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February 14th, 2018:

USS Strikes – latest update

We had a very well attended EGM last week, with members clearly angry at the attack on their pensions and willing to take serious action to defend our scheme and bring the management back to meaningful negotiations.  Details of planned action and events before and during the strikes was given at the meeting, but further ideas are welcome (ucu@manchester.ac.uk).  If you want to get more involved, there is a Local Contacts meeting on Thursday 15th February at 12.30-1.30pm in Academy 3, in the Students Union.
 
Our industrial action needs to make a significant impact, but we realise this will have bigger effects on some than others.  At the EGM members supported a motion to set up a local strike fund, to complement the national fund.  This will, for example, allow us to support members in the early days of the strike before the national scheme kicks in, especially those such as GTAs for whom the loss in pay may be a significant proportion of their income.  We’ve already had contact from some retired members, now receiving a good pension, who want to donate to the fund.  Details on how to donate coming soon.
 
Following suggestions from some of our members we’re running an Information Meeting on USS aimed at non-members.  We’re aware that non-members are currently getting a one-sided account from management and want to provide more balanced information.  If you know people who aren’t UCU members but would be interested in getting a more complete picture, please encourage them to come along: Monday 19th February, 1-2pm, lecture theatre 2, Crawford House.
 
Further support from local politicians: Lucy Powell (MP for Manchester Central) has pulled out of a lecture she was due to give on one of the strike days further details can be found HERE
 
In contrast to the prompt responses we’ve had from local politicians to our communications, the Vice Chancellor has yet to respond to a LETTER we wrote two weeks ago.
 
Finally, Senate elections.  Academic and research staff in all Faculties currently have a chance to vote for elected representatives on Senate. Please use your vote. Senate is the supreme academic authority within the University, and two-thirds of its members are elected. It is vital that your representatives on Senate are independent-minded people who are prepared to challenge the senior leadership team when necessary, and speak up for principles of collegiality and good governance. Note that all candidates for Senate have to opportunity to submit a “biography” – please support those candidates who have a declared interest in promoting the role of Senate as the leading academic body of the University.