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Please remember to vote in the Higher Education pay and equality e-ballot (closes noon Wed 27 June)

If you haven't voted yet in UCU's pay and equality e-ballot, please do so now!

UCL UCU Executive Committee recommends you vote to reject the employers' offer and to take action over pay and equality.

You should have received several emails, most recently this morning, from UCU’s Head of HE Paul Bridge, entitled ”Reminder: UCU pay and equality consultation”.

If you have not received an email with a link for you to vote, please request one at once using this link.

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Academic Board discusses USS - who speaks for UCL?

Today's meeting of Academic Board, will, inter alia, discuss the USS Pension Scheme.
Details: UCL Academic Board, 14:05, Wednesday 2 May, Christopher Ingold Auditorium, Chemistry Building, Gordon St WC1 (this meeting is open to all members of Academic Board).

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Solidarity with the University of London outsourced workers strike on 25 & 26 April

In a press release the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) write:

“Over 100 cleaners, porters, security officers, receptionists, gardeners, postroom staff and audiovisual staff are expected to walk out on 25 and 26 April after a near unanimous vote in favour of industrial action.

The workers, who are employed by a number of outsourcing companies that have contracts with the University of London central administration, are demanding to be made direct employees of the university, and for equal terms and conditions with those that are directly employed.

Outsourced workers receive worse pension, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay entitlements than their in-house colleagues.”

We encourage members to support the strike action by taking collections, donating directly to the strike fund via the Crowdpac website and by visiting the picket lines on strike days (especially Senate House).

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General Meeting votes: Reject UUK offer – it does not protect your pension

You will have seen an earlier message (Subject: "UCU e-ballot update") from UCU asking you to accept the current pensions offer from UUK. These messages do not reveal that there is an ongoing debate on this offer, because of its considerable challenges.

To add some developing information:

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Update on USS Ballot

This is to remind you that an electronic consultative ballot is taking place on whether to accept the UUK offer on the USS Pension scheme. This ballot closes on the 13 April.

On Tuesday 10 April, Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre 1-2pm, there will be a General Meeting open to all members. We will debate the offer and we will also handle business for UCU's national conference, Congress. We will send more information about Congress business in a separate email. So if you are unsure as to which way to vote, you can come to the General Meeting and discuss the UUK offer.

We would also advise voting after 11th April when the Joint Negotiating Committee of USS meets to decide on their next steps. Additional information is always useful and we will report that to members. Specifically, if they decline to agree to certain provisions UUK have agreed to then the deal is off and colleagues should unconditionally vote no!

Our email on Wednesday set out some reasons why your Branch Executive Committee are advocating that members vote no. We are not alone. The following UCU branches have so far taken this position for similar reasons: UCL Institute of Education, Keele, Strathclyde, Liverpool, Sheffield, Bath, Goldsmiths, SOAS, Kent, Salford, Kings College London, Herriot Watt, Lancaster, QMUL, Newcastle, Brunel, Exeter, Leeds, and Ruskin College.

This is in addition to branches and regions that have voted explicitly to endorse a ‘no detriment’ clause and so to reject the deal (this includes UCU Scotland).

In fairness, two branch executive committees have explicitly advised members to vote yes (Loughborough and Glasgow), and three have explicitly declared no position (Imperial, Manchester and Cardiff).

There has been recent, and unprecedented, communication from UCU advocating a vote for the proposal in the middle of an ongoing ballot, despite the elected Higher Education Committee of UCU not agreeing to recommend the offer to members. We leave it to your judgement on reading relevant information.

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Why you should vote 'no' in the UCU USS consultation

For the following reasons UCL UCU Executive Committee recommend that you vote 'no' in the UCU online consultation 'e-ballot' over the UUK offer that begins today (closing 13 April).

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Strike for USS - strikes are on! Plus 2nd March for Education and event diary

Monday 12 March sees the resumption of our strike action with strikes continuing through Friday 16 March inclusive. It is possible that negotiations this week may result in an offer that could end our dispute (see below) but we must not let the employers see any let-up in our strike action and commitment otherwise the pressure will be off, risking all we have achieved until now.

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Strike for USS - strikes are on, lobby of UCU/UUK talks & interim advice on the HR web form

We're delighted to welcome nearly 300 new members in the last week or so. (Welcome! You can catch-up on recent email messages in this news section on our website.)

Monday 5 March sees the resumption of our strike action with strikes continuing through Thursday 8 March inclusive (and, if necessary, for the following week).

Please join our picketing from 07:30 at the Quad entrance on Gower Street. The forecast is for warmer weather this week but it will be very cold in the mornings so please wrap-up warm.

Also on Monday there will be a lobby of the UCU / UUK talks facilitated by ACAS from 8.30am, at RIBA HQ, 66 Portland Place. The aim of the lobby is to support our negotiators and remind all parties that there is no pension deficit! We do need to prioritise picketing UCL so we will arrange for a delegation from the better attended picket lines on the day.

A reminder that our interim advice is that you do not use the HR web form for recording strike action. We have a number of concerns about the form including data protection and the unclear content and structure. However, if you have completed the form already please await further updates. If you are asked by your line manager if you have taken part in industrial action you should answer truthfully, see suggested response in Appendix 1 below.

One error repeated several times by managers is the suggestion that UCU members should complete this form. Note that all UCL employees are entitled to strike on strike days called by UCU. It is unlawful to discriminate against employees by membership of trade union, and the employer is also not entitled to ask whether or not you are a member of a particular trade union. Suggested response below.

Please keep your non-union colleagues updated, encourage them to join in the action and of course to join UCU.

For live updates during the strike follow us on twitter @UCL_UCU and Facebook. You can also see details of the teach-outs that are happening during the strike on our Facebook page.

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Strike for USS - strikes are on! Plus EGM report-back, lobby of ACAS talks & notice of next meeting

Monday 5 March sees the resumption of our strike action with strikes continuing through Thursday 8 March inclusive (and, if necessary, for the following week).

Please join our picketing from 07:30 at the Quad entrance on Gower Street. The forecast is for warmer weather next week but it will be very cold in the mornings so please wrap-up warm.

At a very well attended meeting yesterday members discussed their experience of the strike. The mood was positive but determined to see the dispute through to a negotiated agreement. We debated two motions (appendices 1 & 2 below). Motion 1 was defeated (no votes for and six abstentions). Motion 2 was passed unanimously, nem con.

Also on Monday there will be a lobby of the UCU / UUK talks facilitated by ACAS from 8.30am, at RIBA HQ, 66 Portland Place. The aim of the lobby is to support our negotiators and remind all parties that there is no pension deficit!

We need to prioritise picketing UCL, so we will arrange for a delegation to visit on the day. But if you can make it in to Central London early on Monday, you could go straight there.

We have scheduled a further formal EGM meeting next week, Friday 9 March to consider the progress of the dispute, 13:00-14:00, venue TBC.

Please keep your non-union colleagues updated, encourage them to join in the action and of course to join UCU.

Keep up-to-date by following us on twitter @UCL_UCU and Facebook. You can also see details of the teach-outs that are happening during the strike on our Facebook page.

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