Liberating Arts Festival, University of Exeter, Saturday 4th November 2017

A festival of radical and political arts was held on Saturday 4th November at the University of Exeter. This event was organised by Chris Jury of the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU), an organisation to which Unite is affiliated. A full day of events was scheduled which included talks, drama, music and dance, all with a common theme of liberation and political struggle.

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The University Of Exeter Branch Of Unite the Union were kindly offered the chance to have a stand at the event at which there was a great deal of interest and networking. We were able to raise our profile and make contact with politically motivated students as well as representatives from the SW Trades Council and Unite Community branches in the SW. It is hoped that this spirit of cross union co-operation and common cause with the student body may be furthered by the formation of a Unite Community Group in Exeter in the not too distant future. Watch this space.

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The cultural highlight for me was an entertaining and musical history of Jamaican Ska presented by Dave Chapple (SW Trades Council).

gftuliberatingarts.wordpress.com

John Davey (Branch Chair)

Learn to live – Unite e-learn partnership

Unite has teamed up with leading online education provider, e-Careers, to bring our members and their families access to over 600 online learning courses in a broad range of subjects, including project management, accountancy and bookkeeping and information and technology.

We are now able to offer better and more varied educational support – and shave hundreds of pounds off courses. With interest free payment plans the courses are affordable to everybody.

Plus, for Unite members, there is even more money off – just mention the code UNITE10 or enter it at checkout when buying online to get an even better deal.

Each course offers state-of-the-art training and qualifications in an easily accessible e-learning format so you can study at your own pace either at home or at work.

With mentoring and support from tutors (available with certain courses), progress tracking and 24 hour technical support Monday to Friday you are never alone. Where applicable you can even sit exams at home or at work.

Please share this with your members and let them know about this exciting new opportunity.

There is a short film you can watch for more information

and posters and leaflets that can be downloaded from the website.

Please visit the education webpage for further information and links to all of the courses available.

EU research funding fears should not be used to depress university wages, says Unite

University bosses should not use speculation about future EU research spending in the UK to avoid giving higher education (HE) staff a decent pay rise, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Thursday 21 July).

Unite, which has about 16,000 members in HE, said that it would be holding a strike ballot in response to the ‘paltry’ 1.1 per cent pay offer for August 2016-August 2017 proposed by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA).

Unite, which will be working closely with other HE unions on the pay campaign, will start balloting its members in the middle of August and will close on 8 September. This follows a consultative ballot which showed that 75 per cent of Unite members rejected the pay offer.

Unite national officer for education Mike McCartney said: “The derisory pay offer is less than the current Retail Price Index (RPI) for inflation which is running at 1.6 per cent.

“Last year (2015/2016), the pay award was just one per cent, while, at the same time, obscenely paid university vice chancellors are swanning around the world staying in first class hotels.

“Our members have contributed deeply to the excellence of the UK’s university system that is still very attractive to overseas students and is a beacon for research innovation and funding – they, too, should be decently rewarded.

“However, Unite is warning university panjandrums that they should not use the recent Brexit vote and speculation about the future of EU funding for research to depress wages even further.

“There are rumblings in the background in universities that because of potential reduced European funding in research, coupled with the reduction in the number of foreign students, that it could have an impact on pay, either by withdrawing this year’s already paltry offer or on next year’s pay round.

“The UCEA should not be tempted to go down this route as universities need well-qualified and rewarded staff to maintain the UK’s place in the global university rankings.”

Currently, the UK is the second best represented country in the rankings, with 78 universities in the top 800 and 34 in the top 200.

The majority of Unite’s members in the sector are laboratory staff and technicians.

Urgent guidance: Entitlement of members to register as affiliated supporters and vote in the upcoming Labour leadership election

Updated 14 July 2016

Today, the Labour party procedures committee has ruled that an affiliated union member must be a member of their affiliated union for 6 months and be an affiliated supporter by 8 August in order to qualify for a vote in the upcoming leadership election. This is a change from last year’s election.

Please read our guidance below fully. Do not assume that new Unite members will be entitled to a vote.

The only way to guarantee a vote is to join the Labour Party as a registered member, which costs £25. Registered membership opens on 18 July and closes on 20 July. The website will only be available from the 18 July.

We will obviously be following developments very closely and will post updates on our website when we have them.

Entitlement to register as affiliated supporters

Unite members can apply to be Labour Party affiliated supporters and therefore be eligible for a vote in Labour’s leadership elections, but there are criteria that must be met. Unite members must:

  1. Have been a member of the union on or before January 12 2016.
  2. Pay the political levy – this will be the case unless the member has opted out. It is a portion of member subscriptions to fund political campaigning by the union.
  3. Agree to the statement that they support the aims and values of the Labour party and are not a supporter of any other political party and agree for their contact details to be shared with the Labour Party.
  4. Be on the electoral register at the address given to the union and the Labour Party.
  5. Provide a date of birth and email address.
  6. Apply to be an affiliated supporter before 8th August. To do this, fill in the form at www.unitetheunion.org/yourpartyyourvoice

The Labour Party will be conducting the election. Queries about the ballot or members wishing to check if their applications have been accepted by the Labour Party should contact the Labour Party www.labour.org.uk

For every application, Unite must provide the Labour Party with the contact details of the member, including their date of birth, evidence that they made a clear intention to sign-up and that they agree with the aims and values of the Labour Party are not a supporter of any other political party.

There are a few ways for members to sign up:

Online
This is the best way for members to sign up. All members with access to the internet should be directed to the form on Unite’s website at www.unitetheunion.org/yourpartyyourvoice. This form submits details directly to the Labour Party, meaning there is no processing at Unite and applications are submitted immediately. To vote in the Labour leadership elections, the deadline for applications will be Monday 8th August 2016.

Paper form
Paper applications should only be sent to members who do not have access to the internet. To process applications, forms will need to be sent to the Political Department, 128 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8TN.

The contact details of applicants will be uploaded to the Labour Party and the forms will be sent as supporting evidence. Both the upload and the evidence need to be submitted to the Labour Party by the applications deadline.

In order to allow sufficient time for processing, the deadline for paper forms to arrive at the political department will be Friday 29th July 2016.

National campaign activity

The political and campaigns departments will be encouraging members to sign up through various methods which will be communicated through the Regional Political Officers.

If members have queries about the process, please first refer them to the eligibility criteria above and to www.unitetheunion.org/yourpartyyourvoice to apply.

If members received a vote in the leadership election last year and are querying if they are still entitled to a vote, the best advice is to ask them to fill in the online form to be doubly sure. If the query is still unresolved, please email political@unitetheunion.org

Did you know our Co-op is at risk?

The Co-operative has always been different. It’s always been owned by its members, which means that it’s not just another grey PLC with the usual disinterested shareholders.

Because it is owned by its members, we have always been able to trust it.
That is why we – and this includes many Unite members who work in it – don’t want that change.

However, while all eyes are on May’s elections and the EU referendum, the Co-operative Group is once again calling a vote that would change the Co-op forever – but not for the better.

Starting this week, millions of individual members of the Co-operative Group will have a vote on whether or not to continue their historic partnership with the Co-operative Party.

If you’re a Co-op member – if you shop or bank at the Co-op – a ballot paper could be arriving any day either in the post or by email.
On behalf of your union, Unite, I urge you to vote to Keep it Co-op and vote in favour of motion 12.

We believe that if support for the Co-operative Party comes to an end there will be one less voice in Parliament speaking up for our communities and one less organisation telling big business it can’t have it all its own way.
So whether you are eligible to vote or not, please sign up at the ‘Keep it Co-op’ website to call upon the Co-op Group to maintain its radical, progressive roots, with a democratic voice for its members and staff, and a powerful voice in changing politics.

It’s vital we ensure that voice remains. Last year, thousands of people rallied around, voting resoundingly to keep the link between the Co-operative Group and the Co-operative Party.
Let’s ‘Keep it Co-op’ again.

Yours in solidarity,
Len McCluskey
Unite general secretary

Notice of Unite Branch Annual General Meeting 27/04/2016 (New Unite Merchandise will be available at the meeting)

We have an Unite Branch Annual General Meeting coming up at the end of April, please try and attend if you can.

Unite at Exeter University Branch Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 27th April 2016, at 1230, Laver Lecture Theatre 6. (Look for the Unite Banner)

The Branch according to the rules needs a minimum of the following Officers to be able to function as a stand-alone Branch:-
Branch Chair (Current Chair is retiring so this post will be vacant)
Branch Secretary (Current Secretary is looking to standing down so we will be looking for a new Secretary.)
Treasurer – Morley Burrow (Campus Services)
Equalities Officer – Ian Leaves (Technical Services)

The above are the minimum the rules allow, if the Branch agrees then Secretary and Treasurer can be a joint role. Also other roles such as Women’s Officer, Youth Officer etc can be added by agreement of the Branch.

If you are currently not active and would like to become more involved or even become a rep, then please let us know? We particularly need activists / reps in the following areas:
Cleaning, Porters, Security and Hospitality, however wherever you work if you’d like to be a rep or become active let us know?

We also need to ratify the Branch Standing Orders, at this AGM, please see attached.

We will also use this meeting as an opportunity to discuss other Issues such as Pensions / Pay / Transformation / Exeter Release Scheme.

A full Agenda will be available at the meeting, however, I have attached a copy of the poster advertising the Branch Meeting to this email. Please print off and circulate widely please. The meeting is scheduled for an hour from 1230 to 1330. However, we have the room until 1400 if you need to discuss items after the meeting.

Any items for the Agenda / Questions / Comments / Suggestions / Apologies to David Childs, Branch Secretary at D.J.Childs@exeter.ac.uk or Brett Crane on x3478 / b.crane@exeter.ac.uk

Got a colleague who is not a member, please ask them to join at:- www.unitetheunion.org/

** Shape your Union, come along, share your views & give yourselves a voice!**

Please alert other members who may not have access to emails

Momentum Bristol presents Neil Faulkner on the Economic of Radical Change

It’s exciting news – there is a public meeting at Tony Benn House organised by Momentum and Unite workplace reps and members are especially welcome
Tickets are FREE, Neil Faulkner (of Time Team fame) is a fabulous speaker (as well as acclaimed author) and this not a lecture … everyone can participate.

Neil Faulkner will be speaking about Jeremy Corbyn and the new economics of radical change
‘The new economics of anti-austerity and sustainability’
31st March, 7.30pm,
Tony Benn House, BS1 6AY
Neil Faulkner, the archaeologist of Time Team fame, argues that Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a ‘new economics’ of anti-austerity and sustainability can work. He will be at Tony Benn House at 7.30pm to lead a discussion about the economics of radical change. Neil who has written widely on the roots of the great crash of 2008 will be asking:

How do we get away from a deeply dysfunctional economy of debt, stagnation, and obscene social inequality?

‘Debt’, says Neil, ‘is how the rich get richer in today’s economy. That’s why in twenty years it has risen from 200% to 540% of GDP’.

Neil is fully aware that ‘people don’t want to listen to another lecture’ and this is event is perfect for people who like to participate.

He explains: ‘We need to involve people in asking why the economy works as it does, and what can be done about it’.

Neil Faulkner: ‘The new economics of anti-austerity and sustainability’
Venue: Tony Benn House, Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6AY
Date: Thursday 31st March, 2016
Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Map: Here
Register Free: Here

Labour Leadership Contest

Dear Unite member

As a member of an affiliated Trade Union you are entitled to have a vote if you wish in the Labour Leadership contest.
In the past as a Unite member you would have automatically had a vote. However after Ed Miliband was elected they changed the rules. You have to declare that you are registered supporter, but as a Unite member you can do this for free. Go to:- Labour Party Supporters – The Labour Party and click on the “become a labour supporter link. Fill in a few details and you will then have the chance to vote, you will not be charged anything.

Unite after careful consideration has declared its full support for Jeremy Corbyn and urges all members who can to join as a registered supporter and vote for him. Unite firmly believes he offers a genuine alternative and that his policies will benefit all working people and not just a privileged few at the top of our society.

Please join and vote if you are interested in the direction the Labour Party takes?

Best wishes on behalf of Unite University of Exeter Branch

Brett Crane

Branch Consultation on the employers final pay offer

May I just say thank you to all those who were able to make the Emergency Branch meeting. More details will follow about the meeting early next week.

At the aforesaid Branch Meeting pay was discussed and I attach all the relevant documents from the National Officer. In essence the final offer is 1%, with a bit more for the bottom 8 spine points. Please read the attached letter from the National Committee. It was with this message in mind that there was a show of hands at the Branch Meeting.

A large majority of the meeting voted to accept the 1% offer.
1 person voted to reject and there were several abstentions.
Therefore I invite your votes by email over the next week so we can form a fuller picture of what the Branch wants.
I will then forward the Exeter result to the National Officer late next week.

It is only a consultative ballot at this point, when the Union gets all the branch results in, Unite will communicate the result and what the next steps are, if any.

Best wishes

Brett Crane
CLES Workplace Representative / Pensions Officer