The Council of Trinity College, Cambridge, has voted to withdraw the college from the USS pension scheme. USS is a mutual scheme with more than 400,000 members across the UK, and Trinity’s action undermines pension provision not only for its own employees but for staff across the entire pre-1992 Higher Education sector. They’ve admitted that the scheme is in good health, but are going ahead with this mover anyway. This needs to be resisted in the strongest terms, if necessary, by an academic boycott. So-called “grey-listing” procedures have already been initiated by UCU at its recent 2019 Congress.
There will be an all-member General Meeting for the branch on Wednesday 12th June at 1.10pm in Committee Room 1 in the Glamorgan Building.
We will discuss, and share info about:
- Transforming Cardiff;
- USS Pensions; and
- Our up-coming claim to the University on fighting the scourge of casualisation.
Full details of the GM, including the Agenda, can be found here. Lunch will be provided!
The anti-casualisation working group held an open meeting on Tuesday 4th June to work on an “Anti-Casualisation Manifesto” as a base document to inform our campaign and future negotiations with the University management. This manifesto is based on the premise that secure employment is that which guarantees continuity of gainful employment (e.g. ongoing contracts with consistent work and payment).
We’re aware, based on our own research and many examples of members seeking support through case-work, that Cardiff University uses contracts which do not fit this description in a wide variety of situations in which this would not be necessary, with dramatic and damaging consequences to staff.
We have initiated conversations with University management about these issues and we will soon submit a claim to demand the University to engage with UCU in reviewing the use of fixed-term and atypical contracts across the University and work towards providing secure working conditions to *all* staff.
We will be presenting results from our precarity survey and discussing our manifesto and our claim to the University at our General Meeting next Wednesday, as well as sharing more widely, and we would value the input from all Cardiff UCU members!
There are a number of vacancies on Senate, to which it is essential we nominate UCU members for election so our perspectives get aired and considered at the highest level. Details are below, and UCU members tend to meet and confer in advance of meetings. If you are considering standing and would like to discuss it, or need somebody to propose or second your nomination, please email email@example.com. Nominations close at noon on 26 June.
There are vacancies for a Senate term up to 31 July 2022 for members of staff:
- at grade 5 and above – but excluding Professors – who work in a School or College of the University (excluding Architecture, Biosciences, Medicine, Psychology or Social Sciences which already have the maximum 2 representatives).
- who are Professors (but who don’t work in Biosciences, Engineering, English Communication & Philosophy, History Archeology & Religion, Mathematics, Music, Optometry or Psychology which already have the maximum 1 representative).
- at grade 5 and above from the Professional Services directorates (excluding Human Resources, Research and Innovation or IT and Programme Management which already have the maximum 1 representative).
There are also vacancies for staff from each of the Colleges and Professional Services directorates at grade 5 and above to serve on Court.
Two super-important motions were moved on our behalf at the UCU Congress a few weeks back by our branch President Ryan Prout;
- The first, on LGBT+ studies and protection of LGBT+ colleagues was passed; and
- The second, which called on UCU to campaign for a new law to force employers to record workplace suicides (in light of the tragic loss of more than one of our Cardiff colleagues in recent years), was remitted to the UCU National Executive Committee because time ran out. We hope it will be passed soon.
Research by Liz Morrish (who spoke recently at Cardiff in an event supported by us) identifies widespread structural issues with workplace stress in UK HE.
UCU Congress in 2019 also saw an important fringe event (co-organised by Cardiff UCU branch President Ryan Prout) about the epidemic of stress and bullying in the workplace. Among other things, stats were shared form the UK’s Education Support Partnership charity.
Counsellors at Education Support Partnership, the only charity dedicated to improving the wellbeing and mental health of the whole education workforce throughout the UK, dealt with a record 9,615 cases between April 2018 and the end of March 2019, the largest number in the charity’s history. At the same time, its counsellors continue to report that more calls are coming from those already experiencing a crisis. Read more here.
Cardiff UCU continues to campaign on unmanageable workloads at Cardiff University, and along with the Union nationally is seeking to use Health and Safety legislation to pursue its claims and force recognition and changes. To find out more or get involved, or want help negotiating unrealistic workload demands, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are experiencing mental health difficulties and need someone to listen now, please, please, please ring the Samaritans on 116123, call the University’s outsourced and confidential employee assistance programme Care First on 0800 174319.
The Ethics for USS campaign have made us aware of this survey being run by the Department for Work and Pensions.
If you could all fill it in and ask your friends (whatever pension scheme they are in) to do so, that would be great!
Background: Pension schemes like USS constantly use a definition of Fiduciary Duty which *only* takes into account monetary return and ignores ethical and environmental concerns. If the legislation were clearer, they would have to take members views into account.
Jo Grady from the University of Sheffield has been (convincingly) elected as the new leader of the UCU on the highest turnout ever in a UCU leadership vote. This is the first time that a rank and file member has been elected, and this represents an exciting new direction for our union.
You can read more about Jo’s priorities on her manifesto page, as well as checking out short videos about her plans & a whole bunch of other resources.
The Cardiff UCU Anti-Casualisation Committee invites you to an open meeting about the long-term strategy of the group. This meeting is open to everyone who is interested in improving working conditions at Cardiff University (whether you’re a UCU member of not). The outcome of the meeting will be to create a manifesto which will guide the Cardiff UCU Anti-Casualisation Committee’s future activities and strategy. It will also be an opportunity to learn about our work so far and our plans for the future.
We will discuss the following topics
- Professional services staff on fixed-term contracts
- Academic staff on fixed term contracts
- Hourly paid teaching staff
- Postgraduate tutors and demonstrators
- International staff on casual contracts
- Impacts of casualization on staff on open-ended contracts
Date & venue: Tuesday 4th June 2019, 3pm-5pm, Glamorgan Building, Committee Room 1
Please feel free to just come to parts of the meeting if you can’t make the whole meeting!
The UCU congress voted last week to boycott Senate House, the administrative centre of the University of London (UoL), because of its treatment of cleaning, catering and security staff and others not directly employed.
It is hoped the move will pressure the university into bringing the predominantly BAME and female staff in-house into direct employment, strengthening their workplace rights and providing the benefits enjoyed by other employees at the institution, such as equal terms on sick pay.
There have been 17 days of strike action since September 2017, when UoL cleaners and security began a campaign to end outsourcing, with calls for a boycott of Senate House beginning in December 2018. More than 180 Senate House events and 35 seminars were relocated, and more than 400 academics and 23 UCU branches have expressed support for the workers.