It’s your vote – with added value!

With the UCU pay ballot opening next week it is perhaps worth reminding members that there is a compelling reason for taking part in the ballot whatever your views are on the subject of pay, pay equality, and any associated UCU action to improve on the present offer.

The pensions dispute demonstrated unequivocally that concerted action can make a difference, and that a bullying employer with entrenched views can still be influenced by trade unions and their members.

The past few years at Bradford have been challenging for many reasons, and we will all have our views on why that is, what could have been done differently, and who bears responsibility.   The experience has been bruising, morale busting, stressful, and often distressing, nor indeed is this likely to be the end.

Professional Services colleagues have borne the brunt of recent swingeing cuts, with huge numbers of jobs lost, and the inevitable consequences on workload for those left behind.   The focus now shifts to the academic community, with the euphemistically entitled “Size & Shape” review likely to have further consequences for staff.

A strong union presence on campus remains therefore an imperative in these difficult times; your participation in UCU ballots is as important in sending a signal to our managers as is your presence on the picket.

We urge all UCU members to cast their vote whatever their views on the pay dispute. Your vote counts nationally AND locally.


In the news again

UoB’s financial failure is in the news with this article in the Times Higher….

The University of Bradford’s deficit rose to £11.7 million last year, following on from deficits of £3.4 million and £1.9 million in the previous two years, with the institution highlighting the “market-driven and increasingly competitive” English sector as a factor.

Concern has been growing over the financial health of a number of English institutions, particularly those that have lost large numbers of students since the government abolished number controls in favour of unrestricted recruitment in 2015, and those with significant numbers of part-time students.

Bradford, whose vice-chancellor Brian Cantor announced in September that he would step down at the end of the academic year, published its 2017-18 financial statements on 5 December.

“There is increased competition across the whole higher education sector for a reducing number of UK students as the demographic decline of 18-year-olds in the population continues,” the document says. “The impact of this is demonstrated in our financial performance.”

Income from home and international students remained “static” in 2017-18. But the university’s “core student income…has decreased by 1.7 per cent, primarily due to a reduction in part-time funded students”, the statements add. Part-time student numbers have fallen dramatically nationwide, particularly since fees were trebled and a loans-based system was introduced in 2012.

Although Bradford’s deficit of £11.7 million is the headline result that will be reported to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the statements say that adjusting for “actuarial valuation movements, and significant non-recurrent transactions, the university’s consolidated results show an improved underlying operating result, with a £1.2 million loss compared to £4.1 million in 2016-17”.

Bradford is in the top 10 of English universities with the largest drops in student recruitment between 2010 and 2017. Critics of the government’s decision to abolish student number controls argue that the policy is widening regional inequality, as universities in towns and cities with struggling economies are among those seeing the biggest declines in recruitment.

A Bradford spokeswoman said: “The HE sector has become market-driven and increasingly competitive. There are many factors involved, including the abolition of the student number cap, the consumerisation of applicant choice and student perceptions, changes in how and when applicants make choices, national and local demographic factors, and international trends.”

The spokeswoman said that “in order to remain financially viable and sustainable, we, along with other institutions, will continue to innovate, evolve and reshape internally”.

Successful Tenure?

Colleagues and friends of the University may be interested to read the advert for our new VC as posted in THES this week….

As a world-leading technology institution with over 50 years of academic excellence behind us, the University of Bradford has an unwavering commitment to `Making Knowledge Work’. We are distinguished by our world-leading research that has impacted on technological advancement, societal improvement and health care & policy development. As well as being an anchor institution in our region, we are also a diverse and inclusive University where a vibrant intellectual community is created from a mix of people from different backgrounds.

Professor Brian Cantor has announced his intention to step down as Vice-Chancellor in the summer of 2019 following a successful tenure which has seen the University focus on quality and impactful outcomes for our students and staff.  We have grown our international reputation as pioneers in developing new course subjects, reflecting the needs of employers, students
and society as a whole. Two years after our 50thAnniversary year, we are celebrating the following achievements:

  • Top 50 UK University ranking for excellent research in the REF 2014
  • Silver award for outstanding teaching in TEF 2017
  • Top 25 in the UK for graduate employability
  • Top 100 world ranking for universities established in the last 50 years
  • Greenest University in the UK and top 5 in the world.

The University is looking to appoint an exceptional candidate who will build on this success, and who will not only deliver our current ambitions but also bring innovative ideas for future success and development at a time of unprecedented change in the Higher Education sector. The new Vice-Chancellor will be an inspirational leader, ambassador and team builder, with highly developed commercial acumen and proven track record of achievement in a progressive, collaborative, academic environment. S/he will have the academic profile and strategic skills to deliver outstanding results for Bradford. First-class communication skills and the ambassadorial qualities essential to engaging with a broad range of partners and stakeholders regionally, nationally and internationally, are critical to the University’s ongoing and future success.

Stop Press

Following the success of our Strike Pay Benefit Gig where a little over £300 was donated at the door, we can now report that follow up donations continue to come in – the fund now tops £400 which is a great effort.

Thanks to all who have already contributed and those will do so in the coming days.

You can make your donations to UCU Bradford University LA for distribution to Unison and UCU Bradford College.

UCU Bradford College

UCU Bradford College Branch industrial action has promoted College grandees to shut down operations, citing union action.

UCU Bradford University applauds our College colleagues as they fight for a fair deal on pay. We agree that 1% in 10 years simply isn’t good enough, equating as it does to a real term pay CUT of around 25%.