Reminder for today's EGM, 1-2pm, Pearson G22 LT
9 March 2018
We have two items of business: (1) a report from HEC and a strike discussion, and (2) UCU Congress - this includes two motions, one related to USS, the other to a local issue that has made national headlines.
The union's national Higher Education Committee (HEC) met yesterday to discuss the USS dispute (among other matters), after the meeting Sally Hunt wrote to members. There was also a press release from UUK. The crux of these messages (despite the differences in position expressed) is that negotiations are actively continuing to try to reach a settlement. UCU is also clear that strike action next week and ensuring the union has the capacity to take further action are likely to be necessary in order to reach an acceptable outcome.
Our vice president, who is an elected member of HEC, will report from yesterday's HEC meeting. We will review our action at UCL and discuss next steps in the dispute. We will also elect a representative to go to the meeting on Tuesday 13 March where, alongside HEC members, a review of negotiations at that point will be made.
This year UCU Congress and Sector Conference will run from Wednesday 30 May - Friday 1 June 2018 in Manchester.
We have received two motions to debate for submission to UCU's Congress and HE Sector Conference. The motions are in Appendix 1 below. Congress and Sector Conference are the bodies of the union that meet annually to make union policy. Decisions are made by elected delegates from each branch, elected on the basis of 1 per 400 members or part thereof. We are entitled to the maximum six delegates.
At our general meeting, any colleague interested in standing for election as a delegate can put themselves forward. If you are interested and would like to know more, please email [firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com. We will have further opportunity to elect delegates at future general meetings, but it is worth thinking about now.
Finally thank you for all that you have been doing. UCU would not be on the eve of a decent settlement if you, and tens of thousands of colleagues across the country just like you, had not been prepared to strike. We know it has been hard, and we are not at the end of this dispute yet, but we would not be here if it were not for you. If we do win, it will be your victory.
UCL UCU Executive Committee
PS. For new members: General Meetings are open to all UCU members and every member gets a vote (but you have to attend to vote). They are our principal democratic body.
Appendix 1: Motions for debate
Motion 1 (Congress): No platform for eugenics fascists, but no crackdown on free speech
Congress congratulates the London Student newspaper for exposing a racist eugenics conference secretly held at UCL for four years, and students and staff at UCL for organising a campaign in opposition to it. We demand, if found guilty of inviting fascists onto our campus, UCL publicly expels the honorary senior lecturer who organised these events.
UCL management said that they didn't know about the conference and suspended the right of the organiser to book rooms. However UCL now vets every single room booking with a declared outside speaker (including a UCU GM with Sally Hunt). The excuse is the anti-muslim Prevent agenda which is now being used against trade unions and the left.
'No platform for fascists' exists to ensure universities are safe places for debate and learning. Congress opposes any attempt to extend this to any other group, whether citing Prevent or any other excuse.
Motion 2 (Higher Education Sector Conference) - Demand Government protection for USS
a) both valuations of the USS Pension in 2017 estimated by modelling the long-term impact of "de-risking" investments,
b) the behaviour of Cambridge and Oxford Universities in calling for the fragmentation of the scheme;
c) the fact that the "deficit" disappears when USS is valued as an ongoing scheme.
1) fragmentation would be a disaster for members,
2) the behaviour of the "hawk" employers was driven in part by both increasing competition between universities and increased speculative borrowing for capital projects.
HESC calls for a high-profile campaign, including lobbying ministers and MPs, to demand the government underwriting of the pension scheme in order to protect USS for the future.