The Socialist

The Socialist 29 January 2020

End health and wealth divide - fight for our NHS

The Socialist issue 1071

No 'blank cheque' for Labour leadership candidates


End health and wealth divide - fight for our NHS

Unite union nominates Long-Bailey and Burgon

Coronavirus: capitalism limits response to viral outbreaks

HS2 debacle: nationalise rail and construction!

Johnson's Huawei internet deal underlines world trade tensions

Them & Us


University and College Union: Pensions, pay and conditions dispute reach a crucial stage

PCS union elections: Nominate candidates fighting austerity and for union democracy

Interview with a forestry worker

Westex carpet strike


Brexit and British capitalism - why Johnson's juggernaut is set to jackknife


Fight the closure of Royal Glamorgan A&E

Save Hampden Nursery in Camden

We need socialists in London's City Hall

Unite regional committee votes to support anti-cuts Enfield councillor

Cuts to women's services cost lives


Socialist sellers: Opposing the Tories & fighting cuts

London protest against Modi's racist law


Libya: Civil war and chaos follow interventions by world and regional powers

Trump's trashing of the environment - Dump the capitalist profit system!

CWI round-up


TV review: The Trial of Christine Keeler

The Socialist Inbox

 
 
 
 
 

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University and College Union: Pensions, pay and conditions dispute reach a crucial stage

UCU strikers at the University of Nottingham, 27 February 2018, photo Gary Freeman

UCU strikers at the University of Nottingham, 27 February 2018, photo Gary Freeman   (Click to enlarge)

Bea Gardner, UCU Southampton branch executive (personal capacity)

As we go to press, a crucial meeting of the University and College Union (UCU) higher education committee is set to take place to decide the future strategy in the ongoing disputes over pensions, pay and conditions.

Before Christmas, 60 institutions, including approximately 42,000 members, took eight consecutive days of strike action and have been participating in action short of strike since then.

On 30 January the union's higher education committee will meet and decide how many further days of action to call and whether or not to continue the current strategy of combining the two disputes. Any further action will be bolstered by the anticipated addition of up to 36 other institutions when their ballots close on 28 January.

The committee will likely announce 14 days of further action across four weeks in the 'USS' pension dispute, as mandated at the higher education special conference in December. However, uncertainty surrounds the strategy for the 'four fights' dispute over pay, workload, casualisation and unequal pay, because there is no special conference mandate.

Combining the disputes so far has maximised impact by bringing the institutions in the USS scheme out with those only balloted for the pay dispute.

As a result of the action, negotiations have resumed but confidentiality agreements have prevented negotiators from spelling out concretely what progress is being made.

Some within the union have seized this opportunity to attempt to demoralise members, undermining the dispute and even calling for a 'pause'. It is therefore vital that the left organise at all levels to defend the strike mandate and arm the rank and file with the strategy and confidence needed to win.

This means fighting to keep the disputes combined and continuing to push on all aspects of the disputes, including pay. So far, employers have refused to budge from their current below-inflation pay offer of 1.6%. Management claims it is unaffordable to increase pay, but university income, surpluses and reserves have all increased. A victory on pay is the most concrete way of ensuring university management concedes to improving staff conditions and our share of the income.

Like the 2018 strike, members must be willing to reject an inadequate offer. In 2018 the potential sell-out of the pension dispute was halted by members on the ground. One way of preparing members for this is by electing local strike committees to lead the next round of action.

It also means electing candidates for the national executive committee who are actively building the rank-and-file network.

Whatever the outcome of the higher education committee meeting, the task will be to arm the rank -and-file activists with the confidence and strategy to win on the two higher education disputes, as a starting point for a fightback across both further and higher education destroyed by decades of marketisation and austerity.


In this issue


What we think

No 'blank cheque' for Labour leadership candidates


News

End health and wealth divide - fight for our NHS

Unite union nominates Long-Bailey and Burgon

Coronavirus: capitalism limits response to viral outbreaks

HS2 debacle: nationalise rail and construction!

Johnson's Huawei internet deal underlines world trade tensions

Them & Us


Workplace news

University and College Union: Pensions, pay and conditions dispute reach a crucial stage

PCS union elections: Nominate candidates fighting austerity and for union democracy

Interview with a forestry worker

Westex carpet strike


Brexit and the economy

Brexit and British capitalism - why Johnson's juggernaut is set to jackknife


Stop the cuts

Fight the closure of Royal Glamorgan A&E

Save Hampden Nursery in Camden

We need socialists in London's City Hall

Unite regional committee votes to support anti-cuts Enfield councillor

Cuts to women's services cost lives


Campaigns

Socialist sellers: Opposing the Tories & fighting cuts

London protest against Modi's racist law


International news

Libya: Civil war and chaos follow interventions by world and regional powers

Trump's trashing of the environment - Dump the capitalist profit system!

CWI round-up


Readers' opinion

TV review: The Trial of Christine Keeler

The Socialist Inbox


 

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