Tag Archives: GCU Management

Glasgow Caledonian Staff and students show support for democratic change

What's not to like about more democracy?

What’s not to like about more democracy?

Postcards supporting democratic change were being signed at the rate of more than one a minute, during a brief lunchtime pop up stall run by the UCU at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Almost 70 pledges of support for change – and in favour of taking current Scottish government proposals for change even further – were signed by staff of all grades, from catering staff right up to management.

The Scottish government has asked for views on reforming governance to be sent to themselves by January 30th, and the unions at Glasgow Caledonian will be submitting a response, arguing for the full implementation of the Von Prondzynski reforms promised some time ago.

UCU local president Douglas Chalmers (who is the academic staff governor on GCU Court) said: “What’s not to like about more democracy? Universities should be embracing this change, not trying to minimise it. It’s not ‘change for change sake’ but is a well thought out set of proposals which will maximise academic freedom, and allow the tapping in to the energies and talents of university staff – and indeed students – rather than falling into the dangers of a business model of Higher Education. I commend those supporting, and involved in today’s action, which I’m sure is representative of wider staff and student feeling. All the unions in Glasgow Caledonian are in favour of this change”. 

Further photos of the event which was popular and very good natured can be found on the caledonianunion flickr feed here.

Education Minister wants our views on running GCU

Angela Constance Cabinet Secretary for Education

Angela Constance Cabinet Secretary for Education

Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Education in the Scottish Government is interested in your views on how GCU, and other universities are governed.

All university campus unions are in favour of democratising higher education governance and will be making sure their members’ voices are heard in this debate.

We want open elections for chairs of governing bodies, transparency over principals’ pay, a new agreed definition of academic freedom and for governing bodies to be more representative.

In an article in the Herald on 15th January, Mary Senior, UCU Scotland’s official referred to the consultation and forthcoming bill as: ‘a once in a generation opportunity to sort out transparency in Scotland’s universities’

On Monday 26th between 12 and 2pm, the UCU@GCU will be holding a stall in the Hamish Wood foyer allowing staff and students to sign postcards to support change in this sector.

If you are a UCU member there is also a downloadable A3 Poster  and A5 Postcard you can use to express your support for the campaign.

Meanwhile the UCU have launched a petition asking their members to record their support for change. You can sign it here.

UCU has also uploaded all the necessary information to contribute individually to the consultation here.

Don’t miss this chance – please make sure your voice is heard.

As well as individual union activity, the GCU Combined Union Committee will be considering a joint submission to both our own Court (before it puts in the university’s ‘corporate’ view), and to the Scottish government. If you have any points on this, please contact either your individual union or Nick McKerral, chair of the CUC.

 

 

 

 

GCU Union and management joint statement published

7532999776_eb4057734e_zToday, for the first time, the unions and management at Glasgow Caledonian University have jointly published an assessment of the past years work and our priorities for the coming year.

Available via a link in the Caledonian Connected or downloadable from here, the statement outlines the achievements of 2013-2014 and looks forward to joint work together to agree a number of outstanding issues for 2015, which include: issues raised by the staff survey, and from the management focussed ‘Peoples Passport‘ sessions (which Trade Union reps addressed); monitoring and refining the tariffs from the pilot Work Allocation Model; and the regularisation of staff on casual contracts and adopting a sustainable approach to the employment of casual staff.

The joint GCU unions have welcomed this approach and look forward to further constructive developments in this coming year.

 

Joint statement agreed between GCU Unions and management on past year’s work and future priorities

The university unions and GCU management have for the first time adopted a joint assessment of the past year’s work. This has been published in the form of a joint chairs’ statement from Douglas Chalmers, current chair of the Joint Consultative Committee, and Jan Hulme, University Secretary. This was adopted after several discussions at the JCC and is one of the outcomes that emerged from the commissioning of an independent report ‘Building better relationships – a way forward for Glasgow Caledonian University and its trade unions’, which was written by Nita Clarke of the IPA in 2014.

One of the suggestions of Clarke’s report, which was cautiously welcomed by both unions and management, was that: ‘The work of the JCC should be positively, proactively and jointly communicated by the unions and GCU to the wider university community‘. Another was that: ‘At the heart of agreed behaviours should be a firm agreement on a no-surprise approach, with both sides committing to mutual discussion in good time and the earliest possible sharing of information‘.

Unions also particularly welcomed the proposal that: ‘Union representation should be considered a mark of status and representatives recognised particularly at departmental level for their contribution to the smoother running of university life.

Within the framework of the new approach suggested by Clarke, there has been an acknowledged improvement in the relationship between unions and management, and the approach to solving issues of difference. This is despite the fact that it was also a time when several periods of industrial action took place.

It is envisaged that the joint statement from the chairs of the JCC will be published simultaneously early in 2015, in Caledonian Connected, on the Staff Portal, and on this blog.

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 Unions clarify management’s misunderstandings

Following the misleading announcement by HR that current pay negotiations are ‘concluded’ the Combined Unions at Glasgow Caledonian issued the following statement to members today:

Hi all

You will have seen the email from the head of HR regarding the ongoing industrial dispute which four trade unions (EIS, UCU, UNISON and UNITE) and the decision of management at GCU to impose 1%.

This gives a misleading picture of the situation by stating “the 2013-14 pay round is concluded”.  This is NOT the case – even UCEA (the employers organisation) have stated this week “The UCEA Board is naturally disappointed that we have not been able to secure a New JNCHES settlement or conclusion in 2013-14” (Letter of 18th December 2013)

GCU along with many other HE institutions have decided to impose the meagre 1% rather than negotiate with the trade unions over fair pay in HE.   Our pay has faced a 13% cut over the last 5 years  whereas University management have had a jet set lifestyle with inflation busting increases to their already hefty salaries.

At our own institution the recently published accounts show that our Principal’s salary increased from £239,000 to £264,000 (page 24) and the number of staff employed by GCU earning over £70,000 grew from 44-52 (p25) – In 2005 only 13 people earned over £70,000 at GCU.

You can see details in the annual financial report here.

Also, comparable institutions to GCU like University of the West of Scotland  and Robert Gordon’s have given a one-off bonus alongside the imposition of 1% – unfortunately our employers have not shared any Christmas cheer with us.

So our dispute goes on after two successful strike days in 2013 which garnered support from our own Students’ Association at GCU.  It has been a long hard working year and we all deserve a break but we also deserve fair pay and engaging with this dispute will ensure we get it.

Have a relaxing break and a successful 2014!

Nick

Dr Nick McKerrell
Convenor of Glasgow Caledonian Combined Union Committee.

GCU Unions reject suggestion pay round is ‘concluded’

This dispute certainly isn't concluded yet, in anyone's terms

This dispute certainly isn’t concluded yet, in anyone’s terms

In an extremely surprising e-mail today university management at Glasgow Caledonian seem to have accepted the suggestion of the university employers representatives UCEA that the pay round has been ‘concluded’ and following this have decided to impose the sub inflation ‘rise’ of 1 percent on staff salaries.

An email to all GCU staff reads that: “The university employers’ representative, UCEA (University and College Employers Association), negotiate the national pay settlement with the staff unions on behalf of employers.   UCEA have now advised universities that the 2013-14 pay round is concluded and that participating institutions should implement the 1 % pay award.”

Even a brief on-line search (which we have provided above for the benefit of HR) would indicate that the use of the word ‘conclude’ is not merited here.

Very recently the Principal of UWS who authorised a one-off Christmas bonus to staff (as did the Principal of Robert Gordon university) approached the same issue by saying:

“I have, ….. asked that the University proceed with payment of the 1% uplift offered through those negotiations in December’s salaries, inclusive of back pay. This step should not be seen as undermining the national approach but as an action which seeks to balance the University’s commitment to the joint negotiating arrangements with a genuine concern for all staff
You will appreciate that in putting these measures in place the University is seeking to do all that it can to acknowledge the dedication of colleagues and your evident commitment to the future development of the University.”

The staff unions at Glasgow Caledonian together with the Students Association believe that university staff continue to have a valid case. Industrial action is still continuing and will increase in the coming months of the New Year.

GCU unions out in force on strike day December 3rd

The library, along with other departments and classes were affected

The library, along with other departments and classes were affected

Representatives of Glasgow Caledonian trade unions UCU, Unison, EIS and Unite expressed themselves as extremely heartened by the support they received from staff   on 3rd December following the failure of the UK university managements to seriously negotiate a realistic wages offer with university staff.

Having leafleted GCU students the previous day asking for support for the staff action, which was then translated into a clear drop in student attendance on the 3rd, they also received a message of support from the GCU Students Association, which was backing up a earlier on-line survey of students which had also come out in favour of the planned action. Two of the Student Association officers also attended  the Edinburgh rally held on the day of the strike.

A leaflet was issued the day before the action, asking for student support

A leaflet was issued the day before the action, asking for student support

Representing UCU Scotland at the lunchtime rally in Adelaide’s  in Bath Street,  local GCU president Douglas Chalmers called for the university management side to take their responsibility seriously and help create a properly resourced Higher Education sector where staff were treated in a professional manner, and students could be secure in knowing that they would be receiving a proper, well funded education.

Also speaking at the rally were Nick McKerrall President of EIS (also incidentally from GCU), and Unison Executive representative Davena Rankin – making up a triumvirate from Glasgow Caledonian, amongst the 5 strong speakers, with Gordon Casey from Unite and Ian Trushell bringing support from the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

GCU Green league success – Trade Union welcomes invite to be involved

People and planet logo2

The latest roll call of environmental achievement from the People and Planet Green League shows another impressive leap for our university – which the hard work of our staff should take credit for.

Glasgow Caledonian has increased its position in this table from 59th to 46th – following on from a previous increase the year before. Latest figures show us having achieved 41 points out of 70 on a wide ranging set of issues from our approach to fair trade, to whether we have a carbon management plan.

Unlike the NSS plans which are methodologically unsound and essentially a ‘lose-lose’ approach, the People and Planet league is robustly constructed and something we should strive to do well in.

Crucially one of the key indicators for the People and Planet is staff involvement, specifically Trade Union consultation on environmental plans. We wrongly reported on June 13th that the University had not invited information from the Trade Unions regarding this. In fact for the first time we had been contacted, but due to a mix-up (on our side) the meeting did not take place.  So we apologise for the original mis-reporting.

We’re pleased to say that we have now again been invited to talk about the University’s environmental approach and plans – something we welcome, and look forward to reporting on the discussions here positively.

We have long argued that full involvement of  Trade Unions in all aspects of university life is the best way of guaranteeing ‘buy-in’ and of constructing an approach fully reflective of the full university community.