Heriot Watt UCU Rotating Header Image

Free professional development opportunities

Don’t miss out on these fantastic professional development opportunities taking place in Leeds and Hull next month – click on the links for more information and to book your place.

Classroom Management – Hull, 5 July

Leadership in Education – Leeds, 6 July

Assertiveness Skills – Leeds, 6 July

As ever, our professional development courses are free to all UCU members.

Stop compulsory redundancies of Humanities staff at Dundee University

Please consider sparing a minute of your time to support colleagues at the University of Dundee facing compulsory redundancy by putting your name to the following e-petition.




UCU Congress 2016

Live reporting from Congress 2016 at https://www.ucu.org.uk/ucu16

Address by Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary at https://www.ucu.org.uk/sallyhunt16


Thank you from Sally Hunt

Dear colleague,

This is a quick note to say thank you so much for your fantastic support for the union over the past two days.

I hope you have seen this morning’s fantastic letter in the Guardian from a group of senior academics explaining why they are supporting UCU’s call to resign as external examiners and not take up new posts in order to support fair pay in higher education.

You can read the letter here.

I hope you will feel able to join them and the many others who are saying ‘no more business as usual’ until the employers agree to listen to our concerns.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

PS. You can read UCU’s guidance on how to resign here.

Staff must be at heart of education policy, Sally Hunt will say in annual address

If the government is serious about providing high quality education across the board it needs to put educators at the heart of the system rather than ignoring their views.

Speaking at the UCU’s annual congress, general secretary Sally Hunt will attack the high levels of insecure contracts in colleges and universities, and tell universities that every penny they pocketed last week from lecturers taking two days of strike action must be donated to their student hardship funds.

Her wide-ranging address will also reveal plans for an autumn demonstration in defence of education with the National Union of Students (NUS).

Speaking in Liverpool on the opening day of UCU’s event, Sally Hunt will say: ‘Governments who really want to improve quality in the lecture theatre, or who really want to strengthen our research base, should place staff at the centre of policy, not at its periphery.

‘That is why I have argued loudly in recent months that the issue of quality in our universities is primarily a matter of the conditions under which our teaching staff are employed. Why? Because a teacher’s working conditions are the same conditions that a student learns in.

‘When you don’t have an office, or proper time to mark papers, and when you spend every waking hour looking for your next research job, that really matters. I have met many incredible teachers who happen to be on casual contracts.

‘The tragedy is that their achievements are all in spite of rather than because of the system. Only if the voices of practitioners are heard, will we win the argument for a better education system.’

Speaking about UCU’s relationship with students, and calling on university vice-chancellors and principals to donate the money they docked from striking university staff last week to student hardship funds, Sally Hunt will say:

‘Vice-chancellors and principals are so busy defending their own exorbitant pay that they have forgotten that universities and colleges are nothing without students and staff. Not so long ago, most institutions would give money docked from striking staff to their student hardship funds, these days it is far less likely.

‘I would like to take a moment to thank students up and down the country for their support last week.  And to let them know that this fight is their fight. And that we will support them when they defend education.

‘Therefore, today I am calling on all vice-chancellors and principals to do the right thing and commit every penny they took from our members for striking last week to their student hardship funds. And as our students have given us terrific backing over the past year, it is time for us to return the compliment.

‘That is why I am pleased to announce that arising from discussions with the National Union of Students, UCU and NUS are to begin planning together for a national demonstration to defend education in the autumn.’

Copies of the speech are available from the UCU press office.



HWUCU Recruitment Stall today

HWUCU are running a recruitment stall today, Tuesday 18th May, 12 – 2pm outside the Student Advice Hub (next to the Student Union shop). Come along and say hello, tell us what matters to you or ask a question. We look forward to seeing you there.Rosie-poster-small


UCU Survey on Performance-Related Pay

Dear colleague,

Performance-related pay and reward practices linked to performance management are issues of increasing concern to UCU members. Over the past few years, it seems that higher and further education institutions across the UK have been changing their performance management and reward practices. UCU has commissioned Dr Monica Franco-Santos from Cranfield University, to survey all members on the performance management and reward practices currently in existence across all higher and further education institutions in the UK.

Could you please participate in the survey by following this link.

The survey can be completed by any member of staff so please pass this information on to your colleagues. It will take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey will close on Tuesday 24 May 2016.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and participation. Please email performancepay@ucu.org.uk if you have any questions/comments in relation to the survey.

For UCU information and advice about performance-related pay please visit the UCU website here.


Michael MacNeil
UCU national head of bargaining & negotiations

Is there a need for further reform of Scottish Higher Education?

Retired Members Branch –  Open Meeting, Friday 27th May:  Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh University

As intimated to Congress at Stirling, RMB Scotland is holding an Open Meeting on the afternoon of Friday 27 May in Edinburgh to look at where things stand for Higher Education in Scotland following the passing of the HE Governance Act and the Scottish Parliamentary elections.

The theme of the Open Meeting is – essentially – “unfinished business” and Ferdinand von Prondzynski has kindly agreed to provide a keynote.

Friday 27th May, 2pm – 4:30pm

Booking is not essential but advisable


2016 AGM

HWUCU invites members to attend the 2016 AGM.  The AGM will take place on Wednesday 11th May 2016 at 12.00hrs in the Chaplaincy and refreshments will be provided.

Please forward anything you would like considered for the agenda to your local rep, or directly to George Bruce, Branch Secretary.

If you are interested in becoming a rep, or becoming involved in the committee, please contact the branch office to request a nomination form.  Completed forms should be returned to George Bruce by Monday 9thth May 2016.


pp George S Bruce
Branch Secretary HWUCU



Dear colleague,

We need your vote

Between now and 4 May, we face a critical ballot and together we can make a real change to pay and working conditions right across the higher education (HE) sector.

Salaries are worth 14.5% less today than in 2009 when measured against inflation. Yet the sector has a £1.85bn surplus, and with more students than ever staff are working harder. Set against that and the substantial increases senior management have awarded themselves, the latest offer of 1% is wholly inadequate.

If you believe in fair pay you have to do more than agree – we need you to make your voice heard and VOTE in this ballot. Please make sure you return your ballot and let fellow members know why their ballot is so important.

The current government is trying to change the law so that they and not union members decide when a ballot provides enough support for a strike. That means it has never been more important to participate in your union – and that your vote has never been more important than it is today.

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary

PS. To see your individual loss in pay since 2009 visit