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News

Teach-Out Activities

Just because teaching staff are on strike, doesn’t mean education has to stop!

HW Student Union is opening its doors in solidarity to let us use their facilities. We will be hosting  a series of workshops and presentations on wide range of topics including a special screening of “Who is Europe”.

Students, Support the Strikes!

Having voted overwhelmingly for industrial action, university staff across the UK will go on strike to defend their pay and pensions from Monday 25 November to Wednesday 4 December. Colleagues at HWU will also be on strike during this period. We have issued more information to our students that offers a brief explanation of what these strikes are about, what they mean for students, and what you can do to show your support.

Read more information on our Student flyer.

We are delighted that our Student Parliament has voted to support the Industrial Action, see statement by HWUnion

The National Union of Students supports the strikes, see this joint statement.

USS and HE autumn ballots 2019

Members in branches where UCU has registered a dispute over the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) will receive two ballot papers.

  • One for pay inequality, job insecurity, rising workload and pay deflation.
  • One for USS
  • A ballot insert for each dispute.
  • All ballot papers should be returned in the single prepaid envelope provided.

If you have not received your ballot papers, please request a replacement via: https://www.ucu.org.uk/ballotrequest

General Meeting – 28th November

Local Members’ Meeting on 28th November, 12.00 to 14.00
Post Graduate Centre 304

Murdo Matheson, Policy & Communications Officer for UCU Scotland, will speak on Trade Union representation and the new Governance statues.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this meeting. Please feel free to bring any colleague who may be interested.

HWUCU Branch Committee

Local General Meeting on the Report of the Joint Expert Panel USS

The Branch Committee has arranged a General Meeting to discuss the recently published first report of the Joint Expert Panel (JEP) on USS. The speakers will be:

Dr Catherine Donnelly, FIA – Associate Professor HWU and member of the JEP.

Dr Carlo Morelli – Senior Lecturer Dundee University, member of NEC and UCU rep on the USS JNC.

Date: Thursday 27th September 2018

Venue: Chaplaincy

Time: 10.00-12.00

It would help us immensely with space management if you could signify your intent to attend, please email: G.S.Bruce@hw.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this meeting. Please feel free to bring any colleague who may be affected / interested.

HWUCU Branch Committee

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/ucu.campaigns/videos/1975844146017001/

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

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