The importance of solidarity to our disputes – Why money matters

We are entering a crucial phase in UCU’s two concurrent disputes. Our second wave of strikes represents an escalation in terms of strike days and the number of members involved in action.

Donate to the fighting fund…

These are disputes about the future of Higher Education. It has become clear to people watching the dispute from the outside what was already obvious to UCU members – that we are challenging the marketisation of education through fighting against its pernicious effects on staff.

Generalise
The stakes are now very high. We will not pursue these disputes to successful conclusions if we fight them in a sectional way which fails to generalise them outwards.… Read on ...

New Year – new struggles

The new Tory government has committed to imposing new anti-strike laws, specifically targeting railway workers. There is now an urgent need for the labour movement to renew campaigning against restrictions on our right to organise and take action.

There is a meeting on 14 January called by trade unions in Islington to plan a campaign against these new proposed laws. Tuesday 14th January, 6-8 pm Islington Town Hall. Sponsored by RMT (Finsbury Park), TSSA, UNISON, NEU, UCU and Islington Trades Union Council

Organising meeting
Free Our Unions will be holding a campaign organising meeting on Wednesday 8 January at 19:00, in the Lambeth Unison offices (Blue Star House, 234-244 Stockwell Road, London SW9 9SP; near Brixton Tube).… Read on ...

No Racism on Campus

The University College Union (UCU) and Stand Up to Racism are launching a #NoRacismOnCampus tour of university campuses in the autumn term.

Our campuses are often at the forefront of the rise in racism we have seen recently. The rights of EU students and university workers are threatened by Johnson’s right wing vision of Brexit. Institutional racism impacts the experience of BAME staff and students. Muslim students are unfairly targeted by the Prevent agenda. And most recently we’ve seen far right groups like Generation Identity attempt to use pseudo-science racist argument to gain a foothold.

This tour of meetings will bring together students and staff to discuss how we can come together to combat this rise in racism and make our campuses racism-free zones.

Real Living Wage for Mitie cleaners

From Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary

I’m writing to you to ask you to support RMT members fighting poverty pay. Network Rail have contracted out the cleaning of six of their stations to an outsourcing company. Our members who clean stations at Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street, Leeds and Birmingham New Street work for Network Rail but are employed by Mitie Group, one of the biggest outsourcing firms in Britain. At the moment they are paid the National Minimum Wage and they’re fighting to win at least the Real Living Wage.

The treatment of these people is a scandal.Read on ...

Ariel Settlement University

The motion below has been passed overwhelmingly by Exeter UCU:

Branch notes that Israeli settlements in occupied territory constitute a breach of international law, as is affirmed by (among many others) the British Government, the United Nations (Security Council and General Assembly), the International Court of Justice, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention.

Branch notes therefore that, because Ariel University is built in a settlement, for the University of Exeter to recognise degrees from Ariel University, or to collaborate with Ariel University in any way, would be complicity in the breaking of international law.Read on ...

Victory for campaigners as government pledges £32.3m to buy back college campus

FE Week Reports:

The government has pledged up to £32.3 million to help buy back a college campus that serves the community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire – marking a huge win for campaigners.

The funding will support the recovery and refurbishment of Kensington and Chelsea College’s site on Wornington Road, as well as its merger with Morley College.

The Wornington site was sold for £25.3 million to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 2016, despite heavy local opposition.

This is a hard fought victory for the North Kensington community

An independent review conducted by consultancy firm Kroll later concluded that the sale was not in the interests of its local community and KCC’s new leaders branded the sale as “plainly wrong” and “shameful”.Read on ...

Ruskin College under fire for trade union victimisation

Ruskin College in Oxford has been accused of trade union victimisation following a string of disciplinary and redundancy threats directed at UCU members.

Three union reps are facing disciplinary investigations. One of them, Lee Humber, suspended for “spurious reasons” just days after the local branch passed a motion of no confidence in the principal.

Please sign the petition calling for his reinstatement.

The college has said it intends to commence disciplinary investigations into what UCU considers to be the trade union duties and activities of a further two UCU reps. The union said the college should be responding to the issues facing the college, such as financial deficits and course closures, instead of shooting the messengers raising concerns.… Read on ...