Don’t Forget To Vote:

There is just over a week to go for UCU members to vote in the consultation on the final “four fights” offer made by UCEA on behalf of higher education employers.

This is a very important e-ballot and it is crucial that all of our members use their democratic right to vote.

The “four fights” are pay, gender and race pay gaps, workload, and casualised work.

The UCEA offer is here.

National UCU negotiators believe that the current offer represents “significant movement” on three (pay inequality, workload, and casualised work) of the four fights, but “falls short on the fullest extent of our demands”.

Our negotiators decided to consult members. Their statement can be found here.

The UCU Higher Education Committee (HEC) are advising the offer should be rejected.

The ballot itself contains further information from UCU negotiators on why the offer should be rejected.

All members eligible to vote should have received an email from CES (Civica Election Services) with a unique link to vote.

If you did not receive your e-ballot, click here.

The ballot will close next week, at noon on Wednesday 29th July 2020. 

Further legal guidance from UCU: action short of a strike (ASOS), “voluntary duties”, and how to refuse them

UCU General Secretary Jo Grady this week released the following guidance:
“Following our strike action in higher education branches last year, UCU members have been taking ASOS. A number of you have asked me how you can use ASOS to help the union achieve its objectives, and specifically which ‘voluntary duties’ we are asking you not to perform. UCU has now produced detailed, updated guidance based on legal advice about the range of activities you may be able to refuse to undertake.
Industrial disputes are about more than picket lines and there are plenty of other ways you can join in and increase our leverage. This guidance should allow you to take a more expansive approach to ASOS and increase the pressure on employers to address the issues which we are in dispute over.

In particular, we are asking you to withdraw, where possible, from activities relating to the REF, TEF, the new Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), and the National Student Survey (NSS). 

These activities are important to employers but they damage our sector. They rely on inappropriate metrics of ‘quality’ that create perverse incentives and prevent us from doing the front line teaching, research and professional services work that really matters. Exercises like the REF tend to increase our workloads, waste money that could be invested in staff, and exacerbate our anxiety and insecurity by subjecting us to unfair, unhelpful performance management procedures. Often our involvement in these activities is voluntary. It’s time to challenge the unsustainable ‘goodwill economy’ which our employers depend on to make them work.

Please talk to your colleagues and fellow members about the activities you are withdrawing from and publicise what you are doing as much as possible via social media, using the #UCUASOS hashtag.”

Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) guidance and bilingual automatic email notification:

We have collated info about how to engage with, and sustain, our current Action Short of a Strike (ASOS)

Members’ observation of ASOS is going to be very important to our success in the current dispute. “Working to contract” is an especially powerful tool, given that one of the things we’re striking about are the mental health effects of unsustainable workloads. One powerful way of our members can signal their continued ASOS is by using an automatic reply to all emails to let the receiver know what’s going on, and what this might mean for them.
We encourage members to use or adapt this one:

Diolch am eich e-bost.
Rwy’n gweithio i gontract fel rhan o weithred sy’n brin o streic UCU dros gynllun pensiwn yr USS a’n tâl a’n hamodau. Mae hyn yn golygu mai dim ond yr oriau y telir amdanynt y byddaf yn gweithio (37 awr yr wythnos) ac na fyddaf yn gweithio gyda’r nos nac ar benwythnosau – ac felly efallai y bydd oedi yn fy ymateb i’ch e-bost.
Disgwylir y bydd aelodau UCU yn ‘gweithio i gontract’ tan Ebrill 2020. I darganfod mwy darllenwch yr erthygly fyr hon gan Ysgrifennydd Cyffredinol UCU, Dr. Jo Grady, neu gwyliwch y fideo NUS-UCU ar y cyd hon.
Cysylltwch â’r Is-Ganghellor Colin Reardon i ddarganfod pa gamau y mae’r Brifysgol yn eu cymryd i osgoi anghydfod. Gallwch anfon e-bost ato yma: v-c@cardiff.ac.uk
Dymuniadau gorau

******

Thank you for your email.
I am working to contract as part of UCU’s action short of a strike over the USS pension scheme and our pay and conditions. This means that I will only be working the hours that I am paid for (37 hours per week) and will not be working in the evenings or at the weekends -and so there may be a delay in my response to your email.

It is expected that UCU members will be ‘working to contract’ until April 2020. To find out more you can read this short article by UCU General Secretary, Dr. Jo Grady, or watch this joint NUS-UCU video.

Please do contact Vice-Chancellor Colin Reardon to find out what steps the University is taking to avoid a dispute. You can email him here: v-c@cardiff.ac.uk

Information on Action Short of Strike (ASOS):

The focus is now on Action short of Strike (ASOS) and keeping pressure on Cardiff University by working to contract. Under the ASOS mandate UCU asks members to:

  • work to contract
  • not cover for absent colleagues
  • not reschedule lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action
  • not undertake any voluntary activities.

It is worth familiarising yourself with the extensive guidance on ASOS on the UCU action centre webpage:

Strike Information for Students

We have a set of slides with information for students (as a PowerPoint which includes notes pages with explanation, and also in a PDF version). We suggest UCU members explain the strike action to their students in lectures and seminars. This helps to encourage student support for striking staff. Continue reading

UCU Strike 2019: Summary of key issues

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at sixty universities in the UK, including Cardiff University, will be engaging in a wave of 8 days of strike action from Monday 25th November to Wednesday 4th December followed by ‘action short of a strike’ which involves strictly working to contract, not covering for absent colleagues, and refusing to reschedule lectures lost during the strike action. Continue reading

Historic mandates in Strike Ballots:

The results of the “four fights” and USS ballots amount to an overwhelming vote for industrial action, a clear mandate for our negotiators, and a clear message from staff to employers.

Cardiff UCU would like to thank the small but tireless team of local reps for their work campaigning to get the vote out, as well as our broader membership who voted so convincingly in favour of action to improve our Universities.

We’d also like to apologise to our members for hounding you about voting so regularly for the last month, and to thank you for your patience. It’s essential that as many of us vote as possible, and a steady stream of door-knocks, personal phone calls, and emails are the only tools we have at our disposal to do so.

Nationally, in the pay ballot, a record 55 post-92 and pre-92 branches are in a position to take industrial action, with a higher overall turnout (49%) and a larger yes vote (74%) than ever before. In the USS ballot, 43 branches are in a position to take action, with an even higher yes vote of 79% and an overall turnout of 53%.

At Cardiff, because of your collective resolve we met the punitive, anti-union, 50% threshold in both ballots, with a resounding vote in favour of strike action and ASOS in both too.

Although none of us want to go on strike again, this vote shows that most of us feel the sector needs to change. UCU nationally has called on employers to return to negotiations immediately. In the meantime, the union will plan for the next phase of each dispute. UCU’s higher education committee will meet shortly to discuss the results and consider our next steps, including the nature, timing, and scale of industrial action.

Guardian coverage here.

UCU press release here.

An older, local Welsh news piece which interviews Cardiff UCU activists about the issues underpinning the strike votes is here.

Results of the Cardiff UCU branch vote in both ballots:

CARDIFF UCU PAY, CASUALISATION, EQUALITY & WORKLOADS BALLOT: Turnout 52%

ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION CONSISTING OF STRIKE ACTION?

77% Yes – 23% No

ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION CONSISTING OF ACTION SHORT OF STRIKE ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING A MARKING AND ASSESSMENT BOYCOTT?

84% Yes – 16% No

CARDIFF UCU USS BALLOT: Turnout 52%

ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION CONSISTING OF STRIKE ACTION?

82% Yes – 18% No

ARE YOU PREPARED TO TAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTION CONSISTING OF ACTION SHORT OF STRIKE ACTION UP TO AND INCLUDING A MARKING AND ASSESSMENT BOYCOTT?

88% Yes – 12% No

The full results for all local branches who voted can be found here

Monday 28th is your last chance to vote in the two active ballots:

There are only a few days left to have your say in the higher education ballots so please post your ballot paper by Monday 28 October at the very latest.

Voting now will improve the union’s bargaining position and empowers your negotiators. If we beat the 50% threshold for strike action we anticipate that the employers will seriously consider making us an offer before any action happens, because they will remember how effective last year’s strikes were. If we don’t, there is no realistic chance of us improving our lots in relation to pensions, pay, workload, casualisation, or equality. It really is that stark.

A strong turn-out in Cardiff specifically will also help the local branch in its on-going negotiations for improvements with Cardiff University. A weak one will have the opposite effect.

We as a union have democratically decided to encourage members to vote “Yes“ to strike action and ASOS in both ballots, but whatever you think about pay, pensions, job security or equality: please don’t leave it to others to speak for you. Please vote, and also remind your colleagues to vote by sharing this short video clip or by sharing this Facebook event