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Update from 28.1.20 GSA UCU branch meeting

Firstly thanks to Carlo Morelli (elected UCU Scotland President) for making the round trip from Dundee to talk with our branch. Thanks also for branch members input both within and out with the forum of the meeting. For a full update, please speak to one of the Committee members.
 
If you haven’t had time yet, please take the time to read the email from Jo Grady you will have received last night via your UCU e-bulletin. It updates on negotiation progress and sits alongside what Carlo presented yesterday. 
 
Carlo was able to share with us his knowledge on the wider realities facing everyone working in HE, to supplement our local knowledge, regarding gender pay gap (for which there is good data) workloads, and the existing pay deal. He reminded us that within the national action, which we as a branch voted for in 2019, we are part of a collective voice fighting for those in precarious jobs, those experiencing a pay gap, and the most vulnerable within our national workplace. 
 
As members of UCU we are in a national dispute about pay, equality, casualisation, and workload. This is a national dispute, and the recommendation from elected officials and elected negotiators is that we support the recommendations of the ‘Higher Education Committee’ (HEC). 
 
We at the Glasgow Branch back in 2019 voted in favour of strike action, being one of fifty-six institutions able to surpass the needed 50% turnout. This was a democratic vote, and supported the national action. We are of course aware that not all our members were, or are, in favour of strike action, or ASOS, although the majority did. 
 
We are also aware that it was not explicit at the outset of the 2019 voting process what strike action would look like. The vote was to take strike action or not, with the duration to be decided by the recommendation of the HEC. We have communicated the concerns and issues raised by branch membership surrounding voting in these circumstances to both regional and head office. 
 
To ensure you are happy with representation at all levels of UCU, we would urge participation in elections, congress, and other union structures as the way to address this going forward. 
 
We as individuals will almost certainly soon be asked to participate in further strike action. In light of that, please consider the following questions raised/ prompted by yesterday’s meeting:
 
​• What are acceptable pay gaps?
 
​• What is an acceptable level of casualisation, individually and collectively?
 
​• How long are we prepared to accept falling pay?
 
​• Are we prepared for the increasing workload and uncontracted hours to be further normalised?
 
 
 So, what next?
 
The UCU HEC will need to make a decision on how best to progress the current industrial action. They meet on 30.1.20 to consider further actions. These dates are being considered only for the USS fight. However, HEC will consider and decide on 30.1.20 if there should be joint action, including Pay & Equalities fight with USS fight.
 
If there is a call for further strike action we can work together as a branch to support all who are willing and able to strike, and those who can work to rule (ASOS). 
 
This is a national action and, although hampered by anti-trade union laws, progress is still being made. 
 
This does not replace or negate local issues, and we must keep both the national and local clearly in our decision making. Beyond this dispute and action, if there is cause for local disputes, and appetite for bargaining, or action we can work together to improve our lives at GSA. 
 
Updates as and when we have them. 
 
Let us know what you think. We can represent you best when we have the fullest picture of our members’ views.
 
 
Thanks for your time 
 
Digger 
Communication and Membership Rep GSA UCU Committee.