Fair pay in higher education: Young Greens to join university staff strike pickets


30 October 2013

Young Greens groups across the country will be backing lecturers and other university staff on strike this Thursday, following a unanimous vote by the Young Greens National Committee to support the industrial action over pay and other issues. 

Members of the Green Party’s youth branch will be joining picket lines in Manchester, Norwich, York and elsewhere.

The strike action is over a 13% real-terms pay cut over the last four years and a below-inflation 1% pay offer this year, as well as calls for equal pay between male and female workers. There is currently a £1bn surplus in the higher education sector which the Unite, Unison and UCU unions argue should be used to ensure fair remuneration.

Manchester Young Greens will be joining the action, with Young Greens national Co-Chair Clifford Fleming speaking at a strike rally on the day, where he will say: “We are united against an ideological affront to Higher Education, an affront which has resulted in tripled tuition fees, course closures, cuts, and the shoddy treatment of workers in the sector. 

The attacks to university pay and conditions are part of a broader attack on education by the coalition government, and it’s vital that students support the strike.”

In Norwich, University of East Anglia Young Greens will be joining picket lines on the day. Chris Jarvis, society Equality & Diversity Co-Ordinator, said: “The UEA Young Greens are proud to support our lecturers and other university workers faced with a measly 1% pay offer – a real-terms cut in the income of thousands of staff at the University.

‘Students must show our solidarity in the face of the government’s attempts to undermine education and the public sector as a whole. This race to the bottom has to stop. With 15 members of staff at the top paid more than the Minister for Higher Education, decent pay for our cleaners, catering staff, technicians and other workers should be a given.”

University of York Green Party members have launched a student petition in support of the workers taking action. Chair Nick Devlin said: “We are encouraging all students to visit the picket lines during the strike and show some support for the people who keep our university running. This petition is calling for fair pay for all at the University and is a show of solidarity from students.

“With the Vice Chancellor paid nearly 18 times more than the lowest paid, it’s time for fair pay on campus – a Living Wage for all and a maximum pay ratio of 10:1.” The petition is available here.

The strike comes after the launch of a Young Greens report, The Fair Pay League, which shows that the average Vice Chancellor pay is over £248,000, and 1,633 senior staff members in the sector are paid over £140,000 per year – more than enough to pay the nearly 5,000 workers on the Minimum Wage at Universities a Living Wage.

More information on the strike and a petition for those backing the strike to sign is available here: http://www.fairpayinhe.org.uk/

Caroline Lucas – energy market review should address Big Six stranglehold


31 October 2013

COMMENTING on the annual energy statement, Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, accused the Government of not being serious abut breaking the stranglehold of the Big Six, and called for serious investment in energy efficiency to cut bills and address climate change.

The Green MP said:

“Being told to switch isn’t much use when the odds are totally rigged in favour of a handful of big companies.

“If the Government were serious about breaking the stranglehold of the Big Six,  it would be supporting locally owned energy projects.   It’s quite shocking that the Energy Secretary’s announcement contained no mention of community energy.   Support for community and co-operatively owned renewable schemes, where people benefit from generating their own power, is pathetically poor compared to the lavish subsidy the nuclear industry has just received.

“We need serious investment in energy efficiency, with Government action to ensure that every home is properly insulated.    Making our housing stock much more energy efficient would help tackle climate change, cut bills, bring nine out of ten homes out of fuel poverty, and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

“And we need to address our dependence on gas, which is the underlying reason people are seeing higher bills.  Until we move away from fossil fuels towards a low-carbon future, no amount of tinkering around the edges of our flawed market will help consumers.

“Addressing the enormous risks that climate change presents to people in the UK and elsewhere means keeping the vast majority of existing fossil fuels in the ground. Yet ministers continue to listen to fossil fuel lobbyists rather than climate scientists.”

Lucas also criticised the close links between Government and the Big Six energy companies:

“It might be easier to take the Energy Secretary’s outrage seriously if dozens of employees from the Big Six were not working inside his department, often paid for by taxpayers.   He should be taking action to close the revolving door – which was wedged open under the previous Government too – between Whitehall  and the vested interests of the big energy companies.”

This made me Laugh Mr Mayor…

Eddie Smith. wrote
at 9:03:16 AM on Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The other day i thought I would follow our Salford City Mayor on Twitter so i can follow his tweets, and today i log on and find I’m blocked, Quote: “You have been blocked from following this account at the request of the user.”… I shall certainly be blocking Labour from my pen when polling day comes next.