University wants to add a new reason for dismissal – any reason!

Multiple choice question, check all that apply.

Q1. What are the grounds for dismissal at the University of Leeds?

☑ Incapable
☑ Misconduct
☑ Ill-health
☑ Redundancy
 ?  Some [read ‘any’] other substantial reason

The university wants to add a new reason for dismissal ‘some other substantial reason’ to our Statutes, which would make it easier to dismiss people for any reason. For example, a conflict of interest or personality clash, third party pressure, raising insufficient funding, not publishing enough, not having a PhD, or criticising management.
UCU opposes this and we want your views on what to do next.

Members please come to the General Meeting, Tuesday 6 December, 1pm-2pm, Roger Stevens lecture theatre 14.

Non-members please join!
ucu.org.uk/join

Calling for a £500 thank you for delivering for the university

The University of Leeds is the Times and Sunday Times University of the Year 2017. We’re proud of that, and we’re proud of the excellent work we do here.

The three staff unions – UCU, Unison and Unite – wrote jointly to the Vice-Chancellor to ask for a thank you for all our hard work. We suggested a flat payment of £500 before Christmas would be a welcome way to thank staff for our collective achievement.

The Vice-Chancellor subsequently emailed staff about giving an extra day’s annual leave as a thank you.

If the university management had discussed this idea with us first we could have warned them that many people would be disappointed or even angered by the suggestion (as proved the case) because they already feel they have to not take all of their annual leave each year because of their workloads, or if they do take an extra day the work will still be there for them on their return.

We have discussed the concerns members raised with us with the Vice-Chancellor.

The three unions have agreed to ask all union members to sign a petition requesting a £500 bonus.

Please sign!  You can sign on paper (many copies are circulating) or sign online below:

University of the Year pay reward

To: Sir Alan Langlands

We the undersigned believe it is right to reward hard work. Staff at the University of Leeds have made this institution the number one university in the country. We achieved this despite pay devaluation over several years. We believe we should be rewarded for bringing the University of Leeds to its current celebrated status.

We welcome the offer of an extra day of annual leave, but we know that some members of staff struggle to take the leave they are already allocated, already work while on annual leave, or would come back to find their work still waiting them on their return.

With the support of the three recognised campus trade unions, we ask that all staff, across the board, are given a bonus of £500 in time for Christmas, either in their salary or via BACS transfer. We know this university is in a healthy financial position and could afford more than this, but we believe that £500 represents a fair thank you for this achievement, as it did at other institutions who gained the same status.

[signature]

51 signatures

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Free Movement motion passed

The motion below was passed unanimously at the Leeds UCU General Meeting on 29th September:

“The UCU local association notes that existing UCU policy on migration and labour markets recognises the social, cultural and economic value of migration and opposes all forms of racism and the Points-Based Immigration Scheme. By approving motion 5 at the last congress 2016, UCU has asserted its commitment to “campaign with other trade unions, NUS and community groups for the overthrow of restrictive legislation which affects international students and staff and no change in the immigration status of EU residents if UK leaves EU (point 7: “Treatment of international staff and students at the last UCU congress”). This policy, however, does not explicitly refer to a commitment to defend the free movement of labour, including for all workers in higher education.

The UCU local association further notes that the existing free movement of labour within the European Economic Area (EEA) is seriously threatened by the EU referendum vote to leave. If this is ended, EEA staff will be drawn under the Points-Based Immigration Scheme, meaning that they will be subject to the same continual visa restrictions, employer-sponsorship arrangements, and monitoring mechanisms that our international colleagues already face. Similar barriers will likely be placed on UK nationals living in or moving to the EEA.

The UCU local association believes that the end of freedom of movement of labour would represent a significant worsening of the condition of present and future EEA staff in the UK. Any restrictions on freedom of movement of labour, and our right to work without discrimination based on nationality, will put increasing competitive pressure on EEA staff, and thus affect staff as a whole and weaken our union. It will also have a detrimental effect on the educational experience and academic life, which are critically enriched by the intellectual and cultural contribution made by the international staff and students.

The UCU local association] therefore agrees that, while continuing to campaign against the Points-Based Immigration Scheme, we must defend existing free movement arrangements, both within and without the EEA.

The UCU local association resolves urgently to:

  1. campaign for free movement of labour and opposition to the Points-Based Immigration Scheme
  2. campaign for an up-front guarantee for existing EU/EEA citizens in the UK to stay
  3. campaign for protection for EU research funding and EU students
  4. campaign for full recognition of workers’ rights throughout EU withdrawal negotiations, including for non-academic staff
  5. promote planned solidarity activity with non-EU colleagues at campus level to demand improvement of immigration support for all non-UK staff.

The local association further resolves to lobby our Vice Chancellor to commit publicly to and do whatever possible to:

  • Permanently guarantee that for the indefinite future there will be no change in the employment or student status of any current EU/EEA Member State and Candidate Country staff and students arising from any change introduced as a consequence of the Brexit negotiations.
  • Permanently guarantee that for the indefinite future this university/college will not implement any changes in the academic qualification, residential or fee conditions concerning students applying from EU member states and Norway or Switzerland, whatever the results of the Brexit negotiations.
  • Campaign as a major European country to maintain free movement of labour and people across all 28 current EU Member States.
  • Meet with the UCU, UNISON and other trade unions within the university/college to discuss the most effective ways of jointly campaigning for the right to remain for all EU workers and students living in the UK and to maintain Freedom of Movement of Labour across the current 28 EU Member States.

The UCU local association also resolves:

  • to publicise the fact that this motion has been passed and encourage other UCU branches to do likewise
  • to submit this motion, when passed, to the National Executive Committee of UCU
  • to liaise with other branches regarding submitting a version of this motion to UCU Congress 2017.”

More information about the wider national campaign here: https://freemovementlabour.wordpress.com

UCU consultation on higher education pay

UCU members will receive an email from national UCU with a link to a form to fill in to indicate your views on the next steps in the pay dispute. Is 1.1% (plus some talks on gender equality and casualisation) enough or should we continue the industrial action?  This is not formally a vote on whether to accept the employers offer, but the outcome will be used by the union to decide on next steps. Here’s what the Leeds UCU committee recommend:

consultation

The general feeling of the Leeds UCU committee was one of disappointment that a small majority of the national union’s higher education committee is considering backing down on taking action. We don’t believe that the promised ‘working together’ on the gender pay gap and on reducing casual contracts is strong enough. The national union has been engaged in joint working on issues of gender equality and casual contracts with the employer in the past. This work, while laudable, has generated a series of reports but little real action.

The union’s claim is for a 5% increase to address a 14.5% cut in pay since 2009. When the national average vice-chancellor pay rose by 6.1% last year, why should we accept 1.1%? In offering 1.1%, our employer (UCEA) rejects the Retail Price Index (RPI, currently around 2.0-2.2%) as a statistically unsound measure yet argues for an RPI-based increase in tuition fees.

The recent victories at Coventry University (where staff who were put on FutureWorks agency contracts will now be offered Coventry University Services employment contracts and UCU will once again be recognised for those staff) and at Hull College (where 142 staff were threatened with redundancy but, following negotiation with UCU, the college has confirmed that it no longer plans to make any UCU members compulsorily redundant) show that we can win with a nationwide campaign of solidarity.

If we start a campaign, we need to see it through to the end.

The Leeds UCU committee recommends the following:
1. Do you consider the UCEA revised offer to be a sufficient basis for further detailed joint work……No
2. Are you prepared to take sustained industrial action to improve an unsatisfactory offer? Yes

The second question turns on what type of action would be needed to shift the employers to put more into the pay bill to arrest a real-terms reduction in pay. If the majority of members voting decide to vote YES to the second question, then the union will call an exam marking boycott in the New Year and some focused strike action to build up to that boycott. (NB the national union has confirmed that the action on external examiners and work to contract still applies until further notice).

Above all, the Leeds UCU committee encourages members to use this opportunity to make your views known.

Brexit – open meeting

Consequences of the EU referendum result

An open meeting to discuss the effects of the referendum result for university staff and what we can do to support each other.

All welcome: EU / UK / international, union members and non-members.

Wednesday 19 October, 1pm – 2pm
Baines Wing seminar room 2.10