Newsletter October 2013

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Find out what’s been going on in your branch. Click on the link below to open our latest branch newsletter:

Newsletter Oct 2013


Campaign on workload and stress

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This is our campaign for this term – look out for our forthcoming survey & campaign materials. Check out the UCU website now:


Agreement on holidays, IFL update and TPS dispute!

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Agreement on holiday

 At today’s meeting with College management (the Joint Consultative Committee) they agreed to our proposal on how and when staff should take holidays.

 Our proposal was:

  • Holiday should normally be taken out of term time (as in contract)
  • Holiday should be spread through the year, so that generally no more than 4 weeks remain to be taken in the summer holiday period
  • Holiday should be booked in negotiation with your line manager and, where necessary, in liaison with other members of your team to ensure that key duties (such as enrolment) are performed
  • Managers should ensure that staff are encouraged and enabled to take their full holiday entitlement.

This has still to be disseminated to Programme Managers but they should shortly be working from these guidelines.

This is a significant achievement after months of discussion and shows the effect of continued pressure from branch members and reps.


Rachel Terry (Branch Chair)

Jan Holden (Branch Vice-Chair)



IFL – update from Sally Hunt

27 March 2012 | To: FE members | Topic: IfL interim report

Dear colleague

Earlier this year I reported that we had met the independent inquiry team commissioned by government to look at the future of the Institute for Learning (IfL).

I am pleased to say the inquiry has now produced its first report which, among other things, recommends that membership of IfL be made voluntary rather than compulsory.

This is a tremendous victory for our campaign. Thank you for your help and support.  

Please share this news with others and, if they are not already members, encourage them to join the union:

Thanks again.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

More details:
Independent report:
UCU response:
UCU original submission:



To UCU activists in Yorkshire and Humberside Region

 Dear Colleagues

 TPS dispute and 10th May

 On 28th March UCU and NUT members in the London Region took strike action in defence of TPS.  Since then there have been further discussions about how to build united public sector union action in defence of pensions.

 On Thursday 10th May PCS and UNITE (in the Health Service and Ministry of Defence) will be out on strike to defend public sector pensions. 


The UCU NEC is meeting on Friday 27th April to discuss future action in respect of the TPS dispute. I am writing to you now to alert you to the possibility that the NEC may vote in favour of UCU members in FE and post-92 HE joining the strike action on 10th May.  Since the time for preparation will be relatively short, if we are striking on 10th May, with a bank holiday weekend before then, I thought it would be helpful to give you as much advance information as possible.


I request all TPS branches in Yorkshire and Humberside to organise a branch or branch committee meeting in the week beginning 30th April so that you have a meeting scheduled, if needed, to mobilise members for 10th May.  Please also make other necessary preparations, e.g. placards, official picket armbands, picket rotas etc.  It would also be good to make contact with other unions in your town or city, especially PCS and UNITE, to discuss local rallies and demonstrations on 10th May.  I request USS branches  in the Region to consider what forms of solidarity they can supply, if the rest of UCU is out on strike on 10th May, including twinning arrangements between branches and solidarity messages.

 Best wishes

Elizabeth Lawrence

UCU Regional Secretary Yorkshire and Humberside



Recruitment event 8th February

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Volunteers needed!!

The recuitment event on 8th February went well, we were supported by John Giddins from regional office.  Chris Jones also stopped by to say to hello.

At our branch meeting we agreed to hold a stall in the foyer every half term to boost our visibility and recruit new members, as well as keeping in touch with existing ones.

If you can offer to spend half an hour on the stall please email

Please remember to fill in and return your ballot papers, which should have arrived through the post this week.



UCU have introduced a new online claim form for members wishing to pursue a new personal injury/disease claim, including stress related.   The online claim form can be found in the UCU Support Centre site (     This site also contains advice on a variety of issues.


Could you please let all your members know about this service, as it considerably speeds up the process of getting a claim out to our agents for investigation.


Members can still call 0333 2400 474 or email us at, but it is our much preferred option that all new personal injury claims are now initiated by the member using the online form.






Linda Lawton

Regional Administrator



49 St Paul’s Street



Pension update

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Pensions: Where We Are Now?

 On Monday 19th December local government and most health unions signed up to a ‘Heads of Agreement’ document outlining the priorities for reform to their pension schemes and for further pension negotiations in January.  Cabinet minister Danny Alexander then made a triumphalist statement to Parliament the next day, emphasizing that there had been no concessions with any cost implications during negotiations with the trade unions (i.e. the ‘concessions’ merely represented a redistribution of the burden of the pension cuts).

There was little reference to the fact that the main teaching unions, NUT, NAS/UWT, and UCU, had ‘reserved their positions’ subject to meetings of their national executives, and a possible ballot of members. The anger of the Government was directed at the Public and Commercial Services (PCS), the largest union representing civil servants, for rejecting the deal out of hand.

Clearly, the hope was that the Government’s apparent victory in local government and health would create an atmosphere in which the other unions would find it difficult to continue the struggle.

 Civil servants’ and teachers’ schemes – no deal!

Agreement was not reached in either the civil servants’ or the teachers’ scheme talks. PCS rejected the proposals on the basis that there was nothing new on offer from the Government since before the mass strikes on November 30th

The NUT, UCU, NAS/UWT and UCAC ‘reserved their position’ (The ATL and the NAHT signed up to the ‘Heads of Agreement’ document). The UCU statement declared that, “following receipt of all documentation and further clarification the proposals will be considered by the NEC, and then all members in TPS will be balloted on whether to accept or reject the offer”.

The future of the dispute

The PCS rejection and the fact that deals were not signed in the civil servants’ and teachers’ pensions schemes means that the future of this dispute, and the securing of existing pensions arrangements, are still an open question.

There are already over three thousand signatures on the e-petition for rejecting the Government’s offer ( ), including 16 members of the National Executive of Unite, and a large majority of NEC members of UCU in the TPS.

There will be a series of NEC meetings and ballots across a variety of unions this month.   Millions of public sector workers went on strike on N30, to get more than minor adjustments to the Government’s attempted cuts to pensions. The success of the day, and the fact that it was seen as the beginning of the fightback, must cause many in the trade union movement to wonder how a settlement could be announced without any concessions from the Government.

It is clear that the current proposals on public sector pension reform continue to mean that public sector workers will be expected to work much longer, contribute much more, and receive much less from our pensions.

  • Employee contributions are still set to rise by approximately 50% in the next 3 years
  • Pensions will continue to raise by CPI not RPI
  • Younger members, and those in mid-career, will still have to work longer, to 66, 67 or 68, to get their full pension eligibility
  • The scheme still involves a change to a ‘career-average’ one from a ‘final salary’ one.

The Government’s claim that no further changes will be sought for decades is meaningless since no government can make such promises about the behaviour of future governments. A similar rhetorical undertaking was given when public sector pensions were reformed in 2006/7.

There is no affordability crisis!

The Government, as with the Hutton Report earlier this year, has failed to demonstrate the economic necessity for public sector pension reform. None of the pension schemes are in current or projected shortfall, and they are all demonstrably affordable at present contribution rates. (The NUT has calculated that teachers and lecturers have paid £46 billion more into the TPS, since its inception in 1923, than has been drawn out). Indeed the biggest threat to the TPS is that the proposed 50% increase in monthly contributions might possibly drive younger members out of the scheme, thus weakening its future viability.

The NAS/UWT statement made the point succinctly:

The Coalition Government has still not provided any information on the need for reform to the TPS, and today’s [Monday the 19th’s] statement confirms that teachers will be expected to pay more, receive less and work longer for their pensions.

The Government‘s private rationale for the changes is easily discernible. Given that the changes are not financially necessary, there is a clear dual aim:

  • to lower the cost to public sector employing departments, and thus to redirect funds in favour of the deficit created by the banking crisis, and to facilitate privatization in the post-16 education sector; and
  • gradually to transform an expectation and tradition of collective provision for old age (through existing funded schemes with final salary provision) to resignation in accepting a move to individual responsibility for retirement (through the stock market wager on ‘money-purchase’ schemes).

The latter intent is why the Government is not excessively concerned about the future viability of schemes whose increased contributions might render them non-viable as a result of the deterrent effect.



What next for UCU, and the defence of TPS?

A special NEC meeting is to be called in early January. It will review the Government’s proposals, and recommend acceptance or rejection in a ballot of members of the TPS. As a member of the NEC representing FE in the North Constituency, I will certainly urge members of the NEC to recommend rejection, and, in the ballot, will urge members to reject the proposals.

The UCU campaign is:

  • against any increase in contributions as financially unnecessary for the scheme and unaffordable for some at a time of declining real wages;
  • against any increase in the retirement age;
  • against any cuts to pensions from a move to CPI as a deferred wage cut;
  • against the move to ‘career average’ as a worsening of pensions without a shift to an unattainable accrual rate.

This was the policy position adopted overwhelmingly at successive conferences, and reasserted by the NEC. None of these things have been achieved in the Government’s ‘final offer’. Hence the offer should be rejected, and the campaign of industrial action should recommence, in conjunction with other unions, as soon as possible, and should escalate through the year. This is the position that the UCU should adopt in consultation with the other teaching unions, the PCS and any other unions who reject this ‘final’ offer.

Dave Gibson

FE Representative for the North Constituency on the NEC

Yorkshire and Humberside FE Regional Committee secretary

Arden and Janet at Westminister

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Linda Riordan will be supporting the industrial action planned for  November 30th as a result of   her discussion on 26th October with Arden and Janet. 


Many thanks for your e-mail.

I will be meeting a lobby in Parliament next week. I am quite happy to meet you in Central Lobby at 2pm if that is helpful.

I look forward to meeting you next Wednesday.

Best wishes

Linda Riordan

Member of Parliament for Halifax



Ms Linda Riordan
House of Commons

Dear Ms Riordan,

You may already be aware of the above lobby which has been called by the joint education union campaign against changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (involving ASCL, ATL, NAHT, NASUWT, NUT, UCAC and UCU).

I am getting in touch to let you know that we (Janet Holden & Arden Simpson) have been selected to represent Calderdale College  at the lobby. we would be very grateful if you were able to meet us to discuss our concerns.

As we are expecting there to be thousands of lobbyists in attendance, it would be very helpful if we could pre-arrange a meeting point and time, rather than relying on the Green Card system.

If your diary on that day means it will be impossible to meet then we would be very grateful if you could suggest a suitable date to meet in our constituency.

we look forward to hearing from you.


Diana and Sally Hunt!

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Sally has said that she will visit us in Halifax sometime if we would like her to.


Dear Colleagues,

Please find the following proposed JCC Dates for 2011/12, all on Wednesdays at 3.0 in the Glass House.  This is an opportunity for  members, to raise any concerns  they have regarding  departmental concerns or collective concerns.  Don’t forget at staff development last week, Chris said that the concerns around the maximum  3 weeks in one block over summer, would be looked at again at the JCC.  So lets use this opportunity!

  • 2nd November 2011
  • 30th November 2011
  • 14th December 2011
  • 25th January 2012
  • 29th February 2012
  • 28th March 2012
  • 25th April 2012
  • 30th May 2012
  • 27th June 2012
  • 18th July 2012

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Welcome back everyone, its a new academic year and one of our branch goals is to increase membership. We are always trying to recruit new members so, if you know anyone who is not a member please encourage them to join.  If you would like any publicity material for your staffroom please let us know.

We have set up some meeting dates for your diary! 

Wed 21 Sep 12.30pm room tbc
Tue 8 Nov 12.30pm
Wed 25 Jan 3.30pm
Wed 14 Mar 12.30pm
Mon 30 Apr 12.30
Tue 19 Jun 3.30


There are lots of exciting training courses on offer this year by region, a few are listed below, if interested please click here for more information.


Or go to the website: 

Yorkshire & Humberside region

Course Location Duration Dates

UCU reps induction (Rep 1) Leeds 3 days 21–23 September 2011

Introduction to pensions Leeds 2 days 15–16 November 2011

Representing members (Rep 2) Leeds 3 days 12–14 December 2011

Green reps: trade unions and the environment Leeds 2 days 12 January &

16 February 2012

UCU learning reps Leeds 2 days 8 February & 5 April 2012

UCU learning reps Leeds 2 days 8 February & 5 April 2012

Challenging and handling redundancy Leeds 2 days 14–15 March 2012

Effective negotiating and bargaining skills Leeds 2 days 17–18 May 2012

Media skills Leeds 1 days 4 July 2012

Don’t forget we are always around but  a union member is always available on Wednesday afternoon. 


TUC LGBT Forum dates

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This meeting is open to any trade union member with an interest in the subject

The next meeting of the Regional TUC’s LGBT forum will be held as follows:
Date: Wednesday  3 August 2011
         Time:           2pm – 4pm
         Venue:          Royal College of Midwives
                               King’s House
                               1 King Street
                               Leeds LS1 2HH


TUC Health and Safety Forum dates

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This is to let you know that the next meeting of the Yorkshire & Humber TUC’s Health and Safety forum will be held as follows:
Date:     Tuesday  26 July 2011
     Time:     10.00am – 12.30pm
     Venue: TUC offices, 33 Park Place, Leeds, LS1 2RY

This forum is open to any trade union member with an interest in the subject and I would be grateful if you would distribute this information to your branches.

Mike Lammiman from Hull University is attending and invites any UCU members in the Region to email him with any matters they would like raised.

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