Tag Archives: strike

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

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

 

 

UCU members now working to contract throughout UK

Work to contract_lunchFollowing up from our last two blog posts reporting on local action including the excellent Glasgow media coverage, the UCU has a page reporting all the activity https://www.ucu.org.uk/UCU-HE-strike-live

And now we move to action short of a strike by working to contracthttps://www.ucu.org.uk/heactionfaqs sets this out as:

  • performing no additional voluntary duties, such as out of hours cover, covering for colleagues (unless such cover is contractually required), or attending open days etc.
  • setting and marking no work beyond that work which you are contractually obliged to set and/or mark or which you are competent to do
  • attend no meetings where such attendance is voluntary on your part
  • undertake no duties that breach statutory guidance, health and safety policies or other significant employer’s policies.

Hours of Work
UCU has told GCU management that we have called ‘action short of a strike’ in the form of ‘not working in excess of the maximum number of hours stipulated in the affected employees’ contract of employment, or, where no maximum number of hours is stipulated, 37 hours per week (or such lesser number of hours as the case may be).’

What this means is that you should work no more than the maximum number of hours stipulated in your contract, or, where the contract is silent on the maximum number of hours, 37 hours in any normal working week. In a shorter working week, eg, a week in which there is a bank holiday, or you are on strike or lawfully at work for less than a week (eg, you are on holiday or you work a fraction of a full time post) the union asks that you work the appropriate fraction of the normal working week. Read more at https://www.ucu.org.uk/heactionfaqs

External Examining
UCU is appealing to members to resign positions as External Examiners – there is a collective letter in the Guardian that members might wish to read:
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/may/26/why-we-are-resigning-as-external-examiners, again the FAQ has more details. https://www.ucu.org.uk/heaction_externalexaminers

As ever, UCU@GCU will be encouraging members to take lunch breaks, leave on time and reclaim the weekend. It’s a bank holiday weekend coming up and the forecast is for sun, so perhaps you can make a start on the weeding or simply pot up some basil seeds for your windowsill. There’s plenty of outdoor activities going on around the Glasgow area as well as theatre, exhibitions and events, including the Southside Fringe Festival.  You can start planning your weekends from here: http://www.whatsonglasgow.co.uk/  Use the #fairpayinhe twitter hashtag to keep us up to date with what you’re doing instead of working all those extra hours you always do.

Members may find this page useful as a clear statement of the issues in our current dispute https://www.ucu.org.uk/fair-deal-for-HE

Thanks again for the support for your union, your colleagues and the future of HE

Thanks for your support on strike day 1!

Tent1Local UCU president Douglas Chalmers writes:

Although there was no doubt about the serious issues at stake, there was a carnival atmosphere on the picket line at GCU today, with inflatable balloons representing the gender pay gap, cupcakes, music, plus our usual gazebo, and of course, our incredibly talented members.

Cupcakes comparison (larger ones for males, smaller for females - like our salaries)

Cupcakes comparison (larger ones for males, smaller for females – like our salaries)

In what was acknowledged as the best turn out in recent disputes, all the gates were covered, including incoming vehicles whose drivers were spoken to.

Making the point on the gender pay gap

Making the point on the gender pay gap

We got tremendous support from other unions, including speakers at our gate side rally, and also support from the officers of the Students Association.

Reps of the GCU Students Association joined our picket line and spoke at our gate-side rally

Reps of the GCU Students Association joined our picket line and spoke at our gate-side rally

Members of the UCU Postgrad community were also out arguing for the end of casualised contracts.

A growing number of postgrads have joined UCU recently at GCU

A growing number of postgrads have joined UCU recently at GCU

A member of the GCU security team was sent down to speak to us following a ‘phone call from the Britannia Building’ informing us that  “if we didn’t turn the music down ‘the polis would be called.”

Fortunately better sense prevailed and no polis appeared, (but with  that the chance for a brilliant photo-shoot also disappeared).

More welcome on the picket line however, was one of the chefs from the kitchen delivering hot rolls commissioned and paid for by Unison@GCU.

The hot rolls arrived courtesy of Unison

The hot rolls arrived courtesy of Unison@GCU

The picnic atmosphere continued

The picnic atmosphere continued

Passing cars signalled their support and were acknowledged by our picketers

Car supporters were always acknowledged

Car supporters were always acknowledged

and following the end of activities at noon, there was a sizeable contingent from GCU UCU who joined staff from Glasgow university, Strathclyde, College of Art, and UWS. Speakers at the rally were myself for UCU Scotland, Helen Martin from the STUC, Rob Henthorne from NUS Scotland, Anna Ritchie-Allan from Close the Gap. Messages of support were also sent from Unite, EIS and others.

A well attended rally at Adelaides discussed the issues

A well attended rally at Adelaides discussed the issues

A new generation of pickets has been born…..

Scooter picket was a prominent supporter

Scooter picket was a prominent supporter

Adelaide’s was packed…

Adelaide needed more chairs added

We needed more chairs at Adelaide

Carnival3

The weather kept up

The sun even came out for us

The sun even came out for us – and scooters

And it was a great atmosphere all round.

GatesIn the next couple of days, a fuller photo record will be put up on our Flickr site

STRIKE ACTION UPDATE

A message from Douglas Chalmers, President UCU@GCU:

Picket 2You will have seen the message from Sally Hunt with the HE ballot result and the confirmed dates for strike action 25th and 26th May. This will be followed by members working to contract with effect from 25/05/2016. Full guidance will be issued this week on what you should and should not do.

  • No UCU member takes action lightly but since 2009, the cumulative loss to our pay (compared to rises in RPI) is 14.5%.
  • Despite it being 50 years since the Equal Pay Act, the continuing gender pay gap in UK higher education is shameful – the total gender pay gap currently stands at a staggering £528 million. Even at GCU, which is not the worst offender, the recent analysis of basic pay was able to show the overall pay gap favouring males was the following in each category: Campus services 24.7%, Academic 8.2%, Professional and Admin support 6.0%, Technical 5.0%, Senior managers (academic) 10.6%. 
    Only in the Senior Managers (Executive) and Senior Managers (Professional Support) was the gender gap in favour of females
  • The latest reported figures from HESA showed that the sector has over £1 billion in operating surpluses.
  • Widespread casualisation in the sector impacts on all staff terms and conditions and the rate of pay – according to HESA , there are 75,000 staff on highly casualised ‘atypical’ academic contracts.

We are asking for  a fair rate for the job – that job that has seen increased workload, more management targets and divisive performance management schemes. It is staff that deliver the excellent research and teaching and we are worth investing in. You can read more about the HE2016 action here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/he2016

UCU will be picketing across campus on both strike days  – look out for more information on how you can join in. Don’t forget to follow us on twitter @GCU_UCU

Countdown to marking boycott on April 28th

Layout 1UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt has written to members to confirm that a date has been set for members to begin an assessment boycott in the current pay dispute.

She wrote: ‘The Higher Education Committee met to review the current dispute and agree next steps. It was noted that members had already taken substantial industrial action in the campaign for fair pay and that in the continued absence of any movement from the employers, further escalated action would be necessary.

‘Having examined assessment timetables, HEC therefore confirmed the implementation of a marking boycott with effect from Monday 28 April.

‘This is a serious but unavoidable step for which the union will need to fully prepare members.

‘HEC therefore agreed that between now and 28 April the union should prioritise working with branches to maximise the impact of a marking boycott, including in the minority of institutions where most assessment has already been done.

‘This will include branch meetings to discuss the marking sanction, joint union meetings, early discussions with local students’ unions and continued campaigning activity including a focus on VC/Principals’ pay and perks.’

She added that UCU will also begin ‘detailed discussions with our colleagues in the National Union of Students (NUS) on the impact and practicalities of a marking boycott.

‘It was therefore agreed,’ she said, ‘that our current claims which set out the case for fair pay and equality in HE be continued in any new negotiations until its terms are met. This is the position we will suggest to the other HE unions. No member I have spoken to wishes to see this dispute escalate, but in the continued absence of meaningful negotiations this is our only alternative. Even now the timetable HEC has set provides a window of opportunity for the employers to address our just demands, which I hope they take’.

GCU Trade Unions send congratulations to students for active elections

Trade Unions at GCU today sent greetings to the GCU students who are nearing the end of their elections for their local student association officers, and pledged to continue to work with the new officers in the interests of the staff, students and the wider University.

“We are really pleased to see what appears to be such a vigorous campaign involving the maximum of students – we look forward with interest to the outcome, and to working together in the next period as we have in the past.  Students have benefited from the support of trade unions here, who have consistently argued for better resources to be put at their disposal.

We are also very grateful for the consistent support in our current campaign for fair pay on campus. We are sure that it has been pressure from students throughout the UK, as well as from staff industrial action that has made the employers agree to talk to staff again about pay at a UK level. We hope that students will keep up their support and pressure, so that it will not be necessary for staff to undertake a future marking boycott – which may be the only resort left to us  if the employers do not act responsibly.  We believe by working together, staff and students can ensure that a sensible and quick end to this dispute can be achieved. Thank you again for your support”