The tenth issue of Education Worker, the bulletin of the Education Workers Network of SolFed focuses on victimisation in education, including articles on victimisation of NUT reps, the Halesowen Four and London Met.
After the last UCU pensions strike in March, several rank & file union members, upset at the lack of inter-union unity, set up the Manchester University Staff Against the Cuts group (MUSAC). The group has been meeting regularly and consists of members of Unite, Unison and UCU. Members of Manchester EWN are also involved.
It has been good to meet with people whose criticisms of the existing unions match our own in many ways. The group has held a weekly stall in the University, giving out leaflets in support of various anti-cut campaigns.
Our bulletin for the June 30th public sector strikes. Including:
- Why should I care about public sector pensions?
- Claimants: today is a strike day
- Disabled people answer June 30 strike call
- Plus: a map of pickets and demonstrations in Brighton (see our online map here)
Download as a pdf (double-sided A4).
Bulletin for the June 30th public sector strikes - Why care about public sector pensions? (2011)
As part of a national strike day, members of UCU at Sussex university have been picketing. They were joined by other education workers and students at the entrance to campus who expressed their support for industrial action.
UCU are involved in a series of rolling strikes across the UK which started last week in Scotland and culminate in a FE and HE strike on Thursday. Strikes are nominally over changes to the pension scheme, however at Sussex it was clear that strikers see this as part of the wider fight against austerity. This was also in evidence from the solidarity from students and education workers well beyond the UCU membership.
Higher Education faces significant changes in the coming years as universities move to a market based model. Tuition and top-up fees are perhaps the more visible signs of this but many institutions are now seeing changes which, among other things, significantly affect education workers’ terms and conditions. Union responses so far have seen conferences like NUS’s (National Union of Students) ‘Reclaim the Campus’ and UCU’s ‘Challenging the market in education’ (University and College Union)
The academics’ union UCU at the University of Sussex cancelled industrial action planned for late June after university bosses declared they were “hopeful” they could avoid any compulsory redundancies.
It soon emerged however that compulsory redundancies had been transformed into ‘voluntary’ ones and the number of job losses remained at over 100, with a similarly severe impact on many courses and workloads expected.
One student mocked the management statement: “We are pleased to announce that the 100 have jumped, and were not pushed. The knives to their backs were unrelated.” A lecturer also commented that “I, among many, have been made ‘voluntarily’ redundant, after being selected for compulsory redundancy. The University seems to have got rid of everyone it wanted by forcing us to accept a ‘voluntary’ settlement.”