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Issue:- 17 March 2010

Staff to strike at University of Liverpool and LSTM in national pensions row

MEMBERS of the University and College Union (UCU) at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) will begin the first of 2 days’ strike action on Tuesday, 22 March 2011, in a row over pensions. The staff are taking the action in protest against changes to the University Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension fund.

The University of Liverpool and LSTM are two of 63 UK universities taking industrial action over the changes to USS. On Thursday 17 March universities in Scotland are taking strike action and kicking off the UK-wide disruption. There are separate strike days for Wales, Northern Ireland and England on the 18, 21 and 22 March respectively. There will then be UK-wide action Thursday 24 March.

The union says it is hopeful that strike action can be avoided, although the employers this week rejected UCU’s invitation to meet for talks through the arbitration service ACAS. If no resolution can be thrashed out before Thursday then the action will take place. NUS president, Aaron Porter, has also written to the employers urging them to join UCU for talks and to try and avoid strike action.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said:- “The last thing our universities need is widespread disruption and strike action always remains a last resort. However, the employers must recognise the strength of feeling over pensions. Students clearly do and NUS has written to both sides urging us to get round the table and sort this out. Our diaries are clear and our message to the employers is simple: sit down with us and sort this mess out.”

More on the first UK-wide strike action by lecturers for 5 years can be found online

Lecturers who are members of the University and College Union (UCU) at Liverpool Hope University have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in their ongoing row with the institution over job losses and how the institution is responding to potential cuts in funding.  83% of UCU members at Liverpool Hope who voted, voted for strike action. The union is now considering its next options, including strike dates which could be announced shortly unless the university rethinks its approach to its hasty restructuring plans.

Over 100 jobs are at risk and the union says the university should follow the lead of the vast majority of institutions in the country, and take a measured approach to future challenges. UCU says the university is rushing in to decisions based on funding assumptions that have been made without the full knowledge of future circumstances.

The union says that, instead of pushing ahead with plans to axe jobs, the university should listen to, and work with, its staff. UCU members in departments at the university have been drawing up alternative plans to deal with the difficulties the higher education sector and Liverpool Hope face.

UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said:- “UCU members at Liverpool Hope have made it crystal clear today that they have no faith in how the university is handling the funding problems that have beset the higher education sector. They do not think the university should be swinging the axe and chopping jobs and will be out on strike to make that point and defend their jobs if the university refuses to listen to them.”

Glaucoma support group meeting

THE Eye Unit at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust and the Southport and West Lancs Glaucoma Support Group is inviting the public to discuss glaucoma care.   The International Glaucoma Association has agreed to sponsor a meeting and those attending will have an opportunity to see first-hand what the association does country-wide for people with glaucoma.  Guest speakers are Prof Ian Grierson from the University of Liverpool, Russell Young, of the International Glaucoma Association, and Mr Jose Gonzalez-Martin, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon.  The meeting will be held in the Windsor Suite of the Royal Clifton Hotel, The Promenade, Southport PR8 1RB, on Wednesday, 30 March 2011, at 2.30pm.  Light refreshments will be served during the afternoon and there is free car parking at the hotel.

£789m flowing into the North West and Merseyside

THE North West and Merseyside could gain £789m from a burgeoning green economy, says Home Economics, a new Energy Saving Trust report painting an economic picture of a shift towards green industry.

Insulating all remaining fillable lofts and cavities in the North West and Merseyside’s homes and replacing all G-rated gas boilers with modern condensing boilers and heating controls would also see 16,300 jobs supported.  By insulating fillable lofts and cavities alone, householders in the North West and Merseyside would save £126.8m on their fuel bills and 698,000 tonnes of CO2.

The study looked at the economic impacts for the North West and Merseyside for 2 ‘scales of ambition:-

I. Lofts and cavity wall insulation
Insulating all the remaining fillable lofts and cavity walls in the North West and Merseyside would generate £530m in Gross Value Added (GVA) for the North West and Merseyside economy, and support 11,300 jobs.

II. Insulation and heating systems (featured in headline and intro)
Lofts and cavity wall insulation plus replacement of the least efficient gas boilers (G-rated) and installation of heating controls in all suitable North West and Merseyside homes would generate £789m in Gross Value Added (GVA) for the North West and Merseyside economy, and support 16,300 jobs.

Philip Sellwood, Energy Saving Trust chief executive, says:- “We are living in hard times, where people in the North West and Merseyside are tightening their belts and worried about jobs. 
A recent survey showed that 74 per cent of people are looking for ways to reduce their energy bills. Two-thirds said that now times are harder economically they are more interested than ever in how to save energy.  While the Energy Saving Trust’s focus remains on cutting carbon emissions from the North West and Merseyside residents’ homes, there’s no getting away from the hard number-crunching going on in the background. The economic benefits of sustainability, nationally and locally, need to be made clear more than ever. Energy efficiency makes economic sense – and this is a statement of what can be done. We hope our figures both invigorate a healthy debate and encourage people to take action.”

Home Economics also takes a snapshot of Britain’s housing stock, highlighting the biggest carbon ‘villains,’ which consist largely of big, draughty houses heated by electricity and oil, but exist in relatively small numbers.  It also looks at the biggest problem – those house types, all owner-occupied and gas heated, that produce moderate CO2 emissions but which exist in such large numbers that together they account for a major proportion of our overall carbon emissions. The good news about these properties is they tend to have more space, making them generally suitable for renewable energy installations.

Sellwood added:- “The UK’s housing stock is uniquely old and leaky. There are 2 problems to tackle – those homes which have high carbon emissions but are relatively few in number, and even more pressingly, those houses with comparatively lower emissions but which are very common.

The Energy Saving Trust is here to provide guidance and support for people who are keen to make their homes more environmentally friendly but perhaps are not sure where to start. We offer a range of services and encourage anyone interested in learning more to contact us on 0800 512 012 or visit our

On the back of the release of Home Economics, the Energy Saving Trust will be joined by Phil Rumbol, the man behind the Cadbury’s gorilla ads, as they host Selling Green... Delivering what you promise, an event discussing the importance of trusted brands in the post-Green Deal age.

The event takes place at London’s Commonwealth Club on 30 March 2011 at 8.30 for 9.00am and will also be streamed live.

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