UCU strike and NCAFC

ucu_strike_2014Members of the University and College Union, UCU (the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK), are joined with Unison, Unite and EIS on strike today for fair pay. Visit: http://fairpay.web.ucu.org.uk
for details and live updates. The one-day strike will be followed next week by a third 2-hour strike of UCU, two having already taken place in 2014, action which is due to escalate unless there is negotiation. Local action is taking place at higher education organisations University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. Local action has included pickets and ‘teach-outs’ in the city centre. At University of Nottingham, Unison and Unite members are not out due to local agreements.

Update: UCU members at Aberdeen, Bradford, East London, West of Scotland, Greenwich, Staffordshire, the Leeds College of Art, Manchester Met, Nottingham Trent, Robert Gordon and Queen Mary UL are all being called out on Monday 10th Feb for a full day strike because management has been docking a full days pay for a 2 hour strike.

Also see the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts for news of student-led actions and solidarity: http://anticuts.com.

Read also: Why the universities strikes are about more than just a ‘measly’ pay offer.

Twitter (good for recent updates across UK, including photos): https://twitter.com/#fairpayinhe


UCU/Unite/Unison Higher Education sector – second strike day on Tuesday 3rd December 2013

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) along with Unite and Unison – the three largest unions in the higher and further education sector – will take industrial action over pay again on 3rd December 2013, rejecting a 1% offer in the knowledge that universities have made a huge surplus but staff pay has fallen in real terms by 13% since 2009. Locally there will be UCU picket lines at University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University involving teaching, research and teaching support staff (such as library staff). Local details: UCU Newsletter Issue 8 Nottingham Dec 2013

Details from National UCU: http://www.ucu.org.uk/6833

Extract from above link:

Tuesday 3 December strike remains on, but unions hope for more talks to break impasse

UCU said today (21 November 2013) it was disappointed that talks aimed at resolving a pay dispute in universities ended without a resolution last night.

The union said to avoid strike action across UK universities on Tuesday 3 December the employers’ representatives, UCEA, had to improve the 1% pay offer that was rejected by staff and which prompted strike action. UCU said it hoped there could be further talks before the 3 December action, but that the employers needed to return with an improved offer.

Previous action: Report of previous joint strike by UCU, Unite and Unison – the three largest unions in the sector (31st October) which has been followed by work-to-rule and other non-strike action:

University of Nottingham Impact magazine (by students): http://www.impactnottingham.com/2013/10/staff-strike-hits-the-university-of-nottingham/

From UCU, justification for strike:

… employers had a combined surplus last year of more than £1.1bn, according to HESA, yet were prepared to offer a pay rise which covered barely one-third of the increased cost of living.

our employers are sitting on billions of pounds of reserves, around £10bn (even after pension liabilities) according to HESA, yet say they cannot afford to help staff whose pay has fallen in real terms by 13% since 2009.

our employers expenditure on staff has stalled, yet salaries for those at the very top have grown to a point where, as The Independent newspaper describes, ‘performance seems to have no influence on vice-chancellors’ bonuses and benefits.’

These facts and the employers’ intransigence are why the National Union of Students (NUS) have called for further, urgent negotiations between both sides with the aim of agreeing ‘a fair and sustainable settlement for higher education staff’. UCU and our sister unions have agreed to this sensible suggestion, but the employers have not.

See also: Nottingham Post articles about first strike day (After): http://www.nottinghampost.com/University-staff-united-pay-protest-strike-action/story-20019732-detail/story.html
(Before) http://www.nottinghampost.com/Staff-Nottingham-s-universities-strike-today/story-20015805-detail/story.html

See also: UCU Nottingham Local Association: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ucu/current.php

Students’ march in London #DEMO2012 on 21st November

The national demo is called ‘#demo2012: Educate, Employ, Empower’. It will take place on Wednesday 21 November, and will involve a march through central London.

The current government has put the future of an entire generation at risk. Jobs are hard to come by, students are saddled with unprecedented levels of debt, it’s a struggle to get onto the property ladder, and state pensions are being phased out – it’s easy to feel despondent.

But NUS members have decided to take action. At our National Conference in April, delegates voted to hold a national demonstration in the first term of 2012. We need your help to show the government how angry we are at their betrayals and broken promises.

Details: http://www.demo2012.org.uk/?page_id=18 See also: Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts! http://nsafc.wordpress.com/

Anti Academies Alliance – Rushcliffe meeting and Midlands Conference in November 2011

Anti Academies Alliance Public Meeting
Campaigning against Academy Status at Rushcliffe School
7.30pm Tuesday 8 November 2011.
All Hallows Hall, Pierrepont Road, Lady Bay, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 5BP.

Download flyer: Rushcliffe AAA Leaflet Nov 2011

Chair: Martin Sleath – Parent
Jenny Day – AAA National Steering Committee
Liam Conway – Notts NUT
Andrea Oates – Broxtowe AAA

Also coming up:

Midlands Anti Academies Conference, Fighting Academy conversions and Free Schools
12th November 2011. Registration at 9.30am.
Birmingham & Midlands Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham, B3 3BS. (Behind the Council House).
Full details: http://antiacademies.org.uk/2011/09/midlands-anti-academies-conference/

Latest news from Notts SOS, Notts Uncut, Occupy Nottingham, plus forthcoming events

A lot has been happening in Nottingham over the last couple of weeks and especially since the weekend … here are some highlights:

Occupy Nottingham! The occupation of the Old Market Square, starting on the same day of the October 15th ‘Jarrow march 2011’ demonstration against youth unemployment, is still ongoing after 5 nights. This was part of a global day of action against austerity and many occupations are continuing elsewhere. Details on Indymedia: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/2100. Although there was a slight drop-off of people after the initial surge over the weekend, numbers now seem to be growing. On day 5 there are now around 15 tents, a gazebo and a marquee. Join the occupation in the market square at anytime. Check out the link for the wishlist of things needed by the current occupiers.
Photos of day 6: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/2105

Notts Uncut took action on the 15th October against the corporate tax avoiders on our high street: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/2090

Action against benefit harassment: The two participants arrested after the day of action against ATOS Healthcare which saw people going inside the private examination centre on Stoney Street have been bailed again after appearing at the Bridewell, to allow time for “further investigations”. All bail conditions (restricting them from parts of the town centre) have been dropped. Details: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/2087

Universities and Colleges industrial action – UCU members started their first phase of its industrial action on 10th October with ‘Work to Contract’. “By working to contract, staff will refuse to undertake extra duties or work outside their contracted hours.”

Forthcoming events

The Hardest Hit are holding a rally this Saturday 22nd October at 12.30 in Market Square to defend benefits and services used by disabled people. Notts Uncut are planning an action to support this and are meeting outside Parliament St. Boots at 11am. Come along and support the rally.

The next Notts SOS meeting is on Monday 26th October 2011 at the usual venue, the YMCA International Community Centre on Mansfield Rd, starting 7.30pm and finishing around 9pm. Then fortnightly thereafter – all welcome.

A public Meeting, ‘Our NHS is in Mortal Danger’ organised by Bassetlaw SOS with Unison and Unite trade unions will take place on 4th November, at Worksop Town Hall, starting at 7 pm. Go and find out about the Government’s plans for the NHS. Find out what is proposed, how this will affect you and what you can do to make your voice heard. Full venuw address is The Ceres Suite, Worksop Town Hall, Potter Street, Worksop, S80 2AH. A Save Our NHS meeting was held in Nottingham last month.

Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts are preparing for a huge demonstration in London on 9th November: http://nsafc.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/students-to-march-on-the-city-london-nov-9th/

A national day of industrial action will take place on Wednesday 30th November with millions of public sector and education workers going on strike over attacks on pensions. The government will be facing the “biggest trade union mobilisation for a generation” after the Trades Union Congress (TUC) called the day of action. There will be transport from Nottingham.

Government U-Turn: Victory for the Action For ESOL campaign! 28-8-2011

Action for ESOL statement on 28th August 2011 – English for Speakers of Other Languages

Government U-Turn: Victory for the Action For ESOL campaign!

The Skills Funding Agency has confirmed that full funding is available for ESOL and other adult courses formerly subject to the restrictive eligibility criteria that would have excluded up to 75% of adults on so called ‘inactive’ benefits. This represented a huge attack on adult education, and would have affected students from some of the poorest inner city communities. Action for ESOL was particularly concerned with the impact on non-native speakers of English who need English to support their children, find work, access education and play a full role in their communities. 250,000 adult places that were risk this year can be now be saved! This is an important victory for the Action for ESOL campaign.

Read more: http://www.natecla.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=607
Action for ESOL: http://actionforesol.org

ESOL students prepare to hand in petition – Friday 27th May

Nottingham ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students are handing over their massive petition against hikes in their course fees to Lilian Greenwood MP this Friday 27th May at 3pm. Please go down and show your support. The fee increases mean that 84% of those currently learning English (including many refugees and asylum seekers) will not be able to carry on with classes from September. TIME AND PLACE – 3pm at Lilian Greenwood’s Office, 12 Regent Street, Nottingham, NG1 5BQ.

Gedling School closure protest continues – Open invitation to a rally on Tuesday 7th June

AN OPEN INVITATION from Save Gedling School

Hi All, We are holding a rally on the Tuesday 7th June at 5.30-6.30pm at the Gedling School. The intention is to hold a series of speeches
by staff, pupils past and present, parents, governors, councillors, and hopefully Vernon Coaker to express our desire to remain open and
serve the Gedling community. It is imperative that the LA are made aware of the feelings of the community. Hopefully we can seek media attention for this event.

The group would welcome any support and involvement, firstly, to promote the event and secondly, on the night itself.

Background: http://savegedlingschool.wordpress.com/ (also do a search on Notts SOS site for previous articles).

Administrate This! Report from University of Nottingham protest and camp on 19th April 2011

From 18th-20th April, the University of Nottingham hosted a meeting of the Association of University Administrators. Minister for Universities David Willetts was to attend, but had dropped out in advance. Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts organised a protest and camp ‘Administrate This!’ to highlight the issues of the ‘marketisation’ of education and university participation, and especially about how women will be hit by the cuts. Full story: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/1141. See also NSAFC website: http://nsafc.wordpress.com/

Staff and students strike together again in Nottingham

Nottingham UCU staff, students and Notts SOS in Old Market Square 24th March 2011
Nottingham UCU staff, students and Notts SOS in Old Market Square 24th March 2011
This week, on March 22nd and 24th, the University and College Union (UCU) took strike action in defence of the pay and pensions of academic and academic-related staff and against the employers’ attempts to bypass nationally agreed procedures for making redundancies. The majority vote for the strike is also a response to the wider political situation and most immediately the rise in student fees. Staff on strike in Nottingham were from Castle College, South Notts College, Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham. Students added to the numbers on picket lines and ran solidarity events all over Nottingham. The local strike leaflet was written by staff and students together. [Download student side of leaflet] [UCU staff side of leaflet]. Look at some photos here: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/1073.

UCU officers and campaigners put lots of effort into building for the strike, not least in co-ordinating between institutions. For some of us Notts SOS UCU members it was the first time we had been involved in organising a strike as opposed to just turning up for picket line duty. It’s a lot of work, but we learned lot from more experienced staff. I think we can be pleased with the results, because support for the strike was amazing. Hundreds of staff stayed away or picketed. Staff from other unions or no union beeped their horns in support at picket lines and asked for leaflets and information about the strike. Many university security staff were supportive and helpful also. Even though some public sector trade unionists crossed picket lines, others, notably City and County Council workers such as bus drivers, beeped their horns in support and passengers also waved at us.

The UCU and students condemned the University of Nottingham’s assertion that the strike was undemocratic, pointing out that not only was it entirely legal, but percentage-wise the majority in favour of the strike was bigger than the vote for the Conservatives in the last election.

The strike culminated in a rally in the Market Square attended by several hundred people. Speakers made it clear even though workers are not legally allowed to strike except over their own pay, terms and conditions, there is a mood to go beyond this just as there is elsewhere in the public sector. To do this university staff – UCU, Unison and others – need to work together more closely so that the government and employers fear our strength just as they fear the new radicalised student movement that mobilised in support of us this week.

UCU: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=1680
Students: http://nsafc.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/notts-students-support-ucu-strike/
Previous article: https://nottssos.org.uk/2011/03/23/university-staff-picket-lines-supported-by-students-and-many-others-in-nottingham/

Nottingham UCU staff, students & Notts SOS Defending  ESOL 24th March 2011
Nottingham UCU staff, students & Notts SOS Defending ESOL 24th March 2011
“Don’t Cut ESOL Classes!”

This was the message at the rally on Thursday March 24 in opposition to the cuts in funding ESOL classes. ESOL stands for English for Speakers of Other Languages and classes have traditionally been free for most students, who include people on JSA and ESE. But in Nottingham 76% of people on ESOL courses do not receive these benefits. They include refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants who need English to integrate and contribute to British society. One of the messages of the rally was David Cameron’s hypocrisy in stating that refugees should integrate and at the same time removing one of the most important ways they can do this.

About one hundred and fifty teachers, students and their supporters attended and several refugees spoke about how important free access to English classes is to them. Their confidence in speaking in public in a second language is a tribute to their teachers and shows that having good language skills is not just about the ability to communicate but the confidence to do it in the first place. As one of the speakers said, it is an attack on basic human rights.

Removal of free ESOL classes is about more than saving money. It is about marginalising vulnerable people and we need to understand it as part of the state’s attack on refugees and asylum seekers, making it even harder for them to access help.

Even though this rally took place hours after the UCU rally earlier in the day, dozens of higher and further education staff and students waited after their own event to attend the ESOL rally. As one UCU member said, “Education is vital for liberation”.


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