Standing room only at UCU meeting

The General Meeting of Cardiff UCU on the 7th of February saw a record turnout with standing room only at the venue. This is consistent with the record turnout of voters in the UCU ballot for industrial action over the ongoing USS dispute.

Nationally, turnout averaged more than 58% (a record), with 88% voting for strike action and 93% for action short of a strike.

To say that teachers, researchers, and other HE professionals are disappointed with the proposed shift in USS from a DB scheme to a DC one is an understatement.

Sally Hunt’s contention is that UCU has won the intellectual argument with staff over the proposed changes to USS and this was borne out at the General Meeting. It was clear that most members don’t need more persuasion that the proposed changes are bad news. What members want branch officers and activists to focus on now is organising the action that follows from the decisive outcome of the ballot.

This will be the focus of the executive committee in the immediate future. Casualization and contracts were also a prominent theme in the meeting’s Q+A session and this area will also be a priority.

There will be a number of open meetings organised by UCU over the coming weeks. Their purpose is to brief members and non-members on UCU’s analysis of the proposed changes to USS and also to create an opportunity for members to organise responses to the impasse in negotiations.

Thank you to everyone who turned up to the GM, and for your patience with the cramped conditions of a packed house. A similar turnout on the picket lines will send a strong message to negotiators in the dispute.

We care about our retirement security, and about protecting this profession, and others, for those who have yet to enter the workforce.

No-one wants to disrupt students’ work, and, on the other hand, without taking a clear position against the proposed USS changes, we would be complicit with the further marketization of HE that is in the interests of nobody, and least of all in the long term interest of students, either as learners or as graduates beginning their careers.

The proposed changes to USS represent a bad deal for everyone, from new starters to those nearing retirement. It may be a single issue, but support for UCU’s position reflects the diversity of our membership.

For anyone who remains undecided about the merits or demerits of the proposed changes to USS, please see the previous entry on this site ‘The Effects of USS Pension Reform Explained’.

Join the picket lines on 22nd and 23rd February from 8am onwards at either Cathays or Heath Park campus and the mass rally at 11am outside Main College.