General Meeting 26/11/13

Apologies for the website not being updated for the past month. We have now upgraded which should prevent such problems in the future.

As members should be aware, we are still in industrial action; more information can be found at http://fairpay.web.ucu.org.uk/ and we will put up our own page on local action as soon as possible. The next one day strike will take place on the 3rd of December.

Our next branch meeting will take place on the 26th of November at 1pm in RHB251. As well as the ongoing action, the agenda includes the following motion:

This branch notes the following:

1). On May 3rd 2013 the University of London’s collegiate council decided that ULU – Europe’s largest student union, representing over 120,000 members from UCL, King’s, LSE, SOAS, Queen Mary, Goldsmiths and a number of other colleges  – should be closed and its Bloomsbury headquarters placed in the university’s hands;

2). This decision was taken without any consultation with ULU or any other student bodies;

3). In July 2013 the University of London enacted a policy that bans student protest from Senate House, the cloister entrance and the East and West car-parks. In a letter to ULU, the University of London threatened to prosecute students for trespass if they were found to be in violation of this policy;

4). In July 2013, a student was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage for writing a slogan in chalk on the pavement in front of the ULU building;

5). On November 14th, 2013, ULU President Michael Chessum was arrested under section 11 of the Public Order Act. His bail conditions stipulate that he is prohibited from attending any demonstrations at the University of London.

This branch unreservedly condemns the decision by the University of London to cut funding to ULU, and urges the University of London Collegiate Council to rescind their decision.

This branch further queries the legal and moral basis for the ban on protest in Senate House, and notes its concern for the violation of the rights to freedom of assembly and association this ban presents.

This branch condemns the use of heavy-handed policing and the legal prosecution of members of ULU who are exercising their democratic rights in protest of a University decision that imperils their ability to effectively represent and protect student interests.

This branch urges Warden Pat Loughrey to condemn the legal prosecution and use of force against students, and further, in his capacity as a member of the Collegiate Council to work to revoke the decision to close ULU.

As always, the more members that can attend meetings to vote on such important motions the better – this is particularly key in times when action is ongoing.

General Meeting next Thursday

Next Thursday (19th of September) the branch will be hosting a very important general meeting. Paul Bridge, UCU National HE Official, will be joining us to discuss the current national pay dispute.

Across the UK, university staff have suffered four years of pay erosion representing a real terms pay cut of 13% in the value of their take-home pay. For this academic year (2013-14), they have been offered another below-inflation pay increase of just 1%. A consultative ballot has shown an overwhelming rejection (70%) of this pitiful offer among members.

We will also be inviting a speaker from the Lewisham Hospital campaign to talk to us about the demonstration at the Conservative party conference on the 27th of September, for which the campaign are organising transport from South London.

Please print off a poster and display it in your department – and do spread the word among colleagues. The pay dispute is a hugely important issue for all of us, and this will be an important opportunity to discuss it.

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

General Meeting Agenda: June 11, 2013

AGENDA

Goldsmiths UCU General Meeting 11 June 2013

National pay claim 2013
VT assimilation negotiations
Updating of staff files
Congress Report and discussion on subs
New Executive
Delegates for People’s Assembly, 22 June
AOB
Academic Staff Recognition and Development, HEA and UCU presentations
Multiculturalism and Education in the Age of Austerity day at UCU: Report from Deirdre Osborne (if present)

Notes:

1. Pay Claim

UCU have noted their disappointment at the pay offer of 1% and the substantial loss of pay, 13% over 5 years. HE Sector Conference delegates have voted to endorse rejection of the pay offer along with other HE unions and to prepare to ballot for action in the autumn.

2. VT Assimilation

After many years, we have finally able to report that we 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 in the summer.

4. Congress report and subscription rates discussion

Nationally (though not at Goldsmiths) UCU has accrued a £2 million deficit due to losing members. Instead of sanctioning a budget that may involve compulsory redundancies, Congress delegates voted for an integrated strategy of cost reductions, recruitment campaigns in low density institutions and raising subscriptions over two years by up to 5% above inflation as necessary.

7. i) Academic Staff Recognition and Development : HEA and UCU presentations

There will be a presentation/discussion session 2-4pm Friday June 14th NAB 314 on the topic of Academic Staff Recognition and Development.

Guest speakers will be Richard Brawn from the Higher Education Academy and Michael MacNeil, National Head of H.E. for the UCU.  The focus will be on the recognition of excellence in academic teaching and how we can best support H.E. teaching practice.

Queries to m.c.halvorson@gold.ac.uk

Next General Meeting: Assimilation of Hourly Paid Staff

There is a very important general meeting at 1pm next Tuesday, 11 June, in RHB150.

There are a number of local and national issues that we need to discuss.

1. After many many years, we have finally able to report that we 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, crucially, will go out to ballot of all Goldsmiths UCU members in the summer. It has taken an enormous amount of work to get this far and we are aware that members – especially those who are hourly paid – will have many questions about the new scheme.

2. UCU Congress took place last week and there are two major issues to report. 

  • The first is that the HE Sector Conference delegates voted to endorse rejection of the pay offer of 1% (along with other HE unions) and to prepare to ballot for action in the autumn. Delegates were acutely aware of the substantial loss of pay – some 13% over 5 years – which has accumulated in recent years.
  • The second is in relation to a projected £2 million deficit at UCU nationally arising from the loss of members over the last  two years (not at Goldsmiths we would like to add!). Instead of sanctioning a budget that may involve compulsory redundancies, delegates voted for an integrated strategy of cost reductions, recruitment campaigns in low density institutions and raising subscriptions over two years by up to 5% above inflation as necessary. This was not taken lightly but is much more preferable than being complicit in a compulsory redundancy policy for UCU staff at a time when local branches are opposing precisely such a policy.
  • Branch motions to Congress on opposing redundancies amongst Initial Teacher Education staff and supporting the national People’s Assembly on 22 June were both passed overwhelmingly.

Please do join us at the meeting on Tuesday 11 June to discuss these extremely important issues.

 

Build the People’s Assembly in South London: Thurs May 16, 6:30pm, RHB137

people's assembly

Build the People’s Assembly in South London
Thurs May 16, 6:30pm
RHB137, Goldsmiths College

Speakers include:
Andrew McGettigan
Romayne Phoenix
Aaron Kieley (NUS)

At the end of February this year, a letter signed by many prominent trade unionists, activists and campaigners made the following statement:

This is a call to all those millions of people in Britain who face an impoverished and uncertain year as their wages, jobs, conditions and welfare provision come under renewed attack by the government. With some 80% of austerity measures still to come, and with the government lengthening the time they expect cuts to last, we are calling a People’s Assembly Against Austerity to bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice. We aim to develop a strategy for resistance to mobilise millions of people against the Con Dem government.

The assembly will provide a national forum for anti-austerity views which, while increasingly popular, are barely represented in parliament. A People’s Assembly can play a key role in ensuring that this uncaring government faces a movement of opposition broad enough and powerful enough to generate successful co-ordinated action, including strike action. The assembly will be ready to support co-ordinated industrial action and national demonstrations against austerity, if possible synchronising with mobilisations across Europe. The People’s Assembly Against Austerity will meet at Central Hall, Westminster, on 22 June.

For more information on the assembly visit http://thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/

To build the assembly in South London, there will be a meeting in RHB137 on Thursday the 16th of May at 6:30pm. Speakers include Andrew McGettigan, who will be talking about his new book on what market forces are doing to Higher Education.

Public Meeting: Save Lewisham Hospital! Goldsmiths, Thurs 25th April, 7pm

The campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital are hosting a public meeting on campus tomorrow.

The following information is taken from their website:

Thursday 25th April 7pm
Great Hall, Goldsmiths University, New Cross, London SE146NW

Nearest stations: New Cross and New Cross Gate (Overground and Rail)
Buses:  21, 36, 53, 136, 171, 172, 177, 225, 321, 343, 436, 453

  • The fight to save Lewisham Hospital will be won
  • Come and find out what you can do
  • This is a fight for our hospital and the survival of the NHS

Come and hear some great speakers including:

Professor Colin Leys
John Lister
Rachel Maskell (Unite Union)
Pat Smith (Labour Party)
Louise Irvine, SLH Campaign Chair

Our campaign – We know we can win! 
Lewisham Hospital is still under threat of closure of its A+E and maternity. The magnificent passion and determination of Lewisham people in January with 25,000 marching to save our hospital and the roasting given to Mayor Boris Johnson shows Lewisham is a force tobe reckoned with. We must build on our success and carry on fighting.

Our NHS – not for sale
The threat to Lewisham Hospital is part of a wide range of attacks by this government on our rights to good local NHS services. These attacks include:
Privatisation – new laws going through parliament will enforce privatisation
£20 billion NHS budget cuts leading to hospital closures and staff cuts
Crippling Private Finance Initiative debts starving hospitals of much needed resources

General Meeting 14 March 2013

UCU GM Mar2013 2

The next General Meeting will take place on Thursday 14. Mar in RHB 141, at 1pm.

It is really important we have a good turn-out for this meeting, particularly as Michael MacNeill, head of Higher Education at UCU, will be attending as a guest speaker.

This will also be our opportunity to vote on motions for UCU congress. The two motions that have been proposed by members at Goldsmiths are given below:

1. Motion to support the People’s Assembly against Austerity

This branch notes:

That the government has introduced the most far-reaching programme of cuts and austerity for 90 years. We have seen pay cuts across the public sector, the marketisation of the NHS and swingeing cuts in welfare, public services and housing including, most recently, the ‘bedroom tax’ – all of which will hit the poorest section of the population the hardest.

That, in opposition to the government’s austerity programme, a number of unions and anti-cuts organisations have supported the call for a People’s Assembly against Austerity that aspires to build a movement for social justice and develop a strategy for resistance to the cuts.

That the assembly will provide a national forum to develop links between unions, community-based campaigns and anti-cuts groups to build the confidence and organisation of all those opposed to austerity.

This branch agrees:

To support the call for the People’s Assembly at Central Hall Westminster on Saturday 22 June 2013 and to send 5 delegates.

Proposed: Des Freedman

2. Motion against the Threat to Education Departments in HE

Congress notes:

– The drastic cut in ITE places in universities as a result of government policy to sever links between HE Education departments and schools, despite evidence that HEI-led partnerships offer the most effective route into teaching.
– The threat of significant redundancies in HE Education departments and wider consequences for HEIs.
– The deprofessionalisation of teachers and teacher educators that results from the government’s view of teaching as a craft.

Congress resolves to:

– Conduct a national audit of branches to find out the effect of cuts in numbers on staff, courses and research in Education departments and across universities;
– Launch a campaign on the defence of Education departments with immediate effect;
– Urgently organise a dialogue with other education unions on this policy and formulate and publicise a joint position and campaign strategy;
– Widely publicise a critical analysis of government policy on ITE.

Proposed: Clare Kelly & Maggie Pitfield

Please do save the date and keep other members informed, as this will be a very important meeting and without a quorum we will not be able to make progress on key issues.

General Meeting and Christmas Social

Our General Meeting will take place on Monday 17th December at 1pm in RHB 309. Our guest speaker will be Michael MacNeil, UCU’s National Head of Higher Education, who will be speaking particularly on the challenges faced by those in Education Departments, and how we can meet those challenges.

UCU dec2012 GM poster

Please save the date as it is important that as many members as possible attend so that we can move forward on the very important issues discussed in the last meeting, including the treatment of international students.