Goldsmiths UCU General Meeting minutes, 18 May 2011

Apologies: CK, DM, IH, MCH, SAY, SK

1) Report on USS Pensions dispute

There have been 2 meetings where pensions were discussed.

ER attended the meeting of pensions officers. At the end of the meeting, the negotiators wanted a sign of assent to their strategy, which was to table counter-proposals which involved a CARE scheme but with a better accrual rate.  The union has taken the view that it is not opposed to a CARE pensions scheme in principle. A meeting took place on the 10th of May; our pensions negotiators attended, with the hope that the employer would be willing to discuss the new counter-proposals. Once they attended the employer’s proposals were agreed, with the chair again using the casting vote. The start date will probably be quite soon.

Although the HEC had voted last month that if the proposals were voted through there would be a strike on 24 May, the union has no plans for immediate industrial action. There is likely to be a fierce discussion at Congress about the future of pensions.

There are several issues:

-there will likely be a big strike at the end of June.
-We had a very well supported strike at the end of March.
-It is puzzling and disturbing that the union has no plans for immediate industrial action, given that the HEC voted last month that if the proposals were forced through, there would be a strike on 24 May.
-It’s not clear that the CARE scheme will be better. The rhetoric about CARE benefiting low-paid staff is being used as cover for what is really cost-cutting.
2) Motion on USS pensions

Motion amended to include “the proposed CARE scheme” and passed overwhelmingly. The motion text can be read here.

When the motion is discussed at Congress, the speaker is mandated to mention 30 June.
3) Report back from JNCC

It seems like the ‘pods’ is no longer being discussed, but there are questions about the structure and union involvement of the new committee structures.

ACTION POINT: JW to write the Warden about the role of the union in the new committees.

4) AOB

Agreed on a lobby of the UCU HEC.

Agreed to support the joint pensions discussion with NUT.

Congress motion on ITE: When the motion is presented, the speaker will call for a higher level of action and opposition to the Education White Paper.