Tag Archives: Vince Mills

Student ‘Teach-Out’ on independence a success at GCU

The debate on the independence referendum was a good natured success

The debate on the independence referendum was a good natured success

Part of the UCU’s latest 2 hour strike on February 10th saw a ‘teach-out’ hosted in the students association building of GCU where the staff and students present listened to opposing cases for a ‘Yes’ vote and a ‘No’ vote in the referendum.

Ably chaired by Steward Davidson from Social Sciences, both speakers claimed they had won, though unlike in September to come, no vote was taken.

Feb10Gate activity

As at previous events, a good turnout of pickets in the morning

Earlier some active picket line activity at the gate had seen the distribution of a special leaflet explaining our action and inviting students to come along to the discussion later that morning.

Those at the debate suggested that this had been a valuable addition to the activity of the branch and suggested that similar activity might be carried out in future.

Balloons at the ready before the picket

Balloons at the ready before the picket

UCU Vice Presidential Candidate outlines why UCU at Glasgow Caledonian is growing

Innovative activity on issues such as International Women’s Day, Equality and Diversity, Student Support, Health and Wellbeing, as well as successful action against threatenened redundancies, on pensions and against cuts in real wages have helped make UCU at GCU the leading  branch in Scotland in terms of growth, according to Douglas Chalmers, President of the local UCU branch. Douglas is standing in the current election for Vice President of the UCU in Scotland, and Vince Mills, VP of the local UCU branch put some questions to Douglas regarding some of the main issues facing the union and Scottish education. This can be found below. Andy Samuels of Abertay University is also contesting the position of Vice President UCU Scotland

GCU Unions urge – Say no to austerity from Westminster or Holyrood

Unions at GCU are urging their members to sign the Peoples Charter petition of the Scottish Parliament.

The Charter was launched in the lead up to the 2010 General Election as a response to the economic crisis and the moves by the elite to use the financial situation to promote austerity. The Charter has 6 key themes: A fair economy for a fairer Britain; More and better jobs; Decent homes for all; Protect and improve our public services – no cuts; Build a secure and sustainable future for all; Fairness and Justice.

The People’s Charter is supported by the TUC and the STUC. UCU Scotland and other unions in Higher Education have been involved in the Scottish Organising Committee for the People’s Charter since its inception. This particular petition was lodged with the Scottish Parliament by the university’s own Vince Mills – vice president of UCU here.

The closing date is November 2nd. Many union members have already signed – if you haven’t done so yet – here’s your chance.

Sign the petition here

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….’

Live blogging from UCU picket line at GCU

7.26 am Watch this space….

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…….

Constructing the 'official' picket line....

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

‘Egregious dissemblance’ from GCU management

GCU management reported on the BBC website that staff have broken through the £70k salary threshold because of nationally negotiated salary increases: http://news.stv.tv/scotland/west-central/231687-top-salaries-at-glasgow-caledonian-university-branded-disgraceful/

However, the range of salaries on the scale subject to national negotiation is here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2210 and as you will see the highest salary falls far short of £70k. Any member of staff who earns more than £55 535 has a salary individually negotiated with the university and their salary is outside of national bargaining structure. To blame ‘disgraceful’ salaries on national bargaining is an egregious dissemblance, particularly in the light of the evidence of HE employer’s attitudes to national bargaining: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=411903&c=1

Vince Mills has written to the BBC on behalf of GC UCU branch asking that this inaccuracy be corrected.