Tribute to Graham Scott

I first met Graham when he joined the NATFHE committee at the college, first Kilburn Poly, later the College of NW London. We were an extraordinary bunch of people who were almost all way to the left and led the branch on a number of exemplary issues: supporting flat –rate rather than proportionate pay increases, supporting Troops out of Ireland demonstrations and regularly taking an anti-racist stand. We campaigned for a head of Department who ‘joked’ about black students being like black dogs to lose his job and for a black lecturer, who had exposed police cadet racism and was threatened with dismissal,not to lose his .

Graham had solidarity baked into his bones. His was the voice of both reason and compassion throughout and in sometimes fiery meetings could be relied upon to be both incisive and to offer calm .

I was delighted when he later reappeared at our Retired branch.… Read on ...

Climate change, COP26, zero carbon economy and job creation

Our branch’s motion to UCU Congress was composited with others and passed
Votes in favour 220
Votes against 4
Registered abstentions 4

The COP26 talks in Glasgow in November 2021 come at a crucial time. According to a recent report by the Environment Agency, climate change is hitting the ‘worst case scenario’. This means hotter temperatures, more extreme weather conditions, drought, famine, ecosystem destruction, biodiversity loss and much more. And as always it will be communities in the Global South who feel the worst impacts.

While we welcome any action to deal with the climate crisis, we need to beware false solutions that focus on the market or billionaires to rescue us. That is why the mobilisations for the COP26 – in Glasgow and in local towns and cities – are crucial. And it is important that trade unions are at the heart of these mobilisations, calling for climate justice, a just transformation for workers and one million climate jobs.Read on ...

UCU Congress Climate Motion 2021

Conference recognises that a zero-carbon economy has huge implications for the jobs of UCU members. Job creation and measures needed to meet climate targets must be a central focus for UCU strategy. We call upon the NEC to:

  1. Support the COP26 coalition. Mobilise for Glasgow and G7 events by supporting branches climate solidarity action with students, unions, and campaign organisations
  2. Review UCU activity and infrastructure and draw up a plan for the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions with a progress report to the 2022 conference
  3. Review all UCU training programmes and Branch guidance to ensure that the appointment of Green Reps and Green New Deal (GND) bargaining is referenced.
  4. Provide guidance to branches on engagement with local and regional authorities around green jobs and skills
  5. Establish a Climate Action Network with a formal role in UCU structure
  6. Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill Alliance

Stan Newens 1930-2021

We regret to announce that our friend and comrade, Stan Newens, has passed away.
Here is an appreciation of Stan written by his friend Jeremy Corbyn:

Stan Newens – Lifelong campaigner for internationalism and justice
It is so sad to hear of the death of Stan Newens, former MP, MEP, and lifelong campaigner for internationalism, justice, and the people of his former constituencies of Epping, Harlow, and then Central London (MEP).
I first met Stan in 1970 when he was campaigning for Labour in Shropshire, and I got to know him very well as one of the leading lights of the London Cooperative society, then as Chair of Liberation, and much later as the Member of the European Parliament for Central London, which included Islington North.
Stan was born in the East End and was a conscientious objector against National Service in the 1940s and was thus sent to work in a coalmine in North Staffordshire.… Read on ...


All cleaners on the University of London contract have been brought in-house, following a relentless campaign that led to the in-sourcing of their reception-based colleagues and security officers earlier this year.

Please share and spread the good news:

The In-House brings back an equality that has been long denied to outsourced workers. This transfer also means important material gains: enhanced annual leave, pay raise, dignified pensions, enhanced parental leave. Rights you should have never been denied to outsourced workers
This Victory is a major vindication of the outsourced workers’ strategy of combining strikes with a national boycott of the university’s events.
In these challenging times for precarious workers, we believe this victory brings hope and shows other outsourced workers the path to follow: a path of determination, boldness, unity and solidarity.

Support and donate…
Maritza Castillo Calle, chair of University of London Branch of their trade union, the IWGB, said:

“Today, All the cleaning workers joined the University directly today, after a vibrant and brilliant campaign.Read on ...

A message from UEL UCU requesting support

UEL set to make the only compulsory redundancies in London higher education institutions

Dear friends and colleagues

We are writing to tell you about the dispute at the University of East London over restructuring and cuts that are happening now and proposed for the future. We ask for your support in resisting the changes that are currently being forced through at UEL.

These are the changes we are facing:

  • UEL is the only London university making compulsory redundancies
  • UEL put 441 staff at risk of redundancy, and lost 100 staff with Voluntary Severance
  • union victimisation – the 11 compulsory redundancies include 4 UCU activists, including the Chair and V/Chair
  • unnecessary job losses have left staff with unsustainable workloads
  • cuts have damaged world-class programmes and research & the university’s capacity to carry out its basic functions.
  • increased money wasted on top management and consultants
  • top-down management, squashing internal scrutiny

What is happening:

Despite Covid-19, UEL has recruited well, and has met its financial targets for this year.… Read on ...

French unions lead mourning of assassinated teacher Samuel Paty

Statement from Education International:

In gatherings all over France, tribute was paid to Samuel Paty, 47, a history, and geography teacher who was the victim of a terrorist attack near his school, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in the Paris suburbs. Paty was decapitated following an Internet campaign against the use in his class of a caricature of Mohammed. The apparent murderer, a man of 18 years of age, was killed in a confrontation with police.

Paty had used the same caricature in his courses on freedom of expression in previous years without incident. It was one of the images published by “Charlie Hebdo”, a satiric magazine. That was the “justification” provided for an attack on 7 January 2015 where 12 people were killed and 11 injured. Four others were killed during a related hostage taking at a Kosher supermarket. People accused of helping the killers are currently standing trial for their role in the attacks.… Read on ...

Margaret Dewey

Margaret Dewey, who sadly has died recently, was a key part of the lively NATFHE branch at the College of North-West London. She was an ESOL lecturer and at some point in charge of ESOL in the long-gone days when the government encouraged and almost properly funded ESOL, even if college management had, we suspected, a nasty habit of siphoning off some of its funds. The College was spread over many sites (Margaret mainly in Harlsden)  and the union provided a bridge for its left-wing activists. We had a ‘Rank and File ‘ college grouping , even if we didn’t call ourselves that, where we plotted and became good friends. Our branch, with Margaret in the fore, raised issues which we regularly-though not always – won at college, regional  and national levels, ranging from confronting racism towards staff or students to pay rates.

But Margaret was more than a union militant.… Read on ...

An end to incorporation

An article appeared in FE week reporting that the government is about to release a white paper on the future of Further Education. It says that the government is planning to take control of the sector.

It quotes Gavin Williamson saying:

“The FE sector is playing a pivotal role in making sure more people can access the high-quality education and training they need to progress and will support our economic recovery following the Covid-19 outbreak. Our reforms will build on and strengthen the excellent work already happening across the country and will ensure the FE sector is at the heart of every community.”

UCU has for a long time campaigned to end incorporation and to end the marketisation of the sector by bringing it back under democratic public ownership. Whilst we should welcome the reported move to bring the sector back into public ownership, we should be cautious about how the move is being framed by government.… Read on ...