Strike for USS

UCU’s higher education committee has agreed to launch an industrial action ballot in the dispute over the future of USS. They have said serious and sustained industrial action is required in the face of damaging proposals from the employers which would effectively destroy the pension scheme.

Your pension is under attack

  • The employers want to end guaranteed pension benefits.
  • They say your final pension should depend on how your ‘investments’ perform and not on your contributions.
  • We say it’s wrong to risk our members’ futures.

The postal strike ballot opens on Wednesday 29 November. Keep an eye out for your voting envelope over the coming days. If it doesn’t arrive a form to request a duplicate will be made available from 4 December.


Last chance to save your pension.
VOTE YES to strike action.
VOTE YES to action short of a strike.

Free Membership for some Further and Higher Education staff

Future of the profession

Free UCU membership

Young workers need the union more than ever

As part of UCU’s drive to support education workers at the start of their careers, from 1 October 2017 we are offering free membership to some further and higher staff.

Free membership* applies to staff in the following categories:

  • enrolled postgraduate students contracted to teach in UK higher education institutions
  • staff working in further education not on lecturing contracts but part of the teaching and assessing team such as instructor, assessor, trainer, teaching assistant, coach.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt explained why UCU is offering free membership to some early career education staff and her vision for a union movement that works for younger workers in this article for Left Foot ForwardOpens new window. You can also read what she had to say in The Morning Star, in the Times Higher and more broadly on the future of UCU and the profession.

How to join as a FREE member?

JOIN ONLINE TODAY
Choose ‘standard full membership’ to activate the free membership offer option.

Or you can join by phone on:
0333 207 0719

Performance Review – Latest Advice 15th September 2017

Performance Review 2017

Engage Under Protest

Colleagues will be aware that York UCU has not approved the current version of Performance Review.  We are not opposed to Performance Review in principle. But we cannot give our approval to this version of the process. Our key concern is the complete disregard for confidentiality in the 2017 version of Performance Review.

The issue arises in the small print at the very end of the current form. Under the benign heading of Oversight, the form reads: ‘In exceptional circumstances . . . completed review forms may be shared with senior members of the university (appropriate to the area in question) e.g. The Dean, The Registrar & Secretary, or others as deemed appropriate by the VC.’  This is unacceptable.

In a series of meetings with university management, going back to 2014, we have argued on your behalf that confidentiality is essential to any properly constructive process of Performance Review. In June 2017 our discussions with university management reached an impasse over this issue of confidentiality.

Performance Review used to be developmental and contained within departments, in accord with custom and practice.  The 2017 version is top-down, disciplinary, centralised and no longer confidential.  Many of you have indicated to us that you find it intimidating and contrary to the proper purposes of the exercise.

We do advise colleagues, in the light of recent legal advice, to engage in Performance Review 2017 when requested, but to make it clear that we do so ‘under protest’.  A brief statement to this effect could be included in the body of your PR form.  Please note that this advice supersedes the UCU advice circulated to members on 28 July.

In conclusion, we note that university management is currently constructing what they cheerfully describe as a ‘holistic performance management system’.  Holistic? It sounds innocuous. But consider all the implications of the word. We confidently predict that the aim is to integrate all of the data on individual colleagues that comes from diverse forms of appraisal:  from student questionnaires, from performance review, as well as from the REF and the TEF.  Collating this information opens the way to greatly enhanced forms of surveillance and control, with a formidable array of ‘triggers and responses’, as set out in recent documents that have been passed through Senate.

We remain convinced that eroding the confidentiality of Performance Review is one of the essential steps in this larger process. That is why we regard confidentiality as an issue of principle on which we are not prepared to back down.

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