Dear QMUCU Members
A quick update on pay, equality and workload in preparation for the new ballot.
Pay, equality and workload dispute
In what seems to be, but should not be, an annual tradition, employers offered a below inflation pay adjustment. This means a real-terms pay cut for most UCU members. Real-terms pay cuts mean a drop in your quality of life (on top of the increased workloads you face at work).
The latest financial statements show greater increases in students than staff and declining average staff costs. Queen Mary staff are doing more for less.
Senior management tries to obfuscate these facts by presenting aggregate statistics that include increments — but around two-thirds of grade six and seven employees do not receive automatic increments, and no grade eight (professorial) colleagues receive automatic increments. Put simply, you cannot keep up with inflation just by doing your job — you must put your faith in the bonus and promotions systems to stop your pay going backwards.
Of course, if your pay is going backwards in real terms, then so too are your pensions contributions. Without inflation-matching annual pay adjustments, you are poorer in the present and poorer in retirement.
You will have received the emails from UCU HQ with notification of the new ballot. The ballot papers will be posted to you and the ballot is open from 14 January to 22 February. Demands are being made in terms of casualisation, equality, pay and workload.
Update your UCU details
Please check that details are correct with UCU, otherwise your ballot paper might not reach you.
If you have registered, you can do this here:
If you have not registered, then you need your membership number, which you can get emailed to you from here:
Pensions, Welbeing and Sexual Harassment
Last week USS released its updated valuation and is now consulting employers. The short summary is that your industrial action last year has saved your defined benefits pension and the new valuation accepts many of the Joint Experts Committee findings. The battle is not over, but significant progress has been made.
Look out for updates on this, welbeing and sexual harrassment in due course.
Each year it seems you are being asked to do more with less — lots of growth in students, much smaller growth in staff, increasing expectations and bureaucracy. This is exhausting, taking a toll on mental and physical health.
We hope you had a good rest while the university was closed. Please be sure to look after your health and welbeing throughout the semester. Let us know if unreasonable demands are being made.