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Boycott FAQs

November 10, 2014

Read the Boycott FAQs here

Students support academic boycott

November 6, 2014

The following letter appears in The Independent (scroll to bottom of linked page)

Students support academic boycott

From today, academic staff at 69 UK higher education institutions are set to begin a marking boycott; the next step in ongoing industrial action by the University and College Union. The proposed changes to pensions that have led to this action will cost university staff thousands of pounds a year in lost benefits and create inequality between institutions.

Since 2009, average academic pay has fallen by 14.5 per cent, while vice-chancellor salaries increased by 5.1 per cent in the past year alone. The average gender pay gap in higher education is 17 per cent, and 53 per cent of universities employ staff on zero-hours contracts.

Students are angry that this boycott is happening. But our anger is aimed squarely at university managements and Universities UK, who oversee lucrative salary increases for vice-chancellors while leaving staff out in the cold.

Any draconian response from universities – such as the legally dubious threat of withdrawing the full salary for those partaking in a boycott – will be met with discontent from students and staff, who are united  on this issue.

Piers Telemacque
Vice President Society and Citizenship, NUS UK

Gordon Maloney
President, NUS Scotland

Malia Bouattia
National Black Students’ Officer, NUS UK

Shelly Asquith
President, SU Arts

Michael Segalov
Communications Officer, University of Sussex Students’ Union

Areeb Ullah
Vice President Education (Arts & Sciences) Kings College London Students’ Union

Susuana Antubam
National Women’s Officer, NUS UK

Fran Cowling
NUS LGBT National Officer

Harriet Pugh
Education Officer, University of Manchester Students’ Union

Bruce Galliver
President, Bath Spa Students’ Union

Lyndsay Burtonshaw
Activities Officer, University of Sussex Students’ Union

Yael Shafritz
President, University of Sheffield Students’ Union

Rosie Dammers
Wellbeing Officer, Manchester Students Union

Luke Jones
Group President, University of Wales Trinity Saint David Students’ Union

Joe O’Neill
Lancaster University Students’ Union, Vice President (Education)

Alice Phillips
Equality, Liberation & Access Officer, University of Bristol Students’ Union

Tom Phipps
Student Living Officer, University of Bristol Students’ Union

Alyx Murray-Jackman
Sport & Student Development Officer, University of Bristol Students’ Union

Holly Staynor
Welfare Officer, Union of UEA Students

Alex Bradbrook
Undergraduate Academic Experience Officer, University of Bristol Students’ Union

Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton
Co-President, Welfare & Diversity, Royal Holloway Students’ Union

Emma Peagam
President Education & Campaigns, Royal Holloway Students’ Union

Hannah Roberts
Education Officer, SUArts

Conor McGurran
Campaigns and Citizenship Officer, University of Manchester Students’ Union

Abraham Baldry
Presient, University of Sussex Students’ Union

Candic Armah
President, Brighton University Students’ Union

Howard Littler
President, Goldsmiths Students’ Union

Mostafa Rajaai
Culture and Diversity Officer, SUArts

Chris Jarvis
Union of UEA Students Campaigns and Democracy Officer

Rianna Gargiulo
Welfare Officer, University of Sussex Students’ Union

Bethan Hunt
Education Officer, University of Sussex Students’ Union

Dash Sekhar
Vice President Academic Affairs, Edinburgh University Students’ Association 

Malaka Mohammed
Education Officer, University of Sheffield Students’ Union

Sebastian Bruhn
Community & Welfare Officer, LSE Students’ Union

Dario Celaschi
NUS London Trans* Officer & NUS NEC

Rianne Gordon
University of Westminster Students’ Union Vice President of Harrow

Sorana Vieru
Postgraduate Officer (Education & Welfare), University of Bristol Students’ Union

Emma Cook, President
Leeds College of Art Students’ Union

Dan Goss
Environment & Ethics Officer, University of Warwick Students’ Union

Alasdair Clark
Vice President Education and Representation, Fife College Students’ Association

Hannah Sketchley
Democracy & Communications Officer, UCL Students’ Union

Georgie Robertson
SOAS Students’ Union Co-President Welfare & Campaigns

Sayed Alkadiri
NUS London Black Students Officer

Hajera Begum
Black and Minority Ethnic Students Officer, UCL Students’ Union

Omar Raii
External Affairs & Campaigns Officer, UCL Students’ Union

Saffron Rose
Vice President Education at Leeds Beckett University Students’ Union

Rob Henthorn
President for Education, Aberdeen University Students’ Association

Annie Tidbury
Women’s Officer, UCL Students’ Union

Marianna Ceccotti
Postgraduate Student’s Officer, UCL Students’ Union

David Suber
SOAS Students’ Union Co-President, Democracy & Education

Rachel O’Brien
Community Action Officer, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

Christopher Jarrold
Ethical and Environmental Officer, University of Birmingham Guild of Students

Tom King
LGBTQ Officer, SOAS Students’ Union

Dan Greenberg
Operations Officer, University of Sussex Students’ Union

Kabir Joshi
SOAS Students’ Union Co-President, Activities & Events

Professionalism and difficult decisions: the boycott of assessment

November 4, 2014

As we are about to embark on an indefinite period of Action Short of a Strike, involving a boycott of assessment, we need to ready ourselves for some unjust criticism that is parked and ready to be mobilised against us.

There will also be some reasonable and challenging questions, not least from our students, and we have an obligation to address these openly and professionally. But in this blog posting, we want to address the issue of such dignified professionalism, because one of the easiest and cheapest, unthinking assaults on our boycott will be the accusation that it conflicts with our professionalism. Let’s address that from the outset.

As Academic and Academic-Related staff, we are the ones who develop close professional relationships with our students. We introduce them to a scholarly community, we support them, we foster their development, we facilitate their learning and give them platforms to discover who they are as people, as intellectuals and as practitioners in a range of career trajectories, and to meet their highest ambitions and objectives. We often maintain close contact with many, become friends even. University management, for the most part, are not involved in this experience on a day-to-day basis. Theirs is a world of bottom-lines and streamlined procedures, in which students often factor as an income stream, a ‘customer base’, a set of performance metrics.

We don’t recall seeing any University managers on the streets of London protesting the introduction of some of the highest public HE fees in the world. But we were there, we protested, we were kettled, we argued the cause, we fought for generations of students we were yet to meet.

IMG_0747.JPGSo now, we have some difficult decisions to make. Some more difficult than others, as some assessment tasks will be much more recoverable than others. They will argue that to risk interruption to student progression is unprofessional. Let’s talk about professionalism and difficult decisions, but first, let’s remember the real order of things.

The University is ‘contracted’ to offer the student the education experience she or he is paying the university a high premium for. In order to deliver that experience, the institution employs us, and remunerates us for applying our labour. If they downgrade that remuneration, or deteriorate our conditions of employment, we have a legal and moral right to withdraw our labour, partially or wholly, in protest at that behaviour. That protest is a symptom of our professional regard for our work. That leaves still the contract between the University and the student – the student’s complaint is with the institution for causing those circumstances. Is it professional to cause a problem and unprofessional to protest it?

We often hear of how competent a senior manager is because she or he has demonstrated an ability to make ‘difficult decisions’. Making people redundant it such a ‘difficult decision’; failing to properly respond to bullying in order not to undermine your managers is such another ‘difficult decision’; inflating your expenses on your balance sheet in order to justify an economies exercise and lose hundreds of staff as a consequence is another such ‘difficult decision’; deciding to approve a radical package of pensions benefits changes that will impact on tens of thousands of families and doing so without any care to consult with or communicate that decision to those people is yet another ‘difficult decision’. We are told to admire the ability to steer an institution through such ‘difficult decisions’, that this is a sign of true professionalism. Such people should be hired, given bonuses, we should aspire to be more like them.

And yet, when it comes to our difficult decisions, decisions that will have far less damaging impact on individuals and families, we will be told that we are being unprofessional.

Hold steady, hold firm. You have the right to do this. It is right to do this. It is professional to care about your colleagues, about future colleagues, about the future of Higher Education and the people who will staff it and, ultimately, the students who will benefit from it. Your participation in the democratic, collectivist community that is your union is a symptom of your professionalism. We have the right to protect our futures and our families’ futures and this boycott is the only measure we have at our disposal that will have the impact needed to re-align our fortunes away from the damage that has been decided that we should tolerate. In doing so with dignity and with resolve, you are being utterly professional.

This is a national debate

November 3, 2014

Bury_your_head_in_the_sandSenior managers at Leeds and elsewhere have agreed a mantra to trot out on the current USS dispute. “This is a national issue and we should wait and see what results from negotiations.”

It’s a simple ruse, but not a particularly impressive one. It seems to suggest our university has no agency to influence the discussions and negotiations. They wash their hands of them, as though if blood gets spilled, they have nothing to do with it.

But it simply isn’t true. We’ve seen our University pension officer’s response on behalf of our University to the UUK proposals: fewer than 200 words and a shrugged non-committal “support the general direction” gesture that seems to indicate that either our leaders haven’t bothered reading the detail, or don’t care to. They know they will be advantaged by the outcome even if they don’t get involved in discussing the detail. There has been no working party set up here, like at The University of Oxford. No arrangement to discuss the details in Senate, as elsewhere. Just let it happen.

But it is clearly not true that Universities cannot influence the direction of UUK and the EPF here. The University of Oxford criticised the misleading illustrations of the impact of the proposals, and The University of Warwick made plain that they were concerned about the impact on recruitment of wealthy universities having a poorer pension scheme than the less wealthy universities. Oxford also expresses a concern that the employers contributions are not going up enough and that, in their case, it is likely there will be a net decrease in employer pension contributions. Showing some leadership in this matter, they say that this ‘is neither desirable nor politically possible, and we would like to explore ways in which we can keep our overall institutional contribution steady and preserve better benefits for our own members, and pay our fair share towards reducing the deficit’.

The University of Cambridge has recently entered the fray stating that it is concerned that the calculations of the deficit may have used assumptions that are ‘overly prudent’. The words are well chosen; last year, the Pensions Regulator warned against ‘overly prudent’ assumptions. We might read the application of the most pessimistic calculations of liabilities against the most optimistic calculation of wage increases to be an example of this. Cambridge also express a belief that de-risking should be applied more slowly and be carefully monitored. The University of Essex has also recently added its voice, arguing that the proposals go too far too quickly.

Why does the University of Leeds feel it can’t have a voice in these important matters? Why did our University make no detailed mention of any aspect of the proposals in its response to UUK?

When we asked senior managers at Leeds directly if they agreed with us that our staff should have illustrations that give a clear indication of what the impact of the proposals would be, by including standard career paths and promotion, we got no reply. When we point out that there is a real concern about the impact on recruitment of downgrading the pension, we get no response. When we ask why the University is supporting a policy of de-risking that squeezes the gap between the asset base of the scheme and its liabilities we get responses about the magic alchemy that actuaries do and that mere mortals are not worthy of even trying to understand. When we point out that the mortality assumptions seem actually to be the same as 2011, not increased, they shrug the point off. When we point out that USS investments have grown faster than the FTSE, and have beaten their own set targets since the last deficit, they change the subject.  They point to the increase in their employer contributions from 16% to 18% but conveniently ignore the fact that the proposals are to reduce their contributions over the £50k threshold to 12%. The overall increase in contributions, therefore, is likely not to go much over 17%. They argue that they need to factor in NI contributions, perhaps forgetting that they now pay pensions through salary sacrifice. In other words, other leading Universities seem very much in word and deed to have taken this matter seriously. Here at Leeds, it is smoke and mirrors.

We would like to see real discussion and debate at the University of Leeds, and would like to see the University establish a working party to look properly at the details of the proposals, the historical tendencies that put us where we are, and the consequences of the investments strategy and the relationship between the construction of the ‘recovery plan’ and the Pensions Regulator’s guidelines.

You can download the Cambridge response to the UUK proposals here: usscambridgeuuk
You can download the Oxford response to the UUK proposals here: ussoxforduuk
You can download the Warwick response to the UUK proposals here: usswarwickuuk

You can download the Leeds response to the UUK proposals here: ussleedsuuk



Responses to the @uniofyork petition

November 1, 2014

We’re uploading petition responses manually every half day, and placing them here below. Go here to read and sign the petition.

773  signatures as of 9:30pm, Friday 21 November – the petition is now closed

. Timestamp Name Comments (Optional)
. 30/10/2014 06:22:58 Mark Taylor-Batty A shocking means of sending industrial relations back to the dark ages.
. 30/10/2014 06:27:20 Professor Steven French
. 30/10/2014 06:27:32 Lesley McGorrigan
. 30/10/2014 06:27:53 Ben Plumpton
. 30/10/2014 06:28:40 Dr Brendon Nicholls How do expect to recruit talent if you don’t remunerate it fairly?
. 30/10/2014 06:29:31 Dr N.A.Maughan
. 30/10/2014 06:34:54 Dr Nick Efford Please reconsider this hasty and unnecessarily provocative action. The best way forward here is dialogue; 100% pay docking is ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ and will inevitably lead to the much more disruptive consequence of withdrawal of labour. This tactic can only harm the institutions where is it applied, causing serious damage to students’ education, to institutional reputation and to employer-employee relations.
. 30/10/2014 06:35:29 Sean Wallis President, UCL UCU
. 30/10/2014 06:36:46 Saira Weiner
. 30/10/2014 06:39:35 Patricia McManus Not this time. We, our Union, didn’t stand up for those branches which got picked off through the imposition of punitive pay-docking on some branches during the pay campaign of 13/14. Now we need to stand together against the bullies at York and elsewhere. They are reverting to C19th mill-owner methods, so can we: an injury to one is an injury to all. We need a national response.
. 30/10/2014 06:39:45 Professor Laurie Stras, University of Southampton
. 30/10/2014 06:43:24 Sam Morecroft
. 30/10/2014 06:46:25 Ann Blair I do not see in your communication any indication that having refused to accept partial performance, staff who wish to participate in their action continue to perform all of their other activities on a purely voluntary basis. Perhaps this should be clarified and the potential impact on students and colleagues assessed.
. 30/10/2014 06:48:32 Mark Walkley
. 30/10/2014 06:49:50 Craig Brandist
. 30/10/2014 06:50:09 Jo McNeill
. 30/10/2014 06:50:19 Tom Hickey
. 30/10/2014 06:50:44 Rick Saull, Queen Mary University of London
. 30/10/2014 06:52:11 Sue Abbott
. 30/10/2014 06:53:43 Mike Cushman As a York alumnus I am appalled at this threat.
. 30/10/2014 07:00:36 James Newell The arrogance is breathtaking. Strike action is needed to communicate to Prof. Lamberts and others in his position that this sort of thing will not be tolerated.
. 30/10/2014 07:02:47 Dr Daragh O’Reilly
. 30/10/2014 07:09:03 Amanda Williams
. 30/10/2014 07:11:50 James Cussens
. 30/10/2014 07:12:05 Dr. Saladin Meckled-Garcia (UCL)
. 30/10/2014 07:15:16 Dr D P Steenson
. 30/10/2014 07:16:58 Dr Sharon Kivland
. 30/10/2014 07:18:27 Paul Blackledge
. 30/10/2014 07:22:25 Luke Yates
. 30/10/2014 07:23:59 Denis A Nicole
. 30/10/2014 07:25:19 Dr David Stewart As I York Uni Alumni I am disgusted by this move.
. 30/10/2014 07:25:29 Beth Curtis As a current undergraduate student at the University of York I am appalled that the University has decided to penalise its unionised staff by docking 100% of pay. Academics at University of York – which include UCU members – work exceedingly hard under pressing conditions, and this move not only is a snub to the idea of organised action, but also punishes those workers who are already struggling. I offer my complete solidarity to staff planning to strike or take action short of strike. Academic work, like any other form of work, deserves to be paid properly and fairly – and academics, like other workers, have the right to organise, unionise, and demand better working conditions.
. 30/10/2014 07:26:48 James Harland This type of action is blackmail. Though I am fortunate enough not to be one of them, many postgraduates who teach are dependent on earnings from teaching to live and continue their studies, and this sort of action is tantamount to destroying any possibility of these sorts of students participating in the organisation of labour – a clear violation of human rights.
. 30/10/2014 07:27:00 Fabienne Emmerich
. 30/10/2014 07:27:30 Susan hunt Terrible reaction by York VC. Please urgently rethink this action.
. 30/10/2014 07:27:35 Stephen Bates
. 30/10/2014 07:29:11 James Eaden
. 30/10/2014 07:32:37 Jeremy Toner
. 30/10/2014 07:33:01 Mike Holmes
. 30/10/2014 07:35:32 Geoff Williams I think the letter says it all. This tactic and the reasons given for it are appalling and should be condemned as completely out of line with industrial relations in the 21st century.
. 30/10/2014 07:35:51 Ioana Cerasella Chis – University of Birmingham student
. 30/10/2014 07:35:57 Stephen Lax
. 30/10/2014 07:38:03 Nicola Ginsburgh
. 30/10/2014 07:39:16 Grant Buttars
. 30/10/2014 07:41:18 Tim Chown Shameful.
. 30/10/2014 07:44:15 Richard McEwan UCU Vice Chair FEC
. 30/10/2014 07:45:26 Dr Jamie Melrose
. 30/10/2014 07:45:32 David Milne
. 30/10/2014 07:46:35 simon middleton
. 30/10/2014 07:49:42 Victoria Blake
. 30/10/2014 07:49:57 Dr David Lyddon
. 30/10/2014 07:51:10 Ulrike Heuer
. 30/10/2014 07:51:20 John Langley This can be resolved through open and transparent negotiation and recognition of the flaws in the argument for change. Enter meaningful negotiations and avoid this.
. 30/10/2014 07:52:11 Alex Lancaster Disgraceful attempt to undermine legitimate industrial action by the University of York. Another example of how out of touch these institutions are with their employees – so much for creating a sense of belonging and self worth – what a sick joke.
. 30/10/2014 07:53:48 Dr Julie Hearn
. 30/10/2014 07:58:18 Professor Malcolm J W Povey
. 30/10/2014 07:59:58 Sarah Staniland
. 30/10/2014 08:00:32 Xanthe Whittaker
. 30/10/2014 08:01:06 Helen MacCarthy
. 30/10/2014 08:01:06 Professor Catherine Pope
. 30/10/2014 08:01:10 Ioanna Ioannou
. 30/10/2014 08:03:42 Jean Kellie It is shameful that such an intimidating position has been taken by the VC at York when UCU members are initiating action not only in defence of their deferred pay but also in defence of higher education sector standards of staff recruitment and retention.

These actions should be applauded not punished. Why is it the case that defending the sector so often falls to ordinary front-line staff, while senior managers, who also have much to lose personally and strategically, take dogmatic positions to undermine such actions?

. 30/10/2014 08:05:52 Dr Eric Tyrer
. 30/10/2014 08:07:55 John Warden
. 30/10/2014 08:07:58 Ewan Margrave
. 30/10/2014 08:08:11 Ian Manborde
. 30/10/2014 08:08:49 Lee Humber
. 30/10/2014 08:09:37 Allan Potofsky
. 30/10/2014 08:10:41 Elwyn Outrageous behaviour by York University.
. 30/10/2014 08:10:47 professor Paul Stewart
. 30/10/2014 08:11:54 Lynn Hyams
. 30/10/2014 08:12:03 Paul Brook
. 30/10/2014 08:12:39 Dr Jelena Timotijevic
. 30/10/2014 08:12:44 Elane heffernan Solidarity
. 30/10/2014 08:13:29 David Holly
. 30/10/2014 08:15:05 Mollie Staples
. 30/10/2014 08:15:50 Mark Cresswell Durham University
. 30/10/2014 08:24:29 Julian Goodare
. 30/10/2014 08:26:09 Anna Paraskevopoulou
. 30/10/2014 08:26:19 Mark Campbell London Metropolitan University UCU (Chair)
. 30/10/2014 08:28:02 Steve Davies
. 30/10/2014 08:29:07 Sorcha Uí Chonnachtaigh
. 30/10/2014 08:33:53 Say Burgin
. 30/10/2014 08:38:39 Mike Lammiman
. 30/10/2014 08:41:53 Dr Talat Ahmed
. 30/10/2014 08:43:00 Steve French
. 30/10/2014 08:48:55 Alan Roe
. 30/10/2014 08:52:03 Josh Bowker
. 30/10/2014 08:52:06 Sydney Calkin
. 30/10/2014 08:52:55 Andrew Smith
. 30/10/2014 08:53:44 Melanie Simms
. 30/10/2014 09:00:40 Professor Sian Moore
. 30/10/2014 16:08:34 Nadia El Yacoubi
. 30/10/2014 16:08:54 Claudia Hopkins
. 30/10/2014 16:10:56 Edmund Schluessel, NUS National Executive Council
. 30/10/2014 16:13:38 Prof Mark Stuart
. 30/10/2014 16:29:02 James Richards Disgraceful behaviour and complete and utter double-standards.
. 30/10/2014 16:32:04 sean vernell
. 30/10/2014 16:35:19 Ceri Owen
. 30/10/2014 16:37:54 Andreas Bieler
. 30/10/2014 16:38:25 Thomas Swann
. 30/10/2014 16:44:15 Catriona Kennedy
. 30/10/2014 17:00:38 Dr. Matthew Malek Agree completely! This sort of union busting should have gone the way of other 19th and early-20th century dinosaurs.
. 30/10/2014 17:02:27 JDA Brown
. 30/10/2014 17:04:49 Simon Higgins
. 30/10/2014 17:06:31 Lynne Chamberlain If this threat is carried out we trade unionists will display our own ethics. You can be sure that we won’t be “friendly” but will certainly promote our own sense of belonging and worth. It’s called solidarity with lecturers at the University of Leeds.

Lynne Chamberlain, Secretary, Greenwich & Bexley TUC.

. 30/10/2014 17:10:59 Heidi Baseler
. 30/10/2014 17:12:55 Hazel Conley
. 30/10/2014 17:13:41 Jez Wells
. 30/10/2014 17:18:59 Dr Anna Fenemore
. 30/10/2014 17:21:04 Joe Street
. 30/10/2014 17:23:53 Fergus Nicol
. 30/10/2014 17:28:03 Jony Hudson Lecturer, physics, Imperial College London
. 30/10/2014 17:29:57 Steve Mckenzie If your outrageous and provocative action escalates the action then you have brought it on yourself
. 30/10/2014 17:37:44 Alex Bamji
. 30/10/2014 17:38:27 Dr Michael Brown
. 30/10/2014 17:40:44 carl kulka This is necessary to sign as it sends a message to dictators that we will not stand for being treated like crap anymore
. 30/10/2014 17:42:08 Kirsty Priestley
. 30/10/2014 17:54:29 Pam Clarke
. 30/10/2014 18:03:04 Steve Jefferys
. 30/10/2014 18:03:45 Prof. Ulrik Egede
. 30/10/2014 18:06:20 peter thompson
. 30/10/2014 18:07:42 Robin Macdonald
. 30/10/2014 18:08:21 Dr Charles Umney
. 30/10/2014 18:12:32 harkirit boparai
. 30/10/2014 18:17:44 Adam Kelly
. 30/10/2014 18:22:25 Kevin McManus
. 30/10/2014 18:24:24 Josh Allen As a usually proud alumni I’m not impressed.
. 30/10/2014 18:30:20 Patrick Lally Michelson
. 30/10/2014 18:32:24 Simon Daniels
. 30/10/2014 18:33:27 Fiona Brown
. 30/10/2014 18:37:12 Horen Voskeritsian
. 30/10/2014 18:43:30 Carole Haines
. 30/10/2014 18:44:40 Claire Jones
. 30/10/2014 18:46:07 Timothy Perera
. 30/10/2014 18:47:00 William Gould
. 30/10/2014 18:58:43 Stephen Clark Disgraceful bullying from York’s Vice Chancellor.
. 30/10/2014 19:01:02 Nadia Edmond
. 30/10/2014 19:01:56 David Hopkins
. 30/10/2014 19:03:14 Nadia Edmond
. 30/10/2014 19:03:30 Ivan Moody
. 30/10/2014 19:05:30 S Noor
. 30/10/2014 19:08:11 Toby Lincoln
. 30/10/2014 19:11:41 Jane Henderson
. 30/10/2014 19:22:21 Matthew Foulkes I am an external examiner for the University of York’s Physics Department. If York University implements this threat I shall resign immediately. It will be difficult for the University to hold its New Year examinations without external examiners to vet the examination papers and approve the results.
. 30/10/2014 19:22:32 Briony Thomas
. 30/10/2014 19:23:11 paul bradley
. 30/10/2014 19:33:17 Colin Hendrie
. 30/10/2014 19:37:37 Moritz Föllmer
. 30/10/2014 19:47:27 Daniel Katz
. 30/10/2014 19:52:06 Leah Watt
. 30/10/2014 19:55:45 Dakxin Chhara It’s totally colonial approach…
. 30/10/2014 19:55:53 peter woodward here here !!
. 30/10/2014 20:01:49 Peter Rankin Former University of York student
. 30/10/2014 20:13:59 Jo Ingold
. 30/10/2014 20:17:12 Katharine Aylett
. 30/10/2014 20:25:43 Dr John Wills
. 30/10/2014 20:44:01 Steve Fleetwood
. 30/10/2014 20:50:47 Eliza Alderdice
. 30/10/2014 20:53:10 Sasha Handley
. 30/10/2014 20:58:38 Dr Yasemin J. Erden
. 30/10/2014 21:22:50 Jayne mugglestone
. 30/10/2014 21:26:24 Daniel Scroop
. 30/10/2014 21:41:35 Fanis Missirlis I am reminded of this letter from last year’s dispute between the academic body and those presently in charge of University governance…

We are writing to ask Queen Mary University of London to withdraw its threat to deduct a whole day’s pay for strike action of two hours, which, if implemented, we believe would be unlawful, unjust and likely to seriously damage employment relations at Queen Mary.

As University and College Union members we are engaged in lawfully conducted industrial action as called by our union nationally, following a democratically mandated ballot in favour of action in pursuit of our pay campaign; the case for which has been fully put to the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

We feel justified in pursuit of our pay claim, for current and future staff, and for ensuring that universities remain places that attract and retain the best qualified staff. It includes important demands about addressing gender pay inequality and low pay, and therefore is about fairness for all university staff. As such, we believe the strikes are a legitimate action to progress our claims, following the refusal of employers to negotiate further in response to the two days of action last year. Instead, the employers have imposed a below-inflation pay increase of 1 per cent, when we understand that the university sector is in good enough financial shape to be able to meet UCU demands for a fair resolution to the dispute after the falls in staff pay over the past four years.

We believe Queen Mary’s threat to deduct a day’s pay for two hours of work stoppage is an unreasonable and disproportionate response which does more harm to students than would our strike action. A reasonable response would be to seek to minimise disruption.

In addition to risking further damage to our students’ education, we believe Queen Mary’s disproportionate response – which we understand to be unique among Russell Group universities – damages the goodwill of staff, on which Queen Mary as a community relies.

Members are engaging in industrial action in good faith, following a democratically agreed instruction from the union. Queen Mary management, on the other hand, is using heavy-handed tactics at odds with our aims of supporting social justice and that risk bringing the institution into legal conflict with the UCU, potentially costing the institution large amounts of money and seriously damaging employee relations and the institution’s reputation.

Mr Jeremy Acland

Mr Nandaraja Obafemi Adewumi

Dr Paul Anderson

Mr Stuart Anderson

Mr David Andrew

Dr Rachel Ashworth

Dr Nadia Atia

Dr Elena Baglioni

Dr Judith Bara

Dr Mark Baxendale

Professor Hagit Borer

Dr Andrea Brady

Dr Caroline Brennan

Ms. Lynne Campell

Dr Liam Campling

Dr Hazel Conley

Ms. Katherine Connelly

Ms. Joanne Cooper

Ms. Laura Cox

Dr Brendan Curran

Dr Harriet Curtis

Dr Rowland Curtis

Dr Madeleine Davis

Dr Patrick Diamond

Dr Elena Doldor

Mr Martin Donkin

Mr Greg Dow

Dr Alan Drew

Professor (Emeritus) Jeff Duckett

Dr Bridget Escolme

Professor Denise Ferreira da Silva

Mr Mark Ferris

Ms. Siobhan Finney

Dr Jamie Forth

Professor Stephen Fox

Dr Clive Gabay

Mr Jack Gain

Dr Rachael Gilmour

Professor Brigitte Granville

Professor Gerald Hanlon

Professor Jen Harvie

Dr Rhodri Hayward

Professor Geraldine Healy

Dr Alfred Hiatt

Ms. Louise Holloway

Ms. Alecca Honein

Mr Tom Horner

Dr Nick Hostettler

Dr Peter Howarth

Ms Roisin Hurst

Mr William Hutton

Dr Yasmin Ibrahim

Mr Julian Ingle

Professor Bill Jackson

Professor Sukhdev Johal

Dr Domini Johnson

Dr Lee Jones

Professor Shirley Jordan

Dr Moira Kelly

Ms. Phillipa Kennedy

Professor Ray Kiely

Mr Jim Kinchesh

Dr Graham Kirkwood

Professor Gill Kirton

Dr Elias Kondilis

Dr Norbert Krauss

Dr Theo Kreouzis

Ms. Karen Kruzycka

Professor Raymond Kuhn

Dr Stella Ladi

Dr Murrough Landon

Ms. Rosemary Langridge

Mr David Lawunmi

Ms. Rashné Limki

Mr Andrew Loveland

Ms. Lynne Magorrian

Dr Giuliano Maielli

Dr Yioryos Makedonis

Dr Matteo Mandarini

Ms. Athena Mandis

Mr Chris Mansfield

Ms. Sally Mitchell

Dr Jens-Dominik Mueller

Professor Thomas Mueller

Dr Rainbow Murray

Ms. Eileen Nazha

Professor Richard Nobles

Ms. Hazel Norbury

Dr Bernard North

Mr Anselm Nye

Mr David Nye

Professor Miles Ogborn

Dr Paulo Oliva

Mr Edward Oliver

Mr Simon Pate

Dr Manuela Perrotta

Dr Elsa Petit

Dr Chris Phillips

Mr David Pick

Dr David Pinder

Dr Katy Price

Dr John Puddefoot

Dr Matthew Purver

Dr Amitabh Rai

Professor (Emeritus) Edward Randall

Dr Yossef Rapoport

Dr Christopher Reid

Dr Nicholas Ridout

Ms. Gill Ritchie

Ms. Eleanor Roberts

Professor Jacqueline Rose

Professor Mike Rowlinson

Dr Jill Russell

Dr Rodolfo Russo

Dr Richard Saull

Professor Andreas Schonle

Professor Bill Schwarz

Ms. Rebekah Shaw

Dr Robbie Shilliam

Ms. Mira Shapur

Mr Paul Sims

Dr Fabrizio Smeraldi

Dr Kelvin Smith

Dr Kimberly Soga

Dr Dan Stowell

Dr. Ahu Tatli

Professor Barbara Taylor

Dr Lasse Thomassen

Mr Harold Toms

Mr Alen Toplisek

Dr Nadia Valman

Dr Roberto Veneziani

Ms. Kirsty Wadsley

Ms. Nancy Wallace

Mr Robert Waters

Dr Jeffrey Webber

Dr Brian Wecht

Dr Martin Welton

Dr Guy Westwell

Dr Graham White

Ms. Sherrin White

Dr Tessa Whitehouse

Professor Geraint Wiggins

Professor Robert Wilson

Ms. Stacie Withers

Mr Andrew Wright

Dr Francis Wright

Dr Tessa Wright

. 30/10/2014 21:42:34 Lynn Blake
. 30/10/2014 22:01:32 Alex Byron
. 30/10/2014 22:09:14 Janos Szuhanszki
. 30/10/2014 22:12:24 Dr Ben Schiller As a former employee of the University of York with fond memories of my time there I am aghast by this threat to the right of workers to act in defence of their rights. It also demonstrates a profound challenge to and rejection of a history of trade unionism within the university system which has normally been typified by a mutual recognition of the goodwill of both sides in any confrontation. I hope that you will therefore reconsider this rash and destructive policy.
. 30/10/2014 22:16:24 Nadje Al-Ali
. 30/10/2014 22:21:19 Dr DL Clements There is no place for macho management in a modern ‘friendly… informal’ and ‘flat management structure’ university.

Decide what you are – a university principle or a bully. You can’t have it both ways.


. 30/10/2014 22:25:36 Elinor Rooks As an alumnus of the University of York who has recently submitted her PhD at the University of Leeds, I’m shocked and furious to hear about Professor Lamberts’ plans to dock the pay for staff taking part in legitimate industrial action. As a PGTA at Leeds, I took part in a strike, and even though I knew how important the strike was for my future and for the lives of all my colleagues, it still made me sad to deprive my students of their seminar on the novel Potiki. Staff undertake action short of a strike because they are so committed to their students and to their academic work. It probably radically undermines their ability to take effective industrial action, but it speaks to their love of their vocation. To punish staff for taking even this limited action is draconian and unconscionable. This is not what the University of York is about. This is not what any institution that even pretends to value academic freedom is about. This is shameful and obscene.
. 30/10/2014 22:32:44 Anna Boermel
. 30/10/2014 22:58:12 Waqas Tufail
. 30/10/2014 22:59:34 Stuart White
. 30/10/2014 23:00:45 Tom Webster This is straightforward bullying. The threat to define work undertaken as ‘voluntary’ is surely dubious in legal terms and definitely dubious in moral terms.
. 30/10/2014 23:02:08 Thomas Wroblewski
. 30/10/2014 23:16:36 Rob Wotherspoon
. 30/10/2014 23:20:10 holger afflerbach
. 30/10/2014 23:21:43 Dr Geoff Waddington You should be ashamed of this draconian threat. What good do you think you are doing your own or the University of York’s reputation? Shame on you.
. 30/10/2014 23:23:12 Alex
. 30/10/2014 23:32:26 Rafe Hallett
. 30/10/2014 23:38:59 Katy Cheeswright
. 30/10/2014 23:57:56 Peter Birkinshaw
. 31/10/2014 00:26:41 Gemma Betros
. 31/10/2014 00:47:00 Mark Wilson
. 31/10/2014 00:54:52 Jessica Batty
. 31/10/2014 02:50:30 Dr Karen Evans
. 31/10/2014 03:23:24 Tim Holmes
. 31/10/2014 04:03:02 Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee
. 31/10/2014 07:01:49 Byron McGinley It is an utter disgrace that any institutional body will behave in such a damning way to try and cow staff to roll over and accept conditions that are detrimental to their futures.
. 31/10/2014 07:32:27 Mark Baxendale Soilidarity
. 31/10/2014 07:32:27 Juliet Tofield
. 31/10/2014 07:43:45 Rachel Feury
. 31/10/2014 07:48:26 Dr. Nicholas Grant
. 31/10/2014 07:59:03 Rachel Henderson
. 31/10/2014 08:00:28 Mirka Virtanen
. 31/10/2014 08:01:31 Sola Adeyemi
. 31/10/2014 08:01:40 Gill
. 31/10/2014 08:02:02 Tom Miller
. 31/10/2014 08:06:18 Ashli Mullen
. 31/10/2014 08:10:18 Lewis Bingle
. 31/10/2014 08:22:42 Richard Walshaw
. 31/10/2014 08:28:25 Ian Wood
. 31/10/2014 08:28:53 Belinda Washington I have never been prouder than I am now that I rejected the place offered at your University. Your dishonourable conduct taints everything associated with your University.
. 31/10/2014 08:28:58 Akira O’Connor
. 31/10/2014 08:37:12 Andrew Hobbs
. 31/10/2014 08:38:00 Laura King
. 31/10/2014 08:49:53 Gabriella Alberti
. 31/10/2014 09:13:18 Kristin Bourassa
. 31/10/2014 09:14:56 Elton Barker
. 31/10/2014 09:17:41 Eleanor Kirk
. 31/10/2014 09:30:32 Natasha Greenwood
. 31/10/2014 09:31:22 John Armstrong
. 31/10/2014 09:34:30 Dr Matthew Frank
. 31/10/2014 09:35:06 Barbara Samaluk
. 31/10/2014 09:36:50 Melanie Brunner
. 31/10/2014 09:47:21 Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus
. 31/10/2014 09:51:51 John Williamson This is not an acceptable way to deal with the grievances of employees. My daughter is currently making her University applications and, like many others, is likely to be put off York by such a draconian and high-handed approach to industrial relations.
. 31/10/2014 10:00:17 Richard Beresford
. 31/10/2014 10:00:56 John Dawson
. 31/10/2014 10:05:11 Dr Leigh Wetherall Dickson
. 31/10/2014 10:07:36 Peter O’Connor
. 31/10/2014 10:16:24 mario nain
. 31/10/2014 10:16:39 Dr Fiona Shaw
. 31/10/2014 10:17:44 Ben Marsh
. 31/10/2014 10:25:18 John Westmoreland
. 31/10/2014 10:41:31 Andrew Heath (Sheffield)
. 31/10/2014 10:42:55 Chris Phillips
. 31/10/2014 10:43:26 Lena Wånggren
. 31/10/2014 10:43:43 Monika Smialkowska
. 31/10/2014 10:44:23 Len Bottaci
. 31/10/2014 10:45:48 Owen Green
. 31/10/2014 10:47:12 George Bickers
. 31/10/2014 10:48:38 Fiona Stewart Completely disproportionate response, making the University of York look like a dreadful place to work.
. 31/10/2014 10:48:49 Rose Veitch Branch Secretary, UCU Hackney Community College


. 31/10/2014 10:48:54 Andy Coles
. 31/10/2014 10:49:50 Professor David Pattie
. 31/10/2014 10:50:15 Matteo Mandarini
. 31/10/2014 10:52:34 Karen Throsby
. 31/10/2014 10:53:12 Professor Brian Ward
. 31/10/2014 10:54:06 Carlo Morelli Vice President Dundee UCU
. 31/10/2014 10:55:56 Jens-Dominik Mueller
. 31/10/2014 10:56:33 Ruth Wo;lomspm
. 31/10/2014 10:58:29 Gareth Tyson
. 31/10/2014 10:59:30 Dr Les Levidow
. 31/10/2014 11:01:19 Harry Ziegler
. 31/10/2014 11:04:08 Brian Harding
. 31/10/2014 11:04:51 Paul Adams One out-ALL OUT!!!!
. 31/10/2014 11:05:42 Dr Steven Le Comber
. 31/10/2014 11:05:50 Alec McAllister As a York alumnus, I am deeply disappointed and ashamed to see this absurd and unjust decision. Workers join unions for protection against bad management, and this sort of behaviour illustrates precisely why they need to do so. This action will obviously deter good staff from working at York; what effect will it have on applications to study at York?
. 31/10/2014 11:06:49 Anthony Ince This is a move to intimidate and bully wokers, plain and simple.
. 31/10/2014 11:08:22 Alecca Honein ‘might be expected of a nineteenth century mill owner, but it has absolutely no place in a university system”
. 31/10/2014 11:17:47 John Puddefoot
. 31/10/2014 11:18:15 Sam Halliday
. 31/10/2014 11:18:36 Joshua Skoczylis
. 31/10/2014 11:18:45 Peter Dabnichki New members of the Russell group are leading the way to mastering a totalitarian system.
. 31/10/2014 11:23:15 Primali Paranagamage
. 31/10/2014 11:23:44 chris jack
. 31/10/2014 11:25:43 Nigel Morris
. 31/10/2014 11:28:17 Greg Dow
. 31/10/2014 11:28:23 Gordon Haynes
. 31/10/2014 11:28:28 Paul Goddard
. 31/10/2014 11:28:29 Prof Raymond Kuhn
. 31/10/2014 11:31:27 Peter Matthews
. 31/10/2014 11:32:16 Alexander Lock
. 31/10/2014 11:33:01 Nigel Allinson
. 31/10/2014 11:33:05 Neil Lazarus University of Warwick
. 31/10/2014 11:39:22 Hagit Borer
. 31/10/2014 11:41:22 Sue Harris Shameful behaviour.
. 31/10/2014 11:43:06 Karen Walker
. 31/10/2014 11:43:50 ian grigg-spall outrageous decision by york management -this is an attack on every union and a total shut down of the university and all other universities should follow
. 31/10/2014 11:45:14 Jonathon Carter
. 31/10/2014 11:46:48 Bruce Baker By announcing 100% docking of pay, you have put York at the forefront of a modern industrial dispute approach to higher education. Sadly, that is exactly the wrong place for a leader of a university to be. Universities are built upon an ideal of collegiality, a value which still underpins academic life even if those who manage academics have forgotten it. I suspect that in a few years’ time when collegiality has finally been eradicated from higher education, managers (who, it should be remembered, work for academics, not the other way around) will regret it. Teachers, researchers, students, and the rest of the public who benefit from our work definitely will.
. 31/10/2014 11:53:27 Jane Clarbour
. 31/10/2014 11:53:44 Dan Lawrence
. 31/10/2014 11:54:54 Graham White
. 31/10/2014 11:58:20 Helen Shaw
. 31/10/2014 12:02:26 Andrew Yeadon
. 31/10/2014 12:03:05 Justin Yoo
. 31/10/2014 12:03:35 Simon Davies
. 31/10/2014 12:04:45 Abi Knowles
. 31/10/2014 12:06:25 Liam Campling QMUL
. 31/10/2014 12:09:52 Daniel Eddisford
. 31/10/2014 12:12:27 Phil
. 31/10/2014 12:12:51 Joanna Bullimore
. 31/10/2014 12:14:13 Phil Prosser
. 31/10/2014 12:18:22 Alan Drew Shocking bully boy tactics by York University. So much for their friendly and approachable management they pride themselves on. Just how is it in the university’s interest to carry out this action? And how is it in their interest to back the diabolical pension reform proposed by UUK?

One thing is for sure – I won’t be engaging with York in the future if they carry out these threats. This policy is only going to make their academics move elsewhere, it will weaken their university. Moreover, the changes to our pensions more generally will only weaken the whole UK sector. For example, the USA where higher income, lower taxes and better spending power results in easily four times the relative income.

. 31/10/2014 12:19:02 Erin Bell
. 31/10/2014 12:20:28 Lucy Halliday
. 31/10/2014 12:21:24 Robert Byford
. 31/10/2014 12:33:09 Sarah Campbell Solidarity with our comrades in York. An injury to one is an injury to all.
. 31/10/2014 12:36:03 Dr J Allen-Collinson
. 31/10/2014 12:36:50 Leena Kumarappan
. 31/10/2014 12:37:15 Alex Reid
. 31/10/2014 12:42:25 Dr Carol Rea Happy staff do better work and interect more effectively with colleagues and students, totally counterproductive
. 31/10/2014 12:59:08 Theo Kreouzis Shame on you York!
. 31/10/2014 13:03:11 Franco Vivaldi Sylvester Stallone management style has arrived to UK academia.
. 31/10/2014 13:06:10 Dr Renee Prendergast
. 31/10/2014 13:10:56 Dr. Owen Clayton
. 31/10/2014 13:12:16 Kevin Donovan (Dr)
. 31/10/2014 13:13:51 Alex Frankell
. 31/10/2014 13:14:33 Armineh Marghussian
. 31/10/2014 13:20:22 Dr. Stephe Harrop
. 31/10/2014 13:39:09 Paul Kirby Lecturer, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex
. 31/10/2014 13:43:46 Alistair Brown
. 31/10/2014 13:45:18 C Downs
. 31/10/2014 13:48:33 Professor (Emeritus) David Parekr
. 31/10/2014 14:09:20 Dr. Jeffery R. Webber, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London
. 31/10/2014 14:11:50 Helen Rogerson
. 31/10/2014 14:12:44 Jennifer Tremblay
. 31/10/2014 14:12:51 Joad Raymond
. 31/10/2014 14:17:23 Dr Manuel Barcia Paz A flashback to anti-Labour policies from the 19th century. I’m really hoping that you change your mind.
. 31/10/2014 14:18:38 Lucy Potter
. 31/10/2014 14:20:13 Tessa Whitehouse
. 31/10/2014 14:21:53 Angela Sealy
. 31/10/2014 14:23:43 Kelvin Smith UCU QMUL
. 31/10/2014 14:25:59 Fr. Antony Lester This proposed action against staff does not accord with the spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue I have come to value in almost 20 years contact with the University of York for 13 of which I have had the privilege to serve as catholic chaplain.

As a part of the university community but not employed by the university I would like take advantage of the freedom this offers and express the hope that the Vice Chancellor review his response.

. 31/10/2014 14:30:16 David Breslin
. 31/10/2014 14:31:01 Thomas Meares
. 31/10/2014 14:39:06 Patrick Deneny
. 31/10/2014 14:40:05 Meera Sabaratnam
. 31/10/2014 14:48:25 Waseem Yaqoob
. 31/10/2014 14:48:54 Kimberly Hutchings
. 31/10/2014 14:50:03 Dr Simon Durrant I would urge everyone to write to the Board of Governors of the University of York, pointing out that the incompetence of Professor Lamberts in alienating hard-working and world-leading staff with this astonishing move has brought their institution into disrepute. I can’t imagine many academics will be keen to join the institution now this attitude has been revealed, and student recruitment may be similarly impacted.
. 31/10/2014 14:52:37 Lesley Iwanejko
. 31/10/2014 14:52:47 Godfried Croenen
. 31/10/2014 14:53:19 Toby Hall
. 31/10/2014 14:54:50 Carole Rhodes
. 31/10/2014 14:55:11 Elizabeth Kelly
. 31/10/2014 14:59:04 Gavin Laing
. 31/10/2014 14:59:34 Rory Miller Usual stupidities from overpaid senior university managers, I’m afraid. I think that if I was a member of staff at York I’d now be scrutinising on a regular basis. As a way of losing world-class talent this strategy has much to recommend it.
. 31/10/2014 15:00:41 Dr Ian Shaw As others have noted, this is a disgusting step backwards into the murky Thatcherite world of erosion of union rights.
. 31/10/2014 15:04:11 Damian Clancy
. 31/10/2014 15:06:08 Aileen Morris Short-sighted, counter-productive and bullying tactics by university senior managers and leaders will only serve to further demoralise academic staff, drive them abroad or out of the profession altogether and, as a consequence, diminish the quality of higher education teaching and research in this country.
. 31/10/2014 15:06:32 Frank Cogliano
. 31/10/2014 15:06:37 Nigel Swain
. 31/10/2014 15:12:39 Rebecca Lawson
. 31/10/2014 15:12:59 Yannis Tzioumakis
. 31/10/2014 15:15:38 Christopher West
. 31/10/2014 15:17:54 Elizabeth Elliott
. 31/10/2014 15:21:59 Daniel Weston
. 31/10/2014 15:22:29 Roddy Slorach Equality and diversity rep, Imperial College London
. 31/10/2014 15:26:35 Dr Eleanor Bindman
. 31/10/2014 15:28:55 Rune Rattenborg
. 31/10/2014 15:31:28 Councillor Dave Taylor This would be a disgraceful step, worthy only of the previous VC…
. 31/10/2014 15:32:45 Dan Rigden
. 31/10/2014 15:38:27 dr Robbie Shilliam
. 31/10/2014 15:41:34 sue
. 31/10/2014 15:43:44 Katrina Forrester
. 31/10/2014 15:46:30 Celia Hollingworth
. 31/10/2014 15:59:55 Professor Russ Bowman This is a poor way to motivate staff and ruin the university reputation. Treat the staff properly and with respect
. 31/10/2014 16:00:09 Dr John Murphy What kind of University immediately resorts to bullying its staff in response to their intention to protect their living standards in retirement. Shame on you York University!!
. 31/10/2014 16:00:23 Gayle Davis
. 31/10/2014 16:09:40 Philip Cox
. 31/10/2014 16:11:57 Anna Baildon
. 31/10/2014 16:16:05 Kevin Hickson
. 31/10/2014 16:16:14 Lorna Lloyd
. 31/10/2014 16:25:46 Mark Abel
. 31/10/2014 16:32:10 Liam McCann This is a fabulous letter which succinctly and accurately summarises the vindictive and draconian proposal. Prof Lamberts can’t espouse teaching the best practices of liberal democracy and heave like some tyrannical leader of a banana republic! This is a very depressing development!
. 31/10/2014 16:32:27 Joe Viana
. 31/10/2014 16:34:13 Caitlin Doherty Shameful behaviour by University of York management. Workers’ rights to union action ought never to be undermined.
. 31/10/2014 16:38:16 Lorna Finlayson
. 31/10/2014 16:39:39 Tom Fitton
. 31/10/2014 16:45:14 B Hahn
. 31/10/2014 16:48:54 Tessa Wright
. 31/10/2014 16:59:53 Judith de Groot The threat is a lack of respect towards all the excellent work the academics are doing.
. 31/10/2014 17:04:42 Dr Mario Orsi
. 31/10/2014 17:10:05 Serin Quinn
. 31/10/2014 17:10:46 Michael Edwards
. 31/10/2014 17:24:10 Susan Griffin
. 31/10/2014 17:26:50 Bala Nair
. 31/10/2014 17:33:35 Nick Lawrence
. 31/10/2014 17:45:23 Steve Ward
. 31/10/2014 17:55:35 Dr Susan Strickland
. 31/10/2014 18:03:03 Chris Paterson
. 31/10/2014 18:07:18 Keith Hallam
. 31/10/2014 18:15:35 Professor Ray Kiely
. 31/10/2014 18:18:22 Kieran Duffy
. 31/10/2014 18:30:22 Katharine Woods
. 31/10/2014 18:37:54 Dr Vince Colthurst
. 31/10/2014 18:50:10 Clive Trusson
. 31/10/2014 18:53:14 Dr Heather Marsden
. 31/10/2014 20:30:24 Alice Christian Shameful and surprising behaviour from York. Really should be treating academics better than this.
. 31/10/2014 20:40:08 Professor Michael Loughlin
. 31/10/2014 20:46:24 Rhiannon Lockley
. 31/10/2014 20:47:00 Paul Bridle
. 31/10/2014 20:54:36 B.Clark
. 31/10/2014 21:08:24 Tom Lynch
. 31/10/2014 21:43:35 Natalie Zacek
. 31/10/2014 22:39:59 Robyn pelling I would have thought better of an institution that is dependant on its teaching staff that make it one if the top universities in the world
. 31/10/2014 23:05:49 Zoe Prosser
. 01/11/2014 00:19:29 Marion Page Stunned
. 01/11/2014 00:29:55 liz beck
. 01/11/2014 01:08:10 R B Rahn As a double alumnus (PhD and PGCE) of York these actions by the VC put me in the position of discouraging students from applying to study at a university that is prepared to deal this harshly with its staff.
. 01/11/2014 05:45:54 rashne limki
. 01/11/2014 05:49:52 Tony Brown Branch Secretary UCL UCU.

This is the way our employers’ union (UUK) attacks the interests of staff and students: divide and conquer. If York falls others will follow. The UCU agreed to respond with *national* strike action to any institution that threatens pay docking for ‘partial performance’. I encourage UCU members to write and remind members of the UCU Higher Education Committee, the Head of Higher Education and our General Secretary that this is our position; to make a public statement demanding that this threat be withdrawn and to organise effective, escalating and national industrial action across the whole sector in opposition to what is being threatened at York and immediately to insist on an emergency meeting of the employers’ national body where it will be made clear that any such action by one of their member institutions will be treated as a national attack by them on the whole union.




. 01/11/2014 06:56:25 Jemma Bezant
. 01/11/2014 07:36:51 Kate Burland
. 01/11/2014 07:42:53 Kate Burland
. 01/11/2014 07:49:30 Rob Harrison
. 01/11/2014 07:58:32 Guy Westwell
. 01/11/2014 08:29:20 Honor Jackson In the current age in the UK this sort of decision is preposterous, and can only hold when it goes undocumented and unsupported. Universities need to stop running themselves like businesses, seeing cuts wherever they can, and put the education of students first. In order to do this – the staff need to be paid fairly and for all of their efforts, and garner the attitudes which the VC seems to claim in his own “ethos” by developing them into action.
. 01/11/2014 08:33:50 Darren Baxter
. 01/11/2014 08:38:43 Dr Andrew Defty
. 01/11/2014 08:53:15 Jen Cairns Snap… Staff in this Welsh university are being bullied and threatened, as are the students, and retired members of staff. Best wishes for a successful protest.
. 01/11/2014 09:15:34 Jon Hughes I am a York University graduate considering returning for post graduate study but this action is forcing me to reconsider where I would want to study as I would want to be part of an institution that respects the right of workers to fight to protect their rights.
. 01/11/2014 09:40:18 Jason Scott-Warren
. 01/11/2014 09:40:25 Philip Langley
. 01/11/2014 09:52:04 Alice White
. 01/11/2014 10:15:15 Edward James I was in York as a lecturer and senior lecturer for 17 years. I left because I was offered a chair elsewhere; currently I am an Emeritus Professor. I am shocked to the core by what this letter details. Assuming the letter is true, it demonstrates how far York has abandoned the liberal principles and good industrial relations that characterised York in early years. Apart from demonstrating total ignorance about how academics operate, the VC is threatening to destroy York’s reputation — which depends so much on the good will of the instruction’so employees. Not too late to retract, I hope.
. 01/11/2014 10:42:08 lesley carline
. 01/11/2014 10:43:14 Sophia Connell
. 01/11/2014 10:43:52 Tim O’Connor
. 01/11/2014 10:46:38 Johnathan Sharpe-Smith
. 01/11/2014 10:48:26 Clara Dawson
. 01/11/2014 11:34:17 Martin Golding
. 01/11/2014 11:49:54 Pete Redford
. 01/11/2014 12:14:20 Christian Hogsbjerg
. 01/11/2014 12:16:35 Natalie Fenton
. 01/11/2014 12:22:26 Edzia Carvalho
. 01/11/2014 12:36:35 Angela needham It is really sad thst this should have been needed
. 01/11/2014 13:01:00 M Neil
. 01/11/2014 13:10:32 Robert Johnston
. 01/11/2014 13:34:46 Dr Dean Lockwood In solidarity
. 01/11/2014 13:47:00 Lynn Hancock This is a hugely counterproductive stance, and a disgraceful one.
. 01/11/2014 14:06:22 Robin Roslender There are important lessons to be learned here.

Threatening an assessment boycott in November – way ahead of the conventional summer examination season/graduation – worries this VC and his senior management sufficiently to motivate them to threaten to impose C19th sanctions on their employees.

That is where many such ‘colleagues’ remain intellectually, at a time when we employees didn’t have the luxury of pensions of course.

. 01/11/2014 14:06:22 Robin Roslender There are important lessons to be learned here.

Threatening an assessment boycott in November – way ahead of the conventional summer examination season/graduation – worries this VC and his senior management sufficiently to motivate them to threaten to impose C19th sanctions on their employees.

That is where many such ‘colleagues’ remain intellectually, at a time when we employees didn’t have the luxury of pensions of course.

. 01/11/2014 14:12:55 Donald Horne
. 01/11/2014 14:57:46 Guy Brewer We will fight you on this one and all cuts to HE. See you on the streets.
. 01/11/2014 15:16:19 Umberto Albarella I completely agree with the sentiment of Simon Hall. I share his values of a compassionate and collegial university who values the interest of all rather than those of the few. Though bullying is now endemic to the academic world that does not mean that we are prepared to accept it without responding.
. 01/11/2014 15:50:52 Sheila Webber
. 01/11/2014 15:55:57 Hazel Palmer How can it be right to dock 100% of pay when the action only affects one part of the job? As I understand it, this is an attack on industrial democracy.
. 01/11/2014 15:57:11 Jonathan Peters
. 01/11/2014 16:09:05 Philip Connell
. 01/11/2014 16:55:43 Ronald Haynes In solidarity, we must call an end to aggressive and undignified threats from our institutions, and practically support the good will and great work of our staff, and the fundamental right to act together for the good of the community.
. 01/11/2014 17:09:39 Dr Chris Cocking, University of Brighton
. 01/11/2014 17:13:15 Dr Robert V. Sansam
. 01/11/2014 17:18:52 Lizzie Wright
. 01/11/2014 18:25:01 Dr Robert M. Gillett This is a matter on which universities and their staff should be working together. If you could show as much determination in defeating the UUK’s proposals as you do in bullying your staff, a sensible solution could be reached very easily.
. 01/11/2014 18:28:27 Peter Day I sign this while working both days of the weekend as usual, as I am sure many of the Staff at York do. Should webill you for 1/260th of pay for every extra day we work?
. 01/11/2014 18:59:25 Dr Duncan Bell
. 01/11/2014 19:06:40 Neil Turner
. 01/11/2014 19:07:41 Angi Lamb
. 01/11/2014 19:15:52 R Gillingham In Solidarity – PCS Union (West Croydon Branch)
. 01/11/2014 19:23:07 Dr Emilia Jamroziak
. 01/11/2014 20:13:16 Alex
. 01/11/2014 20:53:34 Nicolas Emmel A union busting strategy, an absolute lack of understanding of the loss of benefit committed academics will loose if these proposals come to fruition, and a focus around which union activists can mobilise to reject this proposal and the management of York Universty.
. 01/11/2014 21:43:24 astrid sundmark this is simply shameful
. 01/11/2014 22:34:22 emma hartley
. 01/11/2014 22:55:46 Sarah Wilson It seems that this VC, and those within the university administration who’ve also approved this measure, care little for the academics who work in the institution and who have made its previously good reputation.
. 01/11/2014 23:05:49 Tom Vickers
. 01/11/2014 23:53:30 Robert Johnston
. 02/11/2014 05:09:00 Tom Adam Davies
. 02/11/2014 05:09:00 Tom Adam Davies
. 02/11/2014 06:21:54 John Sampson
. 02/11/2014 07:12:58 Yiannis Gioukas I fully agree with this letter. in solidarity, Yiannis Gioukas.
. 02/11/2014 07:59:03 Jennifer Williamson
. 02/11/2014 09:06:20 Professor Perry Willson
. 02/11/2014 09:10:43 Dr Andrew R Timming
. 02/11/2014 09:39:12 peter thompson
. 02/11/2014 09:57:32 Ziad Elmarsafy
. 02/11/2014 11:00:14 Shah-Jalal Sarker
. 02/11/2014 11:08:20 john phillips I quit part time lecturing in Leeds because I got no support from senior management and the amount of unpaid work I had to do, such as writing the course, preparing lessons plans and lectures, marking and student feedback, general admin and feedback, plus travel, meant that I was working for about £7 per hour. The students also seemed to think that as they paid for their tuition, they could demand higher marks.
. 02/11/2014 11:35:46 Tom Dugmore
. 02/11/2014 11:52:21 John Morton
. 02/11/2014 12:50:20 T.J. Cribb
. 02/11/2014 13:18:37 Steven Sarson
. 02/11/2014 13:42:04 Anthony Carew
. 02/11/2014 14:06:30 Chris Forde
. 02/11/2014 16:57:02 Tehyun Ma
. 02/11/2014 17:13:23 Ellie Brierley
. 02/11/2014 17:41:20 Jane Dunn
. 02/11/2014 18:12:03 Pamela Ayling
. 02/11/2014 19:02:41 Katherine Ebury
. 02/11/2014 20:19:03 Tracey Hooper
. 02/11/2014 20:48:57 Robert Moloney This looks like an attempt to break the union at Leeds.

Its a dangerous development that should be seen as a national issue and fought as a national campaign.

We all need to get behind the Univ of Leeds UCU, preferably with official backing at national level. But must be fought hard and as long as it takes.

. 02/11/2014 22:13:39 Ian Hartley
. 02/11/2014 23:28:36 Prof. Lasse Rempe-Gillen I know from experience that academics do not take the decision to embark on an assessment boycott, or other form of industrial action, lightly. We care about our students, and agonize over the effect such action has on them. When we do take industrial action, I believe that it is in part because we know that having a university sector in which staff are treated fairly and feel valued will be, in the long term, of great benefit to future students and society as a whole.

An institution that truly cares about the impact on students should welcome the fact that staff are undertaking an assessment boycot, rather than a full strike, and work hard to resolve the very reasonable concerns of academic staff taking action. In turn, the University of York appears to be working to escalate the situation in an irresponsible manner, and is likely to do great damage to one of its greatest asset, namely the good-will of staff and their willingness to work hard for the good of the institution. I can only urge that the decision to deduct full pay for members is reversed immediately.

. 02/11/2014 23:33:40 Professor Fay Dowker (Imperial College) Such outrageous punitive action demonstrates how weak the employers’ arguments are. They cannot win in the arena of honest argument and scientific analysis — in fact they have already lost — so they resort to intimidation.
. 03/11/2014 08:33:00 Kate Booth
. 03/11/2014 08:39:26 Alaric Searle
. 03/11/2014 08:40:34 Nicole Devarenne As both an academic and a University of York graduate myself (MA and PhD), I am galled and ashamed to see the University taking this point of view.
. 03/11/2014 08:40:46 Jan Gordon Pensions are an essential part of our pay and benefits. To take the action you are proposing against staff attempting to protect their pensions is disproportionately harsh, will alienate your staff, and destroy any existing good will essential for the effective and smooth running of universities. You urgently need to reconsider.
. 03/11/2014 08:47:51 Sharon Coen
. 03/11/2014 08:50:40 kathleen maguire Appalling
. 03/11/2014 08:52:45 Sarah Davies
. 03/11/2014 08:55:11 Paul Maggs Outstanding piece of hypocrisy from what was once a proud collegiate University. The new “ethos” is now clearly on show – without the Emperor’s clothes.
. 03/11/2014 09:13:48 Judy Kendall
. 03/11/2014 09:20:47 Graham Kirkwood
. 03/11/2014 09:24:22 pia nystrom
. 03/11/2014 09:30:31 Heather Heiner
. 03/11/2014 09:34:17 Mark Adcock
. 03/11/2014 09:34:19 Cristina Archetti I am appalled by the threat to dock 100% pay from members of the University and College Union (UCU) who participate in lawful strike action.

I agree with the Dr Hall that the decision to define any work that unionised academics at York continue to do (including the preparation and delivery of lectures, the planning and running of seminar classes, the hosting of visiting speakers, research, the writing of journal articles, conference papers and books, the supervision of undergraduate, MA and PhD students, the provision of pastoral care, the writing of references and letters of recommendation, the preparation and evaluation of grant proposals, committee work, and the enthusiastic participation in a range of undergraduate admissions and recruitment activities, including open days) as merely “voluntary” is utterly and absolutely shameful.

. 03/11/2014 09:41:23 Caroline Holmes, Ruskin College, Oxford
. 03/11/2014 09:45:17 Mark Beedle
. 03/11/2014 09:50:02 Chris Silker
. 03/11/2014 10:01:34 Sheila Cullen
. 03/11/2014 10:03:11 Tracy Crossley
. 03/11/2014 10:03:22 Niki
. 03/11/2014 10:10:48 Ben Drake Branch Chair, York City UNISON

(University of York graduate, 1992; YUSU President 1992-3)

. 03/11/2014 10:14:02 Alan Boyle One of my sons recently applied to York to study economics. He ultimately decided to go elsewhere. I am glad he did if this is how York runs it business.
. 03/11/2014 10:28:39 Dr David Stewart As a proud alumni of the University of York I am disgusted by the decision of management.
. 03/11/2014 10:32:55 Mark O’Brien
. 03/11/2014 10:35:09 Gareth Stockey Good luck in recruiting and retaining ‘world class’ staff!
. 03/11/2014 10:38:47 Dr Patricia McCafferty
. 03/11/2014 11:23:48 Steve Chambers
. 03/11/2014 11:30:03 Robert Vanderbeck
. 03/11/2014 11:31:43 Louise Coletta
. 03/11/2014 11:32:44 Jeremy Harmer
. 03/11/2014 11:34:16 Lou Harvey
. 03/11/2014 11:34:20 Lata Narayanaswamy Bullying tactics by senior management have no place in what we like to think of as a civilised society here in the UK, where workers have the right to strike. UofYork management team should be ashamed of themselves.
. 03/11/2014 11:34:42 Julian Lewis I agree with Dr Hall’s letter, and hope Trade Unionists everywhere can offer practical solidarity should the VC withhold wages.
. 03/11/2014 11:38:49 Professor Tony Crowley
. 03/11/2014 11:43:23 Darren Greenwood
. 03/11/2014 11:44:17 David Frier
. 03/11/2014 11:53:23 Shane Doyle
. 03/11/2014 11:55:12 Julia Reid
. 03/11/2014 11:57:56 Federico Venturini
. 03/11/2014 12:06:13 Nicholas Hughes
. 03/11/2014 12:12:09 Hugh Dunkerley
. 03/11/2014 12:12:19 Dr Naomi Foyle
. 03/11/2014 12:14:44 Alaric Hall
. 03/11/2014 12:21:38 Simon Swift
. 03/11/2014 12:25:16 Tim Rowbotham
. 03/11/2014 12:29:57 Dr William Murphy So many parts of all Universities work on the basis of the goodwill of the staff and a willingness to work above and beyond what is actually reasonable. This action is an excellent way of destroying any vestige of that goodwill.
. 03/11/2014 12:31:52 RUTH CHARNOCK
. 03/11/2014 12:49:31 Alexander Wilson Dear Professor Lamberts,

Any academic institution that redefines teaching as voluntary, and thus regards those who undertake this important task (the primary concern of a university, no less) as essentially ‘doing the university a favour’, is clearly not worthy of the name. Such actions significantly devalue the importance of higher education in our society; how any leading university that wishes to maintain its academic standards of excellence can show such contempt for their academic staff is beyond belief.

I urge you to reconsider your institution’s position on this matter and to treat your teaching and research staff – the lifeblood of any university – with the decency and respect which they so clearly deserve.

Yours sincerely,

Alexander Wilson

. 03/11/2014 12:50:04 Pirkko Shameful!
. 03/11/2014 12:55:00 Laura Gowing
. 03/11/2014 12:55:31 Dr Owain Wyn Jones
. 03/11/2014 13:03:07 Dr Robert Julio Decker
. 03/11/2014 13:07:21 Alan Murphy As an alumni It is very disappointing to find York University following an anti union stance in what is a fundamental issue of rights and obligations historically rooted in agreements between employer and staff over many years and which have directed individual staff to make career decisions based on trust. Punitive action against people taking action in their democratic right to protest diminishes the standing of a renowned organisation.
. 03/11/2014 13:10:05 Nik Gunn
. 03/11/2014 13:12:22 Sarah Honeychurch
. 03/11/2014 13:17:47 Jeanette E. Nelson
. 03/11/2014 13:24:47 Dr Paul Bagguley
. 03/11/2014 13:32:12 Dr Levi Roach This is absoutely shameful treatment of staff. It is one thing to dock a proportion of pay for those participating in the industrial action, but quite another to deny their (very substantial) other contributions to the University. It is clearly not the lecturers who are being selfish here.
. 03/11/2014 13:41:54 Robert Gallagher
. 03/11/2014 13:43:11 Joanne Shortt Butler
. 03/11/2014 13:47:35 Martin Regan
. 03/11/2014 13:49:17 Emily Guerry
. 03/11/2014 13:50:45 Simon Barton
. 03/11/2014 13:51:17 Josiah Mortimer York alumnus.
. 03/11/2014 13:51:53 Josiah Mortimer York alumnus.
. 03/11/2014 13:53:24 Sukanya
. 03/11/2014 13:58:05 Henry Eventually a negotiated settlement will be achieved, but not through bullying. Existing contracts of employment should be honoured, while future contracts should allow for future work and pensions conditions.

Heed the professional advice of your expert personnel management or human resources staff – or hire in the required expertise to avoid a wasteful clash with the law.

. 03/11/2014 14:00:10 Mary Fletcher Trade Union rights are very important in a civilised democracy and you should respect them.
. 03/11/2014 14:04:30 Eric Lacey
. 03/11/2014 14:08:59 Jenny Robertson
. 03/11/2014 14:18:26 Leila Dawney
. 03/11/2014 14:30:04 Rebecca Williams
. 03/11/2014 14:47:56 Dr Gajendra Singh
. 03/11/2014 14:58:16 Derek B Scott Simply unethical.
. 03/11/2014 15:03:46 Dr Hester Schadee
. 03/11/2014 15:04:52 Professor Malcolm Chase
. 03/11/2014 15:06:28 Yagmur Heffron
. 03/11/2014 15:13:20 Aya Van Renterghem
. 03/11/2014 15:13:45 Shiona Chillas
. 03/11/2014 15:15:53 Lisbeth Bourne I am utterly appalled that the University has chosen to take such an approach. It is draconian and completely undervalues the work that academics do. This is an insidious process that will damage any good will that remains towards University employers.
. 03/11/2014 15:17:22 Helen Birkett
. 03/11/2014 15:29:49 Keith Mattacks You might do better to support your staff in challenging these shameful proposals than seeking to victimise those that are doing your job for you! Shame on you sir!
. 03/11/2014 15:37:49 Alexander Carruth
. 03/11/2014 15:40:14 Ross Brown I hope academics at York remind their employer of the ‘voluntary’ nature of these activities (i.e. research and income generation) once this industrial action is over!
. 03/11/2014 15:45:48 Jeremy Harper
. 03/11/2014 15:53:33 Dr L Whitworth
. 03/11/2014 16:09:04 Simon Boxley
. 03/11/2014 16:39:03 Dr Paul Gazzoli
. 03/11/2014 17:01:19 Roberto Veneziani
. 03/11/2014 17:19:13 Emily Wilczek
. 03/11/2014 17:24:28 Tim Katz
. 03/11/2014 17:36:18 Dr Bronach Kane
. 03/11/2014 17:53:13 Prof Jonathan Pitches
. 03/11/2014 17:56:16 G Parsons
. 03/11/2014 18:01:37 Anthony Mandal This is a damning indictment of the heavy-handed managerial approach that York is using to deal with a complex issue. It will do UoYork’s public image no favours.
. 03/11/2014 18:08:36 Dr. John Shearer As a person with an UG degree from the University of York, I am ashamed of this behaviour by the University of York management.
. 03/11/2014 18:44:34 Carlos Pittol Utterly shameless and inconsiderate man!
. 03/11/2014 18:53:24 Dr Christer Petley
. 03/11/2014 18:54:20 Jesse Ransley
. 03/11/2014 19:00:58 Paul Castro
. 03/11/2014 19:43:24 Lisa Liddy
. 03/11/2014 19:57:08 Alan
. 03/11/2014 20:06:03 Maggie Scott
. 03/11/2014 21:00:28 Robert Vanderbeck
. 03/11/2014 21:40:48 Dr Rich Boden In personal solidarity from Plymouth – this is a disgusting attack on staff.
. 03/11/2014 21:49:17 P Moon
. 03/11/2014 22:07:39 Dr Martin Findell
. 03/11/2014 22:20:47 Rosemary O’Day (alumnus)
. 03/11/2014 22:53:21 Paul Timms The action by the management of University of York is absolutely disgraceful.

If they go ahead with this union-busting activity we all (in the higher education sector) need to work hard to ensure that there is a total boycott of this appalling institution.

. 04/11/2014 00:07:01 Carolyn Edwards
. 04/11/2014 00:29:18 Jay Maxwell
. 04/11/2014 00:56:07 Peter Goddard
. 04/11/2014 04:10:03 Victoria gosling
. 04/11/2014 07:53:24 Paul Hyams
. 04/11/2014 10:07:40 Lee Griffiths If our supporting work is to be classed as voluntary then employers need reminding that we are not charities and treating us this way will encourage us to shrink any involvement in voluntary activities to zero including those cited in the open letter.
. 04/11/2014 10:20:19 Sam Baeza It would appear that ‘ethical’ has a meaning in York, which would be found in the Oxford Dictionary…shame on you!
. 04/11/2014 10:59:58 Tom Stranney
. 04/11/2014 11:04:21 Fiona Cosson
. 04/11/2014 11:12:53 Dr Adam Ozanne Prof. Lamberts’ threat is a shocking betrayal of the principles of collegiality upon which UK universities claim to conduct themselves. I am pleased to be able to say that senior management at the University of Manchester are, for the present at least, adopting a more enlightened approach.
. 04/11/2014 11:18:45 Ramanee Bengough I am a York Alumna, now working at the University of Dundee
. 04/11/2014 11:48:44 Ian Cole
. 04/11/2014 12:11:23 Nigel Bubb
. 04/11/2014 12:52:01 Dr Freyja Cox Jensen
. 04/11/2014 13:29:52 Dr Mark Wilkinson The University of York’s position is disappointing and insulting to its staff. I hope that they will revoke this threat before the boycott actually begins, and publish a formal apology to their staff.
. 04/11/2014 15:21:40 Prof Huw Davies
. 04/11/2014 15:35:57 Lucy Hodgetts
. 04/11/2014 16:07:55 Ruth Mather
. 04/11/2014 16:21:45 Stuart Maule
. 04/11/2014 16:34:11 Theo Riches
. 04/11/2014 16:39:31 Heather Smith
. 04/11/2014 16:43:30 Phoebe Morton
. 04/11/2014 17:18:17 Craig Gent Warwick UCU
. 04/11/2014 17:41:44 Sam Johnson
. 04/11/2014 19:15:27 Hannah Hogan
. 04/11/2014 19:15:29 Oliver Milne
. 04/11/2014 19:24:53 Jake Helliwell
. 04/11/2014 19:43:12 Katie Markham
. 04/11/2014 19:47:38 Alice
. 04/11/2014 20:01:05 Felicitas Schmieder
. 04/11/2014 20:59:42 Sue Jones My thoughts are quite simple; treat others as you would wish to be treated in their situation.
. 04/11/2014 21:45:09 Daniel Meeson
. 05/11/2014 08:40:21 Moritz Schmoll
. 05/11/2014 09:26:52 Anne Barron
. 05/11/2014 09:29:10 Luc Racaut
. 05/11/2014 09:39:51 Nathalie Mitev
. 05/11/2014 10:26:34 Dr Alvaro Martinez Managers at our university should better try to convince negotiators to adopt a more positive positions towards defending our pensions instead of these old-fashioned threats.
. 05/11/2014 10:30:03 Lucy
. 05/11/2014 10:32:01 Dr Eddy Donnelly
. 05/11/2014 10:58:47 Gregor Wallace I totally agree with the sentiments expressed in this letter. Our institution deducted a full day’s pay for the two instances of two hour strike action earlier this year. Most galling for staff must be the failure to acknowledge the extra hours many staff contribute in the course of their normal duties. It would be nice if UCU could put in a financial claim for this work, backdated with interest and inflation taken into account.
. 05/11/2014 11:10:25 Chris McAndrew
. 05/11/2014 11:42:48 Alice Temple
. 05/11/2014 11:49:53 Andy Lockhart
. 05/11/2014 11:57:18 Barbara Buraczynska
. 05/11/2014 12:29:03 Eleanor spaventa
. 05/11/2014 13:16:09 John Dickens
. 05/11/2014 13:37:03 Christina Pössel
. 05/11/2014 13:59:36 Jasper Grimm
. 05/11/2014 14:40:35 Ashleigh Weir
. 05/11/2014 15:19:37 Clio Hummerstone
. 05/11/2014 15:48:32 Lydia H
. 05/11/2014 16:08:12 Joe McArdle
. 05/11/2014 17:18:27 Leonie Hicks
. 05/11/2014 17:30:28 Abigail
. 05/11/2014 17:32:33 Alex Chaplin
. 05/11/2014 18:23:42 Chris clark Spot on, well said. Feeling pretty sad that my own employer, univ sheffield, values our work so little, went home in disgust.
. 05/11/2014 18:31:15 Oliver Clay
. 05/11/2014 18:47:04 adrian mallory
. 05/11/2014 18:54:42 Tamara Sivanandan
. 05/11/2014 18:55:10 Jamie Chatfield University of York Sociology Undergradtuate
. 05/11/2014 19:04:28 Rajmil Fischman Senior management’s disregard for students and their lack of recognition of the value of teaching and research is poignant: while a marking boycott would just delay student results, an all-out cessation of activities that would result from 100% docking would deny students access to irreplaceable lectures, seminars and tutorials, damaging their prospects for obtaining good degree results; not to mention the damage to their education. But these considerations do not seem to be part of the senior management’s thinking when deciding to threaten dedicated staff who have opted for industrial action as a last resort.
. 05/11/2014 19:08:32 Kate
. 05/11/2014 19:16:46 Alex da Costa
. 05/11/2014 19:54:10 Minesh Parekh
. 05/11/2014 20:16:53 Diego Garro
. 05/11/2014 20:26:08 Del Pickup This bullying and intimidation of staff is abhorrent and a very poor reflection on the University. They are the tactics of the 19th not the 21st century. Withdraw your threats and pay your staff!
. 05/11/2014 20:33:45 Dr Julie Dickson Absolutely shocking decision by University of York management, treating highly qualified and extraordinarily hard working professionals this way. I personally would never contemplate working there now.
. 05/11/2014 20:49:53 Davide Schmid
. 05/11/2014 20:59:34 Lucas
. 05/11/2014 21:53:59 Sam Morecroft You will not break us with this disgraceful attempt at union-busting. You will only succeed in forcing us to escalate our industrial action.

Sam Morecroft

Sheffield UCU Education Officer

. 06/11/2014 07:29:03 Dr Chris Cumberpatch
. 06/11/2014 07:41:11 robert arch
. 06/11/2014 08:50:31 Dr Joe Turner
. 06/11/2014 09:24:51 Dr Ben Offiler
. 06/11/2014 09:50:36 Daisy Hale
. 06/11/2014 09:52:58 Ashley Morton
. 06/11/2014 10:03:09 Max Adams
. 06/11/2014 10:11:02 Joe Winstone
. 06/11/2014 10:33:01 Leah Coates
. 06/11/2014 10:36:38 Hannah Coyle
. 06/11/2014 10:43:39 Samuel Campbell this is enough to make me ashamed of being UoYork Alumni
. 06/11/2014 11:36:51 James Dixon Absolutely shambolic and entirely disrespectful to the fantastic staff at the university. In my opinion, the best thing about undergraduate study at the Uni of York is the passion and commitment of its staff. It is disappointing to see the university insult its priceless staff.
. 06/11/2014 11:57:59 Darren Fox
. 06/11/2014 11:59:03 Peter Bath
. 06/11/2014 11:59:06 Tim Heaton
. 06/11/2014 12:14:05 Richard Rowe
. 06/11/2014 12:17:52 Jim A Thomas
. 06/11/2014 12:19:37 Dr Mark Finney
. 06/11/2014 12:24:55 Jennifer Knapp-Wood
. 06/11/2014 12:28:29 Dr Philip Morgan
. 06/11/2014 12:33:18 Professor David Applebaum
. 06/11/2014 12:34:11 Dr Jonathan Perraton
. 06/11/2014 12:39:11 Rachel William
. 06/11/2014 12:40:57 Katie McGettigan
. 06/11/2014 12:45:20 Professor Martin Conboy
. 06/11/2014 12:46:59 Lucy Walters
. 06/11/2014 12:47:16 Lucy Walters
. 06/11/2014 12:47:44 lucy walters
. 06/11/2014 13:03:16 Valerie Legg Absolutely disgraceful!
. 06/11/2014 13:48:16 James E. Shaw
. 06/11/2014 13:52:15 Linnaea Stockall
. 06/11/2014 14:03:54 Polly Jordan
. 06/11/2014 14:37:58 Anna Mawn As a student at the University of York, I am ashamed to be a part of an institution with such a poor moral stance and I feel let down that the University find it appropriate to risk my eduction in such a way given the amount I am paying to do my course.
. 06/11/2014 14:58:22 Vanessa
. 06/11/2014 16:24:22 Ken Willis
. 06/11/2014 18:54:08 Harry Moss
. 06/11/2014 21:10:09 Kerri Woods
. 06/11/2014 21:52:34 Karin Bottom
. 06/11/2014 22:16:25 Dr Anne-Gaelle Borycki
. 07/11/2014 09:03:32 ann molloy
. 07/11/2014 09:29:19 Elizabeth Moore
. 07/11/2014 11:50:43 Sarah Whitehouse
. 07/11/2014 15:12:48 paul dickinson
. 07/11/2014 17:02:22 Tamar Steinitz (Glodsmiths, University of London)
. 07/11/2014 17:32:55 emily golland
. 07/11/2014 18:17:30 Panagiotis Theodoropoulos
. 07/11/2014 18:17:45 beth davies
. 07/11/2014 18:21:46 Mohammed Suhail
. 07/11/2014 18:25:46 Zara Kabir
. 07/11/2014 19:25:07 Jessica Haldeman
. 08/11/2014 06:27:32 Lorna Warren
. 08/11/2014 08:53:40 Rosie Clark
. 08/11/2014 12:26:57 Richard Parkin
. 08/11/2014 20:20:43 Amy Williams
. 08/11/2014 21:19:13 Ray Holmes As a retired member of UCU, I fully support the enclosed letter and despise the thoughts and actions of Prof Lamberts.
. 09/11/2014 10:06:38 Milly I have written a similar document to the VC of the University of Surrey (who is also head of UUK), condemning his decision to withdraw pay.

. 09/11/2014 11:40:09 Catherine Dodds
. 10/11/2014 11:28:03 Sky Duthie
. 11/11/2014 00:22:29 Adam Sutherland
. 11/11/2014 10:17:54 Victor Figueroa Clark
. 11/11/2014 12:37:48 Meredith Gardner
. 11/11/2014 14:13:38 Robert Ford
. 12/11/2014 02:21:34 Jack Barnett
. 12/11/2014 09:32:20 Laura Harvey In solidarity from University of Surrey, also currently threatening to dock 100% pay.
. 12/11/2014 13:34:36 Graham Martin
. 12/11/2014 13:50:18 Ross Tallo
. 12/11/2014 13:54:17 Richard Bridge
. 12/11/2014 15:24:57 Antony Barlow
. 12/11/2014 18:39:27 Cat Nicolson
. 12/11/2014 21:11:48 Andrea Dudding Stop bullying UCU members
. 12/11/2014 21:36:50 mark havercroft
. 13/11/2014 08:26:13 Sophie Shaw
. 13/11/2014 09:30:51 Theo Williams
. 13/11/2014 10:23:51 Sam Leach
. 13/11/2014 10:33:41 David Neep
. 13/11/2014 13:57:34 George Norman As a current York student, I think this is hugely disproportionate, and if anything will be more harmful to my education, because it more or less forces a full strike. A foolish move by a university that claims to be good for employees, but is now the largest employer in York not to pay the living wage. I look forward to them changing this.
. 13/11/2014 14:04:58 Gillian Higgins
. 13/11/2014 14:05:33 Peter Kilbane
. 13/11/2014 14:26:50 Ben Drake Branch Chair, York City UNISON
. 13/11/2014 15:45:39 Joanna Barker i was so shocked to learn of this and bemused to think that foreign students at English universities come here and learn about democracy and Human Rights and the very institutions at which they attend could operate in this way.
. 13/11/2014 16:21:54 Chris Brace The Vice-Chancellor chancellor should take time to reflect on his position, is this really what he thinks. What kind of ethos is he promoting here; I would have expected a far more liberal response from an institution worthy of the title of university.

(67 year old tax payer)

. 13/11/2014 16:22:52 Chris Brace The Vice-Chancellor chancellor should take time to reflect on his position, is this really what he thinks. What kind of ethos is he promoting here; I would have expected a far more liberal response from an institution worthy of the title of university.

(67 year old tax payer)

. 13/11/2014 16:54:31 John Walford
. 13/11/2014 17:01:29 Kathryn Smith
. 13/11/2014 17:19:51 Peter Jackson
. 13/11/2014 17:44:05 Dr Laura Potts
. 13/11/2014 17:56:25 Craig Wroe
. 13/11/2014 18:16:23 Nathan Walker
. 13/11/2014 18:49:59 Stephen Harrison
. 13/11/2014 19:50:56 Eileen Dale
. 13/11/2014 20:44:40 Alan Gerrard
. 13/11/2014 21:02:57 Richard Lane I’m a former UoY student; my experiences of UoY admin was that they had no time at all for the Students’ Union either. I had hoped things had improved.
. 13/11/2014 22:02:04 christa brown
. 13/11/2014 22:33:33 steve Howley Brigade Secretary FBU North yorks
. 13/11/2014 22:58:24 Stacey Darrell It seems that the staff are trying to make their point in a fairly civil and restrained way – is the University responding in kind ?
. 13/11/2014 23:16:45 James Beckett
. 13/11/2014 23:23:08 Rob Nellist
. 13/11/2014 23:58:13 Colin Stoneman I am the Co-ordinating Editor of the Journal of Southern African Studies and a former member of staff at the University of York (1982-1996).
. 14/11/2014 00:06:47 gwen Vardigans
. 14/11/2014 00:49:41 Christopher Walker-Lyne
. 14/11/2014 03:00:49 Ben Leonard
. 14/11/2014 07:12:27 EMMA HAYWARD Sad to see such a reaction in the 21st Century. Hard Times indeed
. 14/11/2014 09:45:05 Malcolm Law I’m retired from the university of York. I was also an active member of UCU, so I have experience of the difficulties the union faces. They may as well call an all out strike but they are dedicated to their students and their research, so they probably won’t.
. 14/11/2014 12:56:03 Allison Drew
. 14/11/2014 13:20:48 David Lancaster
. 14/11/2014 13:34:39 Edward O’Brien
. 14/11/2014 16:36:52 Helen kettelboro
. 14/11/2014 17:10:38 Denise Craghill
. 14/11/2014 20:24:47 Denis Jeffery In Solidarity.
. 15/11/2014 14:25:47 S Askew
. 16/11/2014 13:27:09 David Johnson
. 17/11/2014 16:07:45 Chris Clay
. 19/11/2014 10:32:37 Susannah Goodridge
. 20/11/2014 09:41:01 E Cunnington

UUK’s long-term plan?

October 31, 2014

Piccinni_L'AvaroYou will recall that back in 2011 the USS pension scheme was adjusted to introduce a Career Average scheme for new entrants, and we were told that this was necessary to resolve the deficit that then existed. Scheme investments since then have met and surpassed targets and the scheme’s funds have grown faster than the FTSE. So why are we back in the same hole? Are universities blundering from deficit to deficit, or is there a long term plan

The UCU does not agree with the method of calculating the current deficit, and leading financial mathematicians and statisticians last week condemned the manner in which the “predicted salary increases assume a buoyant economy while investment returns assume a recession” (Times Higher) in the calculations, suggesting that the deficit construction is rigged to find the highest possible number. This seems contrary to the Pensions Regulator’s requirement that Trustees do not apply ‘overly prudent’ measures of calculation (Investments and Pensions Europe).

So why would you find the most exaggerated and inflated manner of calculating a deficit?

And let us remember, the pensions benefit cuts that we are being asked to swallow are not directly to address the supposed £8 billion deficit, but are quite clearly put in place to fund an adjusted investment strategy of ‘de-risking’ (see last week’s blog) which will deliberately and knowingly increase the deficit to as much as £13 billion. ‘De-risking’, then, doesn’t mean removing future risk to the scheme. The ‘risk’ that is being removed is the unknowable value of investment return. Of course, over the long term, equities have always out-performed other investment vehicles, but if you need to measure a deficit every three years, you want something more reliable, they argue. ‘De-risking’ is an investment strategy to buy more investments with predictable future income, and sell the equities, stocks and shares, that would have a higher return.

These more reliable investments include government bonds and gilts. The return on these is more predictable than stocks and shares. But also much lower. Because the return is lower, the deficit goes up, not down, but at least they can predict it better (i.e. It is less ‘volatile’). So investment strategy for our USS fund – your and my money – is to be governed by regulatory calculations, not growth planning. This has a number of consequences.

Firstly, the growth of the pension fund will be inhibited. The brakes are applied. The fund has been growing at rates higher than the FTSE in eight out of the last ten years. De-risking will potentially significantly slow down this growth. This in itself  creates risk that the fund might have trouble in meeting future liabilities. Which makes it more likely that in the future they will come back to pare back our benefits further, to make them ‘affordable’ with that smaller pot of cash they have manufactured with de-risking.

Secondly, market forces straightforwardly dictate that the more bonds are bought, the more they cost and the less they yield. So the deficit goes up:

This excess demand for bonds, whether government or corporate, is problematic for pension funds. As the demand for bonds increased, pension funds have been buying these bonds at higher prices. This in turn has pushed down the yields on bonds, thereby increasing the present value of the liabilities that these firms are trying to match; consequently even more bonds have to be purchased to match the liability creating a vicious circle. (Iain Clacher and Peter Moizer, Accounting for Pensions, Leeds University Business School, p. 24)

This is not a sustainable investment strategy, as its short-termism is damaging to the long term health of the scheme. Further, by such big schemes as USS pulling out of the stock market, there is a consequent negative impact on economic growth.

Now, if as an employer your long-term goal was to wind down the scheme or degrade or remove defined benefits, this is exactly what you’d do. Why would the employers want to remove defined benefits from the picture? Because they carry some of the risk embedded in the requirement to pay a defined amount in the future. Much better, surely, to let the employees take all the risk with a defined contributions scheme?

So, if you were an employer that cared more for your burgeoning surpluses than for you staff, not only would you want to inhibit future income from investment growth in order to achieve that long term goal, you would want to further inhibit the growth of the scheme’s investments by also reducing the cash coming in to them. The employers quite clearly have factored this into their proposals. The cap on Additional Voluntary Contributions at 1% of salary is particularly telling in this regard. Why would you restrict people paying voluntarily into a fund that could grow all the faster with more money in it? This is inexplicable unless there is a deliberate plan to reduce income into the investments.

The reduction of employers’ contributions by 4% to 12% on salary over a £50k threshold is another such constriction on funds coming in. Now, back in the 2009 dispute they were trumpeting that our average salary was around this mark. Oddly, today they claim that this £50k threshold will only affect a third of us. Either they were lying then, or they are lying now.

And, let’s face it, the proposal to reduce net employee contributions adds to that, and is a cynical sweetener. All contributions will be at 6.5%, reducing some from 7.5%.

All this reduced income to the scheme puts pressure on investment growth for any future income to pay liabilities. But the de-risking plan to buy low-yield investments knocks that possibility into the long grass. Are you beginning to join the dots yet?

So, if we fail to get defined contributions off of the employers’ wish list, what do you reckon the chances are of a 2017 valuation being constructed to allow them to complete the possible long term plan to remove all risks from their institutional balance sheets and have us all on defined contributions?

Open letter to the VC of the University of York

October 30, 2014

The following letter was sent today to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, who yesterday threatened to stop paying their staff if they participated in legitimate industrial action. If you agree with the sentiment of the letter, please do sign the petition below the letter text.
30 October 2014

Dear Professor Lamberts,

I recently learned that the University of York intends to withhold 100% of pay from members of the University and College Union (UCU) who participate in ‘Action Short of a Strike.’ As you know, this industrial action has been called in response to the proposed ‘reforms’ to the Universities Superannuation Scheme – proposals that, in their present form, constitute the most serious threat to academics’ pay and conditions in at least a generation, and which will leave thousands of academics many tens of thousands of pounds worse off in their retirement. Your threat to dock 100% pay on a continuous basis – which amounts to nothing less than old-fashioned union-busting – might be expected of a nineteenth century mill owner, but it has absolutely no place in a university system which, quite rightly, values collegiality.

The decision to define any work that unionised academics at York continue to do (including the preparation and delivery of lectures, the planning and running of seminar classes, the hosting of visiting speakers, research, the writing of journal articles, conference papers and books, the supervision of undergraduate, MA and PhD students, the provision of pastoral care, the writing of references and letters of recommendation, the preparation and evaluation of grant proposals, committee work, and the enthusiastic participation in a range of undergraduate admissions and recruitment activities, including open days) as merely “voluntary” is utterly shameful. The decision to calculate deductions in pay on a 1/260th basis – thereby ignoring the substantial amount of work that, as you know perfectly well, is undertaken by academics on weekends – only adds insult to injury.

I note the University of York claims to apply “the best ethical standards” in all of its activities, while your latest strategic plan lauds York’s “informality”, “friendliness” and “flat management structure” – all part of a distinctive “ethos”, we are told, that is designed to help “promote a sense of belonging and worth” among your employees (an approach, furthermore, that you claim will be “protect[ed] and develop[ed]” because “it contributes to the dynamic intellectual environment on which our future success depends”). I am very keen to know how your proposed actions in response to the UCU’s action short of a strike tally with these values, and eagerly await your response.

With very best wishes,
Dr Simon Hall
Senior Lecturer in American History School of History
University of Leeds

P.S. I should like to make it clear that the views expressed in this letter are mine, and do not represent an official stance taken by my department or institution.


The form will show you the total number of respondents when you complete it. We’ve had so many responses, that we are uploading the petition responses manually (in part, to allow us to monitor for inappropriate comments). We’re placing them online in this posting.  (last updated 10am, Friday 21 November – 773 signatures) This petition is now closed.