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Save the date – HWUCU AGM 2018

The AGM will be held on Wednesday 16th May 2018 at 12.00 (room TBC)

HWUCU Hardship Fund

In support of industrial action, the Officers of HWUCU have the discretion to agree that compensatory payments can be made from a local Hardship Fund to those members who have had pay deducted as a result of the member’s participation in industrial action.

As the UCU national Fighting Fund does not provide cover for all days of a dispute, a local Hardship Fund has been established to provide support for this period. As per the national Fighting Fund, the maximum daily claim limit is capped at £50.

The union endeavors to give priority of payment to members most in need (e.g. lower paid or casual staff, members on insecure contracts etc.)

HWUCU Hardship Fund guidance notes

HWUCU Hardship Fund application form

If  you would like to make a donation, or share with those who can, the details are:
The Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account name: UCU – Heriot-Watt University LA 023 Hardship Fund
Sort Code: 60-83-01
Account No. 20391168

Strike for USS

Why we’re taking action over USS

Frequently asked questions

Vote now to save USS – Ballot closes Friday 19 January.

UCU is currently balloting its members for industrial action over changes proposed by UUK to slash USS members’ retirement income. The ballot closes on Friday 19 January and the union is urging any members who have not yet voted to cast their vote immediately.

Further information can be found at https://www.ucu.org.uk/uss

Vote now to save USS

Please vote now to save your pension. https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss

Posted by UCU – University and College Union on Monday, 4 December 2017

Overhaul of university pensions could leave staff £200,00 worse off in retirement

The following article is taken from the UCU website.

Staff in some of the UK’s most elite universities will see the value of their retirement income drop by as much as £200,000 if hardline proposals from universities are brought in. Analysis by independent experts First Actuarial shows that a lecturer starting work today could be £208,000 worse off over the course of their retirement under the new proposals for the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The modeling also reveals that the lecturer would be £385,000 worse off than if they worked in their nearest new ‘post-92′ university where academics’ pensions are paid by the rival Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) rather than USS.

The report also looks in detail at the impact on staff in USS and finds that a lecturer who started in 2007 and has 10 years’ past service could see their annual pension fall by just over £6,000 a year in retirement, or £131,000 in total. The total loss in retirement for current USS members reduces with the more past service they have. Someone with 20 years’ past service could lose £35,000 in total.

The revelations about how much staff can expect to lose come UCU members start to receive ballot papers asking them to back a sustained campaign of strikes and other forms of industrial action. The union has warned of “chaos on campuses” in the new year if the dispute cannot be resolved. The postal ballot opened on Wednesday and will close on Friday 19 January.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘This analysis reveals just how damaging UUK’s hardline plans for the pension scheme would be on an individual basis for people who have planned and saved for their retirement.

‘Already offering worse benefits than other schemes available in the sector, these proposals would devastate USS members’ pensions and could create a recruitment and retention crisis as staff jump ship to secure their futures.

‘I would urge all members to take a look at what these proposals would mean for them and then make sure they vote in the ballot for industrial action.’

Table 1: Comparison of current pension income against UUK’s plans and current Teachers’ Pension Scheme

Staff profile Current deal UUK proposals Loss total Annual loss TPS
Starts on £39,992 and moves up pay spine to £47,722 £434,000 £305,000 £129,000 £6,000 £580,000
Starts on £39,992 and moves up pay spine to £58,655 £503,000 £346,000 £157,000 £7,300 £662,000
Starts on £39,992 and moves up pay spine to £110,217 £614,000 £406,000 £208,000 £9,600 £791,000

Assumes all work 30 years paying into USS. Retirement of 27 years. TPS members pay slightly higher contributions.

 

Table 2: Impact of UUK’s plans for different staff already in USS

Staff member Current deal UUK proposals Loss total Loss annual
To retire in 2047 aged 68. Started on spine 31 (now at £33,518) in 2007 (10 years’ past service). £562,000 £431,000 £131,000 £6,100
To retire in 2037 aged 67. Started on spine 31 (now at £33,518) in 2002 (15 years’ past service). £427,000 £339,000 £88,000 £4,100
To retire in 2027 aged 66. Started on spine 31 (now at £33,518) in 1997 (20 years’ past service). £426,000 £391,000 £35,000 £1,600

 

HWUCU General Meeting 13th December

The next General Meeting of the HWUCU will be held in the Chaplaincy lounge on Wednesday 13th December 2017, 12.00 – 14.00.

Please forward to G.S.Bruce@hw.ac.uk,  or your local Rep/ Committee member, any questions/ items that you wish to be considered for the agenda.

It would be appreciated for the purposes of catering if you could indicate if you are going to attend.

Please also feel free to bring along any colleague who may be interested in becoming a member.

HWUCU Committee

 

PhD Students – Free professional trade union membership

Available to PhD students for the full duration of your studies, i.e. up to 4 years. UCU represents academic staff across the United Kingdom and is formally recognised by Heriot-Watt University.

UCU is also a professional trade union, i.e. being a member entitles you to support if you encounter employment-related problems as a PhD student (most PhD students take on paid work with the University).

FREE professional development courses are also available to members, e.g. leadership, taking care of your voice, assertiveness, grant writing, etc.

Further information and a FAQ is available at Future of the profession. Go to the Join UCU web page to join online.

If you are wondering what trade unions do or are for, we highly recommend you watch this very short, informative and humorous video on what trade unions have done for all working people over many  decades.

Please do contact the branch office if you require any further information.

UCU Branch Committee

Education Conference, 26 October 2017 – Hold the Date

UCU Scotland are hosting a conference on Thursday 26 October 2017 at the teaching and learning centre at the University of Strathclyde.  The full agenda is still being brought together but Professor John Holmwood from the Campaign for the Public University and the Scottish Commissioner for Fair Access, Professor Peter Scott, are confirmed and will be joined by other keynote speakers.  The conference will examine various issues including the purpose and funding of higher education in Scotland and academic freedom.  Further information on the conference and how to book will follow but if you’re interested in attending this conference please mark the date in your diary and e-mail mmathison@ucu.org.uk to ensure details on how to book are sent direct to you.

Heriot-Watt University petition – no compulsory redundancies

https://www.change.org/p/no-compulsory-redundancies-at-heriot-watt

On March 3, 2017 Heriot-Watt University announced plans to make 100 staff redundant – a saving of £4.5m and a reduction in 5 per cent of all staff employed at the Riccarton, Galashiels and Orkney campuses.

At the same time, the University also set out a two-year “recruitment chill”, which is likely to see a further 100 job losses due to the non-replacement of 100 staff. Furthermore, University management have repeatedly refused to rule out compulsory redundancies, despite the obvious impact on the student experience and the local economy.

The University have cited a “Brexit effect”, which had “created uncertainty affecting postgraduate uptake”, as well as “the UK government’s immigration policies and messaging” as key factors. However, last year alone they spent in excess of £9m on consultants. The University is proceeding with plans to fully convert the James Watt Centre into a learning and teaching facility at the cost of £4m and plans to refurbish the Edinburgh campus library at the cost of £6m – neither are likely to improve student experience if staff numbers drop by approximately 200 by the end of 2018.

UCU wants Heriot Watt to continue to be one of the best universities, and we want to support investment in the University. We want the University to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies, and to consult meaningfully with UCU and all the trade unions to avoid making unnecessary job cuts.

What about the students?

These job cuts will adversely affect the student experience and course quality and choice. We believe preserving the quality of the research and learning environment is key to creating a vibrant and innovative student experience.

But what can I do to help?

Please sign and widely share this petition, a petition that will be presented to University Court on 26 June 2017, and aimed at simply requesting the University refrain from making compulsory redundancies.

If you wish to express your concerns further, consider writing to your MP or MSP and/or email the University’s Principal, Professor Richard Williams, on R.A.Williams@hw.ac.uk.

https://www.change.org/p/no-compulsory-redundancies-at-heriot-watt

Academic freedom: a neglected right in the UK

A new report shows nearly a quarter of academics say they have been bullied because of their views and that the UK has significantly lower levels of protection for academic freedom when compared to other EU countries. The wide ranging survey was commissioned by UCU as part of our campaign to define and protect academic freedom in post-school education.

See here for full update including:

  • London Metropolitan University boycott: please support your colleagues
  • Further education campaign winning for members
  • Gender pay gap in higher education
  • Hope Not Hate: we stand with Manchester
  • Save Our Schools: protest in Brighton today
  • Defend jobs and education at Plymouth Marjon University