Moving forward

UCLan changes

Although UCLan has dropped its privatisation plans for now, we will be keeping a close eye on any developments in the new term, and the  new directions that recently appointed VC Professor Gerry Kelleher will take.

Lancashire Free Press

Some members of the USAP group have established the Lancashire Free Press, a free local news-sheet (and blog/social media) to support local grassroots activism. Find out more and get involved at our blog (http://lancashirefreepress.wordpress.com/) Facebook (LFP) and Twitter (@lancsfreepress)

We’re currently supporting the Preston Against Bedroom Tax campaign.

Solidarity with Sussex

Comrades at Occupy Sussex were very supportive of the anti-privatisation campaign here at UCLan, Preston, and the scale and strength of their ongoing demos, actions and occupations undoubtedly put the fear into UCLan management of something similar happening up North.

Whilst UCLan have shelved their controversial privatisation plans (for now), the fight goes on at Sussex. A pop up union has been formed (and officially recognised) to dispute the outsourcing of 235 jobs at the University.

Ours was a hard campaign but lasted only months – the dispute at Sussex has been going for a year. Show your support however you can – help out in solidarity (or financially!)

Members of USAP, Lancashire Free Press and other local activists still wear the ‘yellow square’ felt badges as a symbol of the fight against privatisation in education, (why not make yourself one!) and wish Occupy Sussex continued luck in their fight.

 

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UCLan drops privatisation plans!

We are delighted to announce that UCLan management have shelved plans to privatise the University.

Following ongoing campaigns by UCU, Unison and USAP, who together held a demo of over 100 people last month and handed in a petition of 0ver 2,500 signatures, UCLan have announced that they will not pursue plans to dissolve the University and become a Company Limited by Guarantee.

UCLan held detailed discussions with the Government and found the plan to be unsuitable – particularly around concerns on staff term and pensions. Troubles with the UCLan Cyprus campus are also reported to have affected the decision.

This result shows what can be achieved when Unions, students, activists and members of the public act together. Growing opposition against privatisation in education, notably the Occupy Sussex movement, is also likely to have influenced the decision: we thank them for their inspiring actions and will continue to work alongside comrades across the country to defend education.

Although plans are shelved for now we do not doubt that similar proposals may be made here or elsewhere in the future, and we will continue to work in solidarity to tackle such changes. It is worth noting that we have got this far with no support from our Students Union – who have actively tried to undermine our campaign and deny the privatisation – so we look forward to meeting our new Vice Chancellor and SU President after summer to discuss possible new challenges ahead.

 

News Round-Up:

Union News – Unions Celebrate as University Rejects Privatisation Plan
Times Higher Education – UCLan Shelves Plans for Company status
BBC News – UCLan abandons company plan
Morning Star – Staff and student campaign blocks University sell-off
SQ Magazine – Hope for Sussex after UCLan ditch privatisation plans

Blogs:

Iamunchienandalusia – UCLan drops privatisation plans – for now

 

Turning the campus yellow – national week of action

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A national week of action against privatisation in education has been announced.

The Week of Action: In Defence of Public University begins Monday 15th April at Sussex, Warwick, Preston & more.

We’ll be turning the campus yellow, adopting the yellow square flag/symbol of Occupy Sussex, for solidarity in national protest against privatisation of education. Join us on Thurs 18th April at UCLan

We’ll have several stalls on campus, plus badges, banners & more to get the word out.

‘A university without dialogue is nothing’: National resistance to privatisation

the yellow square - symbol of the Occupy Sussex campaign

the yellow square – symbol of the Occupy Sussex campaign

The Occupation and Campaign Against Privatisation at Sussex University saw a national demonstration on March 25th, which attracted over 2000 students, staff, activists and members of public from across the country.

The campaign, set up to oppose the privatisation of 235 jobs, has steadily escalated over the past 10 months, resulting in a large, well organised and very well supported Occupy camp in a university building – which has attracted weekly national media coverage and expressions of solidarity from far and wide.

During the day of demonstration, further buildings were occupied, a Pop up Union was announced, and support for the movement continued to grow. However a strong police presence on campus, using force against a peaceful protest, indicated the increasingly oppressive and tactics of the pro-privatisation University management.

Following the demo, the University was granted an injunction banning all forms of protest on campus not consented by management, and a possession order is forcing the eviction of the occupation – despite a flood of support and testimonials to the court. Latest reports indicate that bailiffs have arrived at the camp, and deliveries of food and drink have been cut off – along with heating and internet access.

The injunction and eviction mark an incredibly sad day for freedom of expression, and exemplify the increasingly arrogant and oppressive stance of the management – which only mirrors that of the broader attacks on the working class by the Tories (from benefits cuts to privatisation across industries).

The momentum of the movement, however, has not been stopped – and we have no doubt it will continue to flourish.

Blog: http://sussexagainstprivatization.wordpress.com

Follow: occupy_sussex

Comrades at Falmouth and Exeter currently fight the same fight. Plans to outsource 130 staff jobs to the company ‘FXPlus’ may lower pay, weaken democratic oversight, and put profit over people. There has been no sufficient consultation with staff or students on the proposed changes, and this lack of transparency will only worsen after the transition.

Despite a successful demo of around 50 people and increasing support from staff, students, and people from across the country, the management claim that the deal is already done, and the changes are due to come into effect from tomorrow.

The campaign is far from over however, and with support continuing to build, the FX protest group are in it for the ‘long game’.

Blog: http://falmouthexeterprotest.wordpress.com/

Follow: @fxprotest

UCLan Students Against Privatisation campaign in solidarity with Sussex and FX to protest these sweeping privatisation measures. Whether in part or in full, our Universities are not for sale.

Fantastic first demonstration at UCLan

usap_protest

Our demonstration this Thursday had a fantastic turnout of around 100 people who gathered and marched against the privatisation of UCLan.

USAP stood beside UCU, Unison and Preston Trades Council, with comrades from UCLan Socialist Student Workers Society, Lancs SWP, Preston Against Cuts, Lancaster Against Cuts, Manchester Anarchist Federation and Lancs Anarchist Federation, plus plenty of friends, activists and locals.

There was a great vibe to the day and plenty of new support gathered along the way. At 4pm representatives from UCU and USAP handed in petitions of a combined 2,500 signatures against privatisation to the University Board.

We were featured throughout the day on BBC and in several local & regional press reports – more coming soon!

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Preston-wide planning meeting for demo

UCU, the union for academic staff, and USAP have called a Preston-wide planning meeting for all local people, students, staff and trade unionists, in advance of the demonstration against privatisation.

The meeting will take place upstairs at the Black Horse, Friargate, 7.00pm on Weds 13th March.

All are welcome to attend, find out more about the campaign, and play a part in planning the demo, which is due to take place on Thurs 21st March.