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Petition Tag - ucu

1. Full Amnesty Now - Reverse Revocation - Save London Met

Following significant campaigning and political pressure from students, staff, and supporters, the High Court has allowed London Metropolitan University to proceed to full Judicial Review to challenge the revocation of its Tier-4 HTS licence to recruit international students.

As a result of the High Court decision the Home Office, via the UK Border Agency, has now agreed a limited 'amnesty' for current international students at London Met of up to one academic year.

Unfortunately, as welcome as such an amnesty is, it fails to address the needs of over 500 current London Met international students. This includes students in either the first or second year of a three year degree course, and PhD students with more than one academic year of study remaining. This is an invidious position to place such students in.

In addition to the immediate damage the decision to revoke the university's Tier-4 licence has had on its international students, the long term damage to the university as a whole is considerable.

London Met now finds itself in significant financial trouble with anticipated revenue losses following withdrawal of its Tier-4 licence running into £10M's.

We understand that such losses now jeopardise the university's continuation as a community-based public university, primarily serving two of the poorest boroughs in London and the UK - Tower Hamlets and Islington.

Additional notes:

TUC Congress 2012 unanimously adopted an Emergency Motion from the University and College Union (UCU) that demanded a full amnesty for London Met international students and the removal of international students from net migration stats and targets. Details here

Jeremy Corbyn MP (Islington North) has launched a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM 437) calling for the reversing of the revocation of London Met’s Tier-4 HTS licence. Details here

ITN London Tonight - News report on 28/9 demonstration demanding a full amnesty for London Met international students:


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2. Open letter to Sally Hunt

Dear Sally,

We note the results of the ballot to effect constitutional change in the University and College Union as communicated by you in March. We believe this ballot was conducted in undue haste following your re-election as general secretary in pursuit of a narrow political agenda to stifle legitimate opposition within the union, including by elected national executive committee members. There was insufficient time to debate what are critical issues for members.

Subsequent to the ballot, we note that there has been a marked increase in “personal” communication between you and the membership on major issues – most recently the Universities Superannuation Scheme. As a union we would not tolerate management engaging individually and directly with our members and bypassing established collective and democratic machinery, and we are thus concerned about such an approach from our union. We are opposed to the individualistic turn that the UCU appears to be taking, since it undermines collective processes and is being falsely counterpoised to building inclusive and participatory activism in the workplace.

This year’s UCU congress voted to adopt motions 63, 64 and L5, which raise concerns about the misuse of membership surveys to bypass democratic structures and encourage “timidity and inertia” (in the wording of Motion 63), particularly in the absence of proper time for discussion within branches and committees. Motion L5 calls for union officials and structures to abide by congress decisions, and to use online surveys subsequent only to their debate by congress, sector conference or the NEC (and as sanctioned by the NEC).

Motions 65 and 67, in support of your proposal to reduce the NEC’s size, were defeated. However, as part of your congress speech, you promised to continue to campaign for the reforms regardless of the congress decision. This has worrying implications for union democracy.

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3. Save Early Years Professional Training at UEA

UEA has plans to withdraw from the Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) regional training consortium, and to end its Early Years training programme from February 2013.

This will result in the compulsory redundancy of staff involved, and represents a loss to the children and parents of this region, as the course provides professional training for staff in nurseries across Norfolk. The closest training centre is at UCS in Ipswich, some distance from Norwich.

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4. NUS: Call a national demonstration in autumn term

The government’s Higher Education White Paper threatens our institutions with an unprecedented wave of privatisation modelled on the disastrous experience of the US for-profit sector.

The NUS strategy is defeatist, calling for a review of the impact of the White Paper following its implementation – as if this is a given – and asserting the need for student collaboration with the private sector.

Yet across the higher education sector there is growing opposition to the White paper – from the 20 000 people who have signed the ‘no confidence’ motion in David Willetts, to the Campaign for the Public University, to the UCU. In 2010 hundreds of thousands of school, FE and university students opposed fees increases – the White Paper is about making the new fees regime work.

All this offers an opportunity for a mass campaign against the government which can defeat the White Paper.

It should be the role of the elected leadership to find creative ways to unite and encourage broad opposition, not to demobilise it. Crucial to this is naming what we are against. For these reasons, castigating calls for the scrapping of the White Paper as “ridiculous” and claiming this would not “mean anything” is self-defeating posturing.

The strategy outlined by NUS underestimates the scale of attack on public education and the breadth of opposition, and overestimates the power of the government. An alternative that strives for maximum possible unity across the sector is needed. A starting point should be the following:

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5. Goldsmiths' Students' Petition to Reopen Negotiations for USS Pensions

For more information on the USS dispute, please go to http://bit.ly/dsdQoh.

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6. Support Sheffield College Lecturers in their fight against COMPULSORY REDUNDANCIES

Sheffield College recently announced its intention to make compulsory redundancies among lecturers and support staff.

UCU, the college lecturers union, is mounting a campaign to save jobs and defend and preserve the quality of the education and training we can provide for the people of Sheffield.

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7. Statement on anti-education cuts action for Thursday 9th December

Thursday 9th December is the date that the Government has determined for the debate on the raising of the fee cap. The University and Colleges Union (UCU) and the National Union of Students (NUS) have called for a mass lobby of Parliament on that day, and are coordinating transport to that end.

The University of London Union (ULU) and the Education Activists' Network (EAN) have called a demonstration from Malet Street to Parliament. It is supported by the London Region of UCU.

At the UCU's Higher Education Sector Conference an emergency motion was adopted without opposition which called for congratulations to the students who had led the campaign against the scrapping of the Educational Maintenance Allowance and against the raising of fees to £9,000. It also called for a national mobilisation for a London demonstration and lobby of Parliament on the day that raising the fee cap was to be debated.

It is unfortunate that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the UCU has not been able to meet at this crucial time to consider this and other proposals for resisting the Government's policy on Further and Higher Education.

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8. Support for student action against cuts

On the 10th of November, over 50,000 people marched in the streets against cuts to education and the proposed increase of tuition fees to £9,000. The 24th of November was a national day of action, in which students at over 15 universities went into occupation, and in which school students walked out of their classes.

This sends a powerful message to government that people are not willing to put up with the destruction of the futures of an entire generation.

At the UCU’s Higher Education sector conference on 25 November, an emergency motion was passed calling on the UCU National Executive Committee to back a national demonstration and to support student walkouts when the tuition fee Bill is debated in Parliament in December. This petition is designed to support, and firm up, this motion and to let the NEC know that there is real support amongst academic staff for the student action.

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9. Save the University of Gloucestershire - UCU Petition

The University of Gloucestershire is proposing to make a number of compulsory redundancies as part of its response to its current financial situation.

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10. Leeds College of Art should Pay Up

In 2004, the University & College Union signed a national agreement that produced a new improved pay scale for lecturers. Initially, only around one third of the colleges implemented this new pay deal, leading the union to take widespread industrial action in 2005 to improve this.

As a result, the great majority of colleges have implemented, or are in talks to implement, the improved pay scale. But around 60 colleges continue to refuse to do this. Leeds College of Art is one of them.

Our college has refused to put in place better pay for its staff. The college continues to secure LSC funding, but it has made a decision to pay staff less than colleagues at other colleges.

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