Solihull College UCU Rotating Header Image

June, 2011:

******* IfL BALLOT RESULT ******

Message from Sally Hunt!

Dear colleague,

I wanted
to write to tell you the result of the referendum held by UCU on the proposed
new fees for the Institute for Learning (IFL).

result was as follows:

of eligible voters: 34,505

number of votes cast: 11,178 (32.4%)

voting Yes (we should accept these proposals for a two year settlement) 3,297

voting No (we should reject and conduct an industrial action ballot to boycott
fees) 7,877 (70.49%)

It is
worth noting that, even at this busy time of the year for teaching staff, the
turnout for this vote has been substantial.  In fact turnout exceeded even
recent national votes on pensions and pay, reflecting its importance to UCU

From my
postbag over the past few weeks I know that you have appreciated the efforts of
UCU’s negotiators to win concessions. However, it is clear that IFL has a
massive credibility problem across the sector which is impossible to get away

In fact,
many of you contacted me during the ballot to say that IFL does little if
anything to support your professional development and that, for the majority of
you, any charge for its services would be too much.

The next
step is clear. The union will now make preparations to ballot members on
industrial action in the form of a collective boycott of the IFL.

In the
meantime I will communicate the result to IFL and the union will redouble our
efforts to achieve a just and fair solution for members.

To win
this battle we will have to turn the strength of feeling against IFL into an overwhelming
vote for boycott. I have no doubt that together we can do that.

For the
avoidance of doubt, UCU members should not pay their IFL fees until further

you for your support.




There will be a full members meeting at 12:30 tomorrow (Thursday 22nd June) in the Staff Restaurant at Blossomfield Campus.

Items to be covered include Strike Action and IfL

E News for Reps

Pension Fund Loss Calculator – Work out How Much YOU wil pay!

UCU has created a pension loss calculator that will allow you to work out how much changes to the TPS will cost you in financial terms and how longer you will have to work.

Click the link below!

Bear in mind the report below on leaked plans to hit TPS further and the costs calcualrted in this tool will just  be the minimum!

Pension Fund Attack Worse than at First Thought!!!!!


TPS under attack – Leaked paper shows Government plans for TPS worse than feared:

Government plans to reform teachers’ and other public sector pensions will be far more devastating than anyone imagined, it was revealed in a leaked Treasury paper published in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper. The paper confirms the Government’s intention to abandon the current teachers’ pension and introduce a massively inferior ‘career average’ scheme that would give members 1/100th of their career average pay for every year in teaching. It also shows that the Treasury proposals will mean members losing even more than figures shown in the UCU loss calculator. The Government says this may not be its final position but talks with unions are now 3 months old and the proposals now on the table are worse than feared. **WHAT YOU CAN DO**: branches have been asked to hold meetings on the TPS dispute, jointly with ATL wherever possible. Please make sure you attend your meeting. Read more here: and read the full Guardian story here: )

Fight of our Lives – Message from Sally Hunt


Dear colleague,

Earlier today I told UCU Congress that we have the fight of our lives ahead of us – education is under attack. Our jobs, pensions and the life chances of a generation are on the brink. You can read the speech here:

In times like these we must think anew and act anew. That is why I want every member of this union to have their say on how we do this.

To stand anew to win the fight of our lives we need to do three things

1.    Build a credible alternative to the cuts

2.    Improve support and representation for members and local reps

3.    Encourage members to get more involved in our union

I want to hear your views on how we do this by sending your responses here:

I am committed to playing my part to renew our union. I know you are too. Together, we can win.


IfL “deal” announced – Ballot to follow

 As intimated in the Congres report, a deal on reduced IfL Fees has been reached, a members ballot is to follow on this as well.




Urgent IFL Update



Dear Colleagues


You may have already be aware through a letter sent to IFL members today that a recommended resolution to the current dispute has been achieved through the government facilitated talks with UCU,  AOC,IFL and other trade unions. The statement arising from the talks can be found at IfL website



A letter ( see below)  has been sent  to all members from Sally and myself today and a press release



This confirms that all members will be consulted on the proposals through a ballot which will open in the next few days. More information will follow. Members are advised to continue not to make any payment until the consultation process is completed,


Barry Lovejoy


National Head of FE


Letter to all members:


Subject: Important news about the IfL

Dear colleague,
We are writing to you with important news about our IfL campaign.
You may have received a message from the IfL this morning stating that they have reduced their fees. We wanted to write to you in person to spell out exactly where we are and what happens next.
As you know, UCU and the other trade unions have been in tripartite negotiations with the government and with the employers to try to find a negotiated settlement.
These discussions followed a fantastic campaign in which 22,000 members signed a mass petition protesting the hike in IfL fees, and withheld their membership in the face of significant pressure.
The negotiations that followed have often been tough but we have negotiated some substantial concessions.
The key concessions are:
1. Reduced fee: The fee for IfL registration has been lowered to £38, almost half what it was. Those who have paid the £68 fee will have two years’ membership. The deadline for registration has been extended until 22 July.

2. Review of IfL: IfL has agreed to set up a reference group with trade unions, employers and BIS where appropriate. The review will look at IfL’s governance, regulatory responsibilities, membership services, its operation and future fee levels.

3. Principle of employer assistance: The employers have recognised that individuals may  approach their employers to seek support in the payment of  fees. UCU will advise members and branches to pursue this option  and where necessary will provide appropriate support.
You can download the full agreed statement here:

We must be clear. We have not got everything that we wanted and feeling on this issue is strong.
However, we should also be clear that UCU’s campaigning and negotiating has won some major concessions.
These concessions reduce the financial burden on members considerably. In addition, we have won what we think is a far-reaching and comprehensive review of how IfL works. We have changed the terms of the debate about IfL. If UCU members were to accept the proposals outlined here, we would have the real opportunity to influence the IfL’s future development.
Considering where we started from earlier this year, it’s clear to us that UCU’s campaign has been highly effective. We believe that this is the best that can be achieved through negotiations and that the alternative would be a full boycott of IfL.
The final decision about where we go next must lie with members. For that reason, we have asked ERS to conduct an email-based ballot of all UCU members in FE. In the next few days, you will be contacted with ERS with a ballot statement and you will be asked whether you support the proposals for resolving the dispute outlined here.
Thanks for your continued support,
Barry Lovejoy, National head of further education
Sally Hunt, General Secretary