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Strike action temporarily suspended in response to Manchester Arena atrocity

Out of respect for the dead, the injured and those who have lost loved ones in the terrible events at the Manchester Arena last night, and amid continuing security concerns, the University and College Union (UCU) has advised Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) that it intends to suspend the strike action planned for this week.  Members will be grieving with the bereaved and the whole of the city and will want me to send a message of sympathy and solidarity for all those directly affected.  While we grieve we shall not forget our determination to stand by those of our colleagues who remain at risk of losing their jobs.

Julie Wilkinson
MMU UCU Branch Secretary

Final year student support UCU strike

MMU Art School students approaching their final degree shows have got together to write to their tutors in support of UCU’s industrial action against compulsory redundancies:  they have collected 39 signatures and counting.   Here is what they say:

” May 2017.  Dear Tutors.
We would just like to say a big thank you for all the help and support you’ve given us over the years.  We really appreciate this now that we are madly preparing for our final shows and works!
We’ve heard that your trade union has called strike action next week on Wednesday and Thursday because our University is trying to make people redundant at Crewe.  We are shocked that the management of this vibrant university can’t find a better way of working things out, and we feel very bad for those people who might be left without a job or a career.  Don’t they realise how much students lose out when courses are shut and experienced staff are fired?
We’d just like to say that we support you in going out on strike.  We understand that this is about these jobs and also about the future of MMU.  Many of us would like to think that maybe we might end up working in a university too – and we really appreciate the way you are defending education in this way.
Solidarity with you!”

Saturday post

COUNTDOWN! This morning is your very last opportunity to post your ballot. Use your vote & have a say.

Defend jobs.
Support colleagues who face redundancy.
Support each other 
WE ARE #ManMet

The meeting with the General Secretary of UCU that was not allowed on the MMU campus…

Manchester Metropolitan University’s senior managers have withdrawn permission for the UCU branch meeting tomorrow Thursday 27th April with UCU’s General Secretary originally booked for the Business School in All Saints.  

Instead we will be holding the meeting between 1 and 2pm in Academy 3, University of Manchester Student Union, Oxford Road, Manchester.

We know that many students and staff at MMU, whether they are trades unionists or not will abhor this last-minute underhand ban.

Our platform of speakers comprises the UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt, our branch Chair, our Secretary and a Crewe-based Convenor.   No other speakers have been invited.  Only UCU members were invited to attend.  The meeting was approved by HR in the usual way.   Only a few weeks ago, Sally Hunt addressed a meeting on the Crewe site.  There were no riots.  Not a single manager raised an objection.

We are academics.  Our business is open debate.

So why the sudden reversal?

Management say that the decision was based on the fact that other UCU branches proposed to attend to show their support and to hear the General Secretary of our union speaking in Manchester.  That is true.  We did invite other UCU members from the North West.  The other deciding factor was that a Labour Party branch in Cheshire posted inaccurate information about our event on their Facebook page, claiming amongst other things to have been invited to speak.  This is not true.

MMU UCU branch stands for freedom of expression.  We stand for the right to dissent. We stand for the right to organise as a trade union.  We don’t expect to be excluded from the University site because of fake news.

Here is the link to UCU’s press release on the ban:

​ Julie Wilkinson
MMU UCU Branch Secretary

Branch Secretary urges MMU UCU members to vote in industrial action ballot.

UCU Branch Secretary, Julie Wilkinson, on the issues at MMU and why she is encouraging members to vote YES to strike action

Posted by Rob Crowther on Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Rail strikes today – the union’s case

Here is a leaflet and a longer briefing from our fellow trades-unionists in the RMT explaining why passenger safety concerns are key to the strike action they are taking against Merseyrail today.

MerseyrailStrikePublicleafletApril17 MerseyrailGuardsBriefingMar178PDRAFTv3

Crewe members at risk of redundancy appeal for support in MMU UCU’s ballot for action

Manchester Met UCU members strongly reject compulsory redundancies

UCU calls on the Vice Chancellor and the Governors to avoid any and all compulsory redundancies as a result of the withdrawal over the next two years from MMU Cheshire.

In a consultative e-ballot of branch members, close on ninety per cent of those who voted agreed to call for industrial action should any UCU member be threatened with compulsory redundancy. Over half of all branch members used their votes in a decisive show of support for colleagues threatened with losing their jobs this summer at Crewe.

The branch is committed to continue talks to try persuade the University to invest in the staff for the sake of our students, and the future of MMU. We are asking for clear and decisive action from management to avoid compulsory redundancies. Our campaign continues.

Check out our ‘Crewe Voices’ series posted here and on Facebook at:

Crewe Voices

370 jobs are at risk at Manchester Metropolitan University. MMU UCU spoke to academics and support staff. Names are invented; their words are true.
Dr Couzens Senior Lecturer MMU:
“When you start a job in a university you don’t think you might need to worry about redundancy. Jobs in higher education are usually fairly steady. I didn’t think I would be out of the job but higher education has changed… Higher education isn’t the best paid sector to be in if you’re highly qualified but the pension, job security and working conditions made up for that fact. I’m not sure I would have pursued a career in higher education if I knew what the future held. It feels like the best and the brightest are being chucked on the scrapheap… What is frustrating is that this isn’t a university that is struggling financially. MMU is in a very healthy financial state and has huge cash reserves…”