We realise it’s a very busy time of year, and hope you’re all managing as well as you can under the circumstances. Below we provide a few updates of ongoing activities, issues and actions.
There has been a lot of information circulating about pensions – and the recent USS evaluation in particular. We have prepared a statement here, which sets out our stance. We have also raised our concerns about the questionnaire circulated recently by the Director of Human Resources. We are informed that this was a questionnaire provided by UUK and was not of Keele’s design. We reiterated our objections to the flawed valuation of the scheme, the divisive nature of the proposals put forward and the lack of ability for members to give free-form comments on the issue.
AGM & Future Committee
As mentioned in previous correspondence, our AGM is on June 9th and we will be sending a slate out in advance of people who have currently volunteered for committee roles. Please note, we are still looking for interest in the secretary role (the incumbent Eva Giraud – who will be leaving the university – and Becky Richards, who held the role before, will be happy to answer any queries about being branch secretary).
We are keenly aware of the stress and anxiety members feel about the current OneKeele consultation. KUCU has been clear about the need to have clarity and certainty for members of UCU and members of our sister campus trade unions. Keele UCU stands in solidarity with all members of Keele and are diligently raising concerns our members have with senior management. If you have specific concerns that you do not feel you are happy to raise directly, please let the Committee know and we will collate these and put them to senior management.
Walleys Quarry landfill
Because of Keele’s proximity to the problematic Walleys Quarry landfill site, and because of increasing reports of hydrogen sulfide gas coming from campus residents, we have concerns about the health and safety of staff working on campus. However, we also have health and safety concerns of staff who live within the area where the gas is present.
If you are affected by the gas whilst at home, please let us know how this is impacting upon your ability to do your job. If you are comfortable going into detail, please do. We will collect this anecdotal data and share it with the Vice Chancellor, Aaron Bell, MP, and other relevant authorities. As always, your responses will be anonymised before they are shared.
Actions & Solidarity
We would also like to draw attention to several solidarity events that are occurring over the next few weeks, which members might be interested in.
UCU have organised a memorial event for George Floyd on Tuesday 25th May, registration and further details here: https://ucu.wufoo.com/forms/george-floyd-memorial-event/
Regional UCU have asked us to circulate information about the following Palestinian solidarity letter:
Palestine and Praxis: Scholars for Palestinian Freedom: a solidarity letter, which you can sign to express support as an educator. 1000+ academics have already signed this call to action: https://palestineandpraxis.weebly.com/
Finally, central UCU have called for a worldwide boycott of the University of Leicester, due to the severe implications for academic freedom that has emerged due to Leicester targeting academics for redundancy because of their research area.
We look forward to seeing you at the AGM,