Saturday, 22 September 2012

New College of the Humanities Protest - 1pm, Monday 24 September, Bedford Square

Why should you be bothered about the New College of the Humanities – AC Grayling’s for-profit college which will be opening next week in Bedford Square?

The New College of the Humanities doesn’t have its own syllabus or library – instead, it will tutor students through a University of London external degree, with students paying to use Senate House Library – piggy-backing on the work done by University of London staff in the Library and the International Academy.

But of more concern is the fact that NCHUM comprises both the high-profile college and a separate arm – a for-profit company called Tertiary Education Services Limited. This is a shared services company – basically, a company which expects to make money by taking over outsourced services in higher education, everything from admin to library services.

At the University of London we’ve already seen that outsourcing our facilities, maintenance and catering services doesn’t work – it squeezes the workers’ pay and conditions and delivers a worse service for everyone. As other institutions in UK Higher Ed struggle to survive against aggressive privatisation, it’s vital that we fight every attempt to privatise within our sector in order to preserve jobs and working conditions for all of our members.

Please join the protest on Monday if you can.

Monday 24 September at 1pm, Bedford Square (just round the corner!).

Friday, 7 September 2012

Pay dispute - the saga continues

Sorry to bother you (and apologies for cross-posting) - I just wanted to keep you up-to-date with developments re the pay dispute…

Next week the UNISON ballot opens (and I believe so does the UCU one – but UCU members may be able to clarify that for me).

The branch, and UNISON in general, is strongly urging people to vote YES to strike action.

  • We’re currently being offered a 1% pay rise – following rises of 0.5%, 0.4% and £150 in the last three years.
  • In the same time living costs have risen 12%.

At the same time the University of London’s most recent financial report (for 2010-11) shows:

  • Surplus for 2010-11: £4.1 million
  • General reserve (what’s in the bank account): £93 million
  • VC’s salary – £163,000 in 2011 plus benefits - £174,000 in all (for a 3 day week)
  • Income has risen over the last 5 years by over 25% - from c£110m in 2007 to c£145m in 2011
  • Yet staff costs have remained the same – so relative to income they have fallen dramatically.

So they CAN afford it, and without it we are getting POORER AND POORER each year.

So – if you are in UNISON please vote YES, and if not please VOTE full stop.

No ballot? Let me know! (

If you are in UCU your committee will be in touch re your ballot.

If you are in neither PLEASE JOIN – feel free to contact me with any questions.

Depending on the outcome of the ballot the provisional plan is a TWO-DAY STRIKE ON THE 18th AND 19th OF OCTOBER.

Best wishes, and have a nice weekend…


Monday, 3 September 2012

Support the cleaners at Societe General - this Thursday, 5pm, Tower Hill...

See below for a report from the Industrial Workers of Great Britain

IWGB called a protest in solidarity with our members employed as cleaners at Societe Generale by the contractor Initial Facilities on 29 August. Following an assurance by Societe Generale, eventually confirmed by Initial Facilities that their planned cuts were suspended we cancelled the protest and suspended our campaign.

A meeting with Initial Facilities management has been finally arranged. However, Initial Facilities management have since informed our members that the cuts will be going ahead in a few weeks, some cleaners were told to look at alternatives to working at Societe Generale.

Furthermore, despite Initial Facilities previously stating that the London Living Wage of £8.30 per-hour will be introduced from 3rd September 2012, repeated requests by the IWGB for assurances this will still be the case have been completely ignored. Confirming our view that the pay rise is conditional on an over 50% cut in hours, amounting to a wage cut.

Our union is appalled at the ongoing treatment of one of our young members who has been sacked by Initial Facilities in the most questionable of circumstances. We are demanding his immediate reinstatement. Having considered this situation the IWGB can not see justification to continue the suspension of the campaign in the UK and other countries until we achieve a settlement of this dispute satisfactory to our members at Societe Generale. We apologise to all those who heard at short notice of the cancellation of the previous protest, but we urge all our members and the wider labour movement to support the protest on Thursday 6th September at 5:00 pm at Societe Generale London office in Tower Hill.

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