Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #USSStrike

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We need to talk about the relationship between casualisation, workload and bullying and why those who need unions most can be the hardest to organise

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A lot of People have expressed disappointment in staff on permanent contracts having let down precarious staff in the recent UCU ballots. The argument is that while so many precarious workers came out to support the #USSStrike, that solidarity has now not been returned.
@davidhuyssen does an excellent analysis of that argument and why it is flawed. The assumption that precarious workers all returned their ballots because they better understood the stakes than those on secure contracts is unlikely to be completely true.

Read 24 tweets
So: #USS is undertaking a new valuation (of funding position in March 2018). 1/ #USSstrike
Bill Galvin, #USS CEO, implicitly puts onus on #UUK for problems of 2017 valuation, stating that employers had given a "very clear view" to USS to "take less risk than was laid out in its [USS's] original proposals" uss.co.uk/how-uss-is-run… 2/ screen shot of part of document linked to in tweet
There is clearly dispute between #USS and #UUK over this: the #JEP, we should remember, said that it had 'not taken a view' on the differing perspectives of #UUK and #USS over the shift from the Sept to Nov TPs & valuation assumptions ussjep.org.uk/files/2018/09/… 3/ screen shot of p. 45 of document linked to in tweet
Read 10 tweets
🚨 #USSstrike update 🚨

After general confusion, these motions from the NDC were heard, debated & carried yesterday, during a special meeting of @ucu higher education conference in Manchester. Outline of key info & events in a mini thread to follow 👇👇🏼👇🏾👇🏿
Eleven UCU branches signed to get the 2 motions onto the agenda as emergency motions, & delegates voted to accept the report of CBC (congress business committee) who recommended their inclusion. We applaud this grassroots reaction to them being originally left off the agenda ✊🏻
It appears the NDC motions were left off the agenda because HEC did not vote on the 2 motions, but rather put them forward for inclusion. This meant that their status was unofficial & CBC had no choice other than to reject them, as on a technical level they did not exist.
Read 10 tweets
UCU members have already demonstrated significant compromise. The ballot that ended strike action was a massive act of compromise. That compromise produced the JEP, & the JEP has vindicated & endorsed the position of UCU members. It has demonstrated the necessity of #USSstrike
The #USSstrike resulted in many of us losing 14 days pay. It required emotional support from loved ones. In some cases it diminished us in the eyes of some colleagues, and in other cases it resulted in punitive actions or threats from our employers.
If compromises are to be made, it is fair to demand they come from @UniversitiesUK & our employers. The JEP makes clear that with minor tweaks USS is sound. As such we need to understand the #USSstrike as employer initiated industrial action. We were left with no choice.
Read 6 tweets
What does it mean when VCs call themselves CEOs or ‘bosses’ of universities?
Now thinking critically about the Leadership Foundation in Higher Education - established by UUK - which embeds certain subjectivities in types, styles, personalities, approaches of HE leadership. lfhe.ac.uk
The role of (inappropriate) sports analogies and weird sexual or gendered language in VC culture - universities trying to push for the ‘champions league’, universities who need to ‘mate’ with similar institutions (David Willetts!)
Read 56 tweets
For anyone confused about how #ourUCU came out of #UCU2018, some quick background information: Two motions (10 & 11, below), which were critical of the General Secretary's part in the #USSstrike, were passed by branches. They were submitted to Congress & ruled onto the agenda. 1/
At #UCU2018 delegates from the two branches @KCL_UCU & @ExeterUCU were pressured to withdraw these motions. See their accounts here: kcl.ac.uk/unions/ucu/KCL… and exeterucu.wordpress.com/2018/05/30/exe… 2/
This was due to pressure from the local @unitetheunion branch, which represents @UCU staff, including Sally Hunt. The General Secretary is the most senior elected representative in UCU, but they argued that because she is an employee, #UCU2018 could not discuss motions 10 & 11 /3
Read 10 tweets
I've been reading up on the 3 UUK nominees for the UUK–UCU Joint Expert Panel: Ronnie Bowie, Sally Bridgeland, and Chris Curry ipe.com/countries/uk/u… #USSStrike 1/
Let's start with Ronnie Bowie, Partner at Hymans Robertson, who 'works as a Scheme Actuary & Investment Adviser to a number of large private & public sector schemes and has built a reputation as a respected expert witness' hymans.co.uk/people-finder/…
I've been going back to 10 or so years, looking at how actuarial science is discussed before and after the 2008 economic crisis. I am outsider to the field – approaching it as someone who researches recent histories & geographies of various human sciences
Read 41 tweets
#USSstrike #football STICKER THREAD ⚽

The Panini World Cup 2018 sticker album is horrifically expensive. I'm a cheapskate and I'm obsessed with pensions. Therefore I'm making the official #USSstrike sticker album.

#aesthetic #beetroot #aubergine #backofthenet
1/ First up is @MikeOtsuka. USA is not in the World Cup this year. So Mike will have to play for Panama.
2/ Next up is Bill Galvin, who has played for the following clubs: @DWP @TPRgovuk and USS. His position is DC. He is quite defensive about things. He plays for Switzerland because @UBS is just one letter away from USS.
Read 23 tweets
The arguments that @UniversitiesUK are making to justify imposing a NEW REAL TERMS PAY CUT on us are ABSURD - as I argue in the thread below. Their arguments are given here: ucea.ac.uk/en/news/index.… 1/12 #USSStrike
FIRST ARGUMENT: "HE institutions also feel that the merits of the benefits and working conditions they provide to staff are often overlooked, knowing that they do provide an excellent reward package". RESPONSE: Here they're justifying real pay cuts on the ... 2/12 #USSStrike
... basis of (i) The good pension scheme that they're in the process of ABOLISHING! (ii) The excellent working conditions they provide. What excellent working conditions? Those in which we regularly feel compelled to work 60 hours per week just to stand still?! 3/12 #USSStrike
Read 23 tweets
1. Here's a 12-tweet thread on today's UUK statement, made shortly after the UCU ballot results were announced, first via Josephine Cumbo and then on their website. universitiesuk.ac.uk/news/Pages/bal…
2. In it I compare the new statement with UUK's original offer of 23 March, which is also on their website. universitiesuk.ac.uk/news/Pages/Joi…
3. There are two sentences in the new statement which interpret the original proposal in a certain direction. The first says "Reviewing the methodology and assumptions in the current valuation will build confidence, trust and increase transparency in the valuation process."
Read 12 tweets
Waiting to hear the results of the @ucu #USSballot

#USSvote #USSstrike
In #USSballot, I predict an equivocal result. Neither a robust rejection, nor an unqualified acceptance. Somewhere between 60/40 and 40/60. Maybe even 52/48. 🙄

For those interested, here's the preference in the respondents to the #USSvote survey...

#USSstrike @leedsucu
Once the results come out, I can re-weight these to be more accurate. But some interesting trends are apparent in terms of predictors of #USSballot preference

Look at the differences by Twitter use and awareness of #USSbriefs!

#USSstrikes #USSvote
Read 10 tweets
"The great strike 2018" session at #AAG2018 IS OPEN! When I can I'll tweet here. Follow the hashtag #NotAllGeographers
speaking about what happened on social media during #USSstrikes via 3 slices. Slice one: EARLY
Early phase involved repugnance with neoliberal VC's & development of #notallgeographers hashtag. Complex psychosocial movement positioning certain VCs as neoliberal beast.
Read 34 tweets
🤔 In this long thread below, I look at the Pensions Regulator's (tPR) website, and ridicule it 😂

#USSstrike #aesthetic #beetroot
This is the logo for the Pensions Regulator @TPRgovuk
This is not a standard font. The tail of the "e" is elongated.
It suggests that money was paid to design this specifically for tPR.
According to tPR, the employers provide the teabags.
Fun fact: MY EMPLOYERS DON'T PROVIDE ANY TEABAGS.
It does provide an overpriced Starbucks/Costa/Nero's on campus.
Or you can bring your own PG Tips. And your own kettle of course.
Read 36 tweets
So @colette147 since you just sent yet another email to members to which I cannot respond, let me do so here: many of us sent you a letter asking you why you posted misleading information when opening the ballot. You have yet to respond #USSstrike 1/
Our question was: why did you collapse 'revise and resubmit' and 'no detriment' and offered no plan B is the vote is 'no'. Instead of responding, you outline yet again why you recommend 'yes'. This is the third time you have done so @colette147 #USSstrike 2/
This time you start your email with a link 'click here to vote'. Why does the link not go to the ballot @colette147? Why does it go to your previous email also recommending 'yes'? Is this your version of democratic procedures? And how you inform your members? #USSstrike 3/
Read 12 tweets
It is worth considering the likely approach of @TPRgovuk in our dispute in the context of the brand new (19 March 2018) government white paper 'Protecting Defined Benefit Pensions' 1/13 gov.uk/government/pub…
This white paper, which @TPRgovuk has welcomed (here: thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/press/tpr-welc…), seems highly favourable to us. 2/13
For one thing, in it, the government commits to strengthening the regulatory framework and @TPRgovuk's powers by introducing punitive fines for those who deliberately put pensions schemes at risk and criminal sanctions for those "found to have committed wilful or grossly ... 3/13
Read 13 tweets
5th April press release from @TPRgovuk makes for fascinating reading: thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/press/trustees… "Trustees and sponsoring employers of defined benefit pension schemes must do more to protect member benefits, The Pensions Regulator has warned." 1/2 #USSStrike
"In its annual funding statement (AFS), published today, TPR says strong employers should consider contributing more money to reduce scheme deficits over a shorter period of time" 2/2 #USSStrike
Indeed, much of what @TPRgovuk says (e.g. here: thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/press/tpr-welc…) suggests they will take a dim view of reckless destruction of DB pensions. And it is clear that this is precisely what @universitiesuk is up to. #USSStrike
Read 7 tweets
I am disturbed by the notion that the USS ballot debate has been framed as one between polarized identity camps in the union. No good ever comes of identity-based disputes. 1/9 #USSballot #ussstrike #ussstrikes #nocapitualtion
It would seem that we are being asked to vote because our individual perspectives should have some weight. And thus, it should matter that some of us have calculated that we *simply cannot live in retirement* on what they are offering. 2/9
Nor did we sign up to be impoverished in retirement when we took our jobs - we were offered terms that have already been reduced twice, in 2011 and in 2014. Each time we were told that would be the last change to the scheme. Each time that was a lie. So we struck now. 3/9
Read 9 tweets
RE: skepticism about rejecting ballot on the basis that goal of further #USSstrike action is unclear or unreasonable. Yes we have obtained a process. But that process could be vastly improved with just 2 small tweaks that cost UUK nothing if they are operating in good faith... 1/
1) clarify timescale. Be explicit about what happens in April 2019 if JEP fail to reach a conclusion. @MikeOtsuka has given us his best guess but UUK can confirm. Committing to process as outlined opens possibility of deadlock. We must know what happens if this is the case...2/
2) Or, if as @JeanFind suggests there is scope to influence current valuation, this should be explicit in the text, confirmed by both UUK & UCU... 3/
Read 8 tweets
In the spirit of #reviseandresubmit I have updated my earlier flowchart on our options in the @ucu ballot to try to reflect some of the discussions that followed the previous version. As before this is my personal interpretation of info collected by others and is not necessarily
accurate or complete. It has become more complicated than the previous version. Remember, it is important that we each arm ourselves with a range of evidence and opinions and not rely on any single source or apparent Twitter sage (especially me - I'm no expert here). #USSstrike
For transparency, I am currently leaning strongly towards #RejectUUKdeal as it stands, so while I have tried to be neutral I cannot guarantee that I have been - i'm only human after all. Although Twitter tests me on that from time to time. @cardiffucu @ucu @UCL_UCU @USSbriefs
Read 4 tweets
HEC: 10 mins to read paper containing recommendations given to us after Branch Delegates Meeting + 1 hour discussion. 6 Motions submitted by members of HEC, including mine on #ReviseandResubmit. Paper passed + Chair judged 5 motions to fall+1 (setting valuation end date) remitted
I do not think the paper that was put forward (which recommended a consultation with members) needed to be incompatible with all 5 motions that fell, especially the one I argued for on #ReviseandResubmit b/c I believe there was time to include R+R in the process. Chair disagreed.
Here's the #ReviseandResubmit motion I proposed to HEC. I moved it arguing it seemed clear from observing Branch Delegates mtg that a *huge* no of members were asking for some form of R+R & not to discuss would have been a dereliction of our duty to represent members.
Read 24 tweets
Quick thoughts that have been bugging me about the role of Twitter in #USSstrike #NoDetriment (sorry this is a t****d) 1/
no question from me about the positive elements, in that the live digging into historical documents about the genesis of this dispute from employers' side has been incredibly enlightening (bravo @felicitycallard @etymologic etc)
however, I am concerned about one possible effect of this, that Twitter serves up a worldview to workers that they have all the facts on their side. This is reinforced by i) filter bubbles and ii) mainly public silence from tPR, USS, UUK.
Read 8 tweets
Important: on amending the current "offer" from UUK. A number of people have asked whether it is possible to argue for an amendment/counter offer at this stage. Here we explain, given confirmed information about the status of this offer, why this is possible & necessary...
First: the "offer" does *not* have the status of an agreed or negotiated offer between UUK and our negotiating team. Has now been confirmed by an elected negotiator, that a) the text has *not* undergone any discussion/negotiation by the negotiators, b) it arrived Fri. 2.30pm...
as part of a conference call and was released to members just after 4pm - a space of 2 hours-ish, with no modification or assessment by the negotiators, c) UCU negotiators *were told that they could not make any changes to the text* as it was a UUK document, d) the negotiators...
Read 16 tweets
Don't usually like massive threads, but want to expand on this condensed reaction Friday's offer/agreement on #USS re
#USSstrike #ucustrike #Strikefor USS #NoCapitulation #NoDetriment 1/9
While I agree with all the #NoDetriment statements about being naive to trust UUK/'indepdendent' panel, & related demands/amendements suggested for the statement, believing that a more specific clause would be the end of the struggle is equally naive. 2/9
We could strike until we got everything we wanted writ down,but at some point we'll go back to work (!)&then inevitably pension manager crooks will continue attempts to subvert the agreement, inc using requirements of the pensions regulator to continually revisit arrangements 3/9
Read 9 tweets
Just wondering why @UniversitiesUK & #uss can’t just back down now on DC? Why is a new panel & more delay & stress for all of us a victory? Are we really getting excited that they have said the panel would recognise our concerns re DB? #nocapitulation #UCUStrike #ussstrike
2/ is this what we’re losing 14 days pay over? Another panel & no guarantees? After we basically showed up the problems w de-risking, huge potential equalities issues (which they can’t realistically address before 2019 bc they appear to be starting from zero on that score ...
3/ ... and they know we’re onto them re financialisation of pensions, & we all now are talking about the DB/DC fight, which has immense implications for other occupational pensions ...
Read 7 tweets

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