The Socialist

The Socialist 30 May 2018

Stop war, fight trump, walk out Friday 13 July

The Socialist issue 997

Stop war, fight Trump, walk out on 13 July

United working class movements can defeat Trump


Landslide vote to repeal Ireland's abortion laws

Historic victory won by grassroots movement


Sting's shipbuilders showcase class pride and change from below

Aberfan disaster novel reminds us Grenfell was not an anomaly

The Socialist Inbox


Johnson and Rees-Mogg widen Tory Brexit splits

Welsh Labour reprivatises rail lines: reverse Tory sell-offs!

Toxic air hits schools as EU ponders slap on wrist years late

England facing water shortage due to underinvestment

Them & Us


PCS conference 2018: members ready to fight to end pay misery


UCU conference: Members are organising and winning - build the union, build the struggles!

900-strong north west NHS strike

Unison ballots workers at Yorkshire hospitals at risk of privatisation

Wales TUC 2018: Socialist Party members challenge leadership at undemocratic conference

Springfield school strike in Birmingham against job cuts and workload

Broad Left candidate elected as Usdaw deputy general secretary


Socialist nationalisation: what it is and why we need it


Action demanded from new council

Hands off Teignmouth Hospital!

Socialist Party members inspired by revolutionary events

Police shootings in Tamil Nadu condemned

Leicester plans sales boost of 1,000th edition of the Socialist

 
 
 
 
 

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UCU conference: Members are organising and winning - build the union, build the struggles!

UCU strikers at the University of Nottingham, 27 February 2018, photo Gary Freeman

UCU strikers at the University of Nottingham, 27 February 2018, photo Gary Freeman   (Click to enlarge)

Sam Morecroft, UCU conference delegate (personal capacity)

It's been an explosive year for the University and College Union (UCU), with members forced to take unprecedented strike action to defend our jobs, terms and conditions. But by any measure possible, UCU members have risen to the challenge brilliantly.

UCU became the first union to take nationally coordinated strike action in the shadow of the hated Trade Union Act, overcoming its barriers and proving decisively that workers will not be prevented from struggling by government legislation.

The magnificent 14-day university pensions strike showed what is possible when we come together to take serious and sustained industrial action. Not only did our members give Universities UK the shock of their lives - but when our leadership looked set to ballot members on an offer that wasn't good enough, branches organised brilliantly to coordinate meetings and a protest outside UCU headquarters to send a clear message of no capitulation.

Furthermore, as a result of the fantastic struggle of our members, the employers have withdrawn their threat of completely scrapping 'defined benefit' pensions (which guarantee a certain amount after retirement according to how much the member of staff earns and how long they stay in the scheme) - for now at least.

While the strike was a huge victory, there is much anger at the way the dispute ended. The so-called consultation and ballot, held during the Easter holidays, were rightly described in the Socialist as a "stitch-up". As a result, complaints and motions of no confidence in the general secretary have been put to this congress.

But we also need to look to the future and recognise the need to build a fighting, democratic and socialist UCU, led and controlled by the membership. This is of incredible importance when we consider the strikes now breaking out in further education over pay. The sector is in complete crisis, with national bargaining almost completely broken down and 40% of colleges refusing to implement any pay rises that are agreed anyway.

Pay has fallen by as much as 25% for our members in the last five years. That's why 13 UCU branches have taken action over pay this year, showing magnificent resolve in the face of enormous challenges. Sandwell College UCU has secured a victory already, agreeing a 6.25% pay increase over the next three years. That shows what's possible, but we need to support our branches to build the action, and that requires a democratic and member-led union willing to fight.

There have been important local strikes developing throughout the year. Crucially there have been victories as well, for example at Manchester, Coventry and Leeds universities.

These struggles are a reflection of the attacks we're facing across education as a result of privatisation, marketisation and austerity.

It's almost certain that in the pre-92 higher education institutions we will have to strike to defend our pensions again in the future, and all branches definitely have to begin the campaign for a successful ballot and industrial action over pay - we cannot accept the below-inflation offer of 1.7%. When we consider the scale of the challenge our members face over pay in further education we should be fighting for coordinated action in both higher and further education.

But we need a discussion about how we run our union. We lack a fully democratic, accountable collective leadership that is responsive to the demands of the members. Sheffield, Bath and Bournemouth UCU have all submitted similar motions to congress calling for a 'democracy review'.

Unfortunately these have been ruled out of order on the grounds that it is not the role of congress to determine the terms and conditions of employees of the union.

But this is not what these motions are about - they are asking for discussion on our democratic structures, like the executive committee and the general secretary. Delegates must challenge the decision, and support the call for a democracy review. Currently the executive council allows the office of general secretary far too much power - we need to build a democratic and collective leadership of the union.

It's been an incredible year, but the struggles still to come will be even greater.


In this issue


Donald Trump

Stop war, fight Trump, walk out on 13 July

United working class movements can defeat Trump


Irish abortion referendum

Landslide vote to repeal Ireland's abortion laws

Historic victory won by grassroots movement


Opinion

Sting's shipbuilders showcase class pride and change from below

Aberfan disaster novel reminds us Grenfell was not an anomaly

The Socialist Inbox


Socialist Party news and analysis

Johnson and Rees-Mogg widen Tory Brexit splits

Welsh Labour reprivatises rail lines: reverse Tory sell-offs!

Toxic air hits schools as EU ponders slap on wrist years late

England facing water shortage due to underinvestment

Them & Us


PCS conference

PCS conference 2018: members ready to fight to end pay misery


Workplace news and analysis

UCU conference: Members are organising and winning - build the union, build the struggles!

900-strong north west NHS strike

Unison ballots workers at Yorkshire hospitals at risk of privatisation

Wales TUC 2018: Socialist Party members challenge leadership at undemocratic conference

Springfield school strike in Birmingham against job cuts and workload

Broad Left candidate elected as Usdaw deputy general secretary


Nationalisation

Socialist nationalisation: what it is and why we need it


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Action demanded from new council

Hands off Teignmouth Hospital!

Socialist Party members inspired by revolutionary events

Police shootings in Tamil Nadu condemned

Leicester plans sales boost of 1,000th edition of the Socialist


 

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