Strike Day One

Dear Members

It was amazing to see so many  wonderful colleagues on the pickets this morning. We had packed branch meeting, at which our updated hardship fund rules were unanimously approved. We will remind you of the details in a separate message later on. The meeting was followed by a lovely branch lunch in Rutherford Dining Hall. Catering staff looked us very well and the food was appreciated by all.

We were delighted to welcome a surprise visitor  at lunch – our local MP, Rosie Duffield. She addressed the assembled throng and offered her support to our cause. This was met by uproarious applause.

Do keep an eye on the strike Calendar: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1my9AIpDNLU4ek0xt8UIZMz45ezgy7leFADTN2Mpafi4/edit

What an incredible first day. We look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow!

Best

Sian, Owen, Phil and Mark

Branch Officers

Kent Union supports UCU

Dear University of Kent UCU members,

Members will be pleased to hear that the students union, Kent Union, has voted to support our strikes today.

https://kentunion.co.uk/news/article/kent-union-strike-stance

On behalf of all UCU members we thank Kent Union for this gesture of solidarity.

Philip, Mark, Owen, Sian

Strike Updates

Lots more information is now out from UCU, including FAQs re industrial action: 

https://www.ucu.org.uk/heaction

https://www.ucu.org.uk/he-action-faqs

Urgent Branch Meeting

Dear UCU members

 We will be holding an urgent Branch Meeting to discuss the forthcoming strikes on Tuesday 12th November, 1 pm in CCLT1 – Cornwallis Central Lecture Theatre 1. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible then.

 Best

 Sian, Owen, Mark and Phil

Branch Officers

Strike dates announced – WE HAVE YOUR BACK

Dear University of Kent UCU members,

 As you should now have heard directly from UCU, our branch will be joining many other UCU branches in taking strike action over pay, equality, anti-casualisation and workload  We will be taking taking 8 days of strike action from Monday 25th November (week10) till Wednesday 4th December (week 11) inclusive.

 We will keep you informed of developments. For now, please be assured: WE HAVE YOUR BACK.

 We have a healthy strike fund out of which we can subsidise lost income from the very first day of industrial action.  Claimants last time found the process remarkably easy and quick – just ask around.  Last time claimants could receive up to £50 per day.  On the first day of strike action, we will hold a branch meeting and will be seeking to pass a motion which will provide for more generous local support than during the last strike. After one or two days’ support from the local fund, eligibility for support from the national Fighting Fund will kick in See:  https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10333/Strike-fund-support

 We will also be taking action to help provide striking members with sustenance on campus while they are on strike.

During the spring 2018 industrial action, thanks to University of Kent UCU pressure, University of Kent management agreed not to financially penalise GTAs for striking.  Moreover, HPLs were offered replacement teaching to compensate for paid hours lost to action.  Whatever happens this time, UCU have the resources to help.

We are strong as a branch and we are resolved to win.

Best

Sian, Owen, Mark and Philip

UCU Branch Officers

VOTE: Be the XX

Dear Members

PAY AND PENSIONS STRIKE

DEADLINE:  Post deadline is 28th October

LOST BALLOT PAPER: Contact UCU by 23rd October

MINIMUM 50% TURNOUT REQUIRED FOR STRIKE ACTION.

Why you should vote?

VoiceVoting will strengthen your Voice enabling UCU to negotiate effectively on pensions, workloads, pay and equality locally and nationally.

Oppose – We Oppose harmful and ineffective changes.  The pension strike in 2018 led to the Joint Expert Panel which stated that our pension is viable with lower contributions than those now being rolled out.

Turnout – A Turnout of 50% is required for strike action to be lawful.  Not voting hinders the threshold being met.  A strong turnout will enable Kent UCU to negotiate from a position of strength.

Equality – A strong vote in support of action will enable us to campaign on Equality, workloads, precarious contracts, and erosion of real terms pay.

VOTE by 28th October.  The 2018 strike showed what can be achieved through collective action.  We can do this again.

UCU Committee Members

About Pensions

About Pensions

2017’s planned changes to the USS pension scheme threatened to reduce total average pension income by over £200,000 per employee.  The strike of 2018 had remarkable effect, causing an independent panel to be appointed to re-assess the health of the scheme and interim arrangements to be made, retaining defined benefits at a temporarily increased contribution rate for staff and employers.

“Get real: defined benefits schemes are not realistic in today’s world”

The joint expert panel that re-assessed the scheme’s health subsequent to the strike concluded that its risk factor had been grossly overstated.

“I’ve already suffered hardship and stress by striking in 2018”

2018 was tough. But if we don’t follow through, our efforts will be wasted.  Two weeks’ lost pay is nothing compared to £200K lost in retirement.  Employers know it is not in their best financial interest to go on with the interim arrangements.  We have to put the pressure on. 

“Universities can’t afford it”

Agreement on a more realistic assessment for the health of the USS scheme – as the Joint Expert Panel recommended – would actually reduce Universities’ contributions.

For more information visit https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss

Kent UCU urges you to vote YES to action and YES to action short of a strike in both ballots.

TWO BALLOTS • ONE FUTURE • BE THE XX

Sent on behalf of Kent UCU committee & reps

Your Voice

Paws for thought: Your Vote is Your Voice.

USE IT or LOSE IT!

We have your back!

Dear All,

Some UCU members on precarious contracts, or who are financially unstable for other reasons, are understandably anxious about striking and its financial consequences.

If this is you, Kent branch UCU has good news for you: we’ve got your back.  We have a healthy strike fund out of which we can subsidise lost income from the very first day of industrial action.  Claimants last time found the process remarkably easy and quick – just ask around.  Last time claimants could receive up to £50 per day.  This time that we are planning to be more generous (update to come later).  After one or two days’ support from the local fund (depending on whether you earn more or less than £30k ​), eligibility for support from the National Fighting Fund will kick in. See here for National Fighting Fund criteria.

In addition to Branch Funds, Kent Precariat has money to help those on precarious contracts taking industrial action.

During the last round of industrial action, and thanks to Kent UCU pressure, the University of Kent agreed not to financially penalise GTAs for striking.  Moreover, HPLs were offered replacement teaching to compensate for paid hours lost to action.  There is every reason to hope that the University will be reasonable once again this time around.  But if not, Kent , National UCU  and Kent Precariat have the resources to help.

WE HAVE YOUR BACK

For pensions, for workload, for equality, for pay, for anti-casualisation – Kent UCU urges you to vote YES to action and YES to action short of a strike in both ballots.  Whatever you do, PLEASE VOTE. Deadline 30 October.

TWO BALLOTS • ONE FUTURE • BE THE XX

Sent on behalf of Kent UCU committee & reps​

Degrees by Deliveroo: Be the XX

About Casualisation

Around 70% of the 49,000 researchers in higher education are on fixed-term contracts and there are 37,000 teaching staff on fixed-term contracts, the majority of them hourly paid. In addition, there are a further 71,000 teachers employed as “atypical academics” who are mostly hourly-paid. These colleagues have job insecurity which results in financial difficulty too, such as inability to obtain a mortgage. 

UCU and other unions are calling on UUK to begin time-limited negotiations to commit to ending the use of zero hours contracts and move towards fractional and/or open-ended employment contracts for staff.

For more information see the Branch Action Notice, p. 15.

Kent UCU urges you to vote YES to action and YES to action short of a strike in both ballots.

TWO BALLOTS • ONE FUTURE • BE THE XX

Sent on behalf of Kent UCU committee & reps