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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 (  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.

USS strikes update

Dear Colleague
UCU representatives from the Manchester area had a constructive meeting with Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, on Tuesday.  He is concerned about the impact 14 days of strikes at Salford and Manchester (both major employers with over 50,000 students between them) on the city region. He offered to write to the Universities Minister about the USS dispute and assured UCU that he would not undertake any engagements at Manchester and Salford Universities whilst UCU members are on strike.
There will be a UMUCU branch Emergency Meeting on Wednesday 7 February, 1.15 – 2.15pm lecture theatre C, Simon Building  to give you further information about the progress of the dispute and information about the industrial action.
No-one wants to take strike action, especially on the scale we will be embarking on in this dispute, but the attack on our lifetime income is unprecedented: a loss of over £200k for a lecturer near the start of their career.  It is this we need to set against any short-term losses from taking strike action, and it is why we need to take substantial action, beyond our more usual one or two days of action, to have a significant impact on our employers and make them think again.
UMUCU Executive

Suspension of M2020 working to contract

We hope you have returned from the holiday period feeling rejuvenated and wish you all the best for 2018 – especially since, as we move from one year to the next, it looks as though we will also be moving from one dispute with our employer over M2020 redundancies to another over USS.


Suspension of M2020 working to contract

But there is good news. In particular, as you know, our forthright opposition to compulsory redundancies forced management to back down; just one week after our two-day strike, it was announced that no academics would be made redundant.

Before the Christmas break one UCU PSS member of staff remained at risk so we could not call off industrial action entirely. However, our Regional Official has now written to Nancy Rothwell saying that we are as of today suspending action short of a strike (ASOS) on the understanding this member will soon be redeployed. The member concerned agrees with this and we are confident we can suspend ASOS since an organisation with 3000 PSS staff should have no difficulty finding a suitable role for one person. (The letter also makes it clear that, if our colleague has not been redeployed by February 28th, we will take it as evidence of a lack of goodwill and consider notifying further industrial action, but we sincerely hope this will not be necessary.)

Sally Hunt, the UCU General Secretary, has sent us this message: “This is a significant outcome that should make it clear to other universities and vice-chancellors that UCU will vigorously oppose compulsory redundancies throughout the university sector. University of Manchester UCU members should be proud of the campaign they ran and the strong action they took that led to the university rowing back on its plans just a week after their strikes. We would also like to thank shadow education secretary and Ashton-under-Lyne MP Angela Rayner for her support. We are suspending our action in good faith until the end of February and hope the university will now sit down with us to deal with this one outstanding issue.”

This, therefore, represents the end of last year’s campaign to protect jobs. We thank every single member of UMUCU for their support and contribution to this success, which proves the relevance of trade unions as the only real protection employees have when faced with out-of-touch senior managers who know the price of everything but the value of nothing and who fail to understand the difference between management and leadership.

UCU Press Release

USS negotiations

Talks about will be taking place this and next week between UCU with the Universities UK, whose consultation with employers is due to end this Friday. It is vitally important that we give the UCU negotiators the strongest possible backing; if the University of Manchester turnout is less than 50%, the UMUCU branch will not be able to join any national action to defend pensions.

Therefore, if you have not done so already, PLEASE vote YES to take industrial action to defend your defined benefit USS pension. The ballot closes on January 19th. If you have not received or have lost your ballot paper, please order a new one here: USS Don’t miss your chance to vote(though please check your pigeonhole, home, bag, litter bin, first).



With best wishes for 2018,

Support from Shadow Secretary of State for Education Angela Rayner MP

Angela Rayner’s message of support: ‘I would like to express my solidarity and support to members of UCU at the University of Manchester, who are to go on strike on Monday and Tuesday of next week. This is a concerning case, given the fact that UCU members feel as if management have not been clear, or provided any convincing rationale for job losses.

‘The university has also claimed that it needs to create ‘financial headroom’ in light of an uncertain climate for universities. This is not a convincing argument when it recorded a £36m surplus last year, and is also sitting on £1.5bn of reserves.

‘I hope that management will get their house in order and give the UCU workers the respect they deserve.’

The ballot result is in…

86.7% vote in favour of strike action and 93.1% in favour of taking action short of a strike
 This is a tremendous show of the strength of opposition to the Senior Leadership Team’s unwarranted and unnecessary proposals to make staff compulsorily redundant – which are being discussed THIS AFTERNOON by the Board of Governors. The current SLT, HR and Board of Governors have undeniably lost the confidence of a very large section of academic, academic-related and senior PSS staff.
UMUCU Executive Committee


Monday  11th September  was a very significant date – and a sad day for the university. It was the final closing date that academics in the affected areas could put in applications for Voluntary Severance. 
It is also  is also the date when our ballot for industrial action opened. Look out for your ballot paper arriving  (Note this is a postal vote (hardcopy) in accordance with trade union  legislation).
Please support your colleagues and protect your own future  by voting immediately and voting  in support of industrial action. Please encourage your colleagues to vote – and to join UCU if they are not yet members. A high turn-out and a strong vote in favour of industrial action will force the university Senior Leadership Team to return to the negotiating table, to maintain the collegial principles which are integral to a university, and to develop a long-term plan to meet its goals  without recourse to compulsory redundancies.

Sally Hunt – no economic rational for job cuts

Sally Hunt accuses The University of Manchester of using recent government policy changes and Brexit as an excuse for short terms cuts that will cause long term damage – Full Press Release

Shock compulsory redundancy announcement, joint Trade Union meeting for staff affected, UCU Emergency General Meeting


We are deeply shocked by, and utterly condemn, today’s announcement that over 900 staff, mostly academics, are at risk of losing their jobs through compulsory redundancy as the University wants to reduce staff numbers in order to create some financial “headroom”. The total job cut will be around 171 (140 academic and 31 PSS). Academic staff across the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, the Alliance Manchester Business School and the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures in Humanities, and Professional Support Staff in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Directorate of Finance are under immediate threat. Academic staff in FSE should note that this Faculty is under review, so they may well be next in line.


In view of the urgent situation, the following two meetings have been arranged:


  • Meeting for all UCU, UNISON and UNITE trade union members affected by the S188 announcement: 12:00-2:00pm, Friday 12 May, in lecture theatre D, Simon Building
  • UMUCU Emergency General Meeting: 12:00-1:00pm, Thursday 18th May, in St Peter’s Chaplaincy, Oxford Road

Please feel free to share this email with colleagues who are not trade union members and encourage them to join one, especially if they are “in scope” for redundancy.

National Union of Students’ NSS boycott and UMSU lecture shout-outs

This is just a quick reminder about the NUS boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS). As you will know, the government plans to use NSS results in its disastrous new Teaching Evaluation Framework (TEF), which seeks to create an internal market whereby universities compete with each other for the right to increase tuition fees. UCU and NUS both oppose the NSS in its current flawed form and agree that it is a waste of time and money that could be better spent on education. Just as NUS has given UCU strong support in our campaigns for fair pay and job security for university staff, so now UCU will support NUS in its fight against using the NSS to justify further tuition fee increases.
If the University of Manchester Student Union (UMSU) contacts you this coming semester and requests that you permit students to make an announcement before or after one of your lectures about their TEF/NSS campaign, please acquiesce. Please also consider making use of the attached UCU poster and leaflet and read the following joint NUS/UCU statement on the NSS boycott:
(N.B. The university’s Director of HR has written to the UMUCU officers saying that, so long as students ask permission and learning is not disrupted, the decision regarding whether or not to allow shout-outs is at the discretion of the member of staff teaching the class and that staff can also alert students to the UMSU campaign in other ways.)  If you would like a member of UMSU to give a shout out ahead of your lecture, please contact the UMUCU office and we’ll forward your request.   
Resources are available at the following links:

A quick update on local issues…

One day strike and email to Chancellor

Many thanks for supporting our one-day strike on June 22nd. It was covered by the Manchester Evening News and after talking with him outside General Assembly the UMUCU President, Adam Ozanne, sent this email,, to Lemn Sissay, the Chancellor, explaining why we were on strike.
Leafletting Graduation Ceremonies
We have, very politely, been distributing leaflets about the current pay campaign to graduands and their families during the graduation ceremonies. If you can spare 30 minutes to help, please contact the UMUCU office.
EU referendum and impact on staff who are EU citizens
We have also corresponded with Dame Nancy Rothwell about the EU referendum result and its impact on staff who are citizens of other EU countries. This is something the campus trade unions and university management agree about and can cooperate upon:
Research Expectations warning letters
We have learned that a number of colleagues in SALC have received an email from their Head of School, apparently at the instigation of the Faculty of Humanities, suggesting that they are not performing in a manner consistent with the University’s new Research Expectations Statements (RESs). This is of great concern to us, both because of the inappropriate tone of the letters and because we had previously been assured by Prof. Colette Fagan, the Deputy Dean for Research in Humanities, that RESs would only be used at a collective (i.e. discipline) level and would not be used to assess the performance of individuals. We have written to Colette accordingly. If you have received a similar message, whether in writing or verbally, please let the UMUCU office know.
Finally, please everyone, continue to work to contract.