17 April 2014

End of BOGOF?, OVIVO Action, Racist Swan, Flirty Lecturers…

Staff postpone marking boycott after unis offer pay rise

uni staff boycottLecturers who were threatening to boycott marking the papers of final year students have postponed their industrial action after being offered a 2% pay rise.

Members of the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) had planned to refuse to mark any coursework or exams from the 28th of April. The action has been postponed until at least the 7th of May, while the union ballots its members and considers the pay offer.

Our take: This ‘strike’ is divisive, drastic and dangerous. Students, and their hard work, are being used as pawns in a game between two parties. Which should both really have student’s interest as their top priority. We’re not saying lecturers don’t deserve a pay rise, but they’ve chosen the wrong target here.

Supermarkets to drop BOGOF deals

End of bogofA government report has found that shoppers in the UK are wasting 15 million tonnes of food every year. In an attempt to limit the amount of food wasted supermarkets are being encouraged to stop multi-buy and buy one get one free deals.

The report also highlighted that surplus food should be passed on to charities or food banks rather than being thrown away.

Our take: Stopping BOGOF deals may discourage shoppers from overbuying, but common sense seems to be what’s lacking here. Sensible shopping and planning meals would go a long way in stopping the amount of food that’s being wasted, and will probably end up saving you money as well.

Bankrupt mobile firm Ovivo reported to authorities

ovivo actionThe mobile telecoms company Ovivo has been reported following its closure last month. When the company folded, many customers who had bought contracts and SIM cards were left out of pocket.

The firm is currently looking at its liquidation options and customers may be able to get some or all of their money back.

Our take: If you’re an Ovivo customer, or perhaps more fittingly a former Ovivo customer, make sure you’re taking all the actions available to you to get your money back. It is expected that all customers will receive an email with a claims form on for their refund, but this doesn’t hold a guarantee on the money. There are also several other bodies to complain to, such as Action Fraud or the Insolvency Services.

PayPal launches new protection rules for customers

Paypal protectionPayPal is changing its customer protection rules starting this June. Currently the limit on complaints when something goes wrong is 45 days after a payment is made.

The cap will be increased to 180 days as well as being opened up to any online purchase,  including events like concerts, festivals or the theatre, which are not covered by the current rules.

Our take: This is a strong play by PayPal, by recommitting themselves to customer security they reaffirm their dominance in the online payment field as well as showing that they are aware of and adaptable to how we shop online.

Racist swan attacks foreign students at Warwick Uni

Racist SwanA swan who has made its home on campus at Warwick University has been involved in several attacks on students, and according to reports it particularly targets those from ethnic minorities.

The university has put up a fence around the lake where the offending Anatidae lives to stop the number of attacks.

Our take: While a fence seems like a good short term solution, there is still a lot more work to be done. It takes a long time for culture to change, but through educating ignorance as well as spreading tolerance we could start to see progress in the large waterfowl community.

Sussex Uni students and lecturers most likely to engage in sexual activity

Student and lecturerA survey into sexual activity and flirting between students and lectures has found that Sussex University is the nation’s hotspot extra curricular relations.

The University of Edinburgh and Cardiff Metropolitan came second and third in the poll, which also found that English lecturers are considered the most attractive by their students.

Our take: This looks like typical PR fluff to us, especially when you see that the ‘survey’ has been conducted by the website Shag at Uni. Still it’s an eye opener that this kind of thing is happening on campus at all. Seems far too Hollywood and cliché for charming, romantic English lecturer to really be sleeping with their students.

State of the Machin: On Record Store Day

rsdI don’t think I’ve ever felt so out of touch with modern music, as I did when I got a text from a friend asking me if I was ‘doing anything’ for Record Store Day. It was as if some kind of new holiday or religious tradition had sprung up that had completely passed me by.

In theory, I think Record Store Day sounds like a great idea, bands release new, limited exclusive content, people support their local community/economy and their favourite bands and the everyone involved gets some rose tinted nostalgia for the good ol’ days.

However one day a year isn’t going to save record stores, they’re pretty much already dead. The vinyl nirvana that Nick Hornby wrote so brilliantly about in High Fidelity doesn’t really exist. And even the soulless large corporations like HMV and Virgin Megastore have been replaced by larger, soul destroying corporations.

But, iTunes and Amazon just work. They killed record stores because they were more efficient and cheaper. You don’t need the recommendation or the derision of a snobby store clerk, there are algorithms that are constantly pushing new music and products at you, judgement free.

So what am I doing on Record Store Day? Feeling old and finally getting round to cashing in that iTunes voucher I got for Christmas.

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