From Monday 7th February to Wednesday 9th February, all Kingston University students were invited by Union of Kingston Students to vote in a referendum that asked the question: “Should the Students’ Union support UCU’s upcoming strike?”
The result was a resounding YES – 82% of students were in support and 18% against.
A minimum turnout of 500 was needed for the result to be valid – this threshold was smashed with a whopping 1,286 students voting. The Union of Kingston Students will be following this up with a series of actions (which you can read about here).
This is a resounding and historic success for our Kingston community. It is clear that Kingston students are with us in this fight for better working (and learning) conditions and that any attempts to pit students against staff will likely be unsuccessful.
Our branch has achieved a phenomenal 60% turnout in the national Four Fights ballot over over unsafe workloads, casualisation, pay deflation, and the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps. This was in spite of the incredibly short ballot period and issues with missing ballot papers, and is a huge increase on our turnout of 32% in the last ballot in 2019.
92% of members endorsed some form of action, with 70% voting in favour of strike action and 92% in favour of action short of strike.
We will be talking through what this means at our branch meeting Wednesday 10th November 1-3pm on Zoom, with our discussion feeding into a national delegates meeting before the UCU Higher Education Committee convenes on Friday 12th. Please come along if you can. Check inboxes for links.
Thank you to everyone who voted and all those departmental contacts and activists who helped out with the Get the Vote Out campaign
Ballots have gone out and should be returned as soon as possible.To order a replacement ballot use this online ballot replacement request form. You must order your replacement by 5pm Thursday 28th October.
Members of the Kingston UCU branch committee have made a video explainer about how the Four Fights on pay and conditions relate to the situation staff face at Kingston.
We’ve also been posting about each of the Four Fights and why #KingstonStaffHaveHadEnough on twitter and instagram.
Kingston UCU members will be balloted from Monday 18th October to Thursday 4th November on the Four Fights dispute over unsafe workloads, casualisation, paydeflation, and the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps.
Some updates from branch committee member Claudia Uller about USS pensions:
So far, negotiations between Kingston University, USS and UCU are still taking place, and very few decisions have been taken. They are going back and forth and HR/Payroll have little information.
HOWEVER, there is some good news. Our initial planned increase in contribution as of October 2021 went down from 11% to 9.8%, which is only 0.2% above what we were contributing up until now. This is the pressure of UCU on universities and USS!
So far, we can all stay with USS. The Senior Management Team, who leads these discussions, have not taken any decision to end the USS Scheme at KU. When they do take a decision, we will be informed. There will be 2 options. First, you will be offered to keep your accrued value with USS, and join TPS as the new pension provider. Or you will be offered to transfer the amount of pension value into TPS. However, because these schemes are not identical type schemes [USS is no longer in the advance transfer club], it is not a simple matter of transferring the accrued value into TPS. TPS will evaluate how much service within USS has been accrued and offer a transfer value. It will be up to us to decide which [1 or 2] would be more beneficial.
In a nutshell – if you wish to keep USS until the SMT make a decision, you can. We are 34 KU staff in the USS pension scheme, but only a handful got back to me. If you know anyone else with USS, please let them know!
This is the first of two briefings taking place on the 5th October. You can attend either, depending on your availability.
Kingston UCU members will have received communication from UCU central that we will, from the 18th of October, be balloting for industrial action on pay and pay-related issues. The purpose of this meeting will be to describe the campaign and the issues involved, both at the local level of Kingston University, and more broadly across the sector.
The event will take place on Zoom, please check inboxes for the link. See you there