Banner Theatre play sponsorship by Essex UCU

On 14 September 2016, the Banner Theatre will put on a play at sponsored by NUT & in celebration of 125 anniversary of

Essex UCU members can obtain 2 for 1 tickets- see email on 07/09/16 to all members or contact for details.

We’ll post a review after for those that can’t make it!

Next stages of strike action begin (June 2016)

HE pay negotiations 2016-17

Next wave of strike 10 June

6 June 2016

Members at the University of Winchester will lead the next wave of strikes as they walk out in a row over pay on Friday 10 June to coincide with an open day for potential students and their parents.

University of Winchester to kick off nationwide wave of strikes in escalating pay row

Next steps in pay dispute

2 June 2016

UCU HE sector conference has agreed the next steps in its dispute. University open days and graduation ceremonies will face disruption over the summer as individual union branches take strike action to coincide with the events. The action includes:

  • disruption targeted at open days and graduation days in the summer
  • an assessment boycott to start in the autumn; and
  • external examiners continue to resign their positions on exam boards.

UCU confirms next steps in university pay dispute

External examiners resign over unfair pay

27 May 2016

More than 1,000 academics have already resigned from their roles as external examiners in universities across the UK, with thousands more expected to join them in coming weeks, the GuardianOpens new window has reported.

In an escalation of our industrial action over pay, 50 professors have signed a letter to the paperOpens new window voicing their opposition to what they see as the ‘unfairness of the current pay policies of our universities and their impact on staff and their students.’

Urging others to follow their lead, they conclude that ‘We love our work as external examiners not least because it brings us into contact with academics from around the country. The high-quality work we see confirms to us that staff deserve better from institution heads.

‘We have therefore resigned from our external examiner posts and will not be taking up new posts in order to demonstrate that there will be no “business as usual” until we have a commitment from our universities to fair pay in higher education.’

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt also wrote to members this morning thanking them for the strong show of strike action on 25 & 26 May.

More information for external examiners is available here.

UCU confirms two-day strike at UK universities over pay

UCU are holding a two-day national strike at UK universities as part of an ongoing dispute over pay.

UCU members in higher education will walk out on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May. Staff will also begin working to contract from 25 May, which means they will refuse to work overtime, set additional work or undertake any voluntary duties like covering timetabled classes for absent colleagues.

If no agreement is reached in the coming weeks, members have agreed to target further strike action in June and July, and are considering additional action in August to coincide with the release of A-level results. The union is also beginning preparations for a boycott of the setting and marking of students’ work, to begin in the autumn if an acceptable offer has still not been made.

The dispute has arisen following a pay offer of 1.1% from the employer body, the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA), which the union has described as ‘an insult’. UCU said universities could afford to pay more and that the latest offer does little to address the real terms pay cut of 14.5% suffered by higher education staff since 2009.

The squeeze on staff salaries comes at a time when pay and benefits for university leaders have increased, on average, by 3%, with the average pay and pensions package for vice-chancellors standing at over £270,000.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt said: ‘Members in higher education have sent a clear message to employers that, after six years of real-terms pay cuts amounting to 14.5%, they will not tolerate a continued squeeze on their income. Industrial action which impacts on students is never taken lightly, but staff feel that they have been left with no alternative.

‘A 1.1% offer is an insult to the hard work and dedication of higher education staff, particularly in light of the 3% average pay rise enjoyed by vice-chancellors this year. The ball is now in UCEA’s court, but the employers need to come back to the table with a much improved offer if they wish to avoid significant disruption to students in the coming months.’

FE colleagues on strike for Fair Pay

UCU and UNISON back strike action by further education college staff

24 February 2016 | last updated: 23 February 2016

Thousands of staff at further education colleges across England are set to walk out today causing major disruption to lessons.

Lecturers, librarians, technicians, cleaners and caretakers who belong to UNISON and the University and College Union (UCU) are among those taking part in the one-day strike over pay.

The protest is against a recommended pay freeze by the Association of Colleges, following several years where staff have had very low pay rises, resulting in a real-terms pay cut for some of up to 17 per cent.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis – who is to show his support for striking workers by visiting a college picket line in London later today – said:

‘Some colleges have promised their employees a pay rise, but the vast majority are determined not to budge from the zero per cent recommended. We urge the Association to follow the example of those more enlightened colleges who want to come back to the table to try to resolve this dispute.

‘The real villains in this dispute are government ministers, whose funding cuts over several years have left colleges in dire financial straits. But it shouldn’t be further education employees paying the price.

‘After years of pay freezes and real terms pay cuts, staff have been left with no choice but to take action to win a fair deal. It’s time for the college employers to do the right thing, get back around the table and make a decent pay offer that rewards all college staff for their dedication and hard work.’

UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt – who will address a rally for further education staff in London – added:

‘A pay freeze is an insult to the commitment and enthusiasm of staff working in further education, and fails to address the real-terms pay cut they have suffered in recent years. Strike action is always a last resort but our members are clear that the Association of Colleges needs to return to the table with an appropriate pay offer in order to resolve this dispute.’

Three quarters (74 per cent) of UCU members who voted in the union’s ballot at the end of last year backed strike action. Last month, UNISON also backed industrial action with two thirds (66 per cent) of those who voted backing the walkout.

As well as picket lines at hundreds of colleges across England, there will be three rallies for further education staff in Manchester, Birmingham and London. Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle and shadow further education minister Gordon Marsden will address the London rally, which takes place at the Emmanuel Centre in Marsham Street (SW1P) from 1.00pm – 3.30pm. The Birmingham rally will be at the Irish Centre, 14-20 High Street, Digbeth from 12pm – 2pm. The Manchester event takes place at the Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester between 12.30pm and 2pm.

`Rate for the Job’ – are you paid fairly?

As part of our national campaign for fair pay within higher and further education, UCU have launched a new part of the website to collate and publish salary levels from around the country in order to create an upward pressure upon pay and support our national negotiators.

Use ‘Rate for the Job’ to:

  1. Compare your salary to similar staff in your and other universities
  2. See how the value of your pay has been affected by recent below inflation pay rises
  3. Check how big the gender pay gap is in your institution

Help us to share this initiative by directing non-members colleagues to our blog and inviting them to partake or, better still, to join the union.