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Further Education Pay Dispute 29 and 30 January – South West Region

Further Education Pay Dispute 29 and 30 January – South West Region

FE staff in England are getting a raw deal from their employers. Workloads have never been higher while average pay packets have shrunk and the latest kick in the teeth – the recommended 1% pay rise for 2017-18 – has not even been implemented in over 40% of colleges. Three FE branches in the South West have already taken strike action Petroc, New College Swindon and Bath College. Now,  Abingdon and Witney and Bridgwater and Taunton College are joining them for a further two days strike action.  All five of these branches need your help and support. Please circulate these details widely, visit the picket and send emails of support. The TinyURL for this post is https://tinyurl.com/ucufab5

Abingdon and Witney College

Picket location: Abingdon Campus, Wootton Rd, Abingdon OX14 1GG (7:30 – 15:00)

Picket location: Witney Campus, Holloway Road, Witney OX28 6NE (7:30 – 15:00)

There will be a rally at Witney on Tuesday lunchtime (12.30 – 1.30), and at Abingdon on Wednesday lunchtime. (12.30 – 1.30)

For further information please contact Regional Official, Nick Varney NVarney@UCU.ORG.UK

Bridgwater and Taunton College

Picket Location: Bath Rd, Bridgwater TA6 4PZ
7:30am – 12:30 both days
Picket Location: Wellington Road, Taunton, TA1 5AX
7:30am – 12:30 both days
Picket Location: Rodway Hill, Cannington, Bridgwater, TA5 2LS
7:30am – 12:30 both days

For further information please contact Regional Support Official, Philippa Davey PDavey@UCU.ORG.UK

Petroc College

Picket Location: Old Sticklepath Hill, Barnstaple, EX31 2BQ
7:30am – 12:30 both days

For further information please contact Regional Support Official, Catriona Scott cscott@ucu.org.uk

New College Swindon

Picket location: New College Dr, Swindon SN3 1AH
8:00am – 13:00pm both days

For further information please contact Regional Official, Nick Varney NVarney@UCU.ORG.UK

Bath College

Picket Location: City centre campus in Bath College, Avon Street, Bath, BA1 1UP
8:00am – 13:00pm both days

For further information please contact Regional Support Official, Catriona Scott cscott@ucu.org.uk

Industrial Action in FE in support of UCU Pay Claim

The University College Union (UCU) recently reballoted Further Education (FE) branches who had come very close to the mandated 50% turnout but did not achieve it. Again, the ballot was very close to breaking through the threshold of 50% in most institutions .  The turnout was one of the biggest in our history and it is only anti-union legislation that is stopping the action that the vast majority of members that voted clearly want to take.

Now, in the extended SW region Abingdon and Witney plus Bridgwater and Taunton College will be joining Petroc, Bath College and Swindon New College in further strike action strike action on January 29 and 30th.

For some officers and members this will be their first strike action and it impossible to overestimate how much messages from other branches mean to those in the vanguard of what is an all FE sector dispute.

Please send messages of support to those branches and do all you can to organise supporting activity on the days of the strike e.g. joining picket lines/lunchtime protests/contacting local MPs/ sending photos of your members supporting the action etc., etc., etc.

The contact details below of the senior branch officers at the striking branches are listed below:

Abingdon & Witney College  
Jeannie Donald McKim jeaniedonaldmckim@gmail.com
Alison Williams w-01865 765852 alison.williams@abingdon-witney.ac.uk
Bath College
Sarah Keen-Price w-01225 328547
Union office-01225328780
sarah.keen-price@bathcollege.ac.uk
Stephanie Williams w- 01225 312 191 ext. 639 stephanie.williams@bathcollege.ac.uk
Bridgwater & Taunton College
Jon Fones w-01278 455464 Ext-1737 fonesj@btc.ac.uk
Bob Skittrell w-01278 655239 skittrellb@btc.ac.uk
Aileen Glen w-01823 366523 glena@btc.ac.uk
Catherine Patay w-01278 455464 Ext-1821 patayc@btc.ac.uk
New College Swindon
Stewart Fraser w-01793 732830 stewart.fraser@newcollege.ac.uk
Monika Lawson w-01793 732865 (assistant to Monika) monlawson@hotmail.com
Petroc
Cecily Blyther w-01271 852513) cecily.blyther@petroc.ac.uk
Jane Sansbury W-01271 852362 jane.sansbury@petroc.ac.uk

More information on this pay dispute can be accessed on the UCU website at https://www.ucu.org.uk/FEfightsback

USS Pensions Dispute

Updated: Wednesday 21 February, 2018

At the Regional Committee meeting on Friday 2 February at the Exeter Regional Offices it was decided that such was the importance of the USS pensions dispute facing pre-92 Universities, that ALL branches in the region be asked to support it in any way possible. ALL Branches are asked to organise their members to attend pickets, offer messages of support, contribute to any collection for hardship funds and to lobby MPs by writing to them and visiting their surgeries.  You can find out details of your MP here www.theyworkforyou.com.   Please see below for picket and other details. Please circulate this blog link widely to sister trade unions, Trades Councils and interested parties. The short link for printed materials is https://tinyurl.com/USSSW

This page will be updated with the latest strike and picket information. If you can’t find what you need here please contact the branch directly, or Regional Organiser, Dave O’Toole dotoole@ucu.org.uk   or look on the UCU website https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss

Last updated: February 9, 2017

USS is the collective pensions scheme for pre-92 universities. In this region Exeter, Bristol and Bath three of the 61 affected across the country.

UUK, the representative body to the USS pension scheme, have announced intentions to move from a defined benefits pension scheme to a defined contributions scheme. UCU has been in negotiations with UUK for over a year but has made no progress in overturning this. It means in essence that the current scheme which collectivises pension risk and pays a final pension linked to salary will be replaced by one which throws the risk onto the individual and makes the final salary dependent on the stock market. It has been calculated that the proposed changes will result in a loss of value of the pension of at least 20% with some estimates predicting 60% and more.  Currently, though, the scheme is fantastically successful with around £60bn of assets. It has a positive cash flow and so brings in every year more than it pays out.  This situation is expected will continue for at least the next 30 years (or as far as can be predicted). But closing off new payments into this scheme will very rapidly move it to the situation where it will be in a negative cash flow and this could happen within 5 or 6 years.

More information here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrKIJMLUIO4

These changes represent the biggest attack on UCU’s members that has ever been mounted and requires the biggest ever response.

In a ballot to take industrial action UCU members smashed though the Trade Union Bill requirement for a 50% turnout. More than 58% (a record) voted and there was record vote in favour of action with 88% voting for strike action and 93% for action short of a strike. We are asking for support from all UCU members and fellow trade unionists.

In response to this ballot UCU will be holding fourteen days of escalating action Thursday 22 February, Friday 23 February, Monday 26 February, Tuesday 27 February,  Wednesday 28 February,  Monday 5 March, Tuesday 6 March, Wednesday 7 March, Thursday 8 March, Monday 12 March, Tuesday 13 March, Wednesday 14 March, Thursday 15 March, Friday 16 March

University of Bath

University of Bath UCU Branch will be picketing the three entrances to the campus (North Road, Bathwick Hill pedestrian entrance, and The Avenue from 07:00am to 13:00pm on 22 & 23 February as well as the Virgil Building (the old police station) in the city centre. Messages of support and requests for information can be sent to ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk . We will be delighted to meet anyone on our picket lines. Bring a banner from your union branch if you have one, but most of all bring yourself.

Bristol and BathPaul Bridge, UCU Head of Higher Education, Bargaining and Negotiations, will speak on 26 February at The University of Bath at 10:30am at the pedestrian entrance to campus and later at The University of Bristol 2:00pm at Senate House, Tyndall Ave, Bristol BS8 1TH

Please send messages of support to ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk

For each day we are on strike, we lose a day’s pay. We believe that our lost wages should go into a hardship fund for our students and towards improving mental health support for students and staff.

Staff and students please sign our petition here: http://bath.web.ucu.org.uk/2018/02/18/petition-strike-hardship-mental-health/
All staff and students are invited to sign this petition to university senior management.

The branch is also organising a “Strike on Teach Out” event from 3:00pm – 6:00pm on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 of February. Please see the Facebook page for more details. Venue: Black Bell Inn, Walcott Street, Bath. for details go here:  https://www.facebook.com/StrikeOnTeachOut/

We welcome contributions to our hardship fund. Please contact Michael Carley for details. m.j.carley@bath.ac.uk

University Of Bristol

Main Contacts – Tracey Hooper and James Thompson, email ucu-office@bristol.ac.uk

Prior to the action, Bristol Branch are holding an evening event, co-hosted by Bristol Student Labour Party called ‘Why is my lecturer on strike?’ on Tuesday 20th Feb at 6pm. Lecture Theatre 3, Woodland Road Complex, BS8 1TB.

Thursday, 22nd February
08:00: Picket lines staffed Senate House  (Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH).
10:30: Rally, Rally, Senate House  (Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH). We suggest anyone who would like to join us and show support should head to this location either for rally/march or picket.
11:00-11:30: March to Wills Memorial Building (Queens Road, BS8 1RJ)
11:30-12:00: Rally, Wills Memorial Building
12:00-: Teach-Outs will be held at Woodlands Church, Belgrave Road, Bristol, BS8 2AA. Topics include the history of the trade union movement, and the anniversary of 1968 protests.

Monday, 26th February:
08:00: Picket lines staffed (Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH)
10:30: Rally, Senate House (Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH)
13:30: Wills Memorial Building (Queens Road, BS8 1RJ
14:00: Senate begins
14:00-14:30: Rally, Wills Memorial Building (Queens Road, BS8 1RJ)

Bristol and Bath – Paul Bridge, UCU Head of Higher Education, Bargaining and Negotiations, will speak on 26 February at The University of Bath at 10:30am at the pedestrian entrance to campus and later at The University of Bristol 2:00pm at Senate House, Tyndall Ave, Bristol BS8 1TH

We welcome contributions to our hardship fund. Please contact Tracey Hooper for details.

Please send messages of support to President, Tracey Hooper

Students at Bristol have backed a petition calling on the university to refund tuition fees for all those who lose lecturer contact time as a result of the action. See here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-bristol-university-of-bristol-strike-compensation

University Of Exeter

Main Contact – Barrie Cooper email B.Cooper@exeter.ac.uk

Pickets Thursday 22 February, Friday 23 February

Streatham (both entrances); meet at the corner of Prince of Wales Road and Stocker Road (EX4 4PU)
St Luke’s Campus (EX1 2LU) Barrack Road (EX2 5DW)
The Alexander Building, New North Road, Thornlea, Exeter EX4 4LA
Penryn Campus, Penryn TR10 9FE

Thurs 22nd: All members out and on picket lines at all campuses 7:30-11:30 followed by a march to a rallying point at St Sidwells
Fri 23rd: All members out and on picket lines at all campuses 7:30-11:30 followed by social.
Barrie Lovejoy – National Head of Regional Organisations and Nations will be in Exeter on Friday 23 February and will visit with pickets.

Mon 26th & Tues 27th: Members strike, but no specific pickets/events planned
Weds 28th: Members strike.  Afternoon – teach-out/public lectures.

University of Exeter Branch will begin a programme of events to which all interested members of the public are welcome to attend. While originating in the strike, we intend to continue organizing such events after we restore our pensions: as an element within the university of the future. Please see their Facebook Page for more details. https://www.facebook.com/volunteeruniversity

We welcome contributions to Exeter’s hardship fund. Please contact Barrie Cooper B.Cooper@exeter.ac.uk for details.

Please send messages of support to Barrie Cooper.

Student support

We have been overwhelmed by offers of support and positive action by students. Students at Exeter have managed to change the mind of key bodies within the university to support our action. Students at Falmouth FXU (which shares a site with Exeter at Penryn are leafletting and at the University of Bristol more than 2,100 3,500 students have backed a petition calling on the university to refund tuition fees for all those who lose lecturer contact time as a result of the action. See here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-bristol-university-of-bristol-strike-compensation

What can you do?

If you work in universities, join a union and take strike action.

If you’re a student, graduate, or parent of a student, lobby your university leader to oppose the pension cuts and resume negotiations with our union, UCU: https://www.ucu.org.uk/studentvoice. If you’re an Oxbridge student/ alum, this is particularly important because Oxbridge is the leading force promoting pension cuts.

If you’re a concerned member of the public, write to your MP asking them to sign Early Day Motion 619, which calls for a prompt and fair resolution of the dispute, and requesting that they pressure your local university to resume talks: https://www.writetothem.com

UCU South West Regional Committee Motion

UCU South West Regional Committee Motion

From Michael Carley (Regional Chairperson) on behalf of the UCU South West Regional Committee.

Dear Member,

The motion below was carried unanimously at our meeting of last Saturday 29th October

In the climate of open racism which has developed since the EU referendum, we as South West UCU members

1. condemn attempts to exclude non-UK students and staff from our institutions of Further and Higher Education, and to discriminate between staff on the basis of nationality.

2. condemn the proposal to oblige employers to list “foreign” staff and to treat the employment of non-UK nationals as a reason for shame.

3. condemn the scapegoating of immigrants for problems caused by a policy of “austerity”.

4. condemn the treatment of immigration as a problem to be solved.

5. condemn any rhetoric which divides workers amongst themselves.

We reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental trade union principles of solidarity and unity and

1. demand that institutions of learning remain open to students and staff of all nationalities.

2. demand that our employers guarantee that they will not discriminate between staff on the basis of nationality or implement lists of “foreign” workers.

We will work with and through organizations in the labour movement and beyond to live up to our principles and to stand with our brothers and sisters from wherever they may come.

We ask UCU members to:

1. sign the UCU petition calling for protection for non-UK staff and students post Brexit.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8463/Will-you-help-UCU-stand-up-for-EU-staff-and-students

2. organize within branches and communities to defend staff, students, and anyone else who might be affected, for example, through trades councils, students’ unions, immigrant defence groups, anti-racist organizations, the Migrants’ Rights and the One Day Without Us campaigns.

Further information and resources:

UCU’s legal service now offers immigration advice: https://www.ucu.org.uk/legal#immigration

UCU and CLASS have produced a report on why immigration is good for us all: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/6865/Why-immigration-is-good-for-us-all-UCU–CLASS-Oct-14/pdf/whyimmigrationisgoodforallofus_oct14.pdf

South West TUC has produced a booklet on immigration in the region. Copies are available through your branch or regional office, or you can download a PDF: https://www.tuc.org.uk/about-tuc/regions/migration-and-south-west-south-west-tuc-guide-population-and-migration

A number of universities have already taken action in support of non-UK staff. For example:

Exeter University is covering the cost for EU staff applying for a permanent residency card, which proves their right to remain in the UK.

Newcastle University is offering interest free loans to staff who wish to become UK citizens:

https://my.ncl.ac.uk/staff/nuconnections/item/welcome-to-this-brexit-edition-of-nu-connections

At UCL, management, trade unions, and the student union issued a joint statement in defence of the rights of EU and EEA residents in the UK:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/staff/staff-news/August/24082016-Provost-and-union-representatives-press-government-EU-citizens-status

If you want to discuss this motion further or get more involved in the UCU South West Regional Committee then please contact me via the regional office at exeter@ucu.org.uk.  The next meeting will be on January 21st in Bristol (full details will be sent out nearer to the date).

Yours in Solidarity

Michael Carley (SW Region Chairperson)

 

Action on Pay – UCU and Joint Unions National Pay Claim 2016/17

Action on Pay – UCU and Joint Unions National Pay Claim 2016/17

Background – The FE England Joint Trade Unions submitted their 2016/17 claim to the Association of Colleges (AoC) on 26 April 2016. The heads of claim were:

  • An increase of £1 extra per hour for all staff
  • All Colleges to ensure fair pay for women by conducting Equal Pay Audits or reviewing any existing Audits; identifying any gender pay gap; and constructing an Action Plan with the Trade Unions locally to eliminate any such gaps.
  • Hourly paid, temporary, fixed-term or casual staff working in a college for more than two years to be offered a permanent post on a pro-rata basis that is commensurate with the hours they actually work.
  • The starting rates to be no lower than the Living Wage Foundation rates of £8.25 outside of London and £9.40 in London with annual up rating. Colleges to work to become Living Wage Foundation accredited.

The second meeting of the National Joint Forum the 2016/17 pay round, originally scheduled for 5 July but postponed, was held on 21 September. The AoC addressed all four elements of the trade unions’ claim in the following manner:

Living wage“The pay arrangements in many colleges are already equivalent to or greater than the Living Wage Foundation rates. Where this is not the case, colleges should consider strategies to address this as part of an overall review of reward, employment offering and job design. The decision on whether or not to formalise accreditation is a matter for individual colleges based on their particular circumstances.”

Casual Employment – “It is recommended the colleges continue to regularly review their establishment flexibility ratios to ensure they continue to reflect and plan for the changing business and operating environment and keeping the requirements of the regulations in mind. Similarly, in line with the regulations and any existing agreements, colleges should identify any staff who have been employed on fixed term contracts of four years or more and take any appropriate action needed.It is suggested that a joint working group be formed to develop models of good practice.”

Gender pay Gap – “As responsible employers, it is recommended that colleges review their existing audits or make use of NJF’S agreed toolkit to identify and assure themselves that males and females undertaking exactly the same work are paid equally. Where gaps are identified or there is potential for a pay gap to develop, colleges should seek to identify and address the matter through an action plan and consult with staff and workforce representatives on the plan and its implementation.

It should be noted that for the majority of colleges this is a routine action for HR functions who will undertake such activities in the general course of their work.”

Pay“In line with the headline pay recommendations in public services for 2016/17, AoC will recommend the following to its members:

1% applied to all points or £250 where this is more beneficial (typically salaries below £25,000). Where an award is made and affordable, colleges should implement with effect from either August 1, their usual ‘award’ date where this is not August 1 or at the nearest available date thereafter subject to local conditions.”

It can be seen that despite protracted negotiation period the AoC final offer falls far short of addressing the substantive losses in pay of the FE sector. Importantly AoC recommendations are not binding on any college. The National FE Committee is currently collating feedback from UCU branches (as of October 13) and will meet to discuss any further actions.

The Trade Union Act – May 2016

The Trade Union Act 2016

The Trade Union Bill has been said to contribute to the already most draconian anti-trade union legislation of any western country. Thought much diminished in its original scope it is now passed into legislation as the Trade Union Act. (May 2016)

Implementation timetable

Although the Act will not come into force immediately: some of its provisions require further legislation in the form of regulations which need to be made before they can be implemented. The remaining provisions require the Government to set a date for their implementation, which they have yet to do. Therefore, the implementation timetable is currently unclear. However, we expect phased implementation to commence this year with some changes, such as to check-off, to be delayed until 2017.

Key changes under the Act in overview

Balloting

  • A strike ballot must currently have the support of a simple majority of those voting. The Act introduces a new minimum voter turnout (i.e. that at least 50% of those entitled to vote do so) and an additional minimum support threshold applying in some Important Public Services (IPS) (i.e. that at least 40% of those entitled to vote must vote ‘yes’).
  • Important public services include parts of the fire, health, education, transport, border control and nuclear services and include some private sector workers. Further regulations will be made providing the details. NB whether education and what parts of it are seen to be IPS will be subject to further discussion.
  • The 40% support is triggered where the majority of workers are normally engaged in the provision of IPS. It does not cover ancillary workers engaged in IPS activities, as initially proposed. A trade union will have a ‘reasonable belief’ defence if it mistakenly breaches the 40% requirement.
  • The ballot voting paper must carry more information, including a summary of the matters in dispute and the periods within which the action is expected to take place.
  • Notice of industrial action to the employer is doubling to fourteen days (unless the employer agrees to seven days’ notice).
  • Currently, industrial action must take place within four to eight weeks of the ballot and action can be taken indefinitely, provided the dispute remains live. This is repealed and the Act provides that a ballot mandate expires after six months, or up to nine months if both sides agree.
  • Against its wishes, the Act requires the Government to conduct an independent review of electronic balloting for strike ballots. However, there is no legal commitment to its introduction.

Picketing, facility time, check-off and the Certification Officer

  • Parts of the Code of Practice on Picketing become legally enforceable, including the requirement to appoint a picket supervisor who is identifiable when present at the picketing location.
  • Public sector employers and some in the private sector (i.e. those with functions of a public nature and mainly public funded) with at least one trade union official will be required to publish facility time information, such as the amount spent on paid time off for union duties and activities. This change will not be introduced until further regulations, including defining which employers are included, have been made. The Act provides also for the possibility of future regulations limiting the amount and cost of facility time, should a particular employer’s facility time be a cause for concern.
  • While the check-off ban has gone, the changes still require affected employers to make arrangements to recover costs from their trade unions. Some charities, housing associations and similar employers, where they carry out public functions and receive public funding, will also be concerned to understand more clearly from the Government whether they fall under the facility time and check-off changes.
  • The Act introduces new powers for the Certification Officer (CO) to investigate and take enforcement action, including the imposition of financial penalties, against trade unions for breaches of their statutory duties. There will be changes to the annual returns filed by unions with the CO, including a requirement to set out details of any industrial action taken.

Finally, it should be noted that the Government announced last year a repeal of the ban on employers from hiring agency staff to provide cover during strikes. This change is not part of the Act and there is no further news on timing.

Comment

It is anticipated that the new ballot thresholds will focus trade union minds, for example, resulting in more strategic balloting where unions lack confidence in voter turnout or the level of support (in important public services ballots).

Book your seat on the coach – Lobby of parliament Tuesday 16 June 2015

Outside-Parliament-funding-cuts-demo-18th-March-2015-3-700x400   This is a lobby of Parliament by Further Education lecturers and UCU members but anyone who will be affected is welcome. Pick-up points and times are now CONFIRMED based on a schedule which collects staff from the following college sites and arrives in good time for the lobby at 2:00pm.

Please bookmark this page…

Pickup times are based on a best estimate by the coach company, so please arrive in good time at your pick-up point. Book your place on the coach by emailing dotoole(at)ucu.org.uk.

Journey Out

St Austell – Cornwall College, St Austell Campus – PL25 4DJ (6:00 am)
Plymouth – City College Plymouth – PL1 5QG (7:10 am)
Taunton – Holiday Inn, Deane Gate Avenue, Taunton TA1 2UA (9:05am)
Exeter – Exeter College  – EX4 4JS (8:30am)
Bristol – City of Bristol College, College Green Campus – Saint George’s Road, Bristol BS1 5UA (10:20 am)

Journey Back

Departing London at 17:30pm
Bristol  20:15pm
Taunton (M5) 21:15pm
Exeter 22:00pm
Plymouth 23:10pm
St.Austell 00:20am

There is no charge for coach seats. This lobby is open to union members and non-members, staff and students and concerned members of the public and parents. To book your place email Dave O’Toole – dotoole (at) ucu.org.uk.

SIGN the PETITION here http://fefunding.org.uk/sign-the-petition/

Information on the #LoveFE Campaign can be found here http://fefunding.org.uk/ and here www.tinyurl.com/ucusw16.

Several college employers in the region are allowing staff leave to travel to the lobby. Please ask your local union officer or union rep or your line manager if this is available.   

If you are travelling with students you may need to complete a risk assessment. This will require the name and address of the coach company which is: Roselyn Coaches LTD, Middleway Garage, St.Blazey Road, Par, Cornwall, PL24 2JA. 01726 813737, beckie.ede(at)roselyncoaches.co.uk

 

 

Lobby of Parliament Tuesday 16 June #LOVEFE

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Sign the petition – here
Book your seat on the coach – here

Following the announcement of cuts to the adult education budget in England a major campaign has been launched to save Further Education Adult Learning and we are calling on everyone to help. The cuts of up to 24% of funding for adult learning courses risk decimating further education provision and will leave thousands of the most vulnerable adults without access to any opportunity to improve their education.

The Skills Funding Letter 2015-16 outlined that £770m of adult skills funding in 2015-16 will be set aside for apprenticeships. This means that the bulk of the overall 11% cut to the Adult Skills Budget will fall on non-apprenticeship provision; the Skills Funding Agency has estimated that this could amount to cuts of up to 24% for non-apprenticeship learning in 2015-16.

These cuts will hit vulnerable learners and the South West economy hardest, with millions of people who missed out on qualifications at school or those who need to retrain missing out if the cuts go ahead in 2015/16.

UCU is working together with its members and members of other unions, employers and employers groups, students and the NUS, professional bodies and those ordinary aspirational members of the community who may now be deprived of their own “life chance” to oppose these cuts which, if implemented, will have a devastating effect on Adult Provision in FE and destroy FE as we currently know it. Educational establishments in the South West also provide an irreplaceable and valuable input into the local economy.

Already in the South West, whilst  only in the first week of the new government, hundreds of jobs in FE have been threatened. UCU is therefore working together with others to organise a Lobby of Parliament on Tuesday 16 June 2015 and you can take part by boarding one of the coaches being organised by the UCU Regional Office in Exeter.

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Gordon Bartlett – RIP

It is with deep sadness that we need to let you know that Gordon Bartlett passed away peacefully at home on the 2nd September surrounded by his family and is now at rest. Gordon was a highly principled person and an active participant in UCU. He was an elected union secretary for City College, Plymouth from UCU’s inception and before that an active participant in NATFHE. An effective case worker, conscientious and stalwart in defending individual member’s grievances and concerns he was a regular attendee at local meetings, a good listener as well as being excellent at debating. As secretary, he kept the minutes of meetings as well as representing the union when the Chair was unable to do so. He responded positively to every campaign and he would always join the picket line, if we were called out on strike. He was a great believer in trade unionism, in defending individual rights and freedoms, in fighting for a fairer and more equitable society as well as securing a decent standard of living for all, in a safer and more humane world.

We have lost a friend, a colleague, a member, an activist and a man of stature. It is rare that a person can combine their ideals with reality but we feel that Gordon did so by pioneering the Access to Higher Education qualification at CCP (formerly Plymouth College of Further Education). This enabled individuals and their families to become socially mobile, thereby improving their standard of living and increasing their life chances and being able to take advantage of the opportunities in the part of our society that has meritocratic principles. He will be missed. He will be remembered. He made his mark. He made a difference. Moreover he managed to embody and enact his principles while keeping his integrity. That is also rare, in this day and age, if not completely unique. We salute a life well lived. He will be missed enormously by colleagues and students alike.