Wednesday, 29 February 2012

For a fighting, democratic UNISON in Higher Education

For a fighting, democratic UNISON in Higher Education

* Pre-conference meeting *

WHEN? 7pm, Thursday 1st March

WHERE? The UMI Hotel on the seafront, booked from which is on the corner opposite the Odeon, here


WHAT? An open discussion on how to win the ongoing struggle to turn UNISON into a fighting, democratic union.

WHY? Whether it's defending our pensions or pay, when resisting job cuts, tuition fees or privatisation, we need a union that can stand up the most right wing government in a generation.

WHO? All Higher Ed UNISON members/ activists welcome for an open debate on the eve of the Higher Ed Service Group conference. It will be an organising meeting, followed by a social, so come with your ideas and join our network of left activists in UNISON HE.


  • Max Watson (NEC - in a personal capacity)
  • Linda Holden (Manchester Met Branch)
  • Glenn Kelly ('Defend the Four' campaign)

Contact Max Watson for details, on: 07793 145 754

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Elect Claire Locke #1 for NUS President!

Claire Locke has been an inspiration for London Met students and staff alike. Her energy, instinctive common sense and her dynamism know no bounds. She took our Students Union by storm in 2010 when she was elected Communications officer and then President, and has achieved a huge amount - especially important for us has been the building of really close links between staff and students.

When we fought against job cuts last year Claire was instrumental in passing policy through her union to support our strike, even though some argued it would 'harm the students'; she supported our Living Wage campaign, despite the cuts at London Met to student services, and was on the picket lines again on our fight for decent pensions - we know we can always rely on her support when needed.

She is articulate, passionate and absolutely solid - UNISON members in HE couldn't have a better advocate within the student movement. She's one of us.

So I'm delighted she is standing for NUS President and very much hope all the activist groups rally round her campaign, put their differences aside, and do the right thing. Elect Claire Locke #1 for NUS President!

I am running in this election because I want a national leadership that will fight for our future.

I have been a representative of London Met Students' Union for two years. London Met is the most working class university in the country, and has more black and ethnic minority students at it than the whole of the Russell Group combined. We have been hit with 70% course cuts, and the total removal ...of subjects like history, philosophy and performing arts. Our staff have faced a jobs massacre, and student and disability services have been attacked.

As a mature student from a working class background, I don't think that studying is something that should be left only to the rich. The privatisation of education, healthcare and other public services is regressive step that will increase the class divide.

These attacks are a disaster for ordinary people, and for society. Time and time again, NUS has failed to fight effectively for education. Last year we were denied national mobilisation, forcing grass roots students to fight back with limited resources and support. We need a union that is willing to take the fight to the Tories, not sit back and let politicians destroy our society.

I stand for:
- Quality, publicly funded education for all; access to student resources and support should not be dictated by the size of your bank balance.
- Free choice; people from working class backgrounds should not be forced to study vocational style degrees.
- National mobilisation; to plan effective resistance and challenge the government's plans.
- Local fightback; we need access to support and clear strategies to fight cuts on campus NOW!
- United resistance; building relationships with our staff unions so we can collectively fight to save our learning communities.
- Equality; fight for the right of every student to be treated with equal value regardless of race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, disability or socioeconomic background.
- Fighting racism and fascism; these are unacceptable on any level.

Claire Locke #1 for NUS President!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Keep UEL Catering In House

Why This Is Important

Save UEL Catering Staff

The Staff of UEL Catering Services are in grave danger. Rumours have been circulating for a while that UEL catering were about to be outsourced. A Draft report published in December recommends this approach.

However, the report does have some good points –it commends the dedication and performance of the staff and complains about the lack of strategic direction of the UEL Management

The University are playing their cards close to their chest, probably to avoid the sort of outcry that might spoil the Olympic party. The outsourcing threat is clearly their way of making savings at a time when they are spending money on big projects like the Sports Dock; the Stratford library and the University Square. Sometime soon they will realize that they will require staff to make these buildings work.

Please support the staff by joining this campaign

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Sean Taylor - Stand Up

The song is called 'Stand Up' and the video was put together by Colm McCarthy. It is from my forthcoming album 'Love Against Death'. This song is dedicated to the anti-cuts and Occupy Movements all over the world. The 99%.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Venezuela 2012 – how social progress and democracy are transforming a nation


EVENT: Venezuela 2012: How Social Progress & Democracy are Transforming a Nation

chavez supporters

Monday March 5, 7-9pm, at Portcullis House, Parliament, SW1A 2LW (Westminster Tube.)

RSVP to essential for room details and to confirm your place.

childrenWith special guests from Venezuela and other leading speakers including:

• Sandra Angeleri, writer, 'Women Weaving the Dream of the Revolution in the American Continent' & Professor, Universidad Central de Venezuela
• Samuel Moncada, Venezuelan Ambassador, former Minister of Higher Education in President Ch├ívez's government
• Jeremy Corbyn MP, Vice-Chair, APPG on Latin America
• Colin Burgon, Labour Friends of Venezuela
• Dr Francisco Dominguez, Centre for Latin American Studies, Middlesex University

health serviceFollowing decades of US backed dictatorships and then failed IMF economic policies, recent years have seen much of Latin America transformed into a beacon for social progress. Progressive governments have matched economic growth with social inclusion and a widening of democratic participation.

Venezuela has been at the forefront of this progressive change. The government of Hugo Chavez has won more elections than nearly any other government in the world as a result of social policies to drastically reduce poverty and inequality, eradicate illiteracy and provide free healthcare by sharing the nation's oil wealth.

Venezuelans will once again go to the polls this October in a Presidential election that will see a clear choice between the continuation of this social progress and a right-wing opposition which will undermine many of these progressive social changes.

Remember to RSVP to for room details and to confirm your place at this event

Organised by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign –


N30 and after: was that it? A debate on the public sector strikes

N30 and after: was that it? A debate on the public sector strikes

Gregor Gall analyses the 30 November strikes. With a response by Heather Wakefield

30 November in Lancashire. Photo: Andy O'Donnell

Was that it? Well, maybe. While France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have been rocked by numerous general and public sector-wide strikes over the past few years, in Britain we have had just the two one-day strikes over pensions reform, on 30 June and 30 November last year.

Apart from these, large-scale resistance to job losses, pay freezes and cuts in services has been notable by its absence. Slogans such as 'We won't pay for their crisis' ring hollow; the reality is that 'we' are paying for their crisis and 'they' are getting away with it.

Punching above its weight

All of this may be true, but it is also the case that N30 packed a punch well in excess of its weight as a one-day strike. In this sense, it was far more of a protest than an orthodox strike – and not just because it was only a day long. Any strike in the public sector is necessarily more of a political action because the government is the ultimate employer and it responds to political pressure, as opposed to the pressure of a strike as an economic action against a profit-seeking organisation in the private sector.


To read the rest and think about subscribing to Red Pepper - they now do a trade union subscription rate - go here:

Thursday, 2 February 2012

UNISON at the University of Sheffield Condemn final pension decision and vote to campaign for membership of SAUL

University of Sheffield UNISON Branch 

UNISON at the University of Sheffield Condemn final pension decision and vote to campaign for membership of SAUL.

The executive committee University of Sheffield branch of UNISON voted unanimously to continue opposition to the university's cash balance pension scheme and ask that the option of moving the pensions of workers from grades 1-5 into the Superannuation Arrangement of the University of London (SAUL) be looked again again. This stance was endorsed by a joint meeting with both UNISON and Unite members.  The feeling was that the university's executives are using the currently economic climate to make an attack on low paid workers.  While pay and benefits for the higher paid continue to increase, symptomatic of this is the Vice Chancellors 6% pay rise.  

Stuart Anderson UNISON branch Secretary said:

"For the Vice Chancellor of Sheffield University to get a pay rise of 6% taking his total remuneration to over £311k, more than 20 times the pay of the lowest university worker, in the same year that the university effectively tore up many people's retirement plans is obscene and a slap in the face for ordinary workers.

By closing the University of Sheffield Pension scheme and allowing workers to join SAUL, the university would live up to the promises made to staff when they came to work at the university, of a decent pension."

Stuart added

"This 6% rise in these times will go down like a bucket of cold sick with our members, it is morally irresponsible and more becoming of the obscene bankers bonuses and greedy CEO's than the actions of a leader of a civic institution like the University of Sheffield."

Notes for Editors

SAUL would give us benefits similar to the ones taken away from the University of Sheffield Pension Scheme and would accept University of Sheffield staff into it. 

SAUL started by the University of London in 1976 now has members from over 50 universities. 

Contact Information:

Stuart Anderson Steve Torrance 

UNISON branch Secretary UNISON Regional Organiser

07889 337081 07866 115729