Friday, 2 December 2016

UCU Campaign update: 02 December 2016

Campaign update: 02 December 2016


Precarious employment in universities

UCU continues to keep the heat on universities with our stamp out casual contracts campaign. Following last week's excellent day of action against precarious employmentUCU general secretary Sally Hunt has spoken out in the Times Higher Education (THE) on HE institutions' inadequate response to published data showing an exploitative employment model.  

OFSTED report on further education questions area reviews

OFSTED's report on further education and skills was published yesterday and echoes some of UCU's concerns about the effectiveness of the area reviews process and also the GCSE resit policy for English and maths. See our full response here

Other news this week

1. In the news

  • Sally Hunt calls on universities to do more on casual contracts
  • UCU responds to Ofsted FE report
  • Manchester Met consultation on Crewe campus closure condemned
  • A Brexit deal for higher education?
  • Lack of transparency on teacher training reforms

2. Build the union: it's your UCU

Last week saw one of our regular drives to build UCU membership in workplaces and many thanks to all of you that took part in an impressive number of events and activities. We are delighted to report 20% more new members joining than in November 2015 recruitment week. These are challenging times for education and building our membership is an important and urgent task. Please help by forwarding this link to someone who is not yet in UCU and inviting them to join. 

3. Legal advice on immigration and working in the UK

If you require assistance with a matter concerning your ability to continue to live and work in UK please contact or see our guide for EEA and non-EEA nationals here

5. Keep profit out of higher education: HE and Research Bill 2016

The government's controversial proposals for higher education will go to the House of Lords on Tuesday and you can read our briefing outlining the union's concerns on privatisation and deregulation here. Many peers have a relationship with universities and you can help scrap the HE Bill by writing to them and linking to our briefing.

6. Manchester Metropolitan University: save Cheshire campus

MMU's board of governors has said the university's site in Crewe is not financially sustainable and staff and students now fear management plan to close the campus. Please sign our petition calling on the university to work with unions to secure a sustainable future for the site

7. Stand up for Sen: no to union victimisation

Indro Sen, a UCU rep at the College of North West London has been suspended for actions in assisting a former colleague at an employment tribunal case. Sen is a long standing trade unionist and branch officer for many years often clashing with management in his pursuit of protecting members' interests. UCU will not accept the victimisation of its UCU activists and the branch have declared a dispute with the college. Please send messages of support to  

8. 'What's wrong with Prevent' public meeting at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)

UCU MMU invite you to a public meeting on the Prevent agenda with speakers including Dr Rizwaan Sabir, one of the 'Nottingham Two', and Dawn Taylor of the NUT. Wednesday 14 December, 1pm-2pm, Geoffrey Manton Building, MMU. Contact: Julie Wilkinson
UCU Campaign update: 02 December 2016

Letters in support of Indro Sen, pp the Greens and London Retired Members of the University and College Union,

Letters in support of Indro Sen, pp the Greens and London Retired Members of the University and College Union,

As Trade Union Liaison Officer for the London Federation of Green Parties and for Brent Green Party, I was shocked to learn of the suspension of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College of North West London. It is suggested that this is because of his strong opposition to a proposed merger with City and Westminster College, and his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation.

Both of these are actions which it is entirely proper for a University and College Union Branch Secretary to carry out. If Indro Sen’s suspension is a result of his performing the legitimate duties of a UCU Officer, then he himself seems to be threatened with unfair treatment and victimisation.

As a former Lecturer in the College and a retired member of UCU , I am saddened that the College, which provides a valued service to the communities of North West London., and Brent in particular, might bring itself into disrepute because of its treatment of Indro Sen. I am sure that members and supporters of the Green Party, UCU members , and the local communities will support my call for the immediate and full reinstatement of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College and no further interference with his activities as UCU Branch Secretary.

Yours sincerely,
 Peter Murry 

Trade Union Liaison Officer for the London Federation of Green Parties and for Brent Green Party

[for the attention of the Principal and Chair of Governors, College of North West London]
Sir / Madam

I am writing on behalf of the London Retired Members of the University and College Union, to protest at the suspension of Indro Sen as a lecturer at the College of North West London. We have been led to believe that this is because of his opposition to a proposed merger with City and Westminster College, and his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation.

It seems to us that Mr Sen is himself being victimised for carrying out his legitimate duties as a branch secretary of our trade union. This unfair treatment threatens the good name of a college that provides valuable service to the people in North West London. We would like to add our name to the protests that you have already received from his colleagues, his students and the wider community. We shall support the inevitable public demonstrations to demand both the reinstatement of Mr Sen and end of this ill omened merger.

Please reconsider before further damage is done to your reputation.

Yours faithfully
Dr Steve Cushion

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Unions call for strike action as member suspended from Brent college

Unions call for strike action as member suspended from Brent college 

10:10 01 December 2016
Indro Sen has been suspended from CNWL
Indro Sen has been suspended from CNWL
Union chiefs at a Brent college are calling for strike action over the suspension of one of its members.
The University College Union (UCU) branch committee at the College of NorthWest London, is balloting members in support of Indra Sen, a maths teacher and union branch secretary.Mr Sen, an opponent of CNWL plans to merge with Westminster College, was suspended in October while representing a former CNWL employee at an employment tribunal.
Colin Purkey, branch chairman of the UCU, said: “The Branch has recommended escalating strike action to compel management to lift the suspension and threat of dismissal.
“We believe it is no coincidence that Sen was suspended just prior to the management of CNWL announcing its intention to merge with City of Westminster College.
Sen has defended us and our college over the years and now it is our turn to defend our Sen and defend our college.”
The Times reported the major outcry in 2013 when plans were announced for CNWL, which has campus’ in Wembley Park and Dudden Hill Lane, to be merged with The City of Westminster College.
Mr Sen said: “Regardless that I am suspended, if the merger goes ahead students will suffer. They will have to travel much further. This site will become an annex out of Westminster. This college has served this community for many years. It is so important for our students who come from such varied backgrounds. They need something like this. We can’t see its independence being surrendered.
A spokesman for CNWL said merger plans were back on track. He added: “Full statements were issued to staff about collaboration plans in October 2015 when they were first made, and regularly since. The proposal to work towards to a merger with City of Westminster College was made in October 2016 with open meetings and written communications provided to all staff.
“Both colleges’ governing bodies are working through the merger proposal and will finalise a decision on taking this forward in December, with a view to merger being completed in August 2017.
“The college did receive notification from UCU over an intention to ballot members on strike action regarding the suspension of Mr Sen.”

CNWL UCU calls for support


Dear Students
UCU branch at the college is sorry to inform you that:
·         Sen, one of your favourite teacher, was suspended and is threatened with dismissal from your College by Senior Management on 11 October 2016. Since then, Sen has been prevented from doing the thing he loves the most: teaching maths
UCU Branch at CNWL believe that his suspension and threatened dismissal is linked with
·         his strong opposition to our College closing through a proposed merger with City and Westminster College. He led a campaign in 2013 that successfully stopped our College closing down through a merger with City of Westminster College
·         his support at an employment tribunal of a sacked colleague’s claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation case against some College Senior Managers
You can show your support for Sen by:
1.     signing the ‘DEFEND SEN AND DEFEND GOOD MATHS TEACHING”, petition.
2.     Using your LEARNER VOICE power to get him back in the classroom where he belongs.
3.     Sending him a MESSAGE OF SUPPORT at
as he is missing his classes and missing teaching maths

 You will be shocked to hear Sen has been suspended and threatened with dismissal.  See the press coverage below.

The branch believes the additional reasons for this desperate action are in the leaflets attached 

We are in the process of organising a public meeting in January and will let you know the venue. Please indicate if you will be able to attend when we let you know the dates.
Also, any donations are welcome.

Colin Purkey on behalf of branch committee: Wapal Worrell, Colin Purkey, Bernie Driscoll, Angela McGrady, Shelley Bennet, Julia Collins, Julian Holt, Catherine Lemmon, Isabelle Rahman

Please send your messages of support for the branch to:

Messages of support to Sen at:

Messages of protest with copies to Colin.Purkey and to: -- Principal - chair of governors

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

UCU day of action against precarious work - 24 November 2016

UCU day of action against precarious work - 24 November 2016

I support secure contracts
Thursday 24 November 2016 is UCU's anti-casualisation day of action in both higher and further education.
Already we have reports of many branches organising events. Events include recruitment stalls, advice surgeries, open meetings, campaign launches, or in some cases events that celebrate recent positive agreements.
Branch organised events

A national priority campaign

Thanks to our union's work, there is growing press and political interest in this campaign and this provides us with vital leverage in pressuring our employers. The fight against precarious contracts is one of UCU's cross-sectoral priority campaigns. The campaign has real momentum and its impact is already being felt nationally and on the ground for our members.

In recent weeks alone, we have seen significant campaigning and negotiating successes at Sussex, Coventry and Essex universities.
In the coming weeks, UCU will be accelerating this campaigning work in both sectors and providing branches with new resources to take the fight to your employers.
The day of action on the 24th is a great opportunity to raise the profile of this issue among your members. Please play your part and think about how you can support the day.

What to do now

Tell us what you're doing! Email your events to
On the day, we will use social media to raise the profile of all our events as well as highlight the issues. Make sure you email us a photo or report from your event so that we can publicise it on social media. Email your pictures to or send them to us on Twitter at @ucuOpens new window or UCU's Facebook siteOpens new window and use the hashtag #anticas16.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

What if the workers were in control?

What if the workers were in control?

Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry
November 2016


Monday, 21 November 2016

Lucas project documentary and reminder

just to let you know that you can now see the trailer for the documentary 'the plan' (a segment of which will be screened to open the conference) on the 'archive & resources' page of the website:


don't forget

The conference on the 40th anniversary of the Lucas Plan in Birmingham on November 26th is set to be the exciting beginning of a new initiative for arms conversion, green jobs and local democratic planning. It is being supported by a group of 16 trade union/left, green and peace organisations, the latest of which is Momentum. Highlights of the conference will include talks by former Lucas Aerospace Combine members, the screening of a new film on the Lucas Plan and many talks by leading campaigners. The workshops will be run so that there is a maximum chance for everyone to participate. Conference places are filling up fast, so BOOK NOW to make sure of your place. Please help us to publicise the conference by forwarding this message appropriately, inviting your Facebook friends, or following us on Twitter: @lucasplan40. Thanks for your help.