Higher Education E Bulletin-Issue 21- Dec 06

The upcoming year
Appeals check list
Amicus Valuing Public Services campaign
Speak Up for Public Services – Parliamentary Lobby, 23 January 2007
European Trade Union Congress Public Services Petition
Leitch Report emphasises the need to invest more in higher education
Putting you into Uni – and you could study free!
HEFCE to invest £12 million in developing higher level skills packages for employers
New report shows record numbers of Irish higher education students.
Lastly but not least…

The upcoming year
As the year comes to an end it’s a perfect time to look forward to the new challenges for the upcoming New Year. Following on from the 2006-9 pay deal there are a couple of residual items. One is the 35 hour provisions built in to the deal that suggest all Higher Education institutions will work towards a 35 hour week by 2009. The other is the opportunity to reopen the pay deal for 2008/9 if it can be shown anticipated income at that time is in excess of estimated calculation made by UCEA at the time of settling the 2006/9 deal. The PTAAS unions will be taking these issues forward next year and have already begun to devise strategies for both.

Job evaluation is still taking place in many institutions. A number of HEI’s have now introduced full assimilation to the 51 point pay spine as well as finalising agreements on job evaluation and harmonisation. Some still have not completed despite the agreed date being August 2006. Amicus position as well as all other unions is that there should be backdating to August 2006 for any beneficial effects (green circling as example). Amicus will also be sending out another job evaluation survey to establish the effects of framework implementation as we did the previous two years.

Another issue arising next year is pensions. UCEA have advised all unions that they have engaged a firm of actuaries to advise on the feasibility of having one pension scheme across all Universities and Colleges. This is a massive undertaking and Amicus will be engaging with the process all the way through.

Finally the proposed merger with the T&G is moving ahead with a ballot of members in early 2007. If the ballot is carried the process will begin to find a workable system in HE for the arrangements with the T&G.

We will of course be keeping you up-to-date with everything as it comes up.

Appeals check list
There is now a useful checklist for all those undertaking Job Evaluation appeals on the Amicus Education Sector website. To look at the checklist click here:

Amicus Valuing Public Services campaign
This month Amicus launched its Valuing Public Services campaign. The campaign brings together all of Amicus’ sectors engaging in delivering public services. Amicus is a significant player in the UK public sector with over 140,000 members employed in health, education, local and central government and the post office. Every sector is pursuing campaigns specific to its own membership but there are a number of common problems being faced across all public services. In this light Amicus has launched it public service Values agenda – asking the government to sign up to the following commitments:

V aluing public service users and staff
A ccountability
L ong-term commitment
U niversal access
E nd to market madness
S ustainability

To find out more about the campaign visit the web site:

Speak Up for Public Services -Parliamentary Lobby, 23 January 2007

Amicus will be out in force during the TUC Speak up for Public Services rally and mass lobby of Parliament, 23 January 2007.

Public sector employees will be telling their MPs that while they believe there is always going to be room for improvement in the UK’s vital public services, any advances must come about as a result of increased investment and working with staff, not the involvement of the private sector.

The rally and lobby is due to take place on in two Westminster locations, the Houses of Parliament and Methodist Central Hall.

For more information about how to get along click here:

European Trade Union Congress Public Services Petition
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has launched a campaign to secure a million signatures across the EU supporting a Directive on public services, to follow up the successful campaign against the EU Services Directive. The practical effect of such a Directive would be to confer on Member States the power to protect their public services from general requirements to liberalise such services, which often leads to privatisation.

The petition is mostly designed as an online petition with materials (including a print-version of the petition and background information on public services) available in English at: www.petitionpublicservice.eu
Leitch Report emphasises the need to invest more in higher education
Lord Leitch’s report or learning and skills released earlier this month put a welcome emphasis on higher education’s role in upskilling the workforce and in contributing to a strong economy.

Amicus is especially pleased by the call for a greater proportion of the UK ‘s GDP to be spent directly on higher education. As Leitch acknowledges, the UK currently spends 1.1% of GDP on HE – less than half the 2.9% spend in the US.

Lord Leitch also calls for the ambitious 40% attainment target for level 4 qualifications and above while also recognising that the government should focus on lifelong learning and opportunities for older learners.

Amicus National Officer Mike Robinson said: “Amicus is pleased with many of these recommendations especially the increased funding for the sector. Amicus would stress that some of the money must translate into better pay and terms for support staff.”

To read the full report click here:

Putting you into Uni – and youb could study free!
Are you a trade union member and thinking about a University course? If so a new agreement between unionlearn and the Open University will help you.

You might qualify for a fee waiver or reduction of course fees, depending on your income and dependents.

Click on the relevant link below to calculate your entitlements:

If you live in England or Northern Ireland : http://www3.open.ac.uk/coursefinance/

If you live in Scotland :

If you live in Wales :

You can also benefit from the special discounts that unionlearn has negotiated for union members. If you join the Open University at level 1 (first year undergraduate) you will get a 10% discount off course fees.

For more information about studying with the OU and how you can benefit, go to the OU website

HEFCE to invest £12 million in developing higher level skills packages for employers
Higher education skills packages, tailored to meet the needs of employers, are to be developed as part of a £12 million investment in three new projects by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The funding of the regional Higher Level Skills pathfinder projects is part of HEFCE’s strategy to develop a shared approach with employers, and their representative bodies, to provide the higher level skills needed by the economy and society. A document describing the strategy, ‘Engaging employers with higher education’, is published on the HEFCE web-site.

Higher education institutions (HEIs) already have many links with employers and this new funding is aimed at developing understanding as to how HEIs should be better supported to develop partnerships between HE, employers and individuals.

For more information see: www.hefce.ac.uk

New report shows record numbers of Irish higher education students.
The number of full and part-time students in higher education in Ireland has passed the 170,000 mark for the first time. In Higher Education Authority (HEA) funded institutions alone (universities, certain colleges of education and NCAD), the total enrolment is now in excess of 80,000.

The details are contained in the HEA publication “An Overview of Applications and Acceptances to Higher Education”. While the number of school leavers has shown a drop since 1998, no significant further decreases are expected. The report claims that the number of school leavers will begin a consistent upward trend from 2012 reaching the 1998 peak in 2020. These demographic increases are already being seen at primary level.

Amicus national officer, Mike Robinson said: “Amicus believes that increases in students needs to be matched with adequate funds and increased staffing numbers. We will continue to push this in all Irish HEIs.”

To read the report click here:

Lastly but not least..
Ho Ho Ho! Amicus Education Sector team wishes you seasons greetings and all the best for the holiday period.

See you in the New Year!
Mike Robinson, Vera Titmus and James Lazou

This e-bulletin has been produced by James Lazou, Research Officer for the Higher Education sector. If you have any news items or stories you would like included in the bulletin.

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