Tag Archives: News Roundup 4 October 2019

A weekly roundup of Cardiff UCU news and announcements

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.

Still haven’t voted? Abstention is not an option!

A turnout under 50% of UCU members will invalidate the ballot, even if a majority of members vote in favour of action. This unusually restrictive anti-trade union law means it’s more important than ever to vote, even if you don’t support the action.

We strongly urge every member eligible to vote in the ballots to vote. Again, abstention is a direct attack on those who *do* want to have their say, so whatever you think about the issues, please vote.

Can I Afford to Go on Strike? The UCU strike funds

The UCU nationally has strike fund to help those most in need of assistance (see the recent email from Jo Grady about this), and we do at local level too. At Cardiff, we’re better prepared than ever to support striking members with a healthy solidarity fund which we’re building all the time. During the last strike UCU took extra care to support precariously employed members such as those on low incomes, PhD students, and Postdocs and we aim to do so again. We realise that hourly paid workers may have difficulty evidencing loss of pay and will take that into account.

While we hope that as many union members as possible do take part in industrial action it is also worth noting that voting “yes” now does not oblige you to strike later. If you are on the fence about this ballots please consider voting “yes” now anyway. Signalling that a high percentage of union members is willing to strike strengthens our negotiators’ position and will hopefully help us to resolve the dispute without industrial action becoming necessary.

We are currently planning a benefit gig to fund-raise for our local strike fund to be held in early December 2019. We’ve got a number of bands already willing to play for us, and when we’ve got a date and venue we’ll share the info!

Jo Grady, UCU General Secretary: Two talks in Cardiff, 22nd October

The new General Secretary of our Union will be visiting the University on 22nd October this year to talk with members about the two active ballots we face right now, as well as hold a separate session specifically about the issues faced by staff in insecure/precarious employment.

  • Defend Pensions, Pay, and Conditions: A Q&A with UCU General Secretary Jo Grady: 1-2pm, 22nd October 2019, Small Chemistry Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Park Place.

Find out about the issues behind our current struggles to defend our USS pensions, as well as the Union’s strategy in the “four fights” ballot. Bring your friends, along with an open mind and any questions. The session will be recorded and shared afterwards.

Meet with Jo and Cardiff UCU’s Anti-Casualisation Working Group to hear about the fight against gig-economy-style precarious labour in UK Universities, and find out what you can do to help.

This visit will be a cracking opportunity to chat with the Union’s new gaffer, find out her plans for UCU and the issues we face, as well as to hear about the aims behind the current strike ballots. You can read more about Jo in this recent Guardian profile.

Help Cardiff UCU Get the Vote Out!

Encouraging members to vote is currently the branch’s top priority, and we need your help. Our biggest challenge when it comes to getting over the 50% threshold for industrial action is the fact we are all so overworked (often so much that we don’t even have the time or headspace to vote).

Our experience tells us we get the best turn-out when members are reminded to vote by their own colleagues (either over the phone or face to face).

We are currently planning four mass door-knocking sessions (for about 2 hours) as follows:

  • Friday 4th October 10am (targeting Physics)
  • Monday 14th October 10:30am (targeting Healthcare)
  • Tuesday 15th October 9:30am (targeting Medicine)
  • Friday 18th October 10am (targeting Engineering)

We are also putting together teams of volunteers to run a phone bank with the aim of talking to all members with whom we haven’t been able to chat face to face.

If you can spare some time to help with phone banking (scripts and materials provided!), or door-knocking (always as part of a team of colleagues) please email ucu@cardiff.ac.uk to sign up or find out more.