Here we are again, at the end of another Autumn term and heading into the Christmas holidays. It seems as though this term has flashed by but that could be because we have all been so busy with ballots and industrial action in both FE and HE and further ballots to come in the New Year. On top of that we have also had some major negotiations going on with pay claims in FE and various forms of contractual negotiations in HE, not least finally reaching agreement pending a membership ballot, after four years of negotiations on a contract for the Associate Lecturer staff at the OU which will take over 4,000 staff off precarious contracts and move them on to fractional open ended contracts.
There have been a couple of changes in the regional office too as our caseworker Alex has moved into the London region on a temporary basis as an RSO. We have had excellent cover provided to us by Declan Hickey who is the caseworker for the South East region and we will hopefully be appointing a temporary full time caseworker in the New Year. As we only have Declan part time I am afraid he is even more jealously guarded than Alex was and you will not be access him directly without going through your link official first.
The region has been focusing on delivering local training this term and that will continue into the next year so if your branch is interested in training on anything from bargaining to casework then do get in touch. You should however reserve the date of 23 January for our regular senior reps briefing where we ask that two reps from each branch attend for updates on the regional and national industrial scene, and we will have both Andrew Harden (Head of FE) and Paul Bridge (Head of HE) in attendance to give us the most up to date information in their sectors. Please let us know as soon as possible who will be attending so that we can sort out the practicalities of catering etc.
The UCU offices will be closed from the 21 December until 3 January. In the event that members need assistance then you can in the first instance direct them towards the Education Support Partnership Website here<https://www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk/>. The Regional Office staff will not be checking their emails or their phones over the Christmas shut down and hopefully you will not need to contact us anyway.
I hope that you all have a fantastic break and get some rest. Happy Christmas from the regional team!