New look Branch News

This is our new look Branch News, which we will send monthly rather than weekly. We hope it will give a better summary of what has been happening locally, while still passing on interesting events and reading. For more frequent updates, follow us on Twitter (@sheffielducu). If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know.

About Sheffield UCU

The Sheffield UCU committee is active both locally and nationally, meeting regularly with university management (alongside representatives from  Unite and UNISON) to negotiate policy development. In the past year this has covered the Reward and Recognition framework, the anti bullying and harassment procedure and a big involvement in pursuing health and safety issues in a department where there were concerns. We also have volunteer caseworkers working closely with staff members who need support. The committee membership is at the bottom of this email.

September Branch News

Sheffield UCU president, Craig Brandist, was invited for a meeting with the Vice Chancellor, Keith Burnett, to discuss concerns over the procedures for setting professorial pay. Members have raised concerns about the way the review takes place and the lack transparency in the system, which leaves it open to favouritism or misuse. The VC listened to our concerns and recognised their validity. We hope this will lead to changes in the system and we will keep the pressure on for them. Also discussed was the Recognition Awards element of The Deal, aspects of which we are not comfortable with, and the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework.

While the downgrade of the USS pension scheme was finalised earlier this summer, a campaign to save it from further downgrades in the future (and possibly even to claw back ground) is beginning. We will be meeting with the university at the end of this month to discuss the way the scheme is being administered to try to find some common ground with which to pressure the USS board. Recent investments have performed so well that the USS investment team was given a £4m increase in bonus, while, paradoxically, the board claims the scheme’s deficit has grown.

Finally, we were very pleased that the the Student’s Union and the university subsidiary company Unicus have finally agreed to pay all staff a living wage. This is welcome news, and about time too!

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Dates for the Diary

Tuesday 13 October: Sheffield UCU General Meeting, 1pm, Octagon Council Chambers.

Interesting Reading

“Trade union bill not backed by evidence” Open letter to the Guardian, 17 August.
“USS bonuses went up £4 million as final salary pension scheme axed”, Times Higher Education, 3 September.

Noteworthy Events

Saturday 3 October: Cuban Futures conference, London. Find out about what’s happening in Cuba and the reality behind the headlines on US-Cuba relations.
Sunday 4 October: TUC demo at the Tory Party Conference, Manchester. Transport from Sheffield available.
Monday 19 October: Banner Theatre’s “Chicago – The Great Teachers Strike 2012”, Sheffield Trades and Labour Club, 200 Duke Street, Sheffield (organised by Sheffield Trade Union Council and supported by this branch).
Wednesday 28 October: Black Lives Matter Conference, Nottingham, 9.30am-5pm.
Monday 2 November, London: TUC lobby and rally against the trade union bill.

Sheffield UCU Committee

President: Craig Brandist (, Russian and Slavonic Studies)
Senior Vice President: Mick Ashman (, School of Nursing and Midwifery)
Vice-President: Jane Simm (, Careers Service)
Branch Secretary: Sarah Staniland (, Chemistry)
Membership Secretary: Rob Stanton (, CiCS)
Treasurer: Pablo Stern (, CiCS)
Communications Officer: Sam Marsh (, School of Mathematics and Statistics)
Anti-Casualisation Officer: Sam Morecroft (, Politics)
Equalities Officer: Wendy Michallat (, French)
Health and Safety Officer: Mick Ashman (, School of Nursing and Midwifery)
Pensions Officer: Sam Marsh (, School of Mathematics and Statistics)
Committee Member: Nikolay Ogryzko (, Medical School)