UCU Vice President Vicky Blake visited us on the pickets on Wednesday 27th Nov and gave us a welcome update on national negotiations.
Our elected negotiators finally persuaded Universities and Colleges Employers Organisation (UCEA) to meet and begin to negotiate on the “four fights” grievances (pay, casualization, workload, and pay inequality). Our pensions negotiators are still, without success as yet, trying to get Universities UK (UUK) around the table to address this crucial issue.
Vicky told us the “four fights” discussions were much more detailed, and employers much more responsive, than in previous meetings. This is all down to our vibrant and resolute collective action, which the employers had been hoping would be much smaller, allowing them to “ride out the strike”.
At the talks the UCEA employers committed to consult their members (VCs across the UK) in the coming days about casualisation, workload and equality pay gaps, but they also said they were still unwilling to discuss pay.
This consultation, which Cardiff management will be filling out very soon, means it’s even more important we continue to grow the strikes locally, and to hold our VC Colin Riordan to account (see “Where’s Colin”).
Of the talks, UCU General Secretary Jo Grady, said: ‘It is incredibly frustrating that the employers won’t deal with all the issues at the heart of this dispute. Staff are striking over workloads, casualisation, inequality and pay. Universities cannot simply ignore the pay element, and if they continue to do so then staff will continue to strike. […] We need a coherent offer from employers that deals with all the issues together, including pay.”