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Lambeth College UCU on indefinite strike

As you are likely aware, Lambeth College UCU members went out yesterday, Wed 4th June 2014, starting a period of indefinite strike action. The dispute concerns the serious erosion of terms and conditions at Lambeth College.

UNISON members are joining the strike next Wednesday and Thursday, with escalation to follow.

You can learn more about the strike by following the strike’s blog:
http://lambethcollegestrike.wordpress.com/

Please send messages of support and donations via the following page:-
http://lambethcollegestrike.wordpress.com/support-us/donations/

You can follow the strike action’s twitter feed at:
@LambethStrike

Without doubt, support and solidarity from the LJMU UCU Branch to all those at Lambeth.
An attack on one is an attack on all.

ICM Cleaners at John Lewis balloted for Strike Action for London Living Wage

IWW unionised cleaners at John Lewis are continuing their campaign towards a wage increase above Minimum Wage and to the London Living Wage.

Following extensive attempts by the workers to improve their situation, their union IWW entered a new pay claim with ICM on 26th October. Clear, realistic and reasonable, not to mention necessary, the pay claim aims at an immediate and backdated increase to £6.72 p/h for cleaners, £8 p/h for supervisors, plus a timetable of discussions aimed at securing full London Living Wage of £8.55 and full sick pay.

Cleaners are currently paid at minimum wage, £6.19/hr.

IWW Link

EU Workers Strike and Protest against Austerity

Massive anti-austerity strikes and protests swept across Europe as millions took to the streets to express their frustration over rising unemployment and dire economic prospects. Many rallies ended with violent clashes with police.

Workers marched in 23 countries across Europe to mark the European Day of Action and Solidarity.

General strikes had been called in Spain and Portugal, paralyzing public services and international flights, in Belgium and France transport links were partially disrupted by strikes and demonstrations, in Italy and Greece thousands of workers and students marched through the streets.

Other EU countries, such as Germany, Austria and Poland, saw well attended union-led rallies.

The Europe-wide strike action, the largest in a series of protests against the austerity policies, was coordinated by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and promoted on Twitter under the “#14N” hashtag

(Quote from Russia Today online)
http://rt.com/news/austerity-protests-eu-solidarity-727/

Further details about the UK’s TUC action in support:
http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-21663-f0.cfm

Current students can expect to graduate with £24,700 debt

A Grauniad article on student accommodation finishes with a depressing stat in the last couple of paragraphs.
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/aug/21/best-worst-student-accommodation

“…Meanwhile, a report published last week suggests the problem of student debt is getting worse. The Push Student Debt Survey, which questioned 2,000 students, found that those starting this autumn can expect to owe £24,700, compared with students who began courses last year who are likely to graduate with debts of £23,200.

Undergraduates now owe, on average, £5,600 for each year of study after any help they are given by parents is stripped away. The report found that average debt for students at university in England is £5,293 per year, while in Wales it is £6,411. In Scotland, where fees are still paid centrally, the average debt per year of study is just £2,637.”

Applied retrospectively, do you think you would you have been discouraged from studying for a degree on these terms?

LSU message of support

Source: http://www.l-s-u.com/news/index.php?page=article&news_id=292673

We’d like to thank the LSU for their message in support of all public sector workers taking strike action on the 30th November.

Branch AGM

Our local branch AGM is happening today at 12 noon, in the Cherie Booth Lecture Theatre. This is on the Byrom St campus.

Significant items on the agenda include:
-Officer election
-Guest speaker: Martyn Moss (UCU regional officer)
-Guest speaker: Roger Brooks (UCU NEC member, Liv Uni)
-Current LJMU issues, including the branch’s concerns on:
1) The current Workload Allocation Model and its shortfalls.
2) Assessing and addressing Health and Safety risks.
-Discussion of IM Marsh closure and its impact on the staff there

All members welcome!

(You can read more about the Branch AGM here)

Public Sector Pension Report

The Indepedent Public Service Pensions Commision (“Hutton”) Report is out:
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/pensionscommission

Looking for the positives, (John) Hutton has carried over his interim conclusions that public sector pensions are NOT “Gold Plated”, and rejected a tit-for-tat “race to the bottom”. In the final document, it looks like this:-
The Commission firmly rejected the claim that current public service pensions are ‘gold plated.’ The average pension paid to pensioner members is around £7,800 per year, while the median payment is around £5,600. It also rejected the idea of a ‘race to the bottom,’ emphasising instead that public service pensions should ensure adequate retirement incomes for those who have devoted their careers in the service of the wider community.
The preamble also includes a copy of the initial findings of (Will) Hutton’s Fair Pay review.

However, it’s not all good news. Some early press reports, including “soundbite” feedback from the GSs of TUC, PCS, FBU. If you’re short of time, the BBC articles give a good “scene setting” overview, while the Independent and FT provide two reasonably balanced assessment pieces. The FT article ends on a surprisingly labour-friendly note(!)

Public sector pensions report explained (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11466273

Pensions anger from unions following Hutton review (BBC) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12703232

Public Sector Pension Plan Spark Strike Threats (Independent, PA syndicated) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/public-sector-pension-plan-sparks-strike-threats-2237827.html

Hutton reveals his pension plan – and is blasted by unions (Guardian, GMG) http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/10/hutton-pensions-reform-unions

High-wire act fails to balance public and private (FT) http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bc5a7f38-4b54-11e0-b2c2-00144feab49a.html#axzz1GEgrz4TZ

UCU Liverpool Hope Petition

Please support our fellow members facing redundancy at Liverpool Hope and sign the UCU petition at
www.ucu.org.uk/supportlhu

TUC’s March for the Alternative – Sat 26th March – London

The UCU are encouraging members to take part in the TUC’s “March for the Alternative” on Saturday 26th March in London.

More details are available at:

http://marchforthealternative.org.uk/