Category Archives: Support

Ukraine’s Universities amongst latest victims of Russia’s attack

Kharkiv University hit by a Russian missile

On Tuesday 1st March, Putin’s war on Ukraine came to the university sector, with Kharkiv University’s faculty of sociology hit by a missile, purportedly intended for the neighbouring police headquarters or interior ministry.

In a statement of solidarity, UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘The situation in Ukraine is devastating to witness and on behalf of the University and College Union I am sending best wishes and solidarity to all those affected.

‘As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians flee their own homes from the Russian invasion, it is vital that our government removes all barriers to Ukrainian citizens coming to the UK and ensures a comprehensive package of support is available to those that arrive here. Anything less is a dereliction of duty and should be condemned as such.

Our union has made a donation to UNICEF’s emergency appeal and is demanding governments ensure all people are able to reach a place of safety.

Pooches for Pay and the Postie supports us again

A new slogan replaced the GCU Common Weal sign this morning – signalling our views to new graduates

Whistles, pooches and leaflets and stickers for graduates plus an alternative University Mission statement all made their appearance on today’s picket line.

Pooches against the pay gap – consistent supporters

GCU London students joined our staff in solidarity at the London Campus

Together with some great solidarity photos from our GCU students at GCU London and some twitter activity towards Annie Lennox our Chancellor, pickets were again in good spirits – being also joined towards lunchtime at a short solidarity shout-up by Mary Senior, UCU Scotland Official, and speakers from our sister unions at GCU. EIS provided the hot rolls, and again the Student Association officers came up trumps with coffee and tea.

But firstly with Graduation taking place, some students had expressed worries on how our actions might impact them. However, as they had heard from the UCU at their Students Voice meeting, this action wasn’t targeted at them, but rather at the University Employers’ Association UCEA.

The UCU had produced a special leaflet congratulating students on their graduation, and also printed some posters showing how pleased we were with their achievements. Some students and their friends and families also wore solidarity stickers to the graduation, as a measure of support.

Materials were distributed and postered supporting our students

Annie Lennox’s songs had featured strongly in our solidarity music playlist, and we added to that by texting our Chancellor to inform her of what was happening. We’ll let you know of any response!

A tweet to our Chancellor on what’s happening at GCU

And again – the CWU came up trumps in solidarity – thanks comrades!

The Postie again refuses to cross a picket line



GCU Honourary Graduate Lily Cole refuses to cross picket line

Lily Cole GCU Honorary Graduate

Lily Cole GCU Honorary Graduate

Lily Cole, international fashion model, actress and social entrepreneur, who was recently recognised with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by GCU for her outstanding contribution to humanitarian and environmental causes pulled out of speaking at Central St Martins due to the strike on the 3rd.

The combined unions at GCU are pleased to see that she has been prepared to go the extra mile by doing this.

When she was awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters,  Lily said amongst other things  “I think the most important things in life are really simple and it is about our attitude to life”. We salute her sincerity in respecting why university staff were on strike on Tuesday.

 Tweet revealing Lily respected the picket lines

Tweet revealing Lily respected our action

EIS take action over pay while Universities stockpile reserves

University unions are angry about the living standards of their members going down – today EIS are taking industrial action and striking over this.

All other unions have shown their anger at the living standards of their members going down, although only EIS has chosen to strike.

Meanwhile figures released  by EIS suggest the universities’ claim of being cash strapped is far from the truth. Here are the figures supplied by EIS, and why people are angry.

Reserves by Scottish HEI 2011 2010 % Rise
University of Edinburgh 1,203,948,000 1,117,718,000 7.7
University of Glasgow 342,680,000 312,915,000 9.5
University of Aberdeen 328,704,000 327,065,000 0.5
The Robert Gordon University 179,878,000 175,495,000 2.5
Glasgow Caledonian University 141,088,000 136,755,000 3.2
University of Strathclyde 133,272,000 135,846,000 -1.9
University of St Andrews 74,634,000 66,773,000 11.8
University of Stirling 36,474,000 22,566,000 61.6
Edinburgh Napier University 34,258,000 19,094,000 79.4
University of Dundee 31,644,000 26,883,000 17.7
University of The West of Scotland 28,565,000 10,196,000 180.1
Heriot-Watt University 27,606,000 17,591,000 56.9
University of Abertay Dundee 20,088,000 16,732,000 20.1
Queen Margaret University 15,412,000 13,546,000 13.8
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 12,193,000 7,085,000 72.1
The Glasgow School of Art 11,744,000 15,714,000 -25.3
University of the Highlands and Islands 112,000 848,000 -86.8
Total 2,622,300,000 2,422,822,000 8.2

Why we are striking at GCU – EIS

Nick McKerrel: “Our strike on Tuesday is about fair pay in Higher Education”

ON Tuesday 23rd October, Members of the EIS employed in Higher Education will be striking. At the request of the Caledonianunion blog, Dr Nick McKerrell  Convenor of the Combined Unions at Caledonian and the EIS branch sent a message to all staff at GCU:

Our strike on Tuesday is about fair pay in Higher Education.  Over the last four years staff have accepted meagre increases recognising the economic situation that we all find ourselves in (although not because of anything we have done).  These sub-inflation pay offers  has meant that staff have taken pay cuts of around 12% : for a lecturer at the top of the scale that amounts to a loss of £5000!”

“Meanwhile senior University Management across the sector have pocketed inflation busting bonuses and continue to jet around the world.   Research released by the EIS this week shows that Scottish University have millions in reserve but will not put a decent offer for pay on the table for staff.”

“The STUC’s campaign against cuts in public spending states there is a better way – never has that phrase been more true for Higher Education and recognising the contribution of ordinary staff”

There will be a picket line at the main gates from 8am.  Although all the other unions at GCU are in dispute over pay they are not taking strike action at the moment.  But the  local EIS  branch would like to invite fellow union members to come along to a lunchtime rally at the main gates of the University at 12 noon.

Use your lunch hour time to come along to the rally and show your support for striking colleagues – they will be really happy to see you.

All the best


Dr Nick McKerrell

Convenor of Glasgow Caledonian Combined Union Committee and EIS/ULA branch.

EIS Strike Day
Tuesday March 23rd
Lunchtime Rally at Cally Gates
12 noon
Show support and solidarity.
Fair Pay for All H.E. Staff.
Speakers from all the main unions at GCU

A message of support to EIS from UCU

Although UCU has voted not to strike on this occasion, we are fully behind efforts to win better conditions for staff

On behalf of UCU members at Glasgow Caledonian Local UCU President Douglas Chalmers sent a message of solidarity to fellow academics in EIS who are taking action on the 23rd and confirmed he would be speaking at the Rally at midday in their support.

Said Douglas: “Although our members did not vote for strike action on the 23rd, we are fully behind all efforts to help win better conditions for all staff in Higher Education in Scotland and wider afield. The latest figures released in relation to surpluses held by Scottish universities shows that there are funds there, which the universities are choosing not to use to help the living standards of their staff. This is wrong. It is about time that staff at Scottish universities were properly rewarded and appreciated by management. The vision held by the management of Scottish Universities, and those South of the border, is negative and self-defeating, and does not create the world class universities our country needs. We say this is wrong and has to change”

A message of support to EIS at GCU from Unite

Following the decision of EIS to strike, Mike Robinson, Unite’s National Officer for education circulated Unite members with the following message:

EIS strike action

“EIS have decided to strike on the 23rd October and will be applying a work to contract from the 24th October onwards until further notice. EIS have contacted Unite asking for an understanding about their strike action and any picket lines etc in higher education institutions where EIS have membership…..

Unite members should not carry out work of other staff in any event as part of our work to contract action applied in 2011.

Any member who feels endangered or have a conscientious objection to crossing a picket line should seek advice from your local Regional Officer on how to respond to local management in these circumstances if their route to their workplace is likely to involve crossing an EIS picket line.

It is in acceptable to engage in discussion with pickets and even to express support for their protest.

However at this time Unite members are not being called on to strike and until the national committee considers whether Unite should take part in a dispute, members should not take strike action but should not carry out any work normally done by others in dispute either”.

A message of support to EIS at GCU from the Student President

Hello all,

Hope you are well,

As you may know the students association held a referendum on whether our members support the strike or not. Our referendum has closed and our members have voted in favour.

I have attached the link below to show my statement of support and I would like to take this opportunity to express that the sabbatical team will be fully supporting the strike and that any presence you may have on campus in this day will be supported by GCUSA.

We have informed students that the strike is happening and that there will be a limited amount of disruption and I have worked with the University to ensure services are still opened in the base and the library remains along with the GCUSA building and services,

Best of luck and Best wishes,


UCU Updates

UCU calls for a YES vote

UCU Pay Update – Industrial Action Ballot

Following the consultative on-line survey of members, and with the employers unwilling to negotiate on a joint union pay claim it has been decided that UCU will ballot members nationally on possible industrial action over pay. The employers offer remains 1% which does nothing to address current cost of living rises or the real terms pay cuts brought about by 4 years of below inflation rises. Other campus unions, such as EIS and UNISON, are also balloting members on action over pay.
You should be receiving your ballot paper over the next few days. Please use your vote and make sure that your view is heard. For background figures on the dispute see here For a leaflet explaining our position in 5 easy points – see here

Survey on Performance Management in HE – let them know what you think of PDAR

Members are encouraged to participate in the Cranfield University survey, which forms part of a research project on workforce management. The study is anonymous and takes about 15 minutes to complete.

You can find it here

The STUC is calling for all union support

A Future That Works, March and Rally, Saturday 20 October 2012, Glasgow – Stewarding Arrangements

The STUC is currently considering stewarding arrangements for the march and rally on the 20 October. Glasgow City Council’s protocol for parades and processions stated that there should be 1 steward for every 10 participants in the march. In order to meet the demand STUC is asking that affiliates provide a number of stewards dependent on the size of their membership and UCU at GCU has been asked to provide help.
If you are willing to be a UCU steward for this event, please email Eleanor McGowan with your name and contact details.

Unite union calls for positive vote for strike action on the 30th November.

According to Unite: “The government is bringing forward a series of proposals which threaten to greatly reduce the pension benefits and increase their cost to members working in the public services.
Unite has tried to negotiate a fair settlement with the government but the government refuses to hear workers’ concerns.
The proposals threaten public sector pensions by:
•    Lower pension increases
•    Higher contributions
•    Lower quality benefits
•    Ending final salary pensions
•    Raising the pension age
•    No protection if you are contracted-out
•    Imposition not negotiation
Your future is at stake – Vote  Yes for Strike Action November 30th”