Category Archives: Unite

Balloons and bacon rolls keep spirits high on GCU picket line

Helium filled balloons supplied by UCU and bacon filled rolls supplied by Unison helped make the joint picket by university unions UCU, EIS, Unison and Unite on 6th February the most successful yet in the series of actions in favour of Fair Pay at Glasgow Caledonian.
In some ways this was the best organised of the actions so far, with posters informing the students of impending action having been put up on previous days, and a specially prepared leaflet featuring an appeal from each union given out to students on the day.

United for Fair Pay

United for Fair Pay

Determined to win our action

Determined to win our action

Union reps indicated more reports of alterations to and cancellations of classes than had happened at previous actions.
Even the worst of the weather stayed off, although spectacularly, mid way through the picket, the wind put an end to the gazebo which had played such a helpful role in the previous disputes!
Pickets were out on all of the main entrances to the university with several delivery vans turning away after reading our leaflet, and many passing cars honking their approval of the action.

Applause for a particularly witty point

Applause for a particularly witty point

At a brief rally at 10.45 chaired by joint Union Convenor and EIS rep Nick McKerrell, Sinead Wylie brought the greetings and support of the Students Association, followed by Unison rep Davena Rankin and UCU rep Douglas Chalmers who spoke on behalf of their unions. Nick McKerrell closed the rally, pointing out that this had been a great example of the type of joint activity that the four unions at Glasgow Caledonian continued to do together very well.
Following the rally, 100 of the helium balloons were released on a count of three to cheering before we dispersed, having shown once again the depth of feeling amongst staff that GCU should pressurise UCEA to come back to the negotiating table.

Sinead from the students association nearly carried away

Sinead from the students association nearly carried away

PS the joint unions have already been offered another 3 gazebos to take the place of the one that lost its battle with the Glasgow weather.

GCU Unions call for show of solidarity on Strike day Thursday 6th Feb

Unions at GCU have asked staff to turn out in strength on next strike day 6th February to show our determination that we win Fair Pay for all.

It will also be to show solidarity with UCU members who are still under the cloud of a threat to withdraw full days wages for their series of two hour strikes.

Said Douglas Chalmers, President of UCU@GCU – “Just over 30 of the 149 universities who are taking part in national bargaining have levied this threat to withdraw a days wage from staff who carried out a series of lawfully constituted two-hour strikes. If proceeded with, it would show a total disrespect for the staff who have limited their action to minimise disruption to students, and would be a totally unnecessary ramping up of the dispute at a local level. ”

The joint unions announced a rally at the University front gate at 10.45 on Thursday morning.

University Union slams ‘Elite University Bosses’

Unite the Union, one of the unions representing staff at Glasgow Caledonian today slammed what they called ‘Elite University Bosses’ at the Russell Group of Universities – which in Scotland includes Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and St Andrews universities.  Glasgow Caledonian University is not a member of this group – being a member, instead of the Alliance group of universities.

Unite condemned Vice chancellors at the elite Russell Group of universities for ‘rank hypocrisy’ for pocketing big pay rises, while trying to enforce a one per cent pay rise on staff.
Unite was commenting as a Times Higher Education (THE) survey of 19 of the group’s 24 members revealed that the average vice chancellor salary in the group increased by just over £22,000 to nearly £293,000 in 2012-13.
Chair of the Unite national education committee Haydn Morris said: “This smacks of rank hypocrisy, given that university staff have endured a six-year pay drought which has seen a 13 per cent cut in pay in real terms since 2008.
“On the day that the cost of living crisis has again been highlighted by the leap in rail fares, the university bosses are lining their own substantial pockets, while those staff that keep Britain in the top ten world university league table struggle to make ends meet.
“The ‘them and us’ situation is made worse as the cumulative operating surplus in the higher education sector is now over £1 billion.  Cash rich universities could well afford to be more generous than the one per cent offer currently on the table.”
The university trade unions took two days of strike action last year in pursuit of a better pay deal and it is likely that more industrial action will be on the cards in 2014.
According to the THE, once pension payments are taken into consideration, the Russell Group vice chancellors received an average of £318,500 last year – up from £302,500 in 2011-12 which means an average salary rise of 8.1 per cent and a 5.2 per cent rise in overall benefits.
Unite’s university membership embraces science technicians, administrators and facilities management staff and has about 20,000 members in higher education.

Although GCU is not a member of the Russell Group, Dr Nick McKerrall, on behalf of the Combined Unions of the GCU recently drew attention to the disproportionate situation of excessive pay for senior management which is also the case in non Russell Group universities.

GCU University unions move towards strike action 3rd December

UCU, Unison and Unite members out in force

UCU, Unison and Unite members out in force

Following the failure of the University and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to offer an increased pay offer to university staff, Glasgow Caledonian University unions will be joining their colleagues throughout Scotland and South of the border in a further day’s strike on Tuesday 3rd December.

October 31st saw a tremendous turnout from staff from three of the four university unions, now to be joined by EIS on December 3rd.

Why we are in dispute

Universities are central to a modern forward looking society, but increasingly staff working within them are seeing their living standards being cut, at a time when universities have adequate reserves to pay decent salaries, and when principals are continuing to accept massive salary increases.

Comparative figures between 2009 and 2012 show that in this period, the median pay for full time and casualised staff working as Higher Education teaching professionals has decreased by 2.27 percent in absolute terms to a median wage of £39,414. Over the same period, inflation has increased the cost of living by a cumulative 15.5 percent.

Higher education teaching professionals are still paid significantly below comparably skilled professionals, including legal professional workers, marketing and sales directors, train and tram drivers, human resource managers and directors, IT specialist managers, health professionals, and police officers (sergeant and below).

For a professional service to our students and to our communities, university employers need to ensure their staff are paid a professional salary.

That’s why we will be on strike on December 3rd.

Comparative Scottish Salaries for Univerisity Principals

Comparative Scottish Salaries for Univerisity Principals

UCU Unison Unite pre-strike rally Wednesday M201

UCU Unison Unite

Supported by GCU Combined Union Committee.

United for Education – Fair Pay Now

Pre-Strike Rally

Wednesday October 30th 12 noon M201 (Old Library)

Speakers tbc

The pay claim is affordable

The money is there – universities have more than £1 BILLION in reserves

Higher education staff are worth it!

Why you should strike for fair pay:

pay rates have fallen by 13% in real terms

inequality

zero hours contracts

job security

workloads

a Living Wage

funding surpluses

Caledonian Unions say – vote for Douglas Chalmers for GCU Court

The combined union committee comprising of UCU, EIS, Unison and Unite, have asked their members to vote for Douglas Chalmers for the vacant academic staff position on Court,  in the elections this Thursday 13th June.

This follows the news that Davena Rankin was elected unopposed as Support Staff representative.

Thursday’s voting comes at a time when the Scottish government are expected to implement the findings of the commission into HE governance chaired by Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski which reported earlier in the year. This was extremely critical of the current functioning of existing university Court structures and called for widespread reform.

Following this, the existing chairs of Court set up their own commission to draw up a code of conduct – a process which however excluded direct involvement of staff and student voice on their commission, in direct contradiction of the suggestions of Education minister Mike Russell. These court-led meetings were generally perceived to be shambolic – with no minutes taken and a widespread perception existing that this was essentially an undemocratic manoeuvre taken by the existing power structures within university courts, to defend their privileged nature.

Douglas is for radical change in the way the Courts operate.

Said Douglas Chalmers: “I am fully behind the implementation of the suggested reforms to Court functioning and governance. I have a proven track record of arguing for Courts to be more open to the voice of all staff and indeed the whole university community. I believe the chairs should be elected, the gender balance should be improved, the minutes published, and the presumption should be openness rather than the reverse. I hope all academic colleagues will support me in pushing for our university to follow in the direction of radical change and to become a beacon of good practice”.

A short interview with Douglas on some of the relevant issues can be found here.

Remember Thursday 13th June: Vote Douglas Chalmers for Academic Staff Representative.

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

Nick

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