News and Updates

1 May 2014

UCU TWEET TO UPDATE ON PAY BALLOT RESULTS:

“Higher education (HE) pay ballot result: 84% vote to accept pay offer. UCU’s HE committee meets tomorrow to discuss result. Turnout was 53%.”


2% PAY OFFER FOR HE STAFF PUT TO UCU MEMBERS – MARKING BOYCOTT POSTPONED TO TUESDAY 6th MAY

16 April 2014

The Universities and Colleges’ Employers Association (UCEA) has offered a 2% pay increase for UK higher education staff at the latest round of negotiations. This offer will now be put to members of UCU in a consultative ballot.

The 2% offer was made at a meeting between the education unions and the employer body on Tuesday (15 April). UCU’s higher education committee met today (16 April) to consider the proposal and has agreed to ballot members on the offer. The ballot will conclude on Thursday, 1 May, and the committee will consider the results at a meeting on Friday, 2 May.

In light of this development, UCU has agreed to postpone the start of the planned marking boycott until Tuesday, 6 May so that the members’ decision on the new offer can be fully considered. The boycott, which was originally scheduled to start on Monday, 28 April, is planned as part of the ongoing pay dispute following last year’s pay offer of 1%.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘Following this offer, UCU has decided to ballot members on their views. It is only right that they make the ultimate decision about what happens next.’

 


 

14 April 2014

UEA ANNOUNCE 100 % PAY DEDUCTION FROM ALL STAFF WHO PARTICIPATE IN UCU MARKING BOYCOTT.

Last week, UEA announced that it will deduct 100% pay from staff who participate in the UCU Marking Boycott on April 28th. From thereon, any teaching or administrative work that they carry out during this period, would be considered as voluntary, and not paid.

We believe this to be a concerted act of intimidation and a disgraceful attack on the rights of staff, as they take action to achieve fair pay.

UEA states that these “contingency plans” are being made “in order to minimise the potential impact on students.” However, it is clear that this action will do entirely the opposite.

The UCU have repeatedly pressed that it would rather have the dispute resolved as quickly as possible without disruption to students’ work. Now, Universities across the UK, including UEA, are locking staff out entirely. Certainly, it is likely that this will only further disruption, ultimately serving to drag out the dispute, and increasingly disgruntle underpaid and undervalued staff.

This is a clear tactic of intimidation that has been ordered to all Universities by the national employer UCEA – and our university has followed suit. Indeed, there is no end date for the boycott. This means that UEA is effectively threatening to remove staff pay for an indefinite amount of time; a clear sign of the university’s unwillingness to negotiate a fair deal and end the dispute.

This comes as a harsh blow to staff and students, and it is vital that we stand together. We condemn this recent announcement and challenge UEA to respect the democratic rights of our staff and to pressure UCEA to meet the grievances of UCU and its members.

“Dear Professor Edward Acton,

It has come to my attention that the University will be deducting 100% pay from staff that participate in the UCU Marking Boycott on April 28th. I believe this to be a deeply unfair attack on the rights of staff, which will only serve to drag out the pay dispute even longer. Furthermore, this is likely to cause greater disruption to my academic progression.

UEA states that it is seeking to minimize the potential impact on students, and hopes that the dispute will be resolved before April 28th. It is clear to me that for a fair pay deal to be reached as soon as possible, students, staff and universities must stand together. UEA should not be intimidating staff with the threat of pay removal, and undermining their fight for fair pay. The University should be lobbying UCEA to ensure a decent settlement is made in the upcoming negotiations on April 15th, before any further disruption is caused.

As a student at UEA, I demand that you reconsider this recent announcement, respect the democratic rights of staff, and pressure UCEA to meet the grievances of UCU and its members.

Yours sincerely,

 
xxxxxxxxxx”

 


 

11 April 2014

LECTURES COULD BE CANCELLED ACROSS THE UK AFTER UNIVERSITIES (INCLUDING UEA) SAY THEY WILL DEDUCT 100% OF PAY TO STAFF INVOLVED IN THE MARKING BOYCOTT.

Latest UCU Press Release:

The unprecedented approach from universities comes ahead of pay talks between unions and universities on Tuesday (15 April) aimed at halting a marking boycott from UCU due to start on Monday 28 April.

Universities have issued warnings to staff that if they participate in the union’s marking boycott they will dock 100% of their pay and anyservices provided during the boycott will be considered voluntary and not paid.

The union said the threats amounted to little more than bullying and removed any pretence that universities had students’ best interests at heart. The increasingly bitter pay dispute has been running since October when UCU members first went on strike.

UCU said it wanted the dispute resolved as quickly as possible without disruption to students’ work, but added that universities effectively locking staff out would have an even greater impact on campus life.

University staff have seen their pay fall by 13% in real terms since 2009 and have taken strike action six times this academic year. The employers have so far refused to improve their 1% pay offer, which prompted UCU to prepare for the marking boycott.

The boycott would mean that staff would refuse to mark students’ work (including coursework essays, portfolios, dissertations, films, works of art etc) or to communicate marks to anyone, potentially impacting on students’ ability to graduate.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘Universities that deduct 100% of pay from staff participating in our marking boycott will be showing a clear disregard for their students. This threat is little more than an attempt to bully staff from taking part in industrial action as part of a legitimate grievance against efforts to drive down their pay.

This dispute has been running since October and the only reason a marking boycott is on the cards is because of the employers’ refusal to make a decent pay offer. Staff have taken strike action six times and we have been left with no option but to move towards this ultimate sanction.

‘You cannot claim to have students’ best interests at heart and then escalate the situation by effectively locking staff out of their place of work.

‘Nobody wants to see a marking boycott, but we are encouraged that the National Union of Students passed a motion in support of our action at their national conference last week. The time has come for the employers to come back to the negotiating table with a serious and fair pay offer.’

 


 

10 April 2014

UEA’s FAQs ON THE MARKING BOYCOTT:

Click here to read the full Frequently Asked Questions material that has been released by the University. If you have further questions, email them to union.communications@uea.ac.uk and we’ll see what we can do!

2 April 2014

MEETING BETWEEN STUDENT UNION AND UEA:

UEA will be sending around their FAQs before the end of the week via email. We have put forward your questions and have been promised that these will be answered within the text.

In our meeting, the University have demonstrated that it will be taking a number of steps to ensure that there will be minimal disruption to student study and academic progression. These details will be included in their email so keep a keen eye on your inbox.

If you have further questions, please forward them to us and we’ll try and get some answers. Or indeed, email the Vice Chancellor and tell him that even a chance of disruption is not good enough. A settlement needs to happen soon so that our grades will not be subject to delay.


 

27 March 2014

RECENT UPDATE ON 2014-15 PAY NEGOTIATIONS, AS FROM THE UCU:

UCU and its sister trade unions met with the Universities and Colleges’ Employers Association (UCEA) yesterday (26th March) in a formal meeting to discuss the pay claim for 2014-15. The employers made no offer but did agree to bring forward the next meeting to Tuesday, 15 April 2014.

UCU Head of Bargaining, Michael MacNeil, said: ‘Since we last sat down with the employers to formally discuss pay there have been six strikes by university staff -three full day ones and three two hour stoppages – and we have announced plans for a marking boycott.  It is clear that students want a fair and speedy resolution to this dispute, and UCU is continuing to work hard to achieve this before our marking boycott begins on 28 April.

‘Yesterday the employers did at least recognise that the falling value of staff pay is a real issue, but they did not make an offer at the meeting. We welcome the fact that UCEA have agreed to bring forward the next meeting to 15 April, as this gives them one more chance to make a fair offer before the marking boycott begins. ‘


See more news from the UCU here.

 

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