Showing that you’d have to get up early in the morning to beat the unions at GCU, a piper regales the security staff as they march off the campus at the turn of midnight on the 29th. Organised by Unison and supported by the joint unions – these staff braved the worst weather Glasgow could throw at them. Here’s a great video of it from YouTube, by Keith Boyd (Thanks Keith), followed by some good photos:
A message from Unison:
At the stroke of Midnight tonight, UNISON members will be walking out on strike. A piper has been booked and our security officers on duty that night will be piped off campus.
This is an important moment and I would love it if as many of you could be there as possible. We will be gathering on campus from 11.30 and start the walkout at midnight.
Looking forward to seeing you on the picket line at some point either tonight or tomorrow.
(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.”
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”
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.
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.
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
To begin with a quote from the message management formally gave the Unions at the consultation meeting yesterday
“We are not at this moment in a position to guarantee no compulsory redundancies, but have stated that we will remove the risk of redundancy in respect of this consultation if and when we are in a position to do so”
This was followed by the email yesterday which said that management could “ unequivocally confirm” that there would be no threat to school based staff. Management informed us of this yesterday and asked the unions to endorse this move, we rejected this. The Unions have never been given detailed structures of what the administrative support for schools would be – unlike in the Central Clusters. This was confirmed in the message of Mike Smith on 18th April:
“You may recall that the University Court paper dated 3 March provided some information regarding the proposals for administrative and support structures in the new Schools. The Restructuring Coordination Group are continuing to work on further detail regarding these proposals, including financial analysis of where savings could be made within Schools in order to contribute to our £5million savings target. We plan to circulate this additional proposal information week commencing 2 May.”
Further today a message has been sent out that this promise has been extended to staff in Facilities and Estate management.
“Divide and Rule” Continue reading
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
Unison Member at GCU? Here’s a message from Branch Secretary Davena Rankin reminding you about the meetings on the consultative ballot.
UNISON Scotland has condemned planned cuts by Glasgow Caledonian University, claiming students will face a dark future if cuts go ahead.
Earlier this month, management announced plans to cut 95 jobs at the university – a move which staff say will hit the most vulnerable students hardest. Today staff will be given an outline of the cuts and told which jobs face the axe, with support and administrative staff most at risk.
Figures show that the number of support staff at the university has dropped by more than 25 per cent in the last five years. This is in stark contrast to the rise in higher paid staff at the university which has trebled in the same period (figures listed below).
Davena Rankin, branch secretary at Glasgow Caledonian University, said:
“These cuts spell a dark future for our students. Last year alone, more than 16,000 students sought support from our staff – vital support which can make the difference between a student staying on at university or dropping out. Despite this, many of these staff will find out today that their jobs will go. Continue reading
7.30 Taxi driver James wishes us all the best “it’s really about time somebody talked sense … my daughter’s studying mid-wifery at the Cally and you’ll get her support.” Thanks James.
7.45 “No problem’s insoluble with a big enough plastic bag” (Tom Leonard) So with three black bin bags full of stuff plus half a dozen helpers as we approach the gates to put the tables up, we feel invincible…….
7.48 Talking of Vince, our local UCU President, where is he with the coffee…….?
7.49 Vince here but no coffee yet ….”hard times….” he suggests…….
8.00 First students here…. I’m impressed
8.02 First discussion with a Head of department as comes in. They’re not overly impressed with management either……. Continue reading