Stop the state violence in Turkey: demonstration outside Turkish Embassy, Belgrave Sq., Friday 3pm

turkey solidarity

The world’s unions have called for two days of protest against police violence and repression in Turkey.

In London this Friday at 3 PM, Trade Unionists will be demonstrating at the Turkish Embassy, 43 Belgrave Square, SW1X 8PA.  (Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner.) Goldsmiths UCU members are encouraged to join them.

If you use Facebook you can find more details and sign up at:

If you’ve not yet signed up to support the online campaign (from Labour Start), you can at:

Please do pass this on to others.

Solidarity with Sussex Protests

sussex demo

Students and staff at Sussex University have been protesting against management plans to outsource 10% of the university’s workforce. A group of students have occupied the top floor of the university’s conference centre since February and held a demonstration last week.

Yesterday, Sussex University management filed a high court injunction that bans protest and occupations on campus until September – criminalising the student occupation.

Defend the Right to Protest have set up an online petition calling on the management to revoke the injunction:

Please join us in showing solidarity in the struggle against privatisation in education, and in defending the right to protest, by signing this petition and sharing it among friends and colleagues:

Solidarity with the Students Demonstrating Today #demo2012

Today thousands of students will demonstrate in London, protesting against not only the trebling of tuition fees but also the unemployment crisis and lack of opportunities for young people. They will demand investment in and commitment to education, employment and opportunities. This demonstration has been called by NUS and is entitled ‘Demo2012’, with the slogan ‘Educate, Employ, Empower.’

We would like to express our solidarity with this demonstration and its aims. We stand with students in criticising the government’s trebling of tuition fees, their attempt to create a marketised Higher Education which does not nurture the minds of students, their cuts to essential funds such as EMA and their lack of investment in jobs and opportunities.

Three Important Events This Week

1. Branch AGM: Wednesday Oct 17th, 1pm; RHB 137

Our Annual General Meeting is taking place next Wednesday (October 17th) at 1pm in RHB 137.

Due to ongoing issues, many emails sent to the branch have not been going through. Therefore I must request that all nominations for the exec committee should be re-sent to, now that I know this email address is working. Apologies for any inconvenience caused by communication problems in the last few weeks.

2. ‘Tuition Fee Rises, Welfare Cuts, Privatisation: Goldsmiths says No!’ Rally:  Thursday October 18th, 6pm, in the Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre

rally leaflet one sided fixed

Jolyon Rubenstein (BBC’s The Revolution Will Be Televised)
John McDonnell MP
Darren Johnson (Green Party)
Lindsey German (Coalition of Resistance)
Syed Rumman (London Met International Student)
Jelena Timotjevic (Defend the Right to Protest)

Hosted by Goldsmiths SU, UCU and Unison, this rally has an amazing line-up of speakers to help us build and organise for the TUC march next Saturday.

The rally is open all – all members are encouraged to attend and to spread the word!

3. TUC March for a Future That Works: Saturday 20th October

Despite the amazing turnout at last year’s March for the Alternative – which drew 500,000 people – we know that the coalition government has still to implement 80 percent of its cuts programme. That’s why students and staff at Goldsmiths must unite against austerity. On the 20th of October we must demand A Future That Works, not a failing and dangerous campaign of austerity measures.

Goldsmiths UCU members are asked to meet at 10am outside the college or 11am outside Waterloo station, to join the march and rally in Hyde Park on Saturday 20th October.

Solidarity with Manchester Met UCU – please sign the petition and share

The UCU Branch at Manchester Met is under attack. First, Christine Vie (assistant Branch Sec and NEC member till last year) was made compulsorily redundant.  Time after time she was treated differently from the other 8 colleagues in the same position as her, and she remains the only compulsory redundancy out of a disbanded team of 9 academics and 9 admin staff.

Now the Branch has received another attack as a second branch officer has been singled out. Professor Ian Parker has been summarily suspended from the University.  Ian’s students have been tremendous and already have an online petition. This has now received over 1000 signatures from leading academics around the world, as it turns out that Ian Parker has an international academic profile. The UCU Branch is holding an emergency meeting tomorrow, which Ian’s students will also attend. Please send messages of support. Please sign the petition and circulate widely.

And a new petition for Christine Vie:

Defend Students Protesting 75% Tuition Fee Hike in Quebec

In Quebec, Canada, students have been refusing to attend classes or do assignments for the past month to stop a planned 75% tuition fee increase (for more information, see They also held a demonstration in Montreal which drew at least 200,000 people.

Many of the issues they are dealing with, in terms of defending accessible education and opposing marketisation, are very similar to what students, staff and education activists have been dealing with here in the UK. Tuition fees in Quebec are currently lower than in other regions of Canada (where fees are set regionally rather than nationally) – a result of a long and vibrant history of student activism and a legacy that needs to be defended.

At one of the universities (Concordia University in Montreal), management is threatening to fine students participating in the protest for non-completion of assignments. There is a joint staff-student letter opposing this, and they are looking for support from the international academic community. Members are asked to sign the letter (see link below) and forward it on to others.

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


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:

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

Solidarity with Richmond-Upon-Thames College

Richmond College have started a three day strike today, after plans were revealed to make drastic cuts and redundancies at the college.

On Monday, the chair of Richmond UCU wrote a message to London Region UCU:

[The decision to strike] was motivated largely by the clear understanding that defeat is unthinkable and would leave people with absolutely nowhere to go. Only in the collective could members find any kind of safety and solace in the face of hostility from all sides including apparently our own support staff. ( a letter was recently published in the local newspaper ostensibly from one of our support staff attacking the Union position. It was sent to us as attachment to an e-mail by our marketing dept. only to discover that the signatory, a certain Rose Clarkson, does not exist! They were forced to retract and issue an apology)

Richmond UCU have invited UCU members to join them on the picket lines any day this week from 7.00am till 10.30am to show solidarity. Messages of support can be sent to Dave Carrier, Chair

Solidarity with Alfie Meadows: Demonstration on Monday March 26

The following text is taken from

We will be holding a Solidarity demonstration outside Kingston Crown Court on the first day of Alfie Meadow’s trial. Supporters include: Tariq Ali, Jody McIntyre (Equality Movement) and Gigi Ibrahim (Egyptian revolutionary and Blogger).

Alfie was amongst thousands of students who came on the demonstration on the day of the tuition fee vote (9th December 2010). Alfie is a Philosophy student at Middlesex University, his university department faced closure (it will be closed by the end of this academic year) and when he protested, he received a life threatening injury. But outrageously Alfie has since been charged with violent disorder and faces a trial on 26th March. The police who carried out attacks on protesters throughout the day and evening are yet to face any charges. This forms part of a pattern of attacks on protest which has seen hundreds of students arrested and scores either charged or sentenced to long terms in prison.

Many workers and trade unionists came down to Whitehall on the evening of 9th December after they had finished work, to stand in solidarity with the protesters being kettled. We are asking for the same display of support for Alfie Meadows as he goes into court on 26th March. We demand an end to political charging and sentencing of protesters. We must defend the right to protest. Drop all charges against Alfie Meadows.

Come along to the demonstration and Sign the Petition here:

Initiated by Defend the Right to Protest Campaign
Facebook page: defendtherighttoprotest // Add Right to Protest
Twitter: @righttoprotest