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Investigation: The NUS Referendum

first_imgThis investigation also includes C+ examining the NUS Extra Card, what the alternatives to the NUS are, Tom Rutland and Eleanor Sharman on the pros and cons of NUS membership and James Elliott on how the NUS works. A referendum will be held between Monday and Wednesday of 4th Week on whether OUSU’s membership of the NUS should be renewed for the academic year 2014-2015. The official question put to students shall be: “OUSU is currently affiliated to the National Union of Students (NUS). Should it continue to be affiliated: yes or no?”The decision to hold the referendum was made at 7th Week OUSU Council in Trinity Term 2013. The Education Act (1994) requires OUSU to decide annually whether it wishes to remain affiliated to external organisations such as the NUS. The decision to affiliate to the NUS was previously made by OUSU Council. However, due to changes in OUSU’s funding, a referendum is now to be held.OUSU’s membership of the NUS was previously paid for by earmarked funding from the University block grant. This meant that, if OUSU was not affiliated with the NUS, it would not otherwise get this funding. However, in its budget for the academic year 2013-2014, OUSU had its block grant from the University increased to approximately £500,000. As part of this, the earmarking of funds was removed.For the first time, OUSU now has full discretion on how its block grant from the University is spent. This means that OUSU now has the option of spending the part of its grant previously reserved for NUS membership elsewhere. In 2012-2013, NUS affiliation cost OUSU £25,308 and was projected to cost £27,987.80 for 2013-2014, at the time that the motion to hold the referendum was passed.[mm-hide-text]%%IMG_ORIGINAL%%9599%%[/mm-hide-text] A C+ Investigation in the 5th Week of Hilary Term 2014 found Oxford’s cost of NUS affiliation to be £26,118 in 2013-2014 – 3.26% of OUSU’s £801,318 budget. However, the cost of NUS affiliation as a percentage of OUSU’s budget will be higher in future years, as part of the current block grant given by the University to OUSU is a one-off deal due to a loss of £58,000 which OUSU incurred in 2009. The leaders of the respective ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns for the referendum were chosen on Sunday of 1st week. Nominations to lead either of the campaigns were open from Sunday 27th April until Saturday 3rd May. However, both campaigns had only one nomination each.Current OUSU President Tom Rutland was elected leader of the ‘Yes’ campaign, while former Chair of OUSU Council, Jack Matthews, was elected to lead the ‘No’.Both candidates attended the NUS Conference this year, for which Oxford had seven delegates. The NUS National Conference took place in Liverpool between 8th and 10th April. Motions passed at the conference, included motions to oppose UKIP, oppose the privatisation of student loans and introduce gender balancing for all NUS committees and delegations. Current NUS President Toni Pearce was also re-elected.The ‘No’ campaign has already begun campaigning on social media, branding itself ‘Believe in Oxford’. The campaign has so far attempted to ask Oxford students whether they feel the NUS represents them. ‘Believe in Oxford’ have also attempted to emphasise how cost of affiliating to the NUS, roughly £25,000, could be spent elsewhere.Matthews has previously campaigned extensively for reform of the NUS, creating the website TheyWorkForStudents.co.uk. The website aims to ‘unlock’ the NUS by making the NUS’ governing documents more readily accessible, as well as providing information on how the NUS is run and the contact details of NUS officers. In a recent blog post, Matthews compared the idea of disaffiliation from the NUS to that of a “strike”, using OUSU’s payment to the NUS as an incentive for the organisation to change.‘Yes’ campaign leader Tom Rutland wrote a note on Facebook in April laying out what the NUS does for students. The piece emphasised the importance of rallying and organising students together on a national level. Rutland also listed some of the NUS’ achievements in the past year, including securing £45 million in postgraduate student support and the training that they provide to Students’ Union officers. [mm-hide-text]%%IMG_ORIGINAL%%9602%%[/mm-hide-text] Cherwell has conducted a survey of 150 Oxford students to test students’ thoughts on the matter. The survey found that the majority of students currently favour re-affiliation, despite being unsure of what the NUS does. The survey shows that 66% of respondents either ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’ with the statement that they understand what the NUS does for Oxford students, while a further 11% of students answered ‘neutral’.In contrast, only 10% of students said that they ‘strongly agree’ that they know what the NUS does. Even if this is combined with the percentage that ‘agree’ with the statement, that means that only 23% of respondents claim to understand what the NUS does.Most students surveyed currently wished to remain affiliated with the NUS, despite the majority of them not understanding what it does, with 47% of respondents answering that they ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that OUSU should remain affiliated.Importantly, 33% of students are still undecided about which way they will vote, meaning a large body of students have not yet formed an opinion on the issue. Furthermore, while our survey suggests that the ‘Yes’ campaign are starting with an advantage, the majority of students still do not back actively re-affiliation.It appears voter turnout will have a major impact upon the outcome, with only 20.8% of the student population voting in the OUSU elections in Michaelmas.Given the extensive coverage this received and the more immediate relevance of those elections for Oxford students, the turnout for this referendum is likely to be lower.When Cherwell asked students whether they were going to vote in the NUS affiliation referendum only 38% said they planned on doing so. In addition, 34% of students claimed they did not plan on voting, while 28% responded that they had not yet decided.Therefore, even if most students are currently sympathetic to remaining in the NUS, whether they feel strongly enough to participate in the referendum will be a key determinant in its outcome.Voting will take place between Monday and Wednesday of 4th Week.last_img read more

Stop Worker Abuse in Hudson County

first_imgMore aggressive and comprehensive enforcement – at every level of government – of existing laws;Stronger, smarter labor laws – New Jersey lags behind neighboring states in establishing modern, effective laws; andAwareness – the problem is in plain sight, but too many officials in government are willing to ignore it.The Hudson County Board of Freeholders, led by Freeholder William O’Dea, took a brave first step by challenging a powerful industry, and hopefully other politicians will follow, as we have a long way to go to achieve fairness for the people who build the progress in this county and our state.Richard TolsonDirector, International Union of Bricklayersand Allied CraftworkersAdministrative District Council, New JerseyLocals No. 4 & 5 Dear Editor:Throughout our state, wealthy developers are taking advantage of lax labor law enforcement and outdated regulations to increase profit margins by abusing workers, robbing workers and the state of revenue and creating an unequal business environment where illegality is the optimal business model.The practice is so widespread that this type of criminality is now the standard procedure in the development industry. Too many politicians have historically looked the other way, as campaign cash from developers and contractors flows readily, but the Hudson County Board of Freeholders recently stood up to challenge the industry. In August, the freeholders passed a resolution condemning exploitative developers, helping to shine a light on the abuses that are taking place daily.These millionaire developers are utilizing construction contractors who break federal and state laws by misclassifying full-time workers as part-time contractors, committing wage theft by violating overtime requirements, establishing illegal work weeks, paying cash and evading taxes – all with one goal: to increase profits. This widespread worker abuse is occurring while the developers are charging record rents, record warehouse prices and recording obscene profits, and often with the benefit of state or local sponsored tax breaks.The fact that these illegal practices are allowed to continue in plain sight amounts to direct corporate welfare, with working men and women being abused and the taxpayers being cheated. And Hudson County is literally ground zero for the issue.At a time when state government has nearly shut down and further tax increases seem inevitable, it’s important to consider the millions of dollars being stolen from the state due to the vast fraud that is taking place. According to a comprehensive report from Stockton University, approximately 35,000 workers are off-the-books or illegally misclassified as independent contractors, which leads to the state losing $25 million a year in tax revenue.What are we seeking? We are seeking basic fairness and economic justice: a level playing field so businesses operating within the law can compete and for all workers to be treated fairly and afforded the protections already granted to them in existing law.We believe three overall concepts could create greater fairness for the working men and women of Hudson County and more tax revenue for local governments:last_img read more

Spaniards living in the Belarusian ‘bubble’

first_imgThe President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, recommends fighting the coronavirus “drinking vodka, going to the sauna and working hard”, although, at the moment, the Spaniards at Dynamo Brest only support the third of its premises. “I don’t drink anything. And once I went to the sauna and I didn’t like it. I, being a Canary, prefer the 25 degrees of my land. When I arrived the temperature was -18º. I got off the plane and thought I was dying. One crazy thing, “recalls a David Deogracia uneasy about the situation his relatives are living in Spain:” There are my parents, my wife and my two daughters. They worry about me because I go out to work daily and I am in contact with 120 children and all those who work in the sports city. When we talk, we show happiness to try to take pressure off them. From so far I can’t do more. “Although the Belarusian government tries to appear normal, there are already those who raise their voices so that the country’s soccer will give in to the health crisis. “The most loyal fans ask that the competition stop because they fear getting contagious when they move to other fields. On the last day they did not attend the stadium as a protest“David Deogracia reveals.” The influx has decreased, but people continue to go to watch football, “added the Gran Canaria, aware that Belarusian football could benefit from such an anomalous situation:”They have sold the television rights to Russia and Ukraine for the first time in their history. It is very important to them that the Vysshaya Liga continues. It will bring them many economic benefits. “Thailand, Morocco and … MaradonaDespite having found stability in Belarus, David Deogracia knows what it is like to work in Europe, Asia and Africa. He went to Thailand after receiving a call from Alejandro Menéndez, who then led the Buriram United first team. Deogracia was in charge of the sub-19, which made him the national champion. After returning to Spain, he was recruited by Sergio Lobera to direct the Moroccan Atlético de Tetuán academy. And it led the U-20 team to the first league title in its history. In 2017 he left for Brest, where he witnessed the arrival of Diego Armando Maradona to the Dynamo bench. “We did not agree much, but since we were speaking Spanish, we were able to chat. He was very good to us. He is a crack.” As if it were an oasis in the middle of the desert, Belarus, apparently oblivious to the coronavirus pandemic that affects the world, wakes up every morning wrapped in an enigmatic normality. In Brest, a city of 300,000 inhabitants bordering Poland, he works David Deogracia, one of the three Spaniards who are members of the Dynamo Brest, current champion of the Vysshaya Liga. “We train and then we go home because, although they say that everything is going well, we are cautious. In the face of uncertainty, prevention is better than cure,” says the person in charge of running the academy. “Life here continues normally. Everyone works, takes the car, or goes to restaurants and cafes“adds the canary, who follows” the same prevention guidelines as in Spain “:” It is difficult because you take precautions, but the others do not. That leaves you totally unprotected. “Deogracia mistrusts the official data: “They say that in Brest, a city of 300,000 inhabitants, there is only one infected by coronavirus. It is striking, but precisely because of this the soccer, handball or ice hockey leagues continue to be disputed, because they say there is no risk”. The grancanario is in charge of directing the Dynamo Brest academy. The methodology, train the rest of the coaches or do scouting tasks. Everything has been on his account for three years now. The physical trainer accompanies you in the lower categories Armiche Vega, while in the first team, also as a coach, Fran Balaguer. Everyone claims to be living “in a bubble”. “It is as if we were starring in a movie,” adds David Deogracia, “perplexed” because “I can do whatever I want without any problem and, meanwhile, in Spain they are all locked up at home.”last_img read more

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