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.
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,