February 2019 – a bleak month for the UK Higher Education sector

State of Higher Education – please read the news below – all of them published just last week.

Part of the list was compiled by @UUKSpin 
3. Cardiff Metropolitan University (VC/DVC vanished on ‘sick leave’) https://the-eye.wales/sick-with-fear/
4. De Montfort University (conflict of interest; SMT resignations) https://ucudemontfort.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/press-release-from-de-montfort-university-ucu-branch-committee/
6. Cardiff UCU are ‘balloting on strike action to defend jobs against threat of compulsory redundancies – 3rd VS scheme in 6 years to cut staff costs whilst management proceed on £600 million campus redevelopment ‘Transforming Cardiff” (@Dr_SteveStanley). Here’s a video that explains what the problems with the redevelopment are. 

7. SOAS Librarians are continuing their battle against restructures and changes to their working conditions https://wakelet.com/wake/9db49849-6764-408b-a80c-95146496ecf5
8. At the University of London, IWGB are boycotting Senate House as a fight against outsourcing https://iwgb.org.uk/en/boycottsenatehouse
9. At Goldsmiths University, IWGB Security Staff are also fighting to be brought back in-house https://twitter.com/HCHLopez/status/1093246783885590530

At The University of Birmingham we are (still) dealing with similar issues:

  • pay and pay inequality (year-on-year, staff’s pay has been cut in real terms, whilst management have given themselves pay rises),
  • governance (the VC sits on his own remuneration committee and is now the highest paid Vice Chancellor in the country; support staff are not allowed to sit on University Senate and to be elected or to vote for candidates; council decisions are being made behind closed doors),
  • conflict of interest (Eastwood is a director of INTO, a private company that recruits international students for Higher Education institutions),
  • casualisation (70% of teaching staff are on casualised contracts at UoB),
  • the Dubai campus was set up without consultation with the unions, and our concerns have not been addressed – staff and students are at significant risk as a result,
  • the joint unions’ demands have been ignored,
  • the outsourcing of workers to a new subsidiary company (the Edgbaston Park Hotel) and management’s refusal to recognise unions for new staff,
  • the new ‘Green Heart’ (campus regeneration) which cost millions of pounds,
  • the University’s refusal to seek Living Wage Accreditation,
  • the University’s attempts to build even more student accommodation (but rejected by Council as an ‘abhorrent request’),
  • the University’s buying of a public swimming pool and fitness centre, with the intention to turn it into a gym (we have not heard any news about it being opened) – while the subscriptions for the new sports centre on campus have gone up considerably, to the point where staff cannot afford to exercise.

And the list goes on and on …

Want to make a difference on campus? Join the UNISON committee by running for a role at our AGM on the 13th of February!

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