July 7th 2023 MAB Update

This message is in addition to our message earlier in the week on the status of deductions and the fighting fund. There is information about upcoming strikes over graduation, an update on the dispute and a lot more.
Graduation week strikes 17-21 July
You may have seen that the chair of UCEA and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen George Boyne was revealed to have expressed disappointment that MABing UCU members were not going to have pay deducted until the June pay-packet with the immortal words “I’d prefer pain along the way.” Proof, if proof were needed, that deductions to staff pay are a coordinated punitive action, coming from the very top of UCEA. Here at Cardiff, our resistance to that punitive response continues as we take our local strike action into Graduation Week. Our plan is to maintain a friendly presence outside St Davids Hall to make our point and engage with supportive students – inviting them to take a photo with a pink ‘❤️UCU’ sash. It is important that we know in advance who will be available, so it would really help us if you could sign up for a specific slot below and try to spread yourselves out so that we can cover the whole week.
Please sign up for a slot at our graduation strike by adding to our spreadsheet.
Update on our dispute – the MAB and upcoming negotiations
You will have seen from the General Secretary’s emails (subjects “UPDATE ON EMPLOYER NEGOTIATIONS AND THE MAB” and “UCEA willing to re-enter negotiations”) that there may have been some movement from UCEA, at least there seems to be an offer to meet and move in the direction of negotiations. As ever, there is robust debate taking place within the union about what this means and how optimistic we can be given recent track records of negotiation coming to an end and ‘pauses’ of action. Below are some links to articles and petitions representing different perspectives.
What is clear is that we would not have got here were it not for the actions of all of those taking part in the MAB. It has been an unprecedented action, representing real courage in the face of unknowns and uncertainties. Often we have been finding that it is junior and less securely employed colleagues who are engaging most steadfastly. This is truly humbling. In other schools, professors have stepped forward to take up the bulk of the burden. It is clear that the University underestimated and thought they would be able to ride this out, but their plan has not worked. The action is also reaching its crucial phase, we know that many individuals are coming under increasing pressure from some Heads of School, and we urge you not to give up now. Do come along to our MAB solidarity meetings if you need support – see times and links below:
https://tinyurl.com/UCUSM-MABstateUCU Solidarity Movement statement and petition: Defend the MAB!
https://uculeft.org/dont-suspend-the-mab-keep-up-the-pressure-wheres-our-ballot%ef%bf%bc/UCU Left: Don’t suspend the MAB, keep up the pressure – where’s our ballot?Report on HEC meeting 30 June 2023
https://medium.com/@DyfrigJones/stop-trying-to-make-sellout-happen-f0a16d92a2d7Stop trying to make “sellout” happen, Dyfrig Jones
https://notesfrombelow.org/article/university-worker-7th-july-2023Notes from Below: The University Worker – Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
https://www.ucea.ac.uk/our-work/collective-pay-negotiations-landing/2023-24-new-jnches-pay-round/Record of correspondence between UCEA (employers’ association) with UCU and joint trade unions
Communicating about the MAB with students
Students are being sent their results this week. Many students have incomplete results. The University has been focusing on those students in graduation years. Many students currently have incomplete transcripts. They may have received pass awards or no award at all. They will be looking for advice, and will often be asking staff they know and trust instead of calling one of the ‘helplines’ that have been set-up.
Given the confusion and upset among the students, the importance of ensuring that they understand why the action is being taken, and the need for them to understand exactly how the University has tried to circumvent its effects, we encourage you to communicate with your students if you have been participating in the boycott. It is very important in so doing that you do not try to elicit a particular response from your students, but equally they are entitled to know what their options are. As a Union we should at all times be trying to build trust and solidarity with our students; our fate is intertwined. We appreciate that communicating with your students can be a very personal matter, but we have provided an updated template for you in order to help you construct what may be a difficult message for you. 
Follow the links for our template for communicating with students about the MAB: in Welsh and in English.
We have been hearing that staff in some schools have been told that they must run correspondence with students past college communications and marking staff first. We have also heard that other staff have been told to copy school managers into correspondence. This is an entirely unwelcome intrusion into our professional custom and practice, as well as our ability to build trust with students. Unfortunately, at this time, it seems necessary to recommend compliance with these procedures. Please let us know if any of your comms are ‘rejected’ as part of these processes by sending the rejected messages to the branch email address: ucu@cardiff.ac.uk 
Support student-led petition for fee refunds
Sabbatical officers at the Cardiff University Students Union have started a petition to call for fee refunds. They and other student groups have shown us great solidarity, and we can support them in turn by signing and sharing. They welcome signatures from staff and students, as well as supporters outside the university. Sign here: https://www.change.org/p/cardiff-university-end-the-mab-by-supporting-ucu-ucea-negotiations 
Save the dates: 15 July and 18 July
We have also planned two actions that should provide a relaxing and much needed respite. 
Saturday 15 July: Solidarity Badge-Making session with students. 1-3pm in Umbrella, Capitol Centre – come along and craft in solidarity with students.
Tuesday 18 July: The Alternative Graduation Party – fundraiser gig from 7pm at the Moon, Cardiff. Music from Rhys Dafis, and more TBA – a chance to come together and let our collective hair down.
Next MAB Solidarity Meetings:
Next week:Tuesday 11 July @ 10.30amThursday 13 July @ 10am
During strike week (Graduation Week) solidarity meetings happen on the picket line and/or via virtual picket.
Week commencing 24 July:Wednesday 26 July @ at 1pmFriday 28 July @ 10am
It is the same zoom link each time for the solidarity meetings:https://cardiff.zoom.us/j/81847133601?pwd=bWhKVmZ6emNxdW13cGMvOWdPVllyQT09 Meeting ID: 818 4713 3601Password: 210544
The meetings last 1 hour, but please feel free to drop in and out whenever you like.
MAB WhatsApp group
We have created a WhatsApp group for all members taking part in the MAB – to ask questions, share how it’s going, offer ideas, or request support. E-mail the office ucu@cardiff.ac.uk to join.