Reminder: General Meeting Thurs 21 Oct Gustave Tuck LT 1-2pm
Dear UCLUCU Member,
This is a reminder that we have a lunchtime General Meeting this
Thursday 21 October in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre 1-2pm.
A meeting poster including venue map for display on departmental
noticeboards is available here.
Motions for debate to print off to bring to the meeting can be found
in Appendix 1 at the end of this message.
The Browne Review of university funding continues to be a frequent
topic of conversation in College as colleagues brace themselves
for the announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR)
on Wednesday 20 October.
Your branch executive committee has discussed the crisis being
imposed on Universities, staff and students by the Government to
decide how best to build a response.
We are aware that the Employers are using the sense of impending
doom to try to force through changes on our USS pensions which will
massively devalue them in real terms.
It is equally clear that the present government plans to turn HE
into a 'pay as you go' elitist scheme in which the current HE sector
will be underfunded and fragmented in order to provide an opportunity
for growth in private university provision.
The Browne Plan and CSR comprise an historic attack on the post-war
welfare state and the principle of educational access for all those
who can benefit.
The demand for higher fees is a distraction: there is no new money
Students do not pay fees from their own funds, the fees come from
government loans. As the government is not willing to spend more
on HE the funding for loan fees must come from the HEFCE block teaching
grant which it is anticipated will be be cut by 79% in the CSR to
pay for the larger loans.
The Browne proposal moves the cost of paying for HE from one form
of funding to another but ultimately the cost is to the individuals
who must repay the loans.
Unfortunately many of the Russell Group VCs, including our Provost,
have been leading the chorus for removing the cap on tuition fees.
This is disastrous.
If these proposals become a reality they will cement the transformation
of higher education into a market place. We call for universities
to be funded from general taxation on the grounds that they constitute
a public good.
It is clear that many departments, disciplines and courses will
close because they will not be able to withstand the fee increase.
However, the HEFCE cut will be made regardless of the cost to our
It is evident that the coalition government is not united on this
issue. It is therefore important to challenge Liberal Democrat MPs,
every one of whom signed the NUS pledge not to lift the cap on fees
and furthermore promised to abolish all fees in 6 years.
To fight this attack we need to build a campaign involving as many
staff as possible to unite with our students and the public to defend
Education and Research.
We are calling on all colleagues to join the London demonstration
against the cuts on 20 October (CSR DAY) at 5.30pm (assemble from
4.30pm) to march from Lincoln's Inn Fields to Whitehall. This demonstration
has been called by Camden TUC, supported by London Region UCU, Camden
NUT and many other concerned organisations.
Please note that our General Meeting on 21 October in the Gustave
Tuck LT 1-2pm will be open to non-UCU members so please circulate
this message to all colleagues within your department.
Members who wish to join UCU prior to the meeting can do so on-line
UCLUCU Exec Committee
1. MOTION: Cuts in HE provision
UCL UCU notes
- The proposed £4.2bn cut in HE teaching and £1bn
cut in research by the Conservative-Liberal Coalition Government.
- Statements by Lord Browne that student fees should cover the
costs of education provision.
UCL UCU believes
- That this Conservative programme, supported by the Liberal
Democrat Party in Parliament, is not supported by the electorate.
- That the Browne proposals represent an attempt to turn the
clock back to a pre-war system of elite fee-paying Universities
accepting rich students and a few working class students on bursaries.
This represents an attack on all students currently in education,
all adults who wished to consider future study in Higher Education,
and future generations of students.
- That similar cuts in the public sector in Greece and Ireland
have undermined the private sector which, far from being "held
back" by the public sector, has proved to be dependent on
- That we will need to mobilise against the cuts on the broadest
possible basis and that therefore we need an unprecedented level
of unity to stop the cuts.
UCL UCU resolves
- To support local and national broad-based campaigns against
the cuts on the basis of proposed activity in furthering these
aims. In addition
- To support the Education Activist Network conference, sponsored
by King’s UCU, on 31 October at King’s College
- To endorse the Coalition of Resistance founding statement
(and encourage colleagues to sign), to send a delegation to
the inaugural National Conference in London on 27 November,
and to call on UCU to nationally affiliate to the Coalition
- To support the Right to Work meeting calling for unity
on 5 December.
- To support participation in each of these events with a donation
of £50 per event to cover delegates’ fees and other
2. MOTION: Proposed changes to USS
UCL UCU local association notes that the HE employers are
intent on forcing extreme draconian and changes to the Universities
Superannuation Scheme Since USS is well-funded, we believe that
these changes are unnecessary. Rather than an isolated example of
shoddy treatment, they are part of a wider attack on hard-working,
dedicated workers, on the public sector, and on the continued existence
of education available to all.
If implemented, the employers' agenda will mean:
- Lower annual pension increases; index-linking to CPI rather
- An inflation cap of 5% - going even beyond the changes in public
- An increase in the normal pension age
- The abandonment of a final salary scheme for new entrants,
creating a two-tier pension scheme with future pressure on existing
- Existing members who are at risk of redundancy, including those
on fixed term contracts, who have a break of 6 months or more
in service will not be able to rejoin a final salary scheme
- An increase in contributions for employees, with no progressive
proposals to make high earners pay more
- Removal of the right for individuals made redundant to take
their pension unreduced.
This branch notes that there is a statutory requirement to consult
over these changes. This consultation will start on 20th October.
However, employers are not obliged to change their position in the
light of the outcome of this statutory consultation. In fact, they
have refused even to allow a member vote on their proposals.
This branch calls on UCL to:
- Conduct a consultative ballot on the proposals for change submitted
respectively by the Employers' Pension Forum and the UCU
- Publish the result of the ballot to scheme members within the
- Send the ballot result to USS as the local response to the
statutory consultation exercise
- Ensure all members of USS are able to engage in the process
and that their comments are fully reflected in the institution's
response to USS and that they are published locally.
This branch meeting instructs the UCU committee to call
a meeting of the appropriate local negotiating/consultation body
to discuss the proposed changes to USS and to seek agreement with
the employer the terms of the local response to the USS consultation