The pay deal is a pay cut

Members will have been sent an electronic voting paper in relation to the pay offer. The offer is for a 2% rise next year (2014/5) which leaves us with nothing more than the 1%​ for this year (2013/4) that has already been imposed.

The positive news is that 2% is double the initial 1% offer, likely to be just above inflation, and the offer clearly leaves national bargaining intact.

The negative side is that the offer leaves us with only 1% for the year in which we are (still) in dispute, 2013/4, and 2% for next year, 2014-5. Accepting the offer would mean we have effectively failed in the 2013/4 dispute and will have signed up to a deal that totally fails to provide the catch-up we need. The extras, i.e. £30 added to the bottom spine, are hardly enough to sweeten the deal. This has long been UCEA’s agenda: to offer something more for next year while moving on from this year’s dispute. Be clear: accepting 2% for next year means that this year’s dispute is definitely ended.

In the light of this, your UCU Executive is recommending rejection. We understand that improving the 1% offer will not be easy but we are convinced of our cause: the employers are sitting on a significant surplus and and we must continue to apply pressure to win the deal we deserve.

In terms of the marking boycott, now suspended until 6 May, management have indicated to UCU at Goldsmiths that if ‘staff privately mark and park, there would be no “need” for pay deductions’ and, furthermore, ‘there would be no “legal” questions about the ownership of marked work.’

Members met on the 16th of April to consider this offer. We welcomed the offer and agreed that while we continue to fully support the marking boycott and will not process marks or administer the marking process, we are committed to the principle of reconciling marks as soon as possible on conclusion of the dispute.

Assimilation of Hourly-Paid Staff onto the Pay Spine: Ballot Overwhelmingly in Favour

The branch has voted overwhelmingly for the agreement to bring hourly-paid staff onto the single pay spine.
Many thanks to everyone who voted, and again our congratulations and thanks to our negotiators who have worked hard on this agreement for so long.

If you still have concerns or queries about how this agreement will affect you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk

Assimilation of Hourly-Paid Staff onto the Pay Spine: Important Information

After many years of negotiating, UCU and the college have reached a draft agreement on the assimilation of hourly paid staff onto the single pay spine. This is currently being balloted among all Goldsmiths UCU members, with the ballot closing on the 22nd of July. Members should email their vote to goldsmithsucuballot@gmail.com. Votes will be checked by the Goldsmiths UCU Administrator and an independent Returning Officer.

This ballot is being held to decide on a negotiated agreement for the assimilation of hourly paid, fixed-term and part-time academic staff onto the principles and structures established for other staff in the Framework Agreement (2008), which made a commitment to extend its provisions to such staff on equal terms.

Since 2008 our Goldsmith UCU branch has sought to negotiate terms, a process which stalled for several years. Last year, however, the project was restarted in earnest. Negotiations over the terms of the agreement have been long and arduous but constructive. The result is a deal that has arrived late in the summer, but which is available for implementation at the start of the next academic year, depending on your decision in this ballot.

The Goldsmiths UCU Executive recommends a YES vote: the document we recommend compares very favourably with other agreements in the sector and has been agreed by the UCU National Ratification Committee. Its central provisions are:

·      Goldsmiths Framework Agreement compliant

·       Teaching roles assimilated to benchmarked Grade, with a G7 (Ac2) minimum except where they are Graduate Tutors – i.e. PhD students teaching – then they are on Grade 6 (AC1) for one year as a training grade (with training included) before being moved on to G7.

·      Incremental progression within grades consistent with full time staff.

·      Progression between grades consistent with full time staff.

·      Progression within and between grades effective from FA implementation date ie backdated to 2006.

·      All teaching (theory and practice) paid with multiplier of x2.25 for each hour of teaching contact time (including 0.1 for routine administration)

·      Monitoring/oversight of classroom activity (non teaching) paid at a multiplier of x1.8.

·      Marking time paid additionally at flat rate according to wordcount-per-minute model.

·      Additional itemised administrative tasks paid at flat rate in addition to teaching multiplier.

·      Transfer to minimum hours permanent contracts after 4 years of continuous service, with option to fractional contract where hours are in excess of 150 pa (0.1 FTE).

·      Where deal increases pay, pay is backdated to FA implementation date: ie 2006, with the calculation based on individual departmental averages.

·      Where deal reduces pay, pay protection for 12 months from point of implementation ie 2013/14.

·      Same terms and conditions of service for all staff who fall within the fixed term and part term working regulations (i.e. all staff except occasional visiting speakers)

Many of you will know that the norm in the sector is for a multiplier of x2.5, with marking and administration rolled up in that figure. The Goldsmiths teaching multiplier is at 2.25 to allow for marking and additional administration to be paid separately: a fairer recognition of variation of work. The time spent marking is calculated using a word-count-minute model, as laid down in Appendix 3 of the agreement.

The Goldsmiths multiplier 2.25 applies to all teaching, as indicated in Appendix 1 of the agreement. There is a lower multiplier for the monitoring/oversight of classes where no transfer of knowledge is involved.

There was a special meeting discussing the agreement  on 8 July. You can read the notes from that meeting here. There are also notes from earlier discussions here. If you haven’t already been sent the agreement itself, please emailgucu-admin@gold.ac.uk requesting a copy.

If you weren’t able to make the last branch meeting, in which Ben Levitas discussed the agreement, you can read the minutes at http://goldsmithsucu.org/content/general-meeting-minutes-11-jun-2013 (item 2).

If you still want to discuss the agreement before voting, our representative for Part Time and Hourly Paid Staff, Brendan Donegan, has also set up a secure online discussion forum (see below for details on how to access the forum).

To access the forum:
1. Set up a crabgrass account at https://we.riseup.net/account/signup
2. Search for the group “Goldsmiths Staff Forum” (you will find it if you search for groups and look at “Recently Added”).
3. Send a request to join.
4. Once you are added, click on “Discussions” on the left-hand side, and then select “Discussion on fractionalisation agreement”. This should make it possible for you to read what others have posted, and to post comments yourself.

If you have any questions about the forum, email Brendan at brendandonegan@hotmail.com

Ballot: Assimilation of Hourly-Paid Staff onto the Pay Spine

After many years of negotiating, UCU and the college have reached a draft agreement on the assimilation of hourly paid staff onto the single pay spine. This will be subject to ratification by UCU nationally and will go out to ballot of all Goldsmiths UCU members next week, with the ballot opening on the 8th of July and closing on the 22nd of July. At this time, members will be able to email their vote to goldsmithsucuballot@gmail.com. Votes will be checked by the Goldsmiths UCU Administrator and an independent Returning Officer.

The agreement aims to bring hourly-paid staff, visiting tutors and fractional staff into alignment with the Framework Agreement that brought all staff onto same pay spine in 2008. If you weren’t able to make the last branch meeting, in which Ben Levitas discussed the agreement, you can read the minutes at http://goldsmithsucu.org/content/general-meeting-minutes-11-jun-2013 (item 2).

There will be a special meeting discussing the agreement at 12pm on the 8th of July in the RHB Cinema. If you’re unable to attend the meeting but still want to discuss the agreement before voting, our representative for Part Time and Hourly Paid Staff, Brendan Donegan, has also set up a secure online discussion forum (see below for details on how to access the forum).

The final agreement, with a note explaining the key points, will be circulated to all members by email.

To access the forum:
1. Set up a crabgrass account at https://we.riseup.net/account/signup
2. Search for the group “Goldsmiths Staff Forum” (you will find it if you search for groups and look at “Recently Added”).
3. Send a request to join.
4. Once you are added, click on “Discussions” on the left-hand side, and then select “Discussion on fractionalisation agreement”. This should make it possible for you to read what others have posted, and to post comments yourself.

If you have any questions about the forum, email Brendan at brendandonegan@hotmail.com

Solidarity with TPS Strike, General Meeting 28 March 2012 and Important Information about the General Secretary’s Consultation Ballot

Please find below a notice on the TPS strike and how you can show solidarity, as well as the agenda for our General Meeting next week. The agenda includes information about Sally Hunt’s proposed changes to UCU.

1. TPS strike action – show solidarity

Please note that the 28th of March is a strike day for our colleagues who are on the Teacher’s Pension Scheme (TPS). Proposed changes to this pension scheme are likely to see greater contributions from members in exchange for reduced benefits.

Members are encouraged to show solidarity on the picket lines in the morning, before the General Meeting in the afternoon. Goldsmiths UCU members are asked to join the pickets at Lewisham College, Lewisham Way from 8am.

2. General Meeting Agenda, 28 March 2012

The General Meeting will take place at 1pm on Wednesday the 28th of March in the Ben Pimlott Building Lecture Theatre.

Minutes for last month’s GM can be found here

1. PACE restructuring (update from PACE representatives)
2. Research Excellence Framework
3. Sally Hunt’s Consultation on the Future of UCU
4. Motion on National Student Survey
5. Submission of Motions / Delegates for UCU Congress
6. Promotions
7. AOB

Notes:

1. Sally Hunt’s Consultation on the Future of UCU

After her re-election as General Secretary, Sally Hunt has proposed several changes to the way UCU is run. The three main changes are to reduce the size of UCU’s National Executive Committee from 72 to a maximum, to allow members to be directly consulted on employer’s offers before the union decides whether to escalate action, and to have members elect the national negotiator posts currently elected by annual conferences.

There has been a great deal of opposition to these proposals, and members are strongly encouraged to read this document, which goes through the proposals one by one and highlights many issues: http://ucu.brighton.ac.uk/UCU_GS_Survery.pdf

A ballot was opened on the 12th of March and closes on the 28th at 12noon. Although the GM takes place after the close of the ballot, it is still important that we discuss the implications of these changes, in the light of the upcoming UCU national congress.

2. Motion on National Student Survey

This branch notes:

  • That the National Student Survey (NSS) is a key element of neoliberal proposals (such as those in the 2011 Universities White Paper) to transform higher education into a marketable commodity
  • That the NSS naturalises the idea of students as ‘customers’ and staff as ‘service providers’ and further embeds a culture of ‘measuring’ and ‘ranking’ inside HE
  • That institutions are increasingly using the NSS as a performance management tool with no obvious pedagogic benefits
  • That, as the former head of the Higher Education Academy put it in the THES, the NSS is a ‘pseudoscientific tool purporting to be reliable on the spurious psychologistic grounds that there is some statistical congruence between the responses on a small group of agree-disagree questions around a common topic’.

This branch agrees:

  • To oppose the NSS and to investigate the possibility of urging members not to comply with procedures related to the NSS
  • To work with other UCU branches in developing a campaign of opposition to the NSS
  • To work with student unions and student groups to call for a boycott of the NSS
  • To develop meaningful forms of student feedback and evaluation.

Proposed: Des Freedman