Tag Archives: Catriona Mowat

And it’s goodnight from them…

Once again thanks to the Communications Workers Union, no mail delivered. Today this was joined by a helpful driver from Initial services….

Unfortunate to note however  that the suppliers for Baxter Storey the caterers were somewhat less sympathetic. That’s a shame – if they’re serious about being part of the university community they need to be aware of what’s important

However, nevertheless spirits were high again at a busy picket line

while more students took stickers and leaflets, and were interested when we reminded them that we’d ‘donated’ our Christmas wages that will be deducted, to their hardship funds.

Here’s a flavor of the last couple of days, provided by our own Catriona Mowat….

UCU@GCU Strikes Back! from Nina Mowat on Vimeo.

Also some useful discussions on the picket lines today with management, asking them to pressurise UCEA to come back to talks with us, and also with Court members on some of the realities.  Still waiting on our Chancellor to come back to us however. Sweet dreams are made of this….

Finally – a shout out today to our comrades in CWU who are appealing tomorrow in the High Court against the outrageous injunction under Tory anti-trade union laws, which are preventing them taking the industrial action their members voted for. We hope all readers of the blog will tweet their messages of support: https://twitter.com/cwunews/status/1199768735441211392?s=12

Caledonian UCU Annual General Meeting looks forward to 2015

Scottish President David Anderson brought greetings from the UCU Scottish Executive

Scottish President David Anderson brought greetings from the UCU Scotland Executive

Banners,  bulletins and big ideas were among the topics discussed at the UCU’s seventh Annual General Meeting held in the last week of Trimester A.

Clare Hunter led a discussion on the proposed banner motifs and keywords that would best express our aims as key representatives of the University community, championing the concept of a University for the Common Good,  working with sister unions and with the wider student community in a challenging environment for Scottish Higher Education.

Local President Douglas Chalmers gave a brief resumé of the year’s work, which had led to our highest ever membership and our strongest financial position so far.

Branch Secretary Brian Pillans reported on current negotiations over the workload model, the anti-casualisation strategy and other ongoing issues, while Membership Secretary and Vice-President Catriona Mowat gave an analysis of our membership – which, at 61 percent female, accurately represented the gender balance at university.

David Anderson, Scottish President, brought the greetings of the Scottish Executive in the form of his Santa’s wish list (which he said was still suspiciously like last year’s). However, he was pleased to say that it was more likely that next year’s list wouldn’t include Governance, as the Scottish Government now seemed to be moving to legislate on it.


For those who could wait behind, some seasonal refreshment

The branch discussed and passed three resolutions for our forthcoming UK conference. For our overall conference (HE and FE), we are proposing   The UCU in the post constitutional referendum period, and for the HE Sector conference we are putting forward Campaigning for increasing Democracy in the HE Sector and Facing outwards as an Educational Trade Union. These were agreed in principal, although it was noted some needed to be cut down slightly in length.

For the Scottish conference we unanimously adopted four resolutions – The role of the STUC in Scottish Politics and Moves towards better Governance together with Constructing an action plan for growth and Creating a Postgraduate Network in Scotland. For the first time we also elected a postgrad rep onto our branch committee, to join the existing branch committee, which was re-elected.

The branch also elected delegates to the UK and Scottish conferences.

Caledonian UCU AGM – new faces (but still some places….)

The Caledonian University branch of the UCU held its AGM this week, with elections of a new President, Vice-President and new Membership Secretary, and thanks given to its outgoing and remaining officers for their work over the last, ‘rather eventful’, year.

New President Douglas Chalmers said he was looking forward to representing members' interests over the next year

Thanks were paid to retiring Present Vince Mills, stepping sideways in terms of responsibilities (see below) while new faces to the branch executive were Douglas Chalmers, unanimously elected as branch President for the next term, and Catriona Mowatt, also elected unanimously as the new membership secretary of the branch. Douglas is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences, Media and Journalism, and Catriona is head of the Universities Positive Living team. Moving sideways to Vice-President (but still promising to be just as active) was former President Vince Mills from the Scottish Centre for Work Based Learning, while the meeting welcomed the decisions of Branch Honorary Secretary Brian Pillans of the Law Department and Treasurer Caroline Tuff (also from the SCWBL)  to continue in post.

New Membership Secretary Catriona Mowat 'welcomed the challenge of continuing to build UCU at Caledonian'

Retiring membership secretary John Biggam (who ironically missed the start of the meeting as he was active representing a UCU member) was applauded for his work on membership which it was felt had led to a notable increase in the UCU’s effectiveness over the last year. He was also applauded when he was revealed to be one of the hidden faces behind the mysterious Fat Cats who had appeared on campus last year. The identity of the other Fat Cat is yet to be revealed however……

Members were particularly pleased to hear that membership of the branch had shown its greatest increase in any one year since the creation of the branch, and despite the heaviest spending in any comparable period, Branch Treasurer Caroline Tuff was also able to report  that the Branch ended the year in a healthier financial position than it started.

Revealed - one of out-going membership secretary John Biggam's 9 lives

The AGM discussed the next steps in the on-going pensions dispute, with a report from Tony Axon from the UCU Scottish Office, and the meeting also passed resolutions for the forthcoming Scottish Conference of the UCU on topics such as INTO,  GCU London, on University Governance and on future action following the Staff Survey.

Finally, it agreed to continue the series of ‘lunchtime bites’ meetings for all staff, whether UCU members or not, and also to extend the meetings for new activists and those members of the union wishing to be trained up as branch reps or interested in further work on equality and green issues.

Closing the meeting, new President Douglas Chalmers thanked the outgoing members of the executive for their work on behalf of University staff, and promised that given the perilous state of so many aspects of University life ‘the UCU wouldn’t be going out of business any time soon….’