Luke Fenton-Glynn Profile picture
Apr 16, 2018 23 tweets 11 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
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:… 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
SECOND ARGUMENT: Greater generosity would threaten "the sustainability of institutions and ... the responsibility they have towards their students". RESPONSE: (i) this doesn't fly when you're offering a real terms pay CUT rather than raise; (ii) given that ... 4/12 #USSStrike
... institutions have already imposed a 16% real terms pay CUT since 2009 in a relatively benign funding environment (where institutions enjoyed a boost from higher tuition fees) it's hardly credible that not further cutting our pay will threaten ... 5/12. #USSStrike
... sustainability of institutions nor that it will compromise their ability to meet the responsibilities they have to their students (note that the position of UK institutions in world league tables has been declining over the duration of the time they've been ... 6/ #USSStrike
... cutting our salaries). THIRD ARGUMENT: They bleat about universities facing "unprecedented times" in terms of financial risks & insecurity. RESPONSE: Come off it! You whinge about this *every* time pay negotiations come around. Universities have faced far ... 7/12 #USStrike
... & more uncertain & challenging times in the past (e.g. financial crisis - before tuition fee increase) & paid staff more at those times than they do now. FOURTH ARGUMENT: They argue for the reasonableness of a lower measure of inflation when justifying ... 8/12 #USSStrike
... their pay offer. RESPONSE: See . As @MikeOtsuka points out, when justifying tuition fee increases they argued *against* this lower measure & for a higher measure of inflation! They can't have it both ways! 9/12 #USSStrike
FINALLY: To add insult to injury, UUK tries to dupe us by pointing out that each of our pay 'raises' will be better than what they're offering when we take into account spinal point progression. RESPONSE: Yes, true, each of us is getting better paid as we ... 10/12 #USSStrike
... become more senior & as we get promoted, but of course each spinal point will be worth less than it is now & is worth 16% less than it was in 2009! CONCLUSION: I hope that @ucu will be rejecting this pay offer and will use the fact that our pay has been ... 11/12 #USSStrike
... so dramatically cut in recent years to argue for a much better pension settlement. Given that universities are saving so much money through massive real cuts to our salary, they can afford to put much more into our pensions. 12/12 #USSStrike
Funny how @UniversitiesUK applies the 'one has to pay good salaries to attract the best people' logic to VC pay, but not to academic pay. Don't they realise that best academics can *easily* leave for private sector/abroad. Then where will their 'prioritisation' of students be?
Can someone who knows the process that led up to UCEA's proposal of a real-terms pay cut comment on whether or not it's *sheer coincidence* that this proposal was made public on the *very day* @ucu stood down industrial action on pensions? See:… #USSStrike
A helpful argument about the UCEA offer here:…
And an important point about the UCEA offer by @MikeOtsuka here:… #USSStrike
And this piece places shows the context of the latest real terms paycut as the latest in a long line (the piece is worth reading for this info regardless of your views on Sally Hunt's position):… #USSStrike
We're already at a stage where it's completely unaffordable on an academic salary to live near any of the 6 British unis in the world top 40 - Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, UCL, LSE, KCL - according to @timeshighered. #USSStrike
I know from first-hand experience as a philosopher at one of these unis (not a discipline famed for outside career opportunities) that we miss out on top talent - to overseas unis - because we can't offer a decent standard of living. My wife is an academic lawyer at another, ...
... & there the problem is people leaving/not joining because the standard of living one can afford in private practice is so much better. This trend is getting worse as salaries & pensions are cut. No chance of maintaining anything like current standings in uni world rankings.
How do we begin the counterattack against @UniversitiesUK & UCEA? I think a good starting point would be with the Special Higher Education Sector Conference called for in this petition:… #USSStrike
I think that the @ucu rank & file has reached a level of maturity & informedness during the #USSStrike that means we deserve a move towards a greater level of participatory democracy in our union, as called for in the petition:…
*article not argument!

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More from @LukeFGlynn

Apr 10, 2018
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…
This white paper, which @TPRgovuk has welcomed (here:…), 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
Apr 9, 2018
5th April press release from @TPRgovuk makes for fascinating reading:… "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:…) 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

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