Wor Blog

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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Some Home Truths about TEF

Dr Linda Barkas (University of Sunderland), Dr Jonathan M. Scott (Northumbria University), Dr Paul Smith (University of Hull) & Nicola J. Poppitt (Teesside University)

Our recent article in the Journal of Further and Higher Education (Barkas et al., 2017) provides a critical account of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), underpinned by an overview of the policy context and other agendas exploring the rationale for implementing TEF within universities. In the paper we provide an outline of the background and context of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017; we clarify the definition of the Teaching Excellence Framework; we explore the themes underpinning the TEF; and we question the nature of the reforms and offer some concluding arguments.

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