Do Not Let Afrin Become Another Kobane

Urgent Statement by academics and activists

We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is not breached by Turkey and that the people of Afrin in Syria, be allowed to live in peace.

Afrin, whose population is predominantly Kurdish, is one of the most stable and secure regions in Syria. With very little international aid, Afrin has taken in so many Syrian refugees in the last five years that its population has doubled to 400,000. Afrin is now surrounded by enemies: Turkish-supported jihadi groups, al Qaeda, and Turkey.… Read on ...

HAITI : Caribbean Dignity Unbowed.

Release from the University of the West Indies – Office of Professor Hilary Beckles – Historian – Vice Chancellor

The democratic, nation-building debt the American nation owes the Caribbean, and the Haitian nation in particular that resides at its core, is not expected to be repaid but must be respected. Any nation without a nominal notion of its own making can never comprehend the forces that fashion it origins.

Haiti’s Caribbean vision illuminated America’s way out of its colonial darkness. This is the debt President Trump’s America owes Toussaint L’Ouverture’s Haiti. It’s a debt of philosophical clarity and political maturity. It’s a debt of how to rise to its best human potential.… Read on ...

NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW

March and Demonstration
12pm, Saturday 3 February 
Assemble Gower Street Central London WC16

The NHS Winter Crisis has now descended into a perpetual year round  crisis. A crisis that has brought staff to their knees and patients languishing and even dying in overcrowded waiting rooms and hospital corridors.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

It is time this Government stops blaming patients, nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for their shortcomings. It’s time they start listening to the country who is sick of empty promises from the mouths of cowardly politicians. The Tories must heed the call of the public, staff and patients alike who demand that the NHS is not only funded properly but brought back into public hands away from the waste and demands of shareholders and bankers’ bonuses.… Read on ...

16 days in 16 ways

16 days of activism against gender based violence is an international campaign that organises at all levels, including the United Nations, Governments, NGOs and trade unions.

It’s initiated by The Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, a feminist human rights organisation. The activism period is 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) – 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

UCU is supporting this campaign and will be using this period to focus on our priorities and suggest 16 ways in which branches and members can get involved. We particularly want to encourage branches to raise the model policies on sexual harassment and domestic abuse.

Read on ...

Strike for USS

UCU’s higher education committee has agreed to launch an industrial action ballot in the dispute over the future of USS. They have said serious and sustained industrial action is required in the face of damaging proposals from the employers which would effectively destroy the pension scheme.

  • USS pensions already LOWER than school teachers and ‘new’ university academics
  • employers can afford to pay more but REFUSE
  • latest proposals end guaranteed pensions and REDUCE retirement income for all.

Message from UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt

Since the result of UCU’s ballot in which 86.6% of members said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend pensions, I have been trying my best to reach agreement with your employers on a way forward for our University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension fund.

Read on ...

The expulsion of Moshe Machover from the Labour Party

“This branch deplores the decision to expel Emeritus Professor and distinguished mathematician Moshe Machover from the Labour Party for alleged ‘anti-semitism’.
Moshe is an Israeli citizen of Jewish heritage who has been a life-long critic of Zionism and of Israel which he has defined as a ‘settler/colon state’.
He is a life-long socialist and committed opponent of all forms of racism.
We consider this expulsion to be an example of attempts to re-define anti-semitism so as to include all critics of Zionism and of Israel.
We call on UCU members in the Labour Party to support the demand for Moshe’s expulsion to be rescinded.”… Read on ...

Defend USS Pensions

Currently, there is a consultation of UCU members in pre-92 universities on their willingness to undertake industrial action to stop the destruction of the USS pension scheme. Carlo Morelli and Marion Hersh, members of the UCU Joint Negotiating Committee for USS,  make the case for voting YES for action to defend pensions.

THE THREAT

USS is consulting with employers and has suggested closing the Defined Benefits (DB) pension scheme and replacing it by a fully Defined Contributions (DC) scheme or significantly reducing the threshold e.g. to £15,000, with pension on salaries above that in the DC scheme.

This would be a real disaster for all USS members. … Read on ...

Support the precarious workers rally on Wednesday September 27th

London Region UCU is supporting the precarious labour protest on Wednesday 27th September, the day of the Uber employment status appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

9-11am Employment Tribunal, EC4Y 0DS London

The case against Uber brought by two trade unionists could have wide ranging consequences for all workers in the so-called gig economy.

As the media spotlight will focus heavily on this trial, this protest is a way of turning some of that media interest to other precarious workers’ struggles happening now in the UK.

We already expect cleaners, receptionists, security officers, couriers, Deliveroo riders, cinema workers and many more to be marching on the day.… Read on ...

Arrest and detention of Three Relatives of Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a document expressing “grave concern” to the Bahraini government at the allegations of arbitrary arrest and detention of three relatives of Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei, as well as death threats and treatment amounting to torture.

Security officers arrested AlWadaei’s brother-in-law Sayed Nazar AlWadaei, mother-in-law Hajar Mansoor Hasan, and maternal cousin Mahmood Marzooq Mansoor in March 2017. They were reportedly targeted in relation to Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei’s human rights work. After days of detention without official charge, the three individuals were presented with terrorism charges, based largely on coerced confessions and “confidential sources”.… Read on ...

Iran: Release teacher union leader Esmail Abdi

Esmail Abdi, leader of the Tehran branch of the Iranian Teachers’ Trade Association, was unjustly sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court.
The February 22 verdict came eight months after he was arrested while en route to Armenia to obtain a travel visa to attend Education International’s World Congress in Ottawa, Canada. In custody since his arrest, Abdi was charged with “gathering and colluding with intent to harm public order” and “propaganda against the system.” His colleagues say that these charges were prompted by his legitimate trade union activities and leadership role.
Prior to Abdi’s incarceration on June 27, 2015, nationwide rallies were held to protest at the low wages that leave the majority of Iranian teachers below the poverty line.… Read on ...