2018 Higher Education Conference

Delegates from Brighton will be going to Chester in January 2018 for the annual HE conference, where policies for 2018 and beyond will be discussed and agreed.

Our branch has three motions on the agenda and one amendment to a motion has been ruled out of order.

Full details about the conference are here.

The final document containing all the motions to be discussed is here.



UNISON “There for you” Newsletter

There for you Newsletter Dec 2017

Financial Assistance – if you are in financial hardship due to unforeseen circumstances

 Small Grants

o School Uniform (May-July)

o Winter Fuel Dec-Feb – currently available

Links to Credit Unions – for loans/savings

Wellbeing breaks – during illness/respite for carers

Support & information – listening support & sign posting to other organisations

Debt advice – freephone 0800 389 3302

UCU strike Action at the University 23rd-24th November

Members will have seen (through the University’s one-way communication system) that UCU members are due to take strike action this week from 1pm on Thursday 23rd and all day on Friday 24th, followed by a work-to-contract over the next few months.

This is due to the University management’s insistence that two employees should be made redundant, which follows a process where groups of (mainly academic) staff were targeted for redundancy. This was during the period where voluntary severance was offered, and many people in that situation opted to take severance under the threat of redundancy.

For these remaining members of staff, retention of their jobs is the priority, and UCU members have shown themselves to be impressively sticking up for the principle that they should stick together and use their collective strength to resist compulsory redundancies. Their ballot resulted in an 85% vote in favour of industrial action to defend jobs. All UCU members should now respect that democratic decision, however they voted.

This is an important dispute, because we do not want the University management to be able to do whatever they want to, as and when they feel like it, and the money saved by ceasing to employ two individuals is peanuts in the great scheme of things.

Whilst we are not opposed to investment in the University, so much core expenditure is being cut to fund projects, which are not essential, but might look good. The reality is that we have never seen a time when so many people are suffering from work-related stress, as workloads increase and management decisions are conflicting and/or non-existent.

Whilst UCU are determined to use democratic methods to defend the jobs of their members and the principle that no compulsory redundancies should be made, the University management seem determined to risk the student experience, just to try to assert their authority and prove a point. They can easily make sure that this action does not take place by being reasonable. There is real reputational damage at stake here for the University, which affects us all.

As fellow trade unionists, we give support and encouragement to all academic staff and UCU members taking action at the end of the week. This means that we will offer verbal support at picket lines and make sure that we are not undermining their action by doing work which UCU members would normally be doing.

However, since we are not formally in dispute, we will be expected to work normally on those days and UCU members on picket lines will respect that.

If you’re a member of UNISON, please stop to say hello to strikers and offer your support. If you’re not a member of UNISON then there is no better time to make sure you join us.


Huge Job Cuts At Welsh Universities linked to Brexit

Staff at Aberystwyth University are facing potential job losses as it tries to make £11.4m of cuts by April 2019.

The university has blamed increasing competition for students, rising costs, and Brexit uncertainty for needing to make the savings.  They are not alone, two other Welsh Universities (USW and UWTSD) are also considering making big job cuts.

Read full report here


This is very worrying news for the whole of the HE sector.

National Protest against Driver only trains, April 26th, Old Palace Yard, Westminster

April 26th marks a year of the RMT Southern Guards determined industrial action against driver Only operation (DOO) with over 30 strike days taken so far and more days planned until they can reach a joint settlement. The DOO dispute is about safety, security and accessibility on the railways , and is one which puts passengers before profit.

To mark that anniversary, and the threats they face elsewhere in the country by its threatened extension, they will be holding a protest at noon outside Parliament followed by a rally in Central Hall at 2.00pm.

 This will be their last opportunity to make some noise outside parliament until after the election and it would be great to have as much support as possible so please come along and show support if you can.


National Executive Council Elections 2017

It’s time to choose who speaks for you. Elections are being held for all seats on UNISON’s National Executive Council (NEC), the governing body of the union.


A ballot paper will be sent to every eligible member at their home address, together with information on the candidates. The ballot opens on 3 April 2017 and closes on 28 April 2017.

If you have not received your ballot paper by 11 April, please call 0800 0857 857. Lines open 6am to midnight, Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm on Saturday.

University of Brighton Branch nominated the following candidates.

For Higher Education, our branch nominated Kath Owen and Sandy Nicoll.

They stand for:

  • A fighting and democratic union
  • Active campaigning branches
  • A decent pay rise
  • No to privatisation and outsourcing
  • Defend migrant staff, students & refugees
  • For free education

We support their candidacy as we believe our union needs to:

  • End austerity, defend public services
  • Defend all our communities from bigotry
  • End poverty pay, Living Wage now
  • Celebrate our international campus communities
  • Stop Trump, oppose racism
  • Defend the NHS

We also nominated the following candidates:

Jacqui Berry, Diana Leach and Dan Sartin for South East Regional Seats

Josie Runswick for the Young Members’ Seat

April Ashley for a Black Members’ Seat

Roger Lewis for a Disabled Members’ Seat

We want our NEC to reflect the democracy of our union, so please make sure you use your vote!