Category Archives: Support

“We are urging UCU members to back strike action to defend pensions” – Gordon Watson, UCU President

UCU Strike ballot opens in pensions row

UCU members in Scotland are being balloted for strike action in the row over changes to public sector pensions.
Members in the Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme (STSS) are being asked if they are prepared to take strike action in protest at changes to their pensions that would see them pay more and work longer in exchange for reduced benefits in retirement.
If they back the action then UCU members  will join a host of other public sector unions in co-ordinated action on Wednesday 30 November.
Despite the fact that the STSS pension scheme is a devolved matter, the Scottish government will be implementing the increase in employee contributions in 2012/13 in line with the Westminster proposals.
UCU Scotland president, Gordon Watson, said: ‘We are urging UCU members to back strike action to defend their pensions. Members of all Scottish education unions are being balloted along with around three million trade union members across the UK.

UNISON members vote Yes to action on November 30th

(03/11/11) UNISON members have voted Yes to industrial action to defend pensions in the biggest trade union ballot ever held, by 245,358 votes to 70,253.

Commenting on the result, general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The decisive Yes vote in the ballot, reflects the deep concern that our members have over government ministers’ proposals for their pensions.
“Yesterday’s statement in Parliament was a marked improvement on earlier proposals.
“But, it is important to understand that the statement has to be translated into offers in the scheme-specific talks.
“We still have had no offer in those negotiations, where such an offer can legitimately be made.
“We support the TUC day of action on 30 November,” added Mr Prentis, “but will be negotiating right up to then and beyond to get a fair deal for our members.”

EIS Votes for Industrial Action on 30th November – 82%

EIS members Back Industrial Action – Strike day set for 30 November

Teacher and lecturer members of Scotland’s largest teaching union, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in protest at plans to impose damaging changes to public sector pension schemes.
As a result of this “YES” vote, EIS members are expected to join workers from across the public sector in a day of strike action on 30 November. This will be the first national strike by EIS members in almost quarter of a century.
Commenting on the result, EIS General Secretary, Ronnie Smith said, “This 82% vote for strike action is the strongest indication so far that the patience of teachers and lecturers has been exhausted.

The ballot results were:
Voting YES:  24, 426 – 82.2%
Voting NO:   5,276 – 17.8%
Turnout:   54.2%

Celebrate saving our jobs – see you at Dows on 10th June!

It’s been a tough year to work at Caledonian – this trimester in particular – so GCU’s combined unions are organising a social event in Dows on Dundas Street on Friday 10th June.

Lets make it a night to remember

Contact your union reps for tickets or more information.

All of us at CaledonianUnion hope to see you there.

GCU Combined Unions
Social Event
Friday 10th June 2011
5pm – late
Dows Bar (Function Room)
9 Dundas Street
Members Free
(Buffet and a drink included)
Non Members Price of £5.oo (Buffet included)
Please can let your union contact  know if you have any dietary requirements

Scottish Parliament hears the case for reform of University Governance

A packed committee room heard reports of university governance 'not fit for purpose'

A packed Committee Room 1 of the Scottish Parliament heard calls for bringing democracy to the present system of University Governance – widely seen as ‘not fit for purpose’, in the view of university staff from the majority of Scotland’s universities. MSPs from the governing SNP, and from Labour and the Greens were clearly disturbed by the reports given to them about lack of serious governance by respective university courts from staff across the sector, following the lobby, organised by the UCU and EIS on 25th May.

The anger amongst those who are beginning to find out about how governance is exercised was shown in the intervention in the discussion by Nationalist MSP Bill Kidd who had visited GCU and spoken to staff several times over the past year. Stating his opinion that  “I don’t think these people are fit to be in charge of the University”, he went on to call for  “a complete overhaul of the governance of universities and colleges.”  Clare Baker, Labour’s shadow spokeswoman on Education stated to the meeting  “You have made a very strong case for the need to look at governance and we will support moves towards this”. This was echoed by Green Party leader Patrick Harvie who added “Management need to act as leaders of a community, not as CEOs of a business”

Brian Pillans from Caledonian UCU updates MSPs, flanked on his left by Clare Baker, Labour Education Spokesperson

Representing the unions at GCU, Brian Pillans updated those present on the victory achieved by the unions at GCU. This had shown what was possible, and he thanked parties of all colours for their support and their  pressure on management. This support had also come from the students, the media and the wider community, without whose support the victory would not have been won.  This victory had been at great and needless cost to staff however, due to the totally unnecessary actions of senior management who had followed a flawed strategy from the beginning, rather than working with the unions.

On the question of future changes to governance, Brian suggested that those who argued for universities to be run as a business could not ignore the accountability which was was now built into private sector governance following necessary reforms. Some serious work needed carried out on practical mechanisms which would continue to guarantee academic independence of the sector, but also ensure that the use of public money was always transparent and those using it were accountable to the wider community.

Cupcakes, illustrated Principals' salaries (excluding pensions and other benefits!), including our own Principal's at £182,000

During the meeting MSPs were clearly surprised at the level of salaries being paid to senior management and to university principals, details of which are downloadable here.

Eyebrows were also raised at the number of senior staff at GCU earning more than the First Minister of Scotland, and indeed, more than the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Outside in the lobby, the media had been interested in the cupcakes representing the salaries of University principals. These included the salary of our own at £182,000, not including pensions and other benefits.

Strathclyde University Students whose course is threatened by cuts

As well as the cupcakes providing sustenance, Liam Burns, outgoing NUS president offered support and students from the threatened music course at Strathclyde University entertained the crowd (as did a mysterious ‘fat-cat’ who members may also recall seeing at similar events at GCU).

Further photos can be found on Caledonian Union’s flickr site here

A university fat cat with a crisis of conscience?

GCU Petition to Court launched as UCU and EIS decide for action

Following senior management rejection of the joint Trade Unions offer to work together to lobby the new government for additional funding if the threat of compulsory redundancies was lifted, an all staff petition has been launched to pressurise the University Court to live up to its responsibilities towards GCU.
This reads:

Dear Chair of Court
We the undersigned as members of staff at GCU oppose the threat of 95 compulsory redundancies and ask management to follow Glasgow University’s lead and to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies until the new Scottish Government has formed and, in the meantime, to engage with the campus unions on a positive way forward. In return, the unions will pause their local campaign.

Already this is gaining widespread support with some departments reporting unanimous backing from staff on its first day of launch. The petition can be downloaded here.

Please use it in your own department if you haven’t personally been approached about it yet. Return it to any union rep of any of the campus unions.
Meanwhile the local branch of UCU voted unanimously for the following motion at it’s meeting on May 3rd:

Compulsory Redundancies
In light of the decision by GCU management to reject the offer of a cessation of the campaign being conducted by UCU and other campus unions against the threat of compulsory redundancy, GCU UCU members instruct the branch office bearers to construct the dispute with management as a legally defined trade dispute in order to allow members to be balloted on industrial action in furtherance of the dispute over compulsory redundancies of UCU members at GCU.

The local branch of EIS will be meeting on Monday to consider its action to help make senior management remove the threat of compulsory redundancies.

They have issued the following message to EIS members:

Hi All,

I hope you all had a restful weekend at a very stressful time at the University.

You may have been directly informed that there was an official Yes vote for our action short of strike action with 72% in favour. This is likely to commence next week.

To discuss this – what it means for us as EIS members at GCU and how it fits in with our local battles against redundancies there will be an EIS/ULA meeting next Monday.

Try and come along as we are facing a critical battle in the next few weeks at GCU.

Glasgow Caledonian EIS/ULA


Industrial Action

Monday 9th May

Room W715

12 Noon


Unison Consultative Ballot – 97% in favour of being balloted on industrial action at GCU!

In a ballot of all Unison members at Glasgow Caledonian, and with a turnout of over 60 percent, an incredible 97% have voted in favour of being balloted on industrial action.

In response to GCU Management plans for devastating cuts at the university, UNISON, the largest trade union at Glasgow Caledonian University representing both academics and support staff, conducted a consultative ballot of members this week. The ballot asked members if they were in favour of being balloted on industrial action – with 97 per cent voting in favour of the move.

This action follows an announcement byManagement last month of plans to cut 95 jobs, a move which staff say will hit the most vulnerable students hardest. But union officials are still hopeful that a dispute can be avoided and are urging university bosses to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies and to think twice about implementing such devastating cuts.

Davena Rankin, branch secretary of UNISON’s Glasgow Caledonian branch, said: Continue reading

Silent Protest asks Management to listen to reason at Glasgow Caledonian University

Can u hear us

Despite union posters asking if the Principal was actually listening being removed from noticeboards throughout the university, apparently on the orders of senior management,  a dignified, silent demonstration of staff concerned about cuts went on to be held outside the Principal’s official ‘listening event’ in the staff coffee bar, today, Thursday 7th April.
The demonstrators – from all areas of the university, support staff and academic, clearly outnumbered those inside the meeting.

Part of the demonstration as it returned from the silent protest

After 3 minutes silence symbolically facing away from the venue, staff walked back in silence to outside the Britannia building (which was referred to as having been in ‘lock-down’ for several weeks now, with an extra security guard permanently in presence, and staff needing to enter being escorted in and out). A short meeting was held outside and the convenor thanked everyone present, for the turnout and pledged the continuation of the union campaign, to ensure no compulsory redundancies would take place.”

Here’s how the demo was reported in Glasgow’s Evening Times: Silent Bid to Stop City Uni Job Cuts

Unions at Glasgow Caledonian University condemn GCU cuts

Unions at Glasgow Caledonian University condemn the announcement today (Thursday) of staff cuts and the lack of meaningful consultation.

Management at Glasgow Caledonian University have announced their plans for cuts that do not consider any options other than redundancies for front line staff while perversely increasing management posts. Unions have called for a freeze on all posts and consideration of other methods to save costs. The proposals include clustering of the loss of posts into particular areas which may lead to greater possibility of compulsory redundancies if job losses are not met on a voluntary basis in some clusters.

Many of these proposals will fundamentally damage the university’s mission to widen access and undermine the quality of teaching and learning.  Real substantive posts that help students on the front line would be lost if these proposals are implemented.

UCU Scottish official, Mary Senior, said: “The proposals from Glasgow Caledonian University management simply propose cutting front line staff while perversely increasing management posts.  We will oppose any compulsory redundancies and are concerned that the clustering of job losses could increase their possibility.”

Dr Tony Axon w: 0131 226 6694 m: 07807 030626; e:

Executive given new iPad2s, plus pay rise at GCU, while staff face compulsory redundancy threat…. oh and four students from GCU London flown up by EasyJet for classes here (allegedly)

iPads for them? And P45s for us?

We’re sorry but that’s just not acceptable in a well managed university.

There was incredulity expressed at a packed meeting of GCU staff in Glasgow Caledonian on Monday 28th March, when visiting MSP Pauline McNeil informed staff that fact finding information that morning had revealed that the GCU Executive were at the ‘top of the queue’ on the day that the new iPad2 was launched with a decision taken ‘at the stroke of a pen’ to order 10 of the machines while redundancy and cuts hung over many of the staff.

She was part of a fact finding mission with fellow MSPs Bill Kidd and Patrick Harvie, all of whom expressed dissatisfaction with the current situation. Continue reading