Annual General Meeting September 2010

Goldsmiths UCU Annual General Meeting minutes, 22nd September 2010

Apologies: PB, ER, CK

1. Elections:

President: John Wadsworth
Secretary: Des Freedman
Membership secretary: Branwen Gruffydd Jones
Equalities: Deirdre Osborne
Health and Safety Rep: Sheila Turley
Learning Rep: Rob Bannocks
Co-opted Member: Natalie Fenton, Ben Levitas, James Souter
Part-Time/Fixed -Term Representative: Vacant
Treasurer: Vacant

All positions elected unanimously.

2. Update on HE Negotiations (Paul Bridge, National HE Official)

The context covers the spectrum in relation to pay, jobs, performance management, cuts across the area. We have had £1bn taken away, we are threatened with cuts of 25-40%. This will affect everyone’s employment and employability, and is part of an ideological driven agenda, about cutting back public sector services, including education. In 2009, there was a joint union proposal (for the first time), around pay and job security. But the employers refused to talk about this. This means that 22,000 jobs at minimum are at risk. We find this unacceptable. The increases of 2006-7 have been whittled away by pay cuts. EIS in Scotland are in dispute. The other unions are currently consulting members about what to do next.

The HEC took the decision to consult over the summer. The consultation was intended as a snapshot, with 4300 members. There was clear support around pay, stronger support around jobs, with the strongest response on pensions. Support was 20% higher on jobs, and there were comments about linking pay to jobs. What influenced the HEC to not go forward with a timetable for industrial action? They felt that branches needed time to update the membership, and the HEC needed to consider the outcome of the snapshot survey. They needed more time to consult with individual branches. There was some agreement at the TUC about co-ordinated action for campaigning. In October, the USS consultation process will begin. The Hutton review on compensation for civil servants will come out next month. In October the CSR will come out; there will be a demo on 19 Oct. On the 10th of November there will be a joint rally with the NUS.

Questions/discussion:

-why was the membership record checking process an issue?
-concern about the online survey – why was it done during the summer when a lot of people weren’t checking email, and why was it sent out ‘cold’ (i.e. not accompanied by a campaign)?
-this is a critical moment so we can have plans now. The longer it drags on, the more anxious people will get. We need a time-line for action; there has already been a lot of consultation so we don’t need more of it.

3. Motion on national ballot and campaigning to defend Higher Education this fall:

Passed unanimously.

Discussion: We need to have a timeline for action and to work with students.

4. Motion on USS Pensions:

Passed unanimously.

5. Update on campaigns
Campaign against cuts (Matt West, Students’ Union)

The 10th of November is a joint day of action against education cuts. We are trying to mobilise to get students involved. Staff are encouraged to give their full support to the campaign and to action on the day itself. UCU is meeting with the Warden on 5 October to discuss the ‘Fund our Future’ campaign.

To get involved: Join ‘Goldsmiths Campaign Against Cuts’ Facebook group.
Organising meeting on the 14th in the Stephen Lawrence Committee Room.

Nursery

We have had a good campaign around the Nursery, and are now campaigning for it to stay open permanently. There will be a party; stay tuned for time/date/location.

Porters

There has been an announcement that the number of porters will be cut by half; they will be replaced by security guards. The porters are in-house and the security guards will be contracted by a private firm. The security guards were told they couldn’t form a union.

Motion (agreed unanimously):

We wholeheartedly condemn the decision to cut in half the number of Porters at the college and to replace them with security guards employed by a private firm. In addition, we seek an assurance from SMT that Goldsmiths will not agree to the employment of non-unionised labour by any external contractor.