Meeting with management about Transforming Cardiff and the University’s finances

Cardiff UCU’s Finance Group has made an important step in the history of Cardiff UCU by presenting to the VC and others an analysis of the state of Cardiff University finances in response to the Transforming Cardiff programme endorsed by University Council. The meeting comprised representatives of Council, UEB, SU, Unite, Unison and Cardiff UCU. Members of the Finance Group led a presentation and discussion.

There was consensus that compared with English Russell Group universities of comparable size, Cardiff University has been working with a gradually increasing funding disadvantage since at least 2010, resulting from differences in HEFCW funding and now also reduced student fee income (compared with England).

There were strong disagreements about the financial implications of the university’s capital investment programme on the overall financial position of Cardiff University.  It was agreed that we would follow up on this with the university’s Chief Financial Officer.

The Finance Group is continuing to work with internal and external expertise to be able to impress on Council and UEB on why a change of strategy is urgently required to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of CU. A meeting with Welsh politicians to highlight the concerns of all the unions present regarding Cardiff’s funding disadvantage, was mooted.

UCU Success in Senate Elections

Active Cardiff UCU members Laurence Totelin and Jonathan Ben-Artzi were recently successful in their election to Cardiff University’s Senate, the governing body responsible for shaping our academic strategy.

Reforming and democratizing University governance is an on-going priority of the branch, but in the meantime it’s essential that we get our members on such bodies, which have a big say over how the University is run.

Many thanks to Jonathan and Laurence for standing and taking on this responsibility, as well as to those who voted for them in this election.

USS Pensions petition

Despite clearly winning the moral and intellectual argument over the sustainability of the USS pension fund, we are at a critical juncture and still face an uphill struggle in defense of our retirements. USS contributions will have their first increase imposed from April, talks continue but nothing is moving very quickly at the moment to sort out this dispute.

The current agreed UCU negotiating position over USS is a “no detriment” one, as explained in a helpful recent UCU primer. Members who support this position are invited to sign and share the petition, started, and circulated to us, by Jo McNeil from Liverpool UCU (currently campaigning to be the next UCU General Secretary).

March to defend jobs @ Honda in Swindon: Appeal from Cardiff Trades Council

Please download this flyer for the march to defend jobs at the Honda plant in Swindon next Saturday 30th March, circulated by the Cardiff Trades Council, to which our branch is affiliated. Please forward as widely as possible and encourage others to attend.

This is a national demo and given the relative proximity of Cardiff to Swindon we should be doing our utmost to mobilise to defend 3,000 jobs in Swindon and countless more industrial jobs for suppliers across South Wales and the rest of the UK.

The TC is currently looking into transport from Cardiff, so get in touch for more details if needed at:

Update on UCU national General Secretary election candidates

Declared candidates to lead UCU after the resignation of Sally Hunt so far are (alphabetically, followed by Twitter handles):

Nominations are still open, and should be submitted by 8th April, after which manifestos will be shared and campaigning begins. The vote will be a postal ballot (another one, sorry!) between the 29th Apr-23 May. View further info and updates.