Welcome to July’s UCU Early Careers Network bulletin - I hope you enjoy reading it. Please do let me know if there is anything you would like to share with the network or if you would like to tell us about what’s been going on at your college or university. Thanks and have a fantastic summer.
Thousands declare NO CONFIDENCE in the government’s education policies: please sign the petition today
Nearly 14,000 people have now signed our petition declaring NO CONFIDENCE in the government's policies in further, higher and adult education and you can add your name here https://www.ucu.org.uk/noconfidence It's especially important for younger members at the start of their careers that we build this campaign to make the government think again on post-school education. Please do sign this important petition and then circulate it to your colleagues, friends, family, Facebook and Twitter (anyone can sign regardless of whether they are a UCU member).
This is why Ed Granter of the UCU Young Members' Steering Group signed:
"I am signing the no confidence petition because I am concerned for the future of education in Britain. In an increasingly competitive global context, Britain is less able to compete in manufacturing but is still a world leader in education so it's clear that cuts to education risk undermining our competitive position.
In terms of social cohesion, or what is now referred to as 'the big society', everything possible should be done to widen access to education. Inequalities in access mean a waste of the intellectual talent that is the core of our economy.
Raising financial barriers to entry and cutting funding for already overstretched colleges and universities does not make sense in either social or economic terms, unless we take into account the existence of the government's (barely) hidden strategy to speed up privatization of the education sector along with health and welfare."
Building a stronger UCU: everything you need to recruit autumn term new starters
Many thanks to everyone who has contacted me about recruiting new starters and preparing for UCU induction events for the new academic year. UCU is now recruiting more younger college and university staff than ever, but we need your help to make sure that every new member of staff starting in the autumn knows about the union and is asked to join. We now have a really good range of recruitment materials available (download here or contact me for hard copies) including model UCU presentations for staff inductions, information on how the cuts are affecting younger workers and our ‘Know Your Rights’ cards.
Another excellent resource for introducing new colleagues to the work UCU does to support members is the ‘Early Careers Guide for New Staff in Further and Higher Education’ which is a free book containing professional guidance for those starting a career in post-school education; including finding the right job, what to expect when you start work, tips on getting the most from your career and practical advice on what to do if you have a problem. Contact me for hard copies and why not give one to a new colleague starting in the autumn along with a UCU application form?
Pensions under attack – an issue for younger members
I’m sure you will be aware of the major campaign and disputes that UCU and other teaching unions are involved in on the issue of pensions. The proposed changes to both the TPS and USS pension schemes could affect younger staff most and yet it is not necessarily something that is always foremost in our minds. We are currently producing some educational resources including a short film aimed at younger members in order to answer some common questions and explain the basic arguments on pensions reform. We want to make sure that we pitch these resources right for members so it would be really helpful if you could email me some suggested FAQs that we can use. firstname.lastname@example.org
Education Is Not For Profit! Has your MP signed the Early Day Motion?
Over a hundred MPs have now signed the Early Day Motion which warns of the dangers of for-profit companies and the privatisation of education. . If your MP hasn’t signed it and you haven’t written to your MP yet you can do so here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/notforprofit The Government is encouraging the growth of private education providers but UCU argues that this could leave students with lower quality degrees, and put the reputation of UK education at risk. You can watch the excellent US documentary film ‘College Inc.’ here which exposes the reality of for-profit education in the USA and should act as warning to all who would see UK go down the same route.
Join the 2011 Jarrow to London “March For Jobs” in October
This year is the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow Crusade when hundreds of unemployed workers marched from the shipbuilding town of Jarrow on Tyneside to Parliament in London petitioning for assistance for those out of work. In 2011 once again a generation of young people are facing the prospect of widespread unemployment and the organisation Youth Fight For Jobs is recreating the famous march this October as part of their campaign to highlight the effects of public spending and education cuts. UCU is supporting the march which stops off at towns and cities across the country and you can support the event by joining the march or donating. More details here http://jarrowmarch11.com/
UCU, National Organiser
PS. UCU’s education and training programme is open for bookings for the new academic year including UCU Reps Induction courses for new activists. See here http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=3311
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Want additional support? The College and University Support Network (Recourse) offers UCU members a range of services - from factsheets to counselling. Access these services online http://recourse.org.uk/ or through the 24/7 telephone support line, Freephone 0808 8020304