23 February 2018
Responding to a statement from Universities UK (UUK) saying it would talk on Tuesday 27 February, UCU said it would certainly be attending as it had been calling for talks for weeks. The strike action planned for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is still on.
However, it said that unless the employers were prepared to talk about the January decision to slash pensions then it did not see how the dispute could be resolved. In its statement UUK said “talks would not re-open the Joint Negotiating Committee decision made on 23 January”.
That decision is the very reason staff are on strike.
UCU said it was disappointed UUK had ignored the wishes of universities minister Sam Gyimah who stated explicitly that the talks should be without preconditions.
University and College Union general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Because this is so serious for students and for staff we will of course attend. I am however very concerned that UUK has explicitly ruled out discussing the imposed changes that have caused the strikes.
‘The universities minister was very clear that he wanted talks without preconditions and we hope UUK will reconsider his words before we meet on Tuesday. We remain committed to serious negotiations aimed at resolving this dispute.’
A helpline to provide support to those experiencing sexual harassment and any reps who may want counselling support in supporting members is now launched.
This is a dedicated service for UCU members which any UCU member can reach on 0800 138 8724. The helpline is in collaboration with Education Support Partnership (Ed Support). Any member who has concerns or is experiencing sexual harassment can call 0800 138 8724 in confidence, free of charge and 24/7 to talk about their experience, discuss options, receive counselling (if clinically appropriate) and details of further sources of support, if necessary.
This is in addition to the workplace support from your branch. The helpline is an opportunity to discuss confidentiality your experience and talk through what you want to do next which may include asking your branch to support you take action against your employer. Many branches are now creating a named contact for sexual harassment cases and we are urging branches to adopt this approach and the model policy.
UCU is fully committed to eradicating sexual violence and harassment. Please call if you need to – we want to support you in every way we can.
What to expect when calling the service:
The call handlers will read out a confidentiality and code of ethics statement, take a few details and will ask you to discuss the issue you are experiencing. Ed Support’s specialists assess each call individually to locate the best course of action for you. Please note that if you request a call-back or are expecting a follow up call from the helpline this will appear on your phone as a withheld number for confidentiality reasons. If you need to get back in touch or enquire about a call-back to the service, please ring 0800 138 8724 or email them here – please include UCU sexual harassment helpline in your email subject and in the body of the email so they direct you to the right place.
If the lines are particularly busy or out of hours you may find that your call is answered by a specialist in a global service centre. This is to make sure as many calls are answered as possible so distressed callers are not being put through to an answer machine. Please rest assured that all specialists are suitably qualified and trained and your call will be handled in the best way possible.