Friday, 27 January 2012

Notes from SAUL MEETING - Thursday, 26th January 2012

I know it looks like the dullest meeting of all time (Allison was in fact chairing in her sleep), but thanks to all those who attended the packed SAUL briefing on Thursday - hope it was informative rather than confusing.

I wanted to quickly put up a brief summary of what was said, what the next stage is and who people should contact for more information.

First of all though, full details of the proposed changes, and the consultation process, can be found here. Any technical questions should be addressed to Leroy Clarke or Tara Kopp.

Bill Causon, from the Unison SAUL negotiating team, spoke first, and stressed that Unison and Unite, who represent the employees, had secured a number of concessions as regards the original proposals, and had succeeded in ensuring that most of the major changes to the scheme would affect new entrants rather than current members.

Sandy Nicoll, member of the UNISON Service Group Executive for Higher Education, noted that the switch from RPI to CPI for uprating pensions had already been introduced, and would already negatively impact their value. He also pointed to the employers' contribution holiday of the mid-1990s as a potential cause of the current situation, and also cautioned against measuring the financial viability of pension schemes taken against a snapshot of their value on the stock exchange in the middle of a recession. He argued that the current proposals for the CARE scheme for new entrants were the worst on offer in the public sector.

Leroy Clarke, the University Pensions Manager, stressed that SAUL was still a good scheme, and urged people not to withdraw.

Ruth Levin, UNISON Regional Organiser, praised the negotiating committee and said that many points had been defended.

All urged members to contribute to the consultation, which is running to the 22 March 2012 - either through the University link above, or via the UNISON branch ( /

After this suggestions will be considered, and a 'final' offer will be made.

This offer will come back to members of UNISON and UNITE, who will be asked whether to accept or to take action. While all SAUL members can take part in the consultation, only union members will be balloted.

If you are not a member of UNISON and wish to find more information see here for details of your local steward, or contact /

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

English lessons for UNISON members - update

The UNISON branches at Senate House, Birkbeck and SOAS all contributed funds in the summer of 2011 to pay for English lessons aimed primarily at workers from outsourced companies who comprise porters, cleaners and caterers at the University of London. The lessons have been delivered by teachers from the IFCELS unit at SOAS and the workers attending them have been focused and hard-working. One class has already achieved the first part of a literacy certificate.

The classes have been a huge success and we are now working with UNISON Region to develop the work and to organise funding from UNISON National Office. The plan is to offer ESOL (English as a Second Language) classes to a minimum of 40 workers who will receive 30 hours tuition each and be examined at the end of the course. ESOL courses are accredited and it is nationally recognised qualification.

We hope to start the ESOL courses in April and we are busy producing publicity leaflets and spreading the word amongst the Balfour Beatty, Ocean and ISS workers both at the University of London and at other centres of higher education in the Bloomsbury area (as we will be receiving national funding, the ESOL courses are open to a wider range of workers).

Keep checking back here for further updates.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

SAUL MEETING - Thursday, 26th January 2012

As you probably know, changes to SAUL pensions are currently being negotiated and SAUL are currently consulting all members about the changes to the scheme. Unison have organised a meeting for SAUL members to find out more about the changes to your pension scheme. Bill Causon, from the Unison SAUL negotiating team, and Leroy Clarke, the University Pensions Manager, will speak briefly about the changes to SAUL pensions and there will be a chance to ask questions.

The meeting is from 1-2pm in room S265 in Senate House on Thursday 26th January. Coffee and tea will be provided.

Your manager should be able to release you to attend this meeting where possible, but if that’s not possible or you can’t attend for another reason, please contact Josephine Grahl (, Danny Millum ( or your local Unison steward and we may be able to arrange an additional meeting if enough people are interested. If you have a colleague who is not in Unison do please encourage them to come – everybody is welcome.

We will circulate more details about the changes being proposed to SAUL closer to the meeting.

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