Wor Blog

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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Staff Survey 2018: Pointless?

If you do decide to complete the 2018 Staff Survey, you might want to bear in mind what UCU and others have already said about some of the more problematic, or pointless, questions:

1. My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment

What does 'personal accomplishment' feel like to you? Probably not the same as me, or yesterday. This question will elicit responses so subjective and various as to make the results pointless. What action can feasibly be taken if most people say their work doesn't make them feel like this?

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