Wor Blog

UCU Maternity Group blog post

I'm writing this to the sound of thumps and jumps (and shouts to "move over!") as my younger two children start their day with Joe Wicks. I've long given up trying to join in having realised that pandemics are probably NOT the time to 'get fit', 'learn to play the guitar properly', FINALLY clear out the attic etc. Basic survival; that's ok. This also means that I don't even sit in the same room as I've found that saying 'keep your body upright, don't lean too far" etc. is not conducive, and young bodies are super supple/unlikely to strain, aren't they? (I refuse to google how true this is for my own state of mind but let's just agree that they are fine, and they have been warned not to break anything – bones and/or the TV, at least!).

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My Privilege, Your Stories, Our Fight

Since becoming Northumbria UCU Branch Chair, I have spent a lot of time saying to people, honestly and humbly, what a privilege it is to have been elected. I'm fired up about helping in the fight for fairness, decency, and dignity at work and in the wider world. It is a fight that many, many others, past and present, have made their own, and it is at the core of the trade union movement. But what a fight it is.

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Who needs a union anyway?

What was UCU ever going to do for me? As an employment lawyer I had a good handle on my workplace rights. Heck, I'd even represented clients at the Employment Tribunal on employment disputes and won. What's more, I was what some people might call 'gobby.' I didn't need any help standing up for myself, thanks very much. How naïve!

From 2012 workplace changes and "efficiencies" were becoming more regular. Experienced colleagues disappearing through voluntary severance was commonplace. Valued professional support staff who I had worked with for many years were informed they were suddenly "not appointable" in the latest restructure.

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Chair’s Blog December 2018

Pay and Pension concerns

The Conservative government has recently announced an increase in TPS contributions from our employers which is already being used by the employer as an excuse for further attacks on members' pay. One of the main drivers of the increased cost of the TPS pension on the employer is their own year on year below inflation pay awards. It is a fact, that under inflation pay awards are directly linked to the requirement on employers to increase their contributions to TPS. The employer, by restricting pay, has created the circumstances in which they now find themselves and, to add insult to injury, is now seeking to further abuse members by using this as an excuse to hold down pay. It is difficult to imagine a more perverse set of circumstances.

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