Latest local news
The latest newsletter for members of UCU University of Leeds local association is available now.
You can download a PDF version at: leedsucunewsletterseptoct2016
Text-only version below:
2016 Pay claim
The derisory 1.1% ‘final offer’ will be imposed in our September pay – but don’t be fooled, the unions have not agreed it and the dispute continues. Unison have recently voted for industrial action too, so we hope to coordinate action over the next months for maximum effect.
Prospective students and parents at the Open Day were shocked by the gender pay gap and the casualisation situation, and supported our campaign. We also pointed out that vice chancellors enjoyed an average 6.1% pay rise last year.
Remember we’ve suffered below inflation pay rises every year since 2009 except in 2014 when we took strike action. The pay claim also seeks substantive action (not just words) on the gender pay gap (12.6%) and on casualisation (to reduce fixed term/zero hours contracts). Universities can clearly afford more – the sector as a whole has over £1 billion in operating surpluses, and Leeds salted away £57 million last year.
Brexit – Open Meeting
Wednesday 19 October 1-2 pm
Baines Wing SR2.10
Consequences of the EU Referendum Result All welcome (EU/UK/international, union members and non-members) to discuss the effects of the referendum result and what we can do to support you.
At present, UCU is negotiating on behalf of members on new university policies on:
- Promotions (academic & academic-related)
- Statute VII (disciplinary, ill health, grievance, capability, etc.)
- ‘Rewards’ and ‘Leadership Development’
- Working in partnership with the university
- Organizational change (the formal mechanism for protecting jobs and terms/conditions during restructures)
Your UCU negotiators scrutinise new policy, consult the UCU committee, draft and negotiate changes, check them against national policy with UCU officials, and finally sign off agreed policies in the Joint Committee of the University and the UCU. It’s a huge amount of work, but very important to ensure staff are treated fairly.
UCU members volunteer in Calais
During her fortnight in the ‘jungle’ refugee camp in July, Lesley, our branch Campaigns Officer, chronicled the experience in a blog: www.calaiscalling.wordpress.com
“I hope this blog may inspire and provide confidence for you to visit the camps to deliver supplies, teach, or raise desperately needed funds. My goal is to be part of collective solidarity offering strength and hope to the refugees.”
UCU is hosting Eyewitness report from the Calais ‘jungle’ refugee camp with UCU members Lesley McGorrigan and Jeremy Toner:
Wednesday 5 October, 1-2 pm, Roger Stevens LT10. All welcome.
You can donate at www.care4calais.org
A reminder that university policy is that you can opt out of having your lectures captured without having to give any reason. We have heard worrying examples of schools not adhering to this policy – please get in touch if you have concerns.
Major change is underway in IT and UCU is focusing on protecting the conditions of our IT staff (avoiding redundancy or downgrading) and ensuring that appropriate IT support is available to all staff across the university. We recorded a ‘failure to agree’, and ensured the reorganisation will be dealt with through the full Employment Security Review Group process. Although we didn’t agree to phase 1 of the restructure, we were able to reach an understanding about its completion, so we can negotiate over phase 2 during this academic year. Please get in touch with any issues, including non-IT staff who may be concerned about specialist IT services.
What we did in 2015-16
A lot happened last year!
- We represented members in 60 new cases and worked to avoid redundancies or staff detriment in departmental reorganisations.
- We held open meetings and campaigned on workload, women in the union, anti casualisation, ‘Prevent’, challenging racism, and the government Green Paper on HE.
- We played an active part in the national pay dispute (see above) including sending the VC a Valentine’s card saying how much we’d love a fair pay rise, appearing on Radio Leeds, publicising the ‘additional’ pay rise for very senior staff last year, and much more.
All members are welcome to get involved in UCU activities, including Action Group which works on campaigns. Contact us to find out more.
UCU stalls – coming to you!
We’ve been taking stalls round campus – here we are in Computing talking to Lucie the robot:
Each school or service should have at least one UCU rep – they keep you informed and can tell you who to talk to if you have problems. The list of reps is at http://ow.ly/WYIKs If there isn’t a rep in your area, why not volunteer? Training can be provided.
Leeds UCU General Meetings
The next GMs are on Thursday 29 September and Tuesday 6 December, both 1-2 pm (see emails for venue). All members welcome.
Help us recruit!
The more members we have the better we can defend members when there are problems. Could you talk to a colleague about joining? The most common reason for not being a member is never having been asked! Some good reasons to join are at www.ucu.org.uk/findoutmore
In these difficult times, university staff have never needed a union’s protection more. It’s easy to join at https://join.ucu.org.uk
Post: UCU Office, Room 751, EC Stoner bldg.
All members and none members are invited to an open meeting with Lesley McGorrigan and Jeremy Toner, Leeds University UCU members, for an eyewitness report from the Calais ‘jungle’ refugee camp.
Wednesday 5 October, 1pm-2pm
Rogers Stevens lecture theatre 10
Lesley kept a blog of her experiences there, which is an excellent insight into the reality behind the news headlines: calaiscalling.wordpress.com/
You can help to promote the event by sticking this poster up in your workplace: calais-poster-oct-16
All members general meeting, 29 September, 1pm – 2pm, Michael Sadler Building, lower ground floor, seminar room LG15.
- Minutes and matters arising from previous meetings
- EU and Brexit
- Free movement motion –University of Leeds UCU local association
This 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. This policy was strongly condemmend by the UCU Congress 2009’s resolution as “discriminatory and an attack on the civil liberties of international staff and students”; “likely to lead to draconian absence and sickness policies being introduced”; “likely to severely damage the international status, and quality of education and research in institutions due to the loss of overseas staff and students”; “counter to our core values of academic freedom and equality”; imposing extra duties including the monitoring and surveillance of international staff and students (Link to UCU guidance). This policy, however, does not explicitly refer to a commitment to defend the free movement of labour, including for all workers in higher education.
This 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 mechansisms that our international colleagues already face. Similar barriers will likely be placed on UK nationals living in or moving to the EEA.
This 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 intelectual and cultural contribution made by the international staff and students on our campuses.
This 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.
This UCU local association resolves to urgently:
- campaign for free movement of labour and opposition to the Points-Based Immigration Scheme
- campaign for an up-front guarantee for existing EU/EEA citizens in the UK to stay
- campaign for protection for EU research funding and EU students
- campaign for full recognition of workers’ rights throughout EU withdrawal negotiations, including for non-academic staff
- promote planned solidarity activity with non-EU colleagues at campus level to demand improvement of immigration support for all non-UK staff
With regard point 1 and our engagement in the Campaign to defend freedom of movement across Europe post-Brexit this UCU local association further resolves to lobby our Vice Chancellor to commit publicly 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 initiation or outcome of 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.
This 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
Submitted by the committee, to be moved by Gabriella Alberti
- IT restructure
- Pay dispute
- Motion: pay campaign
Leeds University UCU branch notes:
- the most recent ‘final’ unsatisfactory offer (1.1%) from the employers body UCEA.
- the fact that the employers have made another ‘final’ offer, when they said they could do nothing on the gender pay gap and casualisation shows that our industrial action so far has had an effect. The very small and totally inadequate movement to talks on these issues indicates that we need to step up the action.
- our pay demand was made on the basis of addressing the continued drop in real pay, rises in National Insurance contributions, rises in pension contributions and cuts in pension provision.
- members have been inspired by the desire of UCU to place equality issues, specifically, the gender pay gap and abuse of casualised contracts, as central components to our pay demands.
- UNISON has recently voted to take industrial over the claim; this is a great opportunity for us to coordinate our action to have maximum effect. Unite is also currently engaged in balloting members on joining the pay action.
Leeds University UCU branch believes:
- UCEA’s latest pay offer fails to satisfy any of the elements of the pay claim. We require the employers to demonstrate action to end the gender pay gap and the abuse of casualised contracts rather than to merely talk about it.
- we will need to escalate our industrial action including strike action to ensure a fair settlement of the pay demand.
Leeds University UCU branch resolves to:
- reject the ‘latest’ offer from the employers.
- call on UCU to restart the pay campaign with new publicity and material focusing upon the continued discrimination faced by women and casualised staff in Higher Education.
- mandate our national Higher Education Committee (HEC) to organise an escalation of the pay campaign with a return to industrial action including strike action leading to action short of strike this semester.
- ask HEC to coordinate action with the other campus unions where possible.
Submitted by the committee, to be moved by Lesley McGorrigan
- Any other notified business
“I am spending two weeks volunteering with Care4calais which provides food, other basic supplies and social activities, including language classes, to refugees in the Calais camp known as the ‘Jungle’. My goal is to go beyond delivering charity; to be part of collective solidarity offering strength and hope to the refugees.”
Lesley McGorrigan, campaigns secretary of our UCU local association, has written a fascinating blog of her work in the Calais refugee camp over the summer. The text and photos are a real insight into the lives of the refugees there: calaiscalling.wordpress.com
All members are invited to a UCU University of Leeds local association emergency general meeting on Wednesday 6 July at 1pm, in Clothworkers North Building lecture theatre 2.31 (cinema). The agenda is:
1. EU referendum result
To discuss and debate the implications of the EU referendum for our university and the sector
2. IT restructure
An update from the negotiating team
3. UCU president
The committee has voted to appoint Tim Goodall as president for 2016-17 under rule 8.9 because the Annual General Meeting didn’t elect a president. The committee is seeking the general meeting’s approval of that decision.
How to get to Clothworkers North Building lecture theatre 2.31 (cinema): From the main door of Clothworkers North building, go through two sets of double doors and head down the corridor. Go up to level two using staircase 2. Follow the corridor around. The Cinema room is straight ahead.