SUCU Branch News 27 Nov 2014

Update from General Meeting today

A very well attended and quorate branch meeting today discussed the current position in the USS dispute.  The following motions were debated and members voted unanimously to pass them.

Motion on Special Conference on HE Pensions, Sheffield UCU GM 27 Nov 2014

This UCU branch supports the call for the requisition of a Special HE Sector Conference to debate the campaigns to defend pensions in HE, and to defend the capacity of the UCU to call industrial action short of a strike as part of those campaigns.

Passed nem con

 Motion on USS negotiations, Sheffield UCU GM 27 Nov 2014

  1.  This branch recognises the absolute necessity to effectively fight the attack on our pensions, and in particular to prevent the introduction of a Trojan Horse ‘Defined Contribution’ element.
  2. The branch is deeply disappointed with the extensive concessions made already to the employers by our negotiators, in particular the abandonment of the final salary pension. We would like to see final salary for all.  We believe this concession was unnecessary and destructive, as there was tremendous support for action in the ballot on our side, and the employer side was publicly falling apart as the supposed scheme deficit was exposed as an artifice. The concessions should be taken off the table.

Passed nem con

 Motion on Punitive Pay Deductions, Sheffield UCU GM 27 Nov 2014

  1.  In response to the recent assessment boycott our employer was going to make punitive deductions.  They were going to deduct 25% of pay from staff engaged in the assessment boycott, a far greater proportion of salary than of work, and were to continue to deduct 25% until the assessment work was done, presumably until the end of the dispute, however short the assessment work itself.  Compare that to the two hour strikes in our pay dispute earlier this year, which of course did not and could not result in indefinite 28% pay docking.
  2. If an agreement is not reached with the employers in the coming negotiations and the industrial action resumes it is essential that our response is effective and deals appropriately with punitive deductions.  We are pleased that the HEC on the 19th November reaffirmed the policy explicitly stated in the ballot that there would be national strike action if employers make punitive deductions.
  3. If action resumes we would urge the HEC to allow local branches to flex the approach to action short of a strike and strike action, as each is most effective at different times in different universities.

Passed nem con

Imperial College have publicly come out against the USS methodology

Why isn’t Sheffield responding likewise? Read more..

Researcher bridging funds and pools

Some faculties now have bridging funds and researcher pools to improve job security for researchers.  For example, Engineering now has bridging funds available which any PI can apply for to secure researchers between projects.  SUCU continues to campaign for more of these positive steps towards decasualisaton.  We’d like to know more details of what is available in every faculty — you can help by replying to this email with a quick report of what’s available in your own faculty and experiences you have had with them.

Times Higher Education’s Best University Workplace survey

What’s the best thing about working at your university? How do your colleagues and managers make you feel valued? In what areas do you need more support? These are among the questions THE are asking in the second annual Times Higher Education Best University Workplace survey, which is online now.

Newsletter for Academic Related, Professional Staff in Higher Education

The Autumn 2014 edition of UCU’s newsletter for members working as administrators, librarians, computing and other professional staff in HE.