Monthly Archives: April 2016

Pay: cut / cut / squeeze / ballot


Many QMUL staff will be shocked to receive a paycut in their April payslip.

Pay Cut

Starting from 1st April, the Government has abolished the 1.4% NI rebate given to those who’d contracting out of the State Pension in favour of a work place pension.  So for everyone with a USS or SAUL pension, that amounts to roughly an additional £23 deductions to your pay.  More details are here and here.

Pay Cut

And from 1st April, USS have closed their Final Salary and old CRB pension schemes.  All staff with a USS pension are now forced into the ‘USS Retirement Income Builder’ scheme – with an 8% increase in employee contributions.  More details are here.

Pay Squeeze

In real terms, university pay has fallen by 14.5% since 2009.  For QMUL and other London universties, that decrease is nearer to 17% .  In response, the university employers (UCEA) are currently…

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Message from Sally Hunt – 2016/17 Pay Claim

Dear colleague,

I am writing to tell you that following an unacceptable response to our 2016 pay claim the union is now balloting HE members for industrial action. Ballot papers will be posted on 14 April. The ballot will close on 4 May 2016.

What was the union’s claim?

This year the union submitted a claim which highlighted the 14.5% real terms loss in the value of your salary compared to inflation since 2009 as a result of successive low pay offers, and also sought action at last from the employers to tackle casualisation and the gender pay gap.

How did the employers respond?

In response, the employers’ association UCEA have made an offer to increase salaries by 1%. This compares to latest increases reported for vice-chancellors and principals of 3%, bringing their average pay to £272k.

How can I check how much value my salary has lost in recent years?

So far 33,000 UCU members have worked out how much their salary would be if it had kept pace with inflation since 2009 using our ‘Rate for the Job’ tool. The average loss in salary value per member who has used Rate for the Job is £6,090. Check your real terms loss in pay here.

I support the campaign for better pay, do I still need to vote?

If you support the campaign for better pay, please vote for it. Every single vote in the ballot strengthens your negotiators’ position so please do not leave it to others to stand up for better pay.

If the ballot is in favour of industrial action, what happens next?

I hope that the employers will respond to the strength of feeling among staff and make an offer which genuinely addresses our pay claim. If they do not, then UCU will be asking members to begin a campaign of industrial action, starting with a two-day strike.

Will the union also be calling action short of a strike?

The forthcoming ballot will ask members to support both strike action and action short of a strike. It is important to understand that based on previous experience, effective ‘action short of strike’ like a boycott of assessment or marking is likely to lead to substantial deductions in pay of up to 100% by many employers and that this may lead to further strike action. For this reason, if you support the campaign for better pay it is vital that you support both the ‘strike’ action and ‘action short of a strike’ options on the ballot paper.

Will the ballot cover all HE employers?

The ballot will cover HE employers who mandate UCEA to negotiate on their behalf. A list of those institutions not included in the ballot for one reason or another will be published before the ballot opens.

Can non-UCU colleagues get involved?

Yes. Please share this message, encourage your colleagues to check how much the value of their salary has fallen at Rate for the Job and if they want a vote in the ballot they should join the union here.

I will write again before the ballot goes out.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

The Prevent Duty at the University of Bristol – Open Letter to University of Bristol Senate Members

Dear Member of the University of Bristol Senate,

We are writing to you about the suite of Prevent Duty-related policy documents at the next meeting of Senate on 18th April (SN/15-16/044; SN/15-16/050).

The policies reference therein – Freedom of Speech Statement; External Speakers’ Procedure, Risk Assessment and Action Plan, IT Services Policy – are the University’s response to the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Prevent Duty Monitoring Framework.

We agree with the University and College Union (UCU) official position that the Prevent Duty seriously threatens academic freedom, stifles campus activism, encourages racial profiling and does not promote an open and supportive learning environment.

The above policies will institutionalise the Prevent Duty at the University of Bristol with potentially damaging consequences for freedom of speech, for general campus debate and discussion as well as for the University’s commitment to equality and non-discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or religion.

We agree with the Bristol Students’ Union where in its Prevent Duty policy, it states ‘any expectation by the state for academic staff to be involved in monitoring their students is deeply worrying, and could have a chilling effect on relations between staff and students’.

Staff and students at the University of Bristol are proud of their commitment to, and record of, challenging any expression of prejudice or discrimination directed against any group or individual. Where any safeguarding or a duty of care concern is raised that may put a member of this University at risk of harm, there are already established procedures of prompt referral at Bristol.

Staff and students are also committed to the notion that is essential that in order to explore views and opinions and where necessary, challenge them, we must actively promote a climate of free discussion and debate on the University of Bristol campus. Critically, legitimate political opinions or research interests expressed by staff or students are not ‘extreme’ or legitimising ‘extremism’. For example, it is perfectly legitimate to criticise all aspects of UK foreign policy.

We believe that current University of Bristol Prevent Duty-related proposals do not take fully into account our concerns about the Prevent Duty. They normalise a culture of risk aversion, of monitoring and surveillance, and if misapplied, will engender precisely the kind of intolerance that the Prevent Duty is supposed to ward against.

Furthermore, Senate members should be aware that the University of Bristol is responding to the terms of the Higher Education Funding Council for England Prevent Duty Framework. To note that Prevent ‘requirements [were] imposed upon the University’ (SN/15-16/050) is to gloss over the University’s authorship of individual policies. There is more scope for a ‘non-party line’ than is suggested. Other University management teams have adopted a more independent yet hardly extra-legal or irresponsible position – see the recent article by Kingston University Vice-Chancellor Professor Julius Weinberg, ‘I won’t stop offering a platform to so-called “hate speakers”’, The Guardian, 23rd February 2016.

Yours faithfully,

• James Thompson, History
• Tracey Hooper, Bristol UCU President
• Mark Harvey, Academic Registry
• Jamie Melrose, Bristol UCU Vice President & SPAIS
• Dan Godshaw, SPAIS
• Isabel Stockton, Department of Economics
• Richard Porter, Mathematics
• Professor Tonia Novitz, Law
• Andrew Hicks, English
• Isabel de Salis, Social and Community Medicine
• Mark Jackson, Geographical Sciences
• John McTague, English
• Jonas Langner, Modern Languages
• Professor Carl Dettmann, Mathematics
• Peter Barham, Professor Emeritus, School of Physics
• Josie Gill , English
• Claire O Neill, Management
• Megan Blomfield, Philosophy
• Rutvica Andrijasevic, Management
• Richard Sessions, Biochemistry
• Mascia Amici, Physiology Pharmacology and Neuroscience
• Stephan Lewandowsky, Experimental Psychology
• Michael Malay, English
• Esther Jones Russell, Alumnus, Modern Languages
• Jack Hazeldine, Library Services
• Zack M, Physics & Philosophy
• Neema Begum, SPAIS
• Sally Ware, SPAIS
• Natalie Jester, SPAIS
• Ruth Bush, Modern Languages
• George Clarke, SPAIS
• Ben Marshall, Electrical and Electronic Engineering
• Christopher Bertram, Philosophy
• Noha Abu El Magd, Bristol SU BME Officer & Physics
• Jakob Hartl, SPAIS
• Rowena Salmon, Historical Studies
• Matilda Haymes, English
• Keava Mascott, Biology
• Matthew Wright, Chemistry
• Liam Robinson, Aerospace Engineering
• Ed Atkins, Law
• Mwenza Blell, Archaeology & Anthropology
• William Williams, Earth Sciences
• Aslak-Antti Oksanen, SPAIS
• Rhian Grant, Philsophy
• Hannah Dualeh, Psychology & Bristol SU BME Officer Elect
• Leigh-Ann Clarke, English
• Stephen Le Fanu, Biological Sciences
• Alex Franklin, School of Arts
• Arabella Champignon-le-Bois, Modern Languages
• Zainab Kwaw-Swanzy, Mathematics
• Kevin Doogan, SPS
• Ricky Tutin, EFIM
• Elizabeth Evans, SPAIS
• Michael Rickard, IT Services
• Blair Matthews, CELFS
• Prof Jutta Weldes, SPAIS
• Steve Condliffe, IT Services
• Colin Lazarus, Biological Sciences
• John Foot, Italian
• Mike Barton, Electrical & Electronic Engineering
• Saffron Karlsen, SPAIS
• Elspeth Van Veeren, SPAIS
• Andrew James, Physiology and Pharmacology
• Stephen D’Evelyn, Bristol UCU Secretary
• Radhika Jani, English
• Maria Fannin, Geographical Sciences
• Scott Greenwell, Physics
• Laura Lyddon, SPAIS
• Dr Yvette Russell, Law
• Jess Hambly, Law
• Jeremy Green, SPAIS
• Jule Mulder, Law

UCU’s Pay Campaign – Latest March/April News

Our Claim

  • UCU met with the employers, the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) on 22 March.
  • The meeting was to discuss UCEA’s response to our joint Higher Education trade union pay claim.
  • To refresh, our claim, submitted on Friday, 11th March was:
  • A 5% pay increase for all university staff on the national pay scale
  • At least the living wage for those staff at the bottom of the pay spine
  • Nationally agreed minimum rates of pay for external examiners
  • Nationally agreed action for institutions to close the gender pay gap by 2020
  • Nationally agreed action for institutions to reduce the proportion of their staff on casual and zero hour contracts
  • To establish a Scottish Sub-Committee of Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff

UCEA’s Response

  • A 1% pay increase
  • The potential of further joint work on gender pay
  • The potential of further joint work in regards to casual and zero hour contracts
  • No agreement on external examiner pay
  • No agreement to set up the Scottish Sub Committee

What Next

  • We are balloting for strike action and action short of a strike the week as of 11th April.
  • Any industrial action would start w/c 23rd May.
  • The next negotiating meet of UCU (and other trade unions) and UCEA is 28th April.
  • The last opportunity for UCEA to make a substantial offer would be on 19th May.

The Facts

The decline in our pay since 2009/10 could be as high as 17.5%.

Lecturers, professional services staff, staff on casual contracts, professors: since 2010 all have seen annual cumulative shortfalls of between £3K and £7K.

The total difference in average pay received by male and female academics is a staggering £1.3 billion per year

Austerity for some? In 2014/15, the average V-C salary was £272K – an average increase of 3% and 6.7 times the average pay of their staff

67% of research staff are still on fixed-term contracts, a third of these are for 12 months or less

Over the last six years capital expenditure in HE has increased by 18.6%, income by 23.9%, surpluses by 125.4% and reserves up by 72.3%

We are working harder and longer than ever!