Breaking news! University of Birmingham Vice Chancellor given yet another pay rise

Breaking news! University of Birmingham Vice Chancellor given yet another pay rise

The total pay packet for controversial Vice Chancellor David Eastwood has been increased from £426,000 last year to £439,000 for 2017 Socialist Students can confirm, driven, in part, by an increase in his personal bonus award from £45,000 to £50,000. Earlier this week the Birmingham branch of UCU (BUCU) held protests on campus against the extortionate pay of the VC, which followed Unison’s protest (who represent support staff) the previous week calling for the University to pay the living wage.

This follows the recent ‘retirement’ of Professor Glynis Breakwell of the University of Bath due to criticism of her salary in a deal that was exposed as being worth £808,000.

Sir David was recently described in the Guardian as having reserved a ‘special circle in neoliberal hell’ for his roll in reforms to higher education and for his record of advocating £16,000 undergraduate tuition fees. Reports have also highlighted a luxury life-style at the expense of students that has included a private rent free mansion and access to a chauffeur driven Jaguar, and shown that he sits on his own remuneration committee alongside just 4 other senior executives.

Detail from the University’s 2017 accounts shows a drop in the overall surplus from £91m (restated) to £46m, driven mainly by falls in research income. Tuition fee income continues to rise to a record £305m while the average staff salary actually fell due to ever increasing reliance on junior casualised teaching and support staff. In an open letter a member of Socialist Students this week called on Sir David to resign (here), echoing similar calls from the staff and an increasing number of politicians and commentators, while an open letter from staff against his extortionate pay has been signed by over 200 members of staff (here).

Currently all of the recognised trade unions at the University are in dispute with senior management (who’s average pay based on members of the executive board also increased to £198,883), with BUCU currently balloting their members over bullying, harassment, and intimidation related to widening misuse of disciplinary procedures, and workload allocation. You can follow their progress on their blogs here and here:

https://birminghamucu.org/

http://www.birminghamuniunison.org.uk/

Advertisements

University of Birmingham to be awarded GOLD in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

University of Birmingham to be awarded GOLD in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

Birmingham Socialist Students has confirmed that there will be an announcement tomorrow (Thursday) that the University of Birmingham has been awarded ‘gold’ in the second round of the Teaching Excellence Framework (aka ‘the TEF’). No doubt, the University senior management team will be the first to take credit for these results that are, in fact, the result of the hard work of the thousands of teaching staff, many of whom are teaching on low paid, insecure casual contracts[1]. Here we give a brief overview of what this means for fees, education, and activism at our University and across the education system. Continue reading “University of Birmingham to be awarded GOLD in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)”

University of Birmingham staff ballot members on strike action.

University of Birmingham staff ballot members on strike action.

Today the University of Birmingham’s academic trade union BUCU, representing over 1,000 members, has released its indicative ballot asking members whether they would be prepared to strike. The dispute covers two key issues – aggressive performance management and disciplinary processes, targeted at staff the University wishes to “manage out”; and workload allocations. The electronic ballot is open for three weeks from Tuesday 28th March.

Continue reading “University of Birmingham staff ballot members on strike action.”

A Statement on Zero-Tolerance: Rape Apology

TW: Mentions of rape.

Unfortunately, due to recent discussions in the left-wing sphere, it has become necessary to reiterate something that should go without saying. Rape apology is unacceptable in every form it comes in; be it covering up sexual assault cases, defending those who sexually assault others, asking the victim what they were wearing, asking how much they drank, or any other kind of behaviour that allows rape culture to develop, it is entirely unacceptable.

Continue reading “A Statement on Zero-Tolerance: Rape Apology”

Does the left have a problem with anti-Semitism?

The past few weeks have seen the Facebook-Twitter-verse abuzz with claim after claim, statement and counter statement, from the various forces currently aligned in pitched battle over the question of anti-Semitism. Rumblings, coming out of Oxford University’s Labour Students as their co-chair resigned saying that their club seemed ‘generally to have some kind of problem with Jews’, were widely dismissed as right wing manoeuvrings. Then there was the media explosion that threatened to overshadow the huge and unprecedented achievement of Malia Bouattia in becoming the first black Muslim woman to become president of the NUS [1], not to mention her track record as a genuine and committed campaigner for liberation and for Palestinian rights. And now we have the suspensions of Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone, and three Labour Councillors this week. Surely more examples of baseless right wing opportunism?

Unfortunately, there is more to this than such a convenient narrative. Continue reading.

Throwback Thursday: Mikey Kenney and the Albert Street Project

Throwback Thursday: Mikey Kenney and the Albert Street Project

On the 9th of March this year, Birmingham Socialist Students had the great joy of hosting a fundraising night to support the Albert Street Project – a charity organisation that provides meals, clothes and company to the homeless and less fortunate people of Birmingham. The night consisted of live music delivered by the alternative folk performer Mikey Kenney (see his website here), with representatives from Albert Street and many of our own Socialist Students present.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Mikey Kenney and the Albert Street Project”