Wor Blog

Pay matters - support the action

We begin this academic year still in dispute with the employers over the derisory pay offer of 1.1%. The fight is NOT over.

Many of you will still be working to contract (we hope) and certainly not more than 48 hours per week. We have managed to encourage many external examiners to give up or not take on posts across the country, which has been quite effective.

Now it is time to consider next steps in the dispute. The HEC is not giving up – no matter what you read that says this: it is absolutely not true.

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Newcastle - Rally for Europe

Join us on Saturday 15 October from 1pm at the Monument!

If you are anything like me, the past few months have probably felt like a very bad dream, and you are only just coming to terms with the fact that a lot of things you took for granted are no longer part of the unwritten consensus, the mainstream, or what most people consider the norm.

The European Union has been a crucial institution in my life. In my early 20s, the Erasmus programme allowed me to explore other cultures, learn other languages, and make friends for life all over Europe. Those were life changing opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. My circle of friends comes from practically every country of the 28, and especially from the UK. At my age, friends often get married, a constant reminder that tempus fugit. The creation of many cross-national, cross-cultural, wonderfully unconventional and wonderfully conventional families around me is also a reminder of the 'real life' impact of those values I took for granted: freedom of movement, the freedom to study, work, travel, live, love and retire, not necessarily in that order, in some of the most wonderful parts of the old continent of Europe.

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Pay dispute

Leaders: lead

It is easy to forget that our union's campaign for better pay and conditions remains operative. The last strike action took place in July, and the prominence of the campaign is fast dwindling from the memories of many (if not most) members. Last week (w/c 26th September), a series of meetings took place in the various UCU regions. The purpose of these meetings is designed to help the union's Higher Education Committee gauge the degree of support for the campaign amongst ordinary members before the HEC decides what step to take next.

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June update

Redundancies, severances, more course closures and no dignity at work: the Corporate machinery in top form and full swing

The past few weeks (months, years...) have been difficult for many colleagues at Northumbria University. Sadly, this is business as usual: the divisive, ruthless and counterproductive transformation of what once was a good employer into an antisocial and antagonistic corporation is well under way. Our University, immersed in a permanent identity crisis brought about by its top down, dogmatic strategists, seems a world apart from the inspirational enhancer of social mobility, creativity, knowledge, and human and economic growth in the North East that it could be; it also seems another world apart from its desired destination. We are, decidedly, in no man's land.

In the midst of a national dispute on fair pay, your local union has been busier than ever because of an unprecedented set of unsettling moves that have made many members vulnerable to the side effects of Vision 2025, with their courses, their livelihoods and their health becoming collateral damage, when not a fully intended target, in the pursuit of savings, synergies and streamlines, pawns in a managerial chess board.

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