Wor Blog

Members express their concerns about grade 8/9 reviews

Here are some of the concerns members have been sending us about the impact of the grade 8 and grade 9 reviews.


I’ve cried since I heard about this re-structure, every night. It is destabilising the day to day management of our jobs, grade 8s are wobbly and now grade 9s.  No information has been shared about the rationale for or process of this latest delayering, and no notice is being taken of what this is doing to staff mental health. HSE should be investigating the stress caused to staff by this constant change being forced on us. If VS was offered today we would lose a large number of loyal and competent staff just because they are fed up with constant instability and change. There is much literature out there which proves performance related pay does not work and we (grade 9s) don’t want it. Why are we being targeted and not professors? I feel in a real bind – should I leave a job I love (or maybe lose it) or take on 2 jobs (AD and HOD), when I can’t even do one properly just now?'

If you have concerns/fears that you wish to share with members please send them in and we'll post them here...


How many hours a week should academics work?

Chair’s blog No. 6

By Julia Charlton, Branch Chair, Northumbria University

How many hours a week should academics work? How many hours do you work in a week? Many academics feel overworked and exhausted by their jobs. But there is little evidence that long hours lead to better results, while some research suggests that they may even be counterproductive. The research on how long academics work is patchy, but on the whole it shows that scholars are putting in longer hours than the average worker, and certainly more than the 9-to-5 norm that in any case seems to be disappearing from Western workplaces.

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You are paid less - part 5

By Julia Charlton, Branch Chair, Northumbria University

From April 2016 there are legislative changes being introduced that may result in you paying higher National Insurance (NI) contributions. If you are a member of LGPS, TP or USS pension schemes then your National Insurance (NI) contributions will increase from April 2016. As an employee, youpay National Insurancecontributions if you earn more than £155 a week. The amount youpayis 10.6% to12% of your earnings above that limit up to £815 a week (for 2015 to 2016). The rate drops to 2% of your earnings over that amount. So for someone on top SL pay you lose all of your last pay rise and more. Members are telling UCU that the cost of living crisis is having a major impact on their ability to afford to continue in the sector.

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In the autumn statement, George Osborne announced the scrapping of the NHS bursary for new student nurses, midwives and allied health professions in England from 2017. The ‪NHS bursary supports over 80,000 healthcare students at more than 120 universities each year and the Tories want to scrap it.

Why does this matter to UCU members? Because our hardworking health academics are at possible risk because of the possible loss of NHS commissioned training places at Northumbria University. These commissioned places bring vital finance into the university in excess of £20 million per year.

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