ballot material for the election of UCU national officers and executive committee members will be arriving in the post over the next few days. You will also be receiving election material from the candidates.

We appreciate that you may be suffering from ballot fatigue, however, elections to UCU national officer and NEC positions are extremely important to the functioning of the union. We encourage you to use your vote. You can find out more about the process on the national UCU website.

Meanwhile nominations for positions on the branch executive committee are open until next Wednesday, 13th February. For more information, contact current exec members or the office ucu@cardiff.ac.uk then download the form and get nominating.

Consultation on the REF code of practice

UCU’s representatives have been consulted on the REF code of practice, which shows the University’s will to increase the transparency of their procedures on REF. We also welcome the consultation on the code of practice launched in BLAS. On the other hand, our members have raised many concerns in relation to the fairness and transparency of how the actual REF process is conducted. We would like to hear your views on all these three aspects: the consultation on the code of practice, the code of practice itself, and the internal rolling of REF in Cardiff.

Please give us your feedback via our short survey.