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Leicester UCU – End-of-Year Quiz 2019

Published: 12th December, 2019

How much do you know about University of Leicester, Leicester UCU and the key events of 2019 in the sector we work and struggle in? Test your knowledge against our end-of-year quiz.

You can either answer the questions online or print out a copy. Why not make several copies and do them with your workmates in the pub, the cake shop or gelatteria? Or even at your department’s end-of-year lunch? You can challenge your boss to see how on the ball they are…

The questions are here. And – no peeking – here are the answers.

Results

Score Classification Interpretation
0–8 correct (that’s less than 40%) Fail We’re surprised. We didn’t know Chris Skidmore did the Leicester UCU quiz.
9–10 correct (40–49%) III With your knowledge of the issues facing the sector and the University of Leicester you’re well qualified for a job in the university’s senior management
11–12 (50–59%) II(2) A mediocre performance. With your proven ability to partially grasp the pertinent issues facing our University, we recommend you apply for promotion at the next available opportunity.
13–14 (60–69%) II(!) Be careful; you know a little too much for your own good. No manager likes a smartarse…
15–20 (70% and above) I Please get in touch — we want you for our branch committee!
Score Classification Interpretation
0–8 correct (that’s less than 40%) Fail We’re surprised. We didn’t know Chris Skidmore did the Leicester UCU quiz.
9–10 correct (40–49%) III With your knowledge of the issues facing the sector and the University of Leicester you’re well qualified for a job in the university’s senior management
11–12 (50–59%) II(2) A mediocre performance. With your proven ability to partially grasp the pertinent issues facing our University, we recommend you apply for promotion at the next available opportunity.
13–14 (60–69%) II(!) Be careful; you know a little too much for your own good. No manager likes a smartarse…
15–20 (70% and above) I Please get in touch — we want you for our branch committee!

#1 What’s Leicester UCU’s favourite public house?

Correct answer: all of the above – trick question?

#2 What is the Sector Norm?

74% – Wrong answer, it’s much higher than that

A really poor excuse – Correct answer

£250,000 – Wrong answer, but understandable why you chose it

More/better than how we’re performing – Wrong answer; don’t believe it!

#3 What did Leicester UCU members not do in May 2019?

Got the vodka (& alternative soft drinks) out, accompanied by samosas, gelato and good tunes – Wrong answer; if you weren’t there you missed a good one, but we’ll do it again soon

Held the inaugural University of Leicester Convocation Wrong answer; this definitely happened, but you’ll all be pretending you were there at this inaugural event in years to come! 

Applauded Prof Gavin Brown’s inaugural lecture Wrong answer; this happened on the same night as our GTVO party – we listened, we cheered and we watched students waving ‘We love Gavin’ signs (a first for an inaugural, apparently).

Negotiated reduction in staff workload Correct answer – you’ve got to be kidding!

#4 What reason has not been given for not joining Leicester UCU?

It’s far too expensive on top of car parking – Wrong answer…

They fight for the few (ULSB) and not the many – Wrong answer. This has been mentioned. FYI Leicester UCU is democratic, with an elected committee and reps.

They may make me dress up in pink and purple Correct answer; well, no one’s said this yet

Unions just organise strikes; what have the unions ever done for us? Wrong answer. People do occasionally say this. The list is endless (weekends, maternity leave, equality laws, etc…)

#5 During #UCUStrikesBack what were Branch Officers Rob, Gareth and Helen accused of being?

Idle and privileged – Correct. While packing away picket line paraphernalia, an unknown person accused them of: being idle and privileged, working 9-4, not working between June and Sept, and tasked them to “get a proper job”

Liberal Democrats Wrong answer (although it would have been equally shocking)

In a romantic relationship to the detriment of branch members Wrong answer Well, they’ve not yet been accused of this anyway

Taking management’s side Wrong answer. That was last year 😉   

#6 In 2019, how many Vice Chancellors has the University of Leicester had?

Three Wrong answer, Prof Burke was ‘acting VC’

Two – Correct answer, Prof Burke was ‘acting VC)

Not enough Wrong answer; we are only interested in facts, not opinions

Too many Wrong answer; we are only interested in facts, not opinions

#7 In 2019, who did students and staff from Archaeology rename their building after (following a suggested first made by Leicester UCU members on International Women’s Day during the USS strikes of 2018)?

Kathleen Kenyon Correct answer

David Willetts Wrong answer. No, just no.

Tony Robinson Wrong answer. Presenting Time Team is not the same as being an archaeologist, Besides why would this be related to International Women’s Day?

Dolly Parton Wrong answer; although our archaeology staff would love the chance to work just 9-5, naming a building after Dolly would be a bit too far. 

#8 According to the most recent gender pay gap report (2018), how much did a woman employed by University of Leicester earn for every £1 earned by a male colleague? (Based on median hours earnings.)

81p Correct answer. Shocking isn’t it?

91p – Wrong answer. This would be shocking, but it’s worse than this…

£1 Wrong answer. You’ve got to be kidding

£1.21 Wrong answer. The world turned upside down!

#9 What happened on the 29th March 2019?

Brexit Wrong answer; If you selected this then we suggest you may want to read the odd bit of news

Boylexit Correct answer

The University Leadership structure changed again Wrong answer; different dates

A brand new staff cafe and common room opened Sadly this is the wrong answer. Maybe next year?

#10 Which of these hats was not spotted on picket lines at University of Leicester in November/December

The Scarecrow was there – scaring the crows who are after our livelihoods

The Duke of Cambridge wasn’t there – although his visit to University of Leicester was obviously a highlight of 2018

The Walrus of Solidarity was there – extremely social and bellowing loudly

The Ice Queen was there – or was she the White Witch… if UUK get there way it will be always winter, but never Christmas for university workers…

#11 Who is the odd one out?

UCU has called for resignation or public rebuking of Bill Galvin, CEO of USS; David Eastwood, chair of USS (and also Birmingham VC); and Adam Tickell, chair of employers’ pension forum (and Sussex VC). Former USS Trustee Jane Hutton is the odd one out as she is only one to have lost her position with USS. She was sacked in October for blowing the whistle on worrying mismanagement of the scheme. You can read more about what happend here.

#12 Acceding to UCU’s claim regarding USS pensions would cost the University of Leicester

  • Approximately nothing Correct. The key issue in the dispute is the valuation of the USS fund. In September this year the Joint Expert Panel reported that the fund had been severely undervalued by USS managers. Using JEP methodology to value USS produces the result that there is no deficit and no crisis: contributions need not rise for either employers nor employees/members.
  • Approximately £30 million Wrong answer. We don’t know the origin of this figure, but we think it came from the University’s director of finance in a meeting attended by heads of schools and departments. To the best of our knowledge no evidence for this claim has been provided.
  • 11.4% According to the present schedule of contributions, members’ (i.e. employees’) contributions will rise to 11.4% from April 2020, the third rise in a year – our contributions were 8% at the beginning of 2019 and only 11% in 2011.
  • 24.2% According to this same USS ‘Recovery Plan’, 24.2% is what employers’ contributions will rise to on 1 April 2020, up from 18% at the beginning of this year.

#13 As a result of changes introduced by USS between 2011 and 2019, a typical member of the scheme…

  • Will be worse off by £80,000 Oh no, this would be bad, but it’s worse than this
  • Will be worse off by £140,000 Oh no, this would be bad, but it’s worse than this
  • Will be worse off by £240,000 Yep, this is the correct answer; it’s a lot, no? It’s based on
    research done by First Actuarial on behalf of UCU. See this report
  • Is lucky to have a cushy define-benefit scheme This must be true because you read it in the Daily Mail.

#14 According to the Office for National Statistics, 273,000 working days were lost in 2018 as a result of labour disputes. Approximately what proportion of these were in the education sector (mostly universities)?

  • One quarter Way too low! Didn’t you see our picket lines?
  • One third Still too low! Perhaps you used the time to catch up on some research?
  • One half You’re getting warmer… but still too low.
  • Two thirds Yes! We are the hottest thing in trade-unionism right now – apart from the university cleaners, of course, organising themselves through United Voices of the World.

#15 Which statement is untrue?

All of these statements are pull quotations from the most recent Financial Statements – those for 2017/18. We couldn’t possibly offer an opinion, except to note that we cannot wait for the publication of the 2018/19 edition, towards the end of January 2020.

  • ‘We are proud to be one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities, elite in the excellence of our research, yet distinctive for the genuine synergy between our research and teaching.’ Um… this is a quotation from the most recent Financial Statements – those for 2017/18. We couldn’t possibly question its veracity, except to note that we cannot wait for the publication of the 2018/19 edition, towards the end of January 2020.
  • ‘We will develop environmentally sensitive, digitally-enabled and world-class campus facilities that will be envied and emulated on a national and international scale.’ Um… this is a quotation from the most recent Financial Statements – those for 2017/18. We couldn’t possibly question its veracity, except to note that we cannot wait for the publication of the 2018/19 edition, towards the end of January 2020
  • ‘We have established a reputation as an open, accessible and friendly university, where people enjoy their work, and both staff and students benefit from our collegial and collaborative approach.’ Um… this is a quotation from the most recent Financial Statements
    – those for 2017/18. We couldn’t possibly question its veracity, except to note that we cannot wait for the publication of the 2018/19 edition, towards the end of January 2020
  • ‘We put students at the heart of our decisions about education and the student experience, because our students matter.’ Um… this is a quotation from the most recent Financial Statements – those for 2017/18. We couldn’t possibly question its veracity, except to note that we cannot wait for the publication of the 2018/19 edition, towards the end of January 2020

 

#16 How much are staff valued at University of Leicester?

49% is the proportion of staff who reported ‘feel[ing] valued by our University’ in the most recent staff survey. (This was back in 2017. We’ve been promised another survey soon, but we’re still waiting. We wonder if they’re scared about what the results might reveal.)

55.6% is the proportion of total expenditure spent on staff costs (in 2017/18 – the latest year for which we have figures). It sounds a lot, but it’s been pushed down from above 58% the previous year and in 2014/15 it was above 60%. Fortunately this decline in proportionate spending on staff is ‘moving us closer to the sector average’. Thank goodness for that.

£183.7 million is total spending on staff in 2017/18 (latest year for which we have figures). That’s a rise of £5.9m or 3.4% over the previous year; but the University’s income grew by 8.2%.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember values – especially when you feel ‘unduly stressed at work’ (31% of us, according to that staff survey) or have a workload that is ‘unmanageable most of the time’ (more than an quarter of us) – so we’re so grateful the University has created ‘a simple acronym‘ to help us. We’re also grateful that the University values people: ‘We respect, trust and appreciate our people. We recognise others’ achievements and our own. We celebrate success. We help everyone to achieve their potential.’

#17 A question concerning our colleagues down the road, what song did De Montfort University’s ‘inadequate’ former VC Dominic Shellard lip-sync to?

#18 As we all know the University of Leicester has a senior leadership team (‘those persons having authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of the University’ – it’s a difficult job and they do it in difficult circumstances). Taking average salary of this team, how by what point in 2020 will such a manager earned the annual salary of a typical University of Leicester employee.

A minute past midnight on 1 January Wrong answer: that would be Jeff Bezos
January 12 Wrong answer: there’s a lot of inequality at University of Leicester but it’s not quite that bad
February 12 Wrong answer: there’s a lot of inequality at University of Leicester but it’s not quite that bad
March 12 Correct answer: according to 2017/18 Financial Statements (the most recent available to us) the 12 ‘key management personnel’ shared compensation of £2.016, giving an average of £168k; median salary is £33,529; the ratio is approx. 5:1.

#19 Who is the odd one out?

Competing in the fancy-dress prize for best Jo Grady, no. 2 is the odd one out – this is the real Jo Grady, dressed as Leicester UCU’s comms officer.

#20 Which of the following brought comfort and joy to our picket lines?

They all did, of course! Our sister union Unison (represented by Bill) put money behind the bar at Ernie’s – to pay for coffee for us and support The Bridge; Christina Weis from DMU ‘bread and roses’ (well, actually homemade baked goods and roses); Red Leicester brought beautiful songs (including also ‘bread and roses’)

finish