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News

What Do Trade Unions Do?

The branch is running an information stall this week, Tuesday to Thursday from 12pm – 2pm, outside the student hub. We have also scheduled an informal meeting Why Join a Trade Union?, to explain what trade unions do and the benefits of UCU membership at Heriot Watt. We hope that this event will be of particular interest to postgraduate research students, post docs, early career starts and staff new to the UK, but all staff eligible to join UCU (grade 6 and above) are welcome. Please pop by the stall to say hello, and encourage any colleagues who are not members of a campus union to attend this special information event.

Why join a Trade Union?
Thursday 2nd March – 1.15pm @ Postgraduate Centre Room 102
https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/edinburgh/map/18-postgraduate-centre.htm

  • James Richards (Branch President, UCU Heriot Watt) will give a background to Trade Unions in the UK and the work of the local branch at Heriot Watt.
  • Louise McGurk (Regional Support Official, UCU Scotland) will speak on the wider campaigning work of UCU in Scotland

There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions during the meeting, or afterwards on a one-to-one basis. Please feel free to pass this information on to RAs, postdocs and PGR students.

Thank you
HWUCU Branch Committee

The Future of Higher Education and UCU: UCU General Secretary Election Hustings

HWUCU branch committee would like to draw attention to a very important event in terms of the future of UCU and national campaigning.pp

Elections for UCU General Secretary and NEC begin 1st February and continue until 1st March. We would encourage all members to vote and have their say in the way the union is run. Higher education is undergoing profound change with the passage of the HE Teaching and Research Bill, the introduction of TEF along with other external influences including Brexit and threats to the freedom of movement of labour. Come and hear candidates for the General Secretary position and Vice President positions in UCU. All welcome.

 Edinburgh: Monday 6th Feb 12:00 noon
Room 50 George Square (G.05) University of Edinburgh http://www.ed.ac.uk/maps/maps?building=50-george-square

Candidates for General Secretary are:
Sally Hunt
Jo McNeill

Candidates for Vice President are:
Douglas Chalmers
Carlo Morelli

All candidates are invited. Where they are unable to attend in person we will seek to provide a conference call link and / or their election material.

pp Heriot Watt UCU Committee

Open Meeting Wednesday 21st December

The next General Meeting of the HWUCU will be on Wednesday 21st of December 2016 in the Post Graduate Centre room 1.02 (Confucius Centre).

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.

Douglas Chalmers, President of UCU Scotland, will be speaking and there will also be an update from your Branch Officers on what the Branch has done in the past year and what is on the horizon for the year ahead.

At this meeting we will also be announcing the winner of the Branch Banner design competition, in which the Students at the Scottish Borders Textiles and Design department have been competing.

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.

Heriot Watt UCU Committee

Security Matters

Security Matters is UCU’s campaign magazine featuring discussion of issues facing precarious workers in post-secondary education and reports on the union’s work to win better, more secure jobs for education professionals.

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CPD courses for UCU members

Two half day  CPD courses  are  being held on Wednesday, 9th of November in the Millennium Hotel in Glasgow.

This first course is from 9.30am to 12.30pm and is focused on developing effective communication and assertiveness skills to help you in your career. Register here : http://cpd.web.ucu.org.uk/course-information/assertiveness-skills/

The second course runs from 1.30pm – 4.30pm and aims to develop mentoring skills.  Full details and registration available here: http://cpd.web.ucu.org.uk/course-information/mentoring/

UCU comments on opinion poll showing public support for international students

Commenting on a new opinion poll on international students, UCU said today that common sense has prevailed amongst the British public who can see the huge benefits international students bring to UK higher education and to our university towns and cities. Read the full article.

Training opportunity – Leadership in education

Leadership in education

A half day course aimed at those hoping to progress to a leadership role, or who would like to consolidate their leadership or team management skills, is being held in Aberdeen on the 25th of November.

Full details and registration available at: http://cpd.web.ucu.org.uk/course-information/leadership-in-education/

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

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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.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8259/Staff-must-be-at-heart-of-education-policy-Sally-Hunt-will-say-in-annual-address