Goldsmiths UCU General Meeting, January 25th 2012

1. Address from Jim Wolfreys [JW], UCU NEC & King’s College UCU on the state of USS Pension Dispute

JW noted detrimental changes planned for USS, that negotiators were aiming to fight:

–         RPI changed to CPI
–         Introduction of a 2 tier scheme
–         Inflation cap of 10%
–         Increased employee contributions

JW stressed the importance to keeping the dispute live while negotiations are taking place, as concessions to date have been relatively minor. Although the General Secretary wants to suspend action, JW is in favour of escalationAddress from SU election candidate

2. Emergency motion on USS dispute for HE sector conference

Motion passed unanimously. Motion to be delivered by branch delegates at the HE sector conference on USS (see below).

3. Call for Nominations of Delegates for Special Sector Conference on USS

On the 31st January, UCU will be holding a sector conference for HE branches in the pre-1992 Universities to determine where we go next in our on-going pensions dispute. Branches may submit two motions and send two delegates to the conference.

DF and BL nominated/passed as delegates for the Special Sector conference.

4. Call for Nominations of Delegates for Annual Anti-Casualisation Committee

The UCU Anti-Casualisation Committee represents UCU fixed-term and hourly paid staff and campaigns against the abuse of casual contracts throughout tertiary education.

LE and JW nominated/passed as delegates on anti-casualisation committee, taking place at UCU HQ on Friday 9 March from 10am-4pm.

5. Solidarity with London Met.

On Friday January 13th 2012, London Metropolitan University announced the following:

1) the intention to tender the ‘process re-engineering’ of its entire in-house administrative services to private companies on the basis that those services are to be reconstituted as so-called ‘shared services’ thus threatening the jobs and conditions of most, if not all, London Met’s administrative grade staff;

2) the intention to make redundant 229 staff posts across the university’s seven academic faculties. 201 of those posts amongst academic grade staff.

The announcement entailed the emailing of ALL faculty staff informing them that they were ‘at risk of redundancy’. The primary rational given for such a huge job cull being ‘the delivery of the new undergraduate and postgraduate portfolio in 2012/13’. This follows the cutting of some 70% of UG courses and projected PG course cuts following the anticipated outcome
of the post-graduate and research review due this March.

In parallel with these attacks, and no doubt a concomitant of, London Met UCU believe that London Met management are currently in talks with a number of private education institutions in regard to forming ‘strategic partnerships’.

Motion to express solidarity with London Met passed unanimously.

6. Update on Pay Forum

BL noted two issues outstanding:

1)      Transfer of hourly + fixed term contracts onto pay spine
2)      Career trajectories for academic-related taff

Neither of these have been implemented as of time of the GM.

Working group on 1) ran aground due to management’s refusal to find a system, although college is committed to the agreement. College has a contingency fund to provide the back pay (dating back to 2006) for when a system is agreed but is sitting on this money. College has now agreed to restart the Pay Forum.

JW to clarify timescale at the JNC.