Employment of part-time teachers – survey report presented

Update – slides available at this link – UCU report presentation 2016 06

The branch commissioned a survey and report on the employment of part-time teaching staff in the University to investigate further the concerns expressed by members. The report will be presented tomorrow:

Friday 24th of June 1pm

Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1

The meeting is also open to non-members and we would encourage non-union part-time teaching staff to come. There will be an opportunity for questions and comments on the report and further discussion about tackling the problems thrown up.

The published report has been circulated by email through the branch members list. Members who aren’t on the list should e-mail Owen Lyne (O.D.Lyne@kent.ac.uk) for a copy. We hope you will find the information in it interesting. Some printed copies will be available at the meeting.

Supporting the junior hospital doctors

Committee member William Rowlandson writes:

I cycled up to the hospital this morning and spent a cold hour chatting with the junior doctors.

Good turnout – over 20 people when I left – mostly BMA members (photo only catches some of them).

Group of picketing junior hospital doctors at Canterbury hospital
Pickets at Kent and Canterbury hospital – photo William Rowlandson


I was impressed with the public support – 9 out of every 10 cars beeped and waved, as did the bus and taxi drivers.

Some things of the chats:

  • 78% BMA turnout for the ballot. 98% in favour of industrial action.
  • NHS already has a 7-day service. It always has.
  • There are not sufficient doctors to deliver full service for the weekend. Hence the contract dispute.
  • As with teachers and lecturers, this strike is about much more than money – much, much more. There are massive structural changes taking place in the NHS. Working conditions and pay are worsening, and the end result will be poorer services offered to the patients.
  • All those I spoke to feel that Hunt is the fall guy for a wider strategy to drive down quality in the NHS, forcing patients to choose private and to sell off services to private health contractors, leading ultimately to a break-up of the NHS.
  • Hunt will stick to his guns. Unlike IDS he won’t resign nor will he be sacked.
  • The question is whether he has the power to impose the contracts. Many trust managers have already said they will not force the contracts on junior doctors. How, therefore, will Hunt actually impose the contract?

They are striking tomorrow too.

Good health to all!

Ben Hickman adds:

Tomorrow [Wednesday 27th] the BMA are bringing the pickets, from Canterbury, Ashford, Thanet, and beyond, to the High Street. Members and supporters will be marching from their picket line outside the Kent & Canterbury Hospital to the Square in front of Café Rouge, The Parade, Canterbury. They will start from 10.30am at K&C and finish at 11.30am at the Parade for some kind of rally. Obviously, it’s very likely to be the biggest political thing to happen in the city centre this year. Do come and show your support, even if it’s only for 10 minutes!

Please meet at K&C Hospital just before 10.30am



Southeast Regional TUC says:

Support our Junior Doctors –  Protect our NHS

The BMA/Junior Doctors’ dispute, against the imposition of a new employment contract and the impact of proposed changes in their terms and conditions of employment, continues. The government is seeking to portray the dispute about being about money and the loss of a premium pay rate for working on Saturdays, and to characterise the Junior Doctors as greedy. The Junior Doctors and the BMA are adamant that the critical factor in the dispute is patient safety. The contract arrangements that the government intends to impose also disadvantage doctors who wish to work part-time or take career breaks and this would impact on many female doctors. So this struggle is very much our struggle, and it is about the ethos of the NHS, the quality of care, and Junior Doctors’ terms and conditions. See:






Junior Doctors are keen for the members of the public to be seen to be actively supporting their campaign. A good source of information, intended to provide a clear and accessible review of the issues for the general public. (Click on image for link)



2016 pay ballot open now!

Our union is currently balloting us on the 2016 pay offer. Members should receive your ballot paper in the post by today (Wednesday 20th April) at the latest. The envelope looks like this! http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/8000/ERS-envelope/Image/ERS_envelope.JPG The local committee is calling on all members to please:

  • Check the post for your ballot envelope which will look like this. http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/8000/ERS-envelope/Image/ERS_envelope.JPG
  • Read and share our union’s ‘Why should I vote’ article. https://www.ucu.org.uk/whyshouldivote
  • A ballot re-issue request for will go live as of Wednesday 20th April and we have circulated that link by e-mail. If you have not received a ballot paper by then, please complete the online form
  • Complete and return your ballot paper as soon as you can in the envelope provided….it’s free!

Whatever your views on pay it really is crucial that every member votes in this ballot and that we are able to demonstrate the strength of feeling amongst staff here. The ballot closes on 4 May. Please don’t leave it to others to speak for you – cast your vote now! If you have not received your ballot paper it is very important that you click here to request one today: https://www.ucu.org.uk/no-HE-ballot-paper. The ballot period is short and closes Wednesday 4 May 2016.

Thank you.

Ballot queries

A member who is abroad and won’t be back until after the ballot period asked:

  1. Is there a way she can vote electronically?
  2. Can she authorise someone else to complete her ballot for her?
  • No – electronic voting is against the law so there is no such facility – but you could lobby your MP now for amendments in the TU Bill (on this and other questions)
  • Members need to request a duplicate ballot to be sent to an alternative address – and NOW: request a replacement here.

The University management’s response to the ballot

You may have seen the message sent out by Denise Everitt about the situation ‘we’ are in. However we are not all in it together! A few carefully chosen figures are offered to suggest what a tight corner we are in, but the management doesn’t acknowledge that pay keeps on increasing significantly in real terms at the top end. Many Vice Chancellors are earning between 10 and 20 times more than a new lecturer…..  And ours is earning approximately nine times a new lecturer on bottom of Grade 7. NINE extra points have been introduced on the Managerial and Professorial scale, taking the top of that scale from £155,002 to £180,000. Meanwhile peanuts are offered to grades 7-10 and below and anyone who’s been on the same point on the scale for the past seven or eight years has suffered a real terms pay cut of 14.5%.

Further, at the same time that they invest substantial sums of money in a buildings’ beauty contest to tickle NSS scores, universities continue to increase the use of precarious contracts for teaching and research – those activities being the core and distinctive thing universities actually DO. We in higher education owe it to our students to invest in our staff – teaching, research and academic related – so we can continue to deliver world class education and expand human knowledge. Failure to invest in “front line” staff will inevitably affect the work which is done, which means the quality of the teaching and research. That will diminish our universities’ influence and impact in the world, as well as being a gross disservice to students who are increasingly burdened with debt that they may never be able to discharge.

The higher education unions have tried and failed to move beyond the main offers year on year, of which the 1% they are offering now is typical. They say we are disrupting a timetable … in which the employer holds all the cards and meetings are timed to debilitate the union’s ability to engage in meaningful negotiations. We say it’s time to give the majority of staff a fair deal, and the unions need your participation and support to make it happen.

Paul, Sian and Owen


Branch officers

University of Kent branch

The Green Paper, TEF and Implications for Universities

Today’s branch meeting was addressed by the President of the UCU on the subject of the proposals in the ‘Green Paper’ on Higher Education. These proposals include a ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ (TEF), measures to permit providers more easily to enter and leave the sector and other changes. The presentation given is available here:

Kent University 10th December 2015 Green Paper TEF

One contribution from the floor suggested that there is a lot of concern about the workability of the proposals. Because they aren’t well developed there is scope for contributions to the consultation to have real leverage. However it does seem there is a firm intention to introduce the TEF and the first cycle could run in 2016.

Concerns were expressed in the meeting about impact on workload. We are already struggling in the face of multiple indicators, and while we don’t like the look of the TEF we shouldn’t fall into the trap of making the existing alternatives look attractive either. Postgraduate students who are teaching are a vulnerable, often casualised part of the workforce and we need to respond to their interests. There will be impacts on the welfare of undergraduate students, not least from the rapid entry of private providers into the ‘market’.

The Green Paper consultation runs until 15 January 2016 – learn more from the ‘Higher education: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice’ consultation page. The UCU is working on its response – please contact branch officers if you’d like ideas passed up the chain for that response. We encourage members to use the presentation and other materials (see links in previous post) to encourage discussion amongst colleagues. Professional groups can make submissions and so can individuals.

We welcome discussion here – please bear in mind this is a public forum and be respectful of other participants.


Branch meeting – The Green Paper, TEF and Implications for Universities

Keynes Lecture Theatre 3 (KLT3) – 1pm, 10 December 2015


Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, has published a Green Paper setting out plans for Higher Education. These include making it easier for new providers to set up and old ones to leave HE, and a new Teaching Excellence Framework. UCU’s president Dr Elizabeth Lawrence will consider what these developments will mean for our work and how UCU can respond. She will be speaking at a meeting on the Canterbury campus.




Meet The President – an informal opportunity to talk to UCU’s President and other members before the talk. Light lunch and refreshments provided – Keynes Seminar Room 14 (KS14) 12 midday, 10 December 2015

Organised by University of Kent UCU – queries + requests for lunch to Paul Hubert and Owen Lyne



UCU’s initial response 5 November 2015

Green Paper ‘Higher education: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice’ consultation page – consultation runs until 15 January 2016

http://wonkhe.com/ Good source for info and comments

Slides from Paul Bridge

Casualisation HE presentation from Paul Bridge on Thursday 19th November 2015.

UCU recruitment week November 2015

This week is the first national UCU recruitment week and we will be running several events locally.

On Tuesday 17th we will be recruiting outside the Gulbenkian Café on Canterbury campus from 11.30am until 2.30pm (or the weather intervenes).

On Wednesday 18th we have one of our regular drop-in sessions for individual assistance (which is in the UCU office Rutherford:W3.W9 from 2pm to 4pm).

Also on Wednesday 18th, we have the next meeting of our Film Club, showing ‘Cassandra’s Treasure’ in  Keynes lecture theatre 6 (KLT6)  @ 5.30 for 6pm.

Then on Thursday 19th, which is UCU’s national anti-casualisation day, we are pleased to announce the following event – please pass this information onto colleagues if you can.

Casualisation is an increasing problem in institutions across the university sector – universities increasingly rely on temporary contracts to deliver a growing proportion of their teaching and research services. UCU (the University and College Union) has been campaigning nationally and at Kent about the impact this has on people who work this way for some time. The University is now carrying out a review. Given these developments, it is all the more important that you are familiar with the protection that the union can offer you – particularly given that membership of the union is free for research students and only £1 per month for hourly-paid staff on less than £5000 a year.

To find out about the kinds of defences that the union can provide, please come along to a free lunch being provided by UCU from 12-2pm on Thursday 19 November. Pop along at any point during this time, to hear about the benefits of UCU membership and what the union is doing to ensure protection for those on temporary contracts. The venue is KBS Extension room 3 (KBSX3)


I hope to see and speak with many of you this week,

Best wishes,

Owen Lyne

Branch secretary

More on the USS consultation

University staff who are members of the Universities Superannuation Scheme or are entitled to join can respond to the consultation on the threatened changes (through the consultation website). Members of the UCU at the University of Kent will already have received messages encouraging you to do so. The post on this blog on April 7 contained links to some useful information.

Please note that Mike Otsuka from LSE provides some interesting arguments as to why the proposed Defined Contribution element for incomes above £55k is a bad idea but he specifically advocates a Collective Defined Contribution scheme instead of the employers’ proposal. Members may wish to consider whether a better alternative is to argue for a higher ‘cap’ on the Defined Benefits section so that salary earns pension in a predictable way to a higher level.

Another LSE academic who is an expert on pensions is Nick Barr. He has published reflections on the USS and potential changes. The LSE Pensions Advisory Group pages also carry other material from various perspectives which fed into LSE’s critical response to the UUK proposed changes which may help refine arguments about the proposed changes.


Below are answers to the consultation drafted by the UCU Executive Committee at UCL – the University of Kent branch officers have not embarked on a similar exercise but both members and non-members may find these useful:

Members have been asking how they should respond. The response below has been collated, under the given question headings, by branch officers in coordination with pensions experts amongst our membership.

Please feel free to adapt this advice as you wish.

NOTE: The USS valuation methodology remains contested by the UCU and it is important that we continue to challenge this. If the same methodology is used at the next triennial valuation there will almost certainly be fresh demands for further reductions in scheme benefits.

Please also consider circulating this message to colleagues who may be in the USS scheme. Many members of USS are not UCU members and will otherwise not see this advice.

Note re: USS modeller: some colleagues have pointed out that the benefits modeller appears to:

  1. make higher pension predictions than UCU’s modeller (cf. http://defenduss.web.ucu.org.uk/whats-my-pension/) and

  2. predict small losses for members in the Final Salary scheme.

On point (2), colleagues should note that the USS modeller assumes a CPI of 2.5% pa, and, by default, 2.5% salary increase per year, every year, until retirement.

Since many staff find themselves stuck at the top of their grade for years, these are highly arguable assumptions! If you reduce the modeller’s projection of future pay increases to a lower, more realistic level, you are likely to see substantial losses. To be frank, if there were no reductions in benefits, the projected deficit could not be addressed!

Colleagues who recently joined USS on the existing CRB scheme will have to increase their contributions by 25%, from 6% of salary to 8.5%.

Proposed member response to USS consultation

1. Do you have any comments on the proposed change to end the link to final salary?

I believe that this change represents a fundamental breach of the promise made to members of USS when they joined, namely that by accumulating a pension, they would eventually be entitled to retire on a known proportion of their ultimate salary.

The USS website still extols Final Salary as the best type of pension scheme available:

‘This section of the scheme provides a “final salary” pension; regarded as the best type of pension that is available. It is paid for partly by your employer and partly by you, with the employer paying the bulk of the cost.’ (still available at http://www.uss.co.uk/SchemeGuide/FinalSalaryBenefitssection/joiningthescheme/Pages/default.aspx)

Members could be forgiven for interpreting such statements as representing a commitment to the preservation of the Final Salary scheme they joined.

Even if one were to argue that the scheme could be lawfully closed in extremis, whereupon ‘Final’ salary would correspond to the member’s salary on scheme closure, members have a right to expect that such a closure would only take place when absolutely necessary.

I do not believe that the scheme is in the deficit position claimed, and therefore I do not believe this change is necessary. Hence I believe that USS is breaching this promise made to members.

Ending this scheme will have substantial negative consequences for staff in early-to-mid career, because future promotion after scheme closure will be ignored for the purposes of calculating their ‘final’ salary. Up-rating by CPI will cumulatively further cut the value of this pension, approximately by 1% pa relative to RPI. Capping CPI will have a further impact in conditions of high inflation, even over the short-term.

These are substantive reductions in the future pension promise that are based on a deficit model that is not credible.

I do not agree with the assumptions made in modelling the purported deficit. Average life expectancy has been overstated, salary inflation has been grossly overstated (the implication being to make Final Salary pensions very expensive), inflation overstated, the wrong discount rate used (based on gilts rather than investment returns), a controversial de-risking strategy (that will make underfunding worse not better), whereas the employer covenant has been grossly understated (only 17 years lifetime for the pre-92 university sector – why?).

I believe that USS trustees, by failing to address the material failings in the actuarial projections are in breach of the Pensions Code in acting in a manner that is “excessively prudent” ” and therefore arguably failing in their fiduciary duty. By failing to publicly consult over the deficit model, and by failing to correct known errors in the model, USS trustees are failing to act in the interests of its members.

First, valuing invested assets relative to gilts may have been standard practice in the private DB Pensions sector, but in an investment portfolio, assets are only meaningfully valued in their own terms. Yet at no time has USS been prepared to consult publicly on the valuation model. Further, the USS Trustee has failed to respond to detailed questions put to him by Profs. Hutton, Jacka, Saul and Haberman (http://www.maths.bath.ac.uk/~sw283/USSTrusteesDeficit21Nov2014.pdf)

I note that the consultation document reproduces a pair of mutually-contradictory assumptions: future salary is predicted to rise, which assumes a strong economy to pay for it; scheme performance is predicted pessimistically, assuming an unhealthy economic forecast.

I also note a repeated reference to further projected increases in life expectancy, which seem both biologically and economically implausible. Sadly, the life expectancy of USS members has not increased substantially since 2011.

Finally, I do not agree with the proposal to ‘de-risk’ the scheme, as this locks in low rates of return long-term, which is damaging and potentially further destabilising. The pensions code states that it is the duty of the trustees to ensure that there will be enough money to pay the pension promises in the future. The decision to shift investments from higher return equities to lower return (but less volatile) gilts does not make it more likely that they will be able to achieve that. In fact quite the reverse: it increases the risk to the scheme.

The second way that “de-risking” in the broader sense will take place is the removal of Final Salary and the reduction of the Defined Benefit scheme, both of which shift the risk onto USS members. “De-risking” actually increases risk for members.

2. Do you have any comments in relation to the proposed treatment of transfers in for final salary section members?

I note that it is proposed to end all transfers in to the scheme. No justification is provided for so doing, so it is impossible to comment further, other than to note that this will inevitably reduce the attractiveness of the UK HE sector to new staff from outside. I believe the burden of proof is on USS to justify such a change, and I reserve my right to respond to an actual argument.

3. Do you have any comments in relation to the proposed treatment of Money Purchase and/or Added Years Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) for final salary section members?

I believe that irrespective of the small print when members signed, those members which purchased Added Years AVCs did so in the reasonable expectation that they were purchasing additional years towards their actual final salary. The changes will mean that instead these will be valued in the same way as their ‘final’ salary contributions, which, whether constituting a breach of contract or otherwise, is certainly a decision not to make good on the Pension Promise. Therefore my objection is linked to (Q1) above.

4. Do you have any comments in relation to the proposed treatment of transfers in for current and prospective CRB section members?

I note that it is proposed to end all transfers in to the scheme. No justification is provided for so doing. I believe the burden of proof is on USS to justify such a change. This proposal may disadvantage colleagues in other schemes, such as SAUL, TPS or the NHS scheme in the future, but these staff are not being consulted.

5. Do you have any comments in relation to the proposed treatment of Money Purchase and/or Revalued Benefits Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) for current and prospective CRB section members?

It appears that these benefits will be much less attractive than before, leading to their potential wind-up. Given that members will be induced to invest in the Defined Contribution scheme and get their 1% contributions matched by the employer, this seems even more likely.

6. Do you have any comments on the proposed new career revalued benefits section of the scheme?

Compared to the existing Final Salary scheme, were CRB to return the same average level of return (i.e. costs to USS being equal), we can compare the two schemes by considering two staff members who retire on the same salary point at the top of a scale. Under CRB, staff who face few barriers to promotion (or were appointed at a higher salary), would have a higher pension than staff who faced barriers to promotion during their career.

We already know there is a chronic Equal Pay problem in HE. One way this is manifest is in barriers to promotion. Women, BME staff and staff from working-class backgrounds tend to face these types of barriers, either due to stereotyping or by being offered contracts with limited opportunity for promotion. These differential impacts mean that all things being equal, CRB schemes have a negative impact on Equality compared with Final Salary. In essence, the CRB scheme reinforces existing pay inequality by introducing new pension inequality. This is one reason why until very recently USS themselves claimed that Final Salary was widely agreed to offer the best type of pension provision.

However, the new proposed CRB scheme does not pay benefits at the same rate as the Final Salary scheme. Overall, it pays out lower benefits and costs more. This is clear in USS’s own modeller, once you reduce the default assumption of continuous annual salary growth of 2.5% to a realistic figure. And indeed, were CRB to pay out more, then the purpose of the current exercise, i.e. reducing the benefits to address the deficit, could not be achieved.

7. Do you have any comments on the proposed level of the salary threshold or the proposed approach to the revaluation of the salary threshold?

I am strongly opposed to the introduction of the proposed Defined Contribution scheme. See Q9 below.

I believe, therefore, that the threshold for contributions should be as high as possible, and that the threshold should be up-rated annually by a rule that guarantees that neither changes in the demographic distribution of USS members nor inflation could undermine the principle that this was a small element of an overall DB scheme.

One way this could be done would be by establishing a second rule based on a percentage of USS members, and by combining this and the CPI rule, such that the threshold would be uprated by whichever were higher.

8. Do you have any comments on the proposed application of the salary threshold for part-time employees?

I believe that the proposal is the correct interpretation of pro-rata for the purposes of the scheme.

9. Do you have any comments about the proposed creation of a defined contribution section for employer and member contributions on salary above the salary threshold (£55,000 as at the implementation date)?

I believe that the case has not been made for the proposed Defined Contribution scheme. Absent from the consultation documents is any statement of justification for the creation of the scheme.

There is also no explanation of the proposed mechanism or costs.

There is no proper explanation of the risk that members will be exposed to in participating in such a scheme. As participating in any stocks-and-shares investment portfolio is necessarily a risky financial investment, and as there is no stated minimum rate of return, I would argue that this must be an essential element of the consultation, to avoid falling foul of UK law on mis-selling financial products.

The introduction of the Defined Contribution scheme will shift the risk of poor investment returns onto individual USS members, and it is proposed that individual members will be responsible (have ‘flexibility’) for their own investment portfolio. This is about the worst way to provide a ‘pension’ for any individual, as many in private sector pension schemes have already found.

If a DC scheme could be properly justified and consulted over, it would be possible to pool risks amongst scheme members: this would be termed a Collective Defined Contribution scheme, and would clearly be preferable. However, ultimately, the entire point of a pension scheme is to pool the risks and manage the portfolio – this is what a Defined Benefit scheme is.

10. Ahead of any further engagement by the trustee about the defined contribution section, do you have any comments on the range of funds to be provided (including the default fund), the charges payable by members, or any other aspects of the defined contribution proposition?

I believe that the DC scheme, like all parts of USS, should be ethically invested. I believe that there is a significant temptation in creating the Defined Contribution scheme to offer investments that are legal but potentially unethical and then offering them the ‘choice’. Moral concerns aside, I would point out that by definition if one offers a range of choices knowing that some of these would be unacceptable to some members, then one is in fact offering a far narrower range of choices.

11. Do you have any comments on the options the trustee should make available for members as to how they might use their defined contribution account at retirement or upon leaving the scheme?


12. Other/General Comments

The Trustee has failed to show that the supposed deficit has any real basis (see comments in response to (Q1), above). The wild change, “volatility”, in the calculated deficit, from about £13bn in March 2014 to £20bn in December 2014, with no corresponding change in the membership, contributions, assets, or pensions payout, underscores the truth that this valuation method is so variable as to have no predictive value. Its volatility indicates that it offers no basis for a fundamental change in the USS scheme.

The justification for any such change must be clear and demonstrable to the scheme members. I reject any proposed changes until a satisfactory and agreed valuation which proves the need for change is offered and openly debated.

USS – responding to the consultation

The employers are currently consulting on the proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). Your branch officers (Paul Hubert, President, and Owen Lyne, Secretary) attended a collective consultation meeting about them on 2 April with university management.

We strongly encourage all members to feed any questions and concerns through us, so we can convey them at the next meeting (May 8th) and at any other opportunities we get, whether or not members also submit them directly to the USS consultation website. Please note that the views of UCU members who are not members of the USS but who are entitled to be should also be taken into account in this process.

Please also consider attending the university’s presentations, at which these changes will be explained and a chance to comment will be given. Even if little is changed by the consultation, it will at least ensure you are as fully informed as possible about these enormously significant changes to USS. It is also important to register concerns through this means – we need to impress upon the employer that there is strong feeling and try to ensure that answers are provided to any questions we have.

Information on them and how to sign up is given here . We are told that there are many places still available at these sessions. See also dates and times below.

We encourage all members to make individual submissions to the consultation through the USS consultation website as well as through the other channels – the UCU centrally has published material about how to do this and we intend to circulate further information in the near future which you may find helps you with this. Two (personal) resources for responding to the consultation questions are the following:

Dennis Leech’s blog – emeritus professor of economics at Warwick University and UCU branch pensions officer

Mike Otsuka suggestions – one of those who drove LSE as an institution to making critical comments on the reality of the deficit

If many people make similar points, the USS will have to consider and respond to them after the consultation. Time expressing your views is therefore well-spent.

Please feel free to pass this message on to non-union colleagues – you could use it to encourage them to join to make sure they are heard as loudly as possible but if they won’t do that they can still lodge individual queries and views.

Dates, times and venues are:

7 April 2015 – Medway Campus, Rochester Building R2-09 at 9.30, 11.00, 13.30 and 15.00
8 April 2015 – Canterbury Campus, Gulbenkian Cinema at 9.30 and 11.00 and Jennison Lecture Theatre, 13.30pm and 15.00
13, 14 and 15 April 2015, Canterbury Campus, Grimond Lecture Theatre 2 at 9.30, 11.00, 13.30 and 15.00
The sessions will last approximately 90 minutes and can be booked by visiting: www.towerswatson.com/events/21036

USS dispute & Branch meeting 22nd January

Dear University of Kent UCU members,

This is the latest news that the branch has about the USS action:


It is a very short article, so I quote it in full here:

“Branches prepare for action to restart

8 January 2015

UCU branches have been asked to prepare members to recommence the assessment boycott on Friday 16 January, to be confirmed after a specially arranged Higher Education Committee (HEC) has met on 14 January.

UCU has also served a fresh notice on the employers that continuous action short of a strike in the form of an assessment and marking boycott will restart; this comes after the suspension of action to allow negotiations following an HEC meeting on 19 November 2014.

The special HEC called for 14 January will allow negotiators to provide an update on progress. A report of this meeting will be communicated to branches as soon as possible.

In the meantime branches have been advised to prepare for the action and reconvene industrial action committees.”

Therefore we expect to have further news in the next few days, but we anticipate the assessment boycott will restart THIS Friday.

We will hold a branch meeting next week, Thurs 22nd January (week 13), at 1pm in the Peter Brown room, The Missing Link, Darwin College.


Please attend if at all possible.

We will primarily discuss the latest news on the USS dispute, but if members would like to add other items to the agenda, please contact me as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

Owen Lyne

Branch secretary

University of Kent UCU