National Demonstration 10 November
Staff and students from Cardiff University joined an estimated 50,000 others from higher and further education who travelled to London on 10 November to protest against cuts in education funding. The cuts proposed by the UK government are expected to lead simultaneously to thousands of job cuts and increased student fees. A small band of anarchists used the protest as an opportunity to break into a political party office building and encouraged protestors to join them. Although this brought the planned protest march to a standstill while police confronted trouble-makers, the main crowd exercised their right to protest loudly but peacefully. Staff from Cardiff University marched under the banner of Cardiff UCU.
HE Special Sector Conference November 25th 2010
Two motions were passed at our EGM on 3 November and were submitted to the HE Special Sector Conference. We have been advised that Motion 1 has been accepted for the agenda. Motion 2 was not ordered onto the agenda because [it was] not considered to be within the defined remit of this special conference.
MOTION 1 (Accepted) : DEFEND THE SINGLE-TIER USS WITH INDUSTRIAL ACTION IF NECESSARY
1.that, while rejecting the 0.4% pay offer, our other priorities are job security and defence of pensions;
2. that we must defend job security and USS benefits for new and existing members;
3 uncertainties following the Browne Report and Comprehensive Spending Review;
And calls upon UCU to:
4.recognise that the threat to jobs and the USS is fundamental and must trigger immediate industrial action if the consequences of public spending cuts and potential changes to the USS prove unacceptable to UCU members;
5.build on collaboration with the NUS to mobilise students and staff against fees and job cuts.
MOTION No. 2 (Not ordered onto the agenda): NO TO ALL CUTS AND REDUNDANCIES: CALL FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION
In the light of Lord Browne’s recommendation and the Government’s endeavours to raise the barriers in Higher Education as part of the global agenda in higher education of marketisation and privatisation, UCU calls for:
- Abolition of tuition fees, including top-up/variable fees.
- No to compulsory redundancies and department closures.
- State funds to cover ALL needs of HE.
- Free Higher Education for all.
- Opposition to private universities or higher education colleges.
- No to hierarchical two-tier higher education.
- Public funding to replace private companies’ involvement in teaching and research.
- Our struggle to line up with the struggles of the World Federation of Trade Unions.
We call all members of the UCU for industrial action in coordination with all Universities nationwide.
Pensions Campaign: Latest News
News from our Pensions Officer, Andy Skyrme:Source: The Guardian, 23 November 2010.
"In what is thought to be a historic first, the academic democracies of both Oxford and Cambridge have acted simultaneously to force the hand of the administration and take control.
From league tables to boat races, the relationship between Oxford and Cambridge has been linked more with rivalry than alliance over the past 800 years. But now one cause has so upset academics from both ancient institutions that they have been prompted to act in unison - pensions".
For the full story see: Guardian 23 November
Cardiff UCU had confirmation late afteroon on Friday 26th November that Cambridge University Council has agreed to conducting a consultative ballot of local USS members very shortly. It is thought that Oxford will soon follow suit.
Why shouldn't Cardiff USS members be treated with the same consideration and respect as our Oxbridge colleagues?
Thus far, attempts to engage our own employers in a meaningful consultation has resulted in just one meeting. Our request for the UCU proposals to be sent to all USS members at Cardiff, so that they can at least be fully informed before presenting feedback in the consultation, has not been granted. This has fuelled anger amongst staff who fear that the consultation will be seriously flawed if the opportunity for full participation is not provided.
USS Pensions Consultation: Are they Lying?
The USS Pension Consultation process has only just started, but you may like to consider whether or not USS members are being misled by the Employers' Pension Forum.
The final paragraph of the 'Need for Reform' document that has been circulated states:
"Please remember that the aim of these changes is NOT to allow the employers to save money. In fact, as mentioned earlier, the employers actually increased their contribution by 2 per cent in 2009. Employers will continue to pay a contribution rate of 16 per cent and this may have to increase after future triennial valuations, albeit mitigated by the cost-sharing provision."
This contradicts what was submitted in a paper by the employers on July 7th 2010 to the Joint Negotiating Committee which clearly stated that at a time when university finances were 'severly restrained' the employers' proposals should be able to see their contributions reduced, and although it was impossible to predict by how much, they would hope to see it reduced to the same level as when the USS scheme was first established, i.e. 10%
At the recent USS presentation held in Cardiff University the USS representatives actually admitted that a major factor driving the employers' proposals was to reduce their costs. They also admitted that the scheme was currently in a sound financial state and had recovered well from the recent downturn and would continue to improve, i.e. there is therefore no need for such draconian changes as those put forward in the employers proposals and absolutely no need whatsover for you to live on a lower pension than you had hoped for in your retirement years.
Use the online referendum currently being held by UCU for ALL members of USS to send a clear message to the employers that you are not willing to sacrifice your retirement income just so that they can show a healthier profit in their accounts.
To register your vote click here UCU Referendum