27th Jun, 2022

LETTERS from this week's Coventry Observer

Your article (Coventry University warned over ‘anti-union tricks’ amid staff pay row) quotes a university spokesperson saying that the sham union the “Staff Consultative Group” set up Coventry University Group was established for 18 months and that the University and College Union refused to acknowledge this fact. Not so. We knew it existed but what nobody knew, not even the staff it was supposed to represent, was that the university had secretly registered it as a union.

The spokesperson also says, “Teaching staff within the group have similar levels of pay to those at Coventry University.” Again, not true. Hourly-paid lecturers and those on zero-hours contracts at the Coventry University Group are paid significantly less than their university colleagues.

Furthermore, if you teach at Coventry University, the employer contributes 16.8 per cent of your salary into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. If you teach at Coventry University Group, it puts just 6% into a far inferior scheme. The truth is that Coventry University is employing legal loopholes to get teaching on the cheap. This latest assault on staff terms and conditions is simple union-busting and should have no place in a progressive workplace.

Coventry University University and College Union (UCU) branch committee

The Royal Air Force was formed in April 1918 from an amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

It has had a distinguished record in both war and peace and conducts peacekeeping operations in several countries. Its equipment includes fighter and strike, airborne early warning, signals and transport aircraft, both fixed-wing and helicopter. The personnel nowadays total around 34,000 full-time and 6,000 reservists.

I remember a good friend whose Meteor suffered failure of both engines over Bognor, fought to take it out to sea, saving many lives, but was seriously hurt through a problem with his ejector seat. The recent crash of a Red Arrow Hawk aircraft also demonstrates the dangers and the courage and dedication of those involved.

After much thought, I personally did not make a career in the RAF but greatly respect those who do. We can all congratulate them on the Centenary and wish them further great success in the future.

Coun David Skinner (Conservative)

Westwood Ward

Coventry City Council

My wife is thoroughly fed up with Brexit. So, last week she insisted that I have a break from surfing the net on Brexit and join her for a mid-week day out.

We chose to have lunch at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield. It was very busy and buzzing with lots of lively people.

I popped my head into one of the conference rooms. A hundred or so people were in attendance. What were they discussing?

It was a seminar for UK businesses on Brexit. They were discussing the importance of the smooth flow of millions of manufactured components travelling constantly between the West Midlands and the European continent. How would Brexit impact on those supply chains?

For our vehicle and aerospace industry it is a problem that cannot be ignored. Any barriers interrupting that flow will be highly damaging to what is now continent- wide integrated manufacture systems.

I wondered how much time and resources was currently being devoted to such matters at the expense of work on increasing investment and how to improve productivity.

Well we really enjoyed our lunch but did not manage to escape Brexit.

Phil Beyer Solihull

As one of the UK’s largest charitable funders we want to highlight the amazing work that is being carried out by many small community organisations and charities in the Coventry area. However many of the vital services that these charities provide, such as meals on wheels, disability support and mental health services, are at risk if they don’t receive the funding they need. Every year hundreds of charities apply to us for support as funding gets even tighter and council cuts continue to bite.

At a time when communities are struggling to support those in need, we felt it was important to launch a fund that would help bring local communities together. By funding capital projects, such as a minibus for a local youth group or a new kitchen for the community hall, we want to ensure that charities have the facilities they need to do more of their great work. So in our 60th Year we have launched the Weston Anniversary Fund which will award up to £150,000 for each charity that successfully applies for help to improve their existing facilities, or provide new ones. We have £5million for this one-off scheme so we can support as many charities as possible.

You only have to look at what’s happening to youth services across the country to see how vital good community support is. Without these services many vulnerable people will be at risk. We want to help small, local charities give people a safe place to go to get the help that they need, at the time that they need it.

Anyone interested in applying for this unique fund can find out more at https://anniversary.garfieldweston.org/ – the deadline for applications is 30th June 2018.

Philippa Charles

Director, Garfield Weston Foundation

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