Wor Blog

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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Chair's Blog: Gender pay gap

Chair’s Blog 18/05/2016

Why is it that nearly 50 years after the Equal Pay Act we still have huge gaps in the pay of men and women? The gender pay gap reform is part of our pay claim this year.


The gender pay gap across higher education (HE) equates to a shortfall of £6,103 per year for each female academic. In total, this difference in average pay is a gender pay gap of £528 million per year. The total salary spend on female academics is £1.3 billion less than it is for male academics. Please note also the majority of hourly paid staff are women.

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Vision 2025 and the Emperor’s New Clothes

Last year, your UCU branch published “Alternative Visions for the Future of Northumbria”. This was a newsletter that highlighted the calamitous results of Northumbria’s staff survey, some of the worst known at any university and some of the worst in the entire public sector, inviting you to share your views and to contribute to formulating a constructive alternative. In 2014, only 34% of Northumbria staff felt valued by the University; a majority feared for their job security; 71% felt that there was no culture of mutual respect and collaboration; 73% felt that the University was failing to retain its best people; 80% felt that the University Executive did not listen to or respond to the views of its staff; about half of you were often thinking about leaving; 79% felt that recent changes had been negative; 78% felt that such change was managed badly. The evolution of these “satisfaction” rates painted an eye-watering picture, with most indicators rapidly deteriorating by more than 30 percentual points during the first years of implementation of our current Corporate Strategy.

You can read our “Alternative Visions” document, and contribute to it, here: http://www.ucu-unn.org.uk/images/stories/File/AlternativeVisionsfortheFutureofNorthumbria4.pdf


Can you imagine what would happen if the University had those results in the NSS? Can you imagine what would happen if there was a national league table based on Staff Survey results?

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