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University of Surrey UCU AGM 2016

Dear Members,

We have now finalised the details of the upcoming UCU AGM.

Date: Wednesday 2nd November

Time: 12:00 – 14:00

Location: Room LTM

If anyone would like to step forward and discuss the roles available on the UCU Committee then please get in touch to discuss. Nomination forms for Committee roles are also available by emailing

We hope to see you all at the AGM to discuss the challenges and successes that UCU has experienced over the last academic year. The Committee will also be keen to gain feedback from members as to the future priorities and focus of the Branch. Your opinion is important and will be considered.

Please do not hesitate to get in contact with any questions.

Surrey UCU Branch Administrator



Welcome to Colette, Surrey UCU Branch Administrator

We are delighted to welcome Colette Maxfield as Surrey UCU Branch Administrator.  She can be contacted at <CMaxfield@UCU.ORG.UK> or in person in the union office, 38AZ04.  Her office hours are Friday from 10:00 to 17:00.

Colette will act as an initial point of contact for enquiries and requests for help from members, arrange Branch meetings, maintain a list of UCU members, and help with the Surrey UCU website.



External examiners resigning as part of UCU action

UCU is calling on members across the country to resign from external examiner posts, and refuse to accept new positions, as part of the current dispute over pay and casualisation. The following letter was published in the Guardian, explaining the action:

We write as external examiners whose role is to assure the quality of higher education courses at universities and colleges across the UK, but who have decided to resign in order to support the campaign for fair pay in our sector. We have resigned because, while as senior academics we believe our role in underpinning the quality of education provided to students is vital, we are all too aware of the unfairness of the current pay policies of our universities and their impact on staff and their students.

We have watched with sadness the pay of academic and professional staff fall in real terms by 14.5% since 2009; we have seen the numbers of casual staff proliferate; and seen universities do little or nothing to reduce the shocking gender pay gap despite having a collective surplus of £1.85bn. Yet the final straw for many of us is the contention by our employers that the latest final pay offer of 1.1% is “at the limits of what can be afforded” when at the same time we discover that university leaders have themselves received an average pay increase of 6.1%. The blatant hypocrisy of this position is breathtaking.

We love our work as external examiners not least because it brings us into contact with academics from around the country. The high-quality work we see confirms to us that staff deserve better from institution heads. We have therefore resigned from our external examiner posts and will not be taking up new posts in order to demonstrate that there will be no “business as usual” until we have a commitment from our universities to fair pay in higher education.

We recognise that this is a significant step for any professional to take but urge other external examiners to follow our lead.
Professor Richard Taffler Warwick Business School, University of Warwick
Professor Cathy Urquhart
Manchester Metropolitan University
Professor Tony Evans Royal Holloway, University of London
Professor Florence Myles University of Essex
Professor Heiko Balzter
University of Leicester
Professor Daniel Katz
University of Warwick
Professor Robert Miller Queen’s University Belfast
Professor Christian De Cock
University of Essex
Professor Glen Jeffery
UCL, Institute of Ophthalmology
Professor Thomas Munck University of Glasgow
Professor Jeremy Guggenheim
Cardiff University
Professor Cam Donaldson Glasgow Caledonian University
Professor Deborah Mabbett Birkbeck College, University of London
Professor Emma Clery University of Southampton
Professor Willy Maley University of Glasgow
Professor Jim Newell University of Salford
Professor Mark Humphries Swansea University
Professor George Kernohan University of Ulster
Professor Martin Conboy University of Sheffield
Professor Ingunn Holen University of Sheffield
Professor Laurie Stras University of Southampton
Professor Laura Lewis University of Southampton
Professor Raymond Bush University of Leeds
Professor David Clarke Newcastle University
Professor Keith Attenborough The Open University
Professor Tess Ridge University of Bath
Professor Melanie Simms University of Leicester
Professor Andrew Samuels University of Essex
Professor Adam Rutland Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor Malcolm Povey University of Leeds
Professor Rolland Munro University of Leicester
Professor Stephen Salter University of Edinburgh
Professor Paul Johnson University of York
Professor Harriet Bradley UWE Bristol
Professor Susan Page University of Leicester
Professor Dominique Laurence University of Manchester
Professor Dominic Wring Loughborough University
Professor Richard Saundry Plymouth University
Professor Eleanor Spaventa Durham University
Professor Victor Van Daal Edge Hill University
Professor Frederic Fol Leymarie Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor Raphael Salkie University of Brighton
Professor Özlem Onaran University of Greenwich
Professor Claire Squires University of Stirling
Professor John Holford University of Nottingham
Professor Patrick Ainley University of Greenwich
Professor Martin Parker University of Leicester
Professor Richard Worden University of Liverpool
Professor Jenny Pickerill University of Sheffield

Join the debate – email


Upcoming strike on 25th and 26th May – letter from Sally Hunt


Dear colleague,

I am sure like me you choked on your cornflakes this morning when you read about the latest round of pay increases for vice-chancellors (VCs) and principals.

The comprehensive survey by Times Higher Education magazine shows a latest annual increase in pay and benefits (excluding pensions) of 6.1% for those at the top.  One in five universities gave their leaders a rise of 10% or more. The Times Higher Education compares that to an average increase of 1.3% for staff over the same period.

Yet while university leaders have received pay increases many times higher than inflation, the final pay offer to staff of 1.1% is described by the employers as the “very best offer” possible.  This simply cannot stand.

The union’s higher education committee (HEC) has agreed a comprehensive programme of industrial action aimed not just at improving this final offer but also persuading the employers to address the gender pay gap and the growth of casual contracts.  Please give the union your support starting with the two days of strike action on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 May.

Finally for today, I have been inundated with messages about the union’s appeal to external examiners to resign their posts and not take up new ones for the duration of the dispute.  Many of you ask what notice you should give. UCU is not asking you to break your contract by giving incorrect notice. You must always give the requisite notice stipulated in your external examiners’ contract or accompanying handbook. Where no expressed ie. written notice period is given you must give a reasonable period of notice which will depend on the circumstances. If you require more detailed advice please contact Matt Waddup at

You can read about the Times Higher Education VC pay survey here.

You can read UCU’s response here.

You can read about our programme of industrial action here.

Thank you for your support.

Sally Hunt UCU general secretary

Surrey management threatens 100 redundancies

The Vice Chancellor has launched an Operational Review threatening 100 job losses across the university. The proposals include the restructuring of both academic and administrative departments, with many colleagues forced to compete with each other for jobs in the new structure.

It is important that we support each other and work together to protect our livelihoods and working conditions.  There are a number of things that we can do collectively as a union, in addition to providing support for members at risk of redundancy.

Our branch will need to decide together what action we plan to take in response to these proposals.

Come to our branch meeting on Wednesday 25th March, 12-1pm, 19 AC 03, to discuss and vote on our strategy.

Information about the Operational Review can be found on SurreyNet. The consultation period for the proposals ends on 8th May, but we will need to act much faster than this to make our voices heard.

We are much stronger if we act together. Even if your job is not currently at risk, please get involved now to support your colleagues and protect our university from further cuts. After recent announcements in relation to teaching allocation, it is clear that job losses will mean much higher teaching workloads for staff that remain at Surrey.

In addition to the branch meeting next week, there are also meetings taking place in departments particularly threatened by the proposals. Contact your departmental or faculty representative to get involved.

Struggle for top research grades fuels bullying among university staff

From the Guardian:

The fevered build up to this month’s university research audit has exposed academics to an atmosphere of competitiveness and bullying, according to a survey by the Guardian’s higher education network.

More than half of UK university staff questioned by the network said recent policy changes such as the introduction of the research excellence framework – a new process for measuring the quality of academic research – had fuelled campus bullying.

The survey questioned over 1,300 university staff who have experienced bullying at work, half of which are based at UK institutions. The research did not attempt to measure the scale of bullying, but asked respondents about its causes and how well universities deal with such behaviour.