Report from Vicky Blake:
Adapted (to make it readable as prose) from a Twitter-thread – please note that original thread is subject to further updates and that Vicky is responding to questions sent in response to it, which you can follow [here]. You can also follow the thread on [Thread Reader]: Thread by @zenscara #ReviseandResubmit #ASOSforUSS #unityisstrength #USSstrike
The official update from
@UCU on the HEC decision to take the UUK proposal on #USS to a ballot is [here] and I’ve been threading my take on today as an HEC member [here]: I’m still tweeting on this thread + began before the official UCU post came out.
HEC: 10 mins to read paper containing recommendations given to us after Branch Delegates Meeting + 1 hour discussion. 6 Motions submitted by members of HEC, including mine on #ReviseandResubmit. Paper passed + Chair judged 5 motions to fall+1 (setting valuation end date) remitted. I do not think the paper that was put forward (which recommended a consultation with members) needed to be incompatible with all 5 motions that fell, especially the one I argued for on #ReviseandResubmit because I believe there was time to include Revise + Resubmit in the process. The Chair disagreed.
In HEC we were given recap of extra info that had been presented to the Branch Delegates Meeting (which was about 3.5 hrs long I think, as it extended slightly) this morning, including a letter from UUK’s Alistair Jarvis received by the union this morning
*Wording of ballot question
*If I’ll ever get out of UCU HQ (am still tweeting b/c can’t face doing on train)
*This, and the previous Branch Delegate Meeting and HEC Combo (13 March) tell us members *need* more information on processes in plain English so everyone can understand (& can orientate understanding when the union is responding to weird situations) See also [this earlier thread] which explains what happened on 13 March.
Currently, don’t know. I want to scrutinise every scrap of information (noting the General Secretary has promised more after Easter) + urgently organise meeting for all @leedsucu members to discuss *in depth*. (Mis)Trust in UUK et al is a *huge issue*. That we’ll (probably) be asked a variant of a Yes/No question, where many branches saw not 2 but 3 possible broad routes worries me, and is why I proposed a #ReviseandResubmit (with timely timescale) motion to HEC. I sought to avoid division and to build consensus where possible as #unityisstrength
[Added 29 March:]
[Link to tweet with images]
Here’s my rough and ready report after attending today’s UCU delegate meeting (as observer) and Higher Education Committee (HEC) meeting in London. The day was extremely frustrating, to say the very least, given the context of such an important issue, the historically successful strike action, engagement and growth of our union.
Sally Hunt presented the letter from Alistair Jarvis, Chief Exec of UUK and she spoke of the confidential letter she had seen from the pension regulator to David Eastwood, Chair of the USS Board (which she has subsequently emailed you about). After these updates from Sally, many delegates said the consultation they had undertaken in their branches may have been different if it had taken place today. Voting cards had been prepared and issued to the delegates but no vote was taken. There is now some contesting of the official report of the delegates/branches’ collective views. I can confirm that delegates reports were often muddled and sometimes contradictory due to their methods of consultation – many had conducted email polls (with no debate) offering a binary choice resulting in members voting one way but qualifying their vote with written comments which made their vote ambiguous. Many branches had not conducted the democratic type of discussion-fuelled voting that we had yesterday at our EGM. It was very difficult to detect how each branch in the room would have voted had they been asked to.
At the HEC meeting following the delegate meeting, one of the paid union officials presented a paper containing a recommendation that HEC votes to put the UUK proposal (with some clarifications) to a member vote. The chair of HEC, Douglas Chalmers, ruled that five of the six motions submitted by HEC members would fall if the paper from the paid official was adopted and that his paper would be voted on first. The paper was passed by 10 votes to 8. I, along with all UCU Left supporters, voted against the paper as we had heard many views from members calling for UCU to revise and resubmit the proposal, accounting for members’ concerns over some of the detail.
Our fantastic members’ action achieved the latest proposal from UUK, and consigned the 100 percent Defined Contribution scheme to the bin. This is a substantial climbdown from the employers but many members quite rightly don’t trust the USS Board/ UUK to act honourably, without some essential details written into a proposal.
I think we should vote to reject the UUK proposal in its current form and that UCU can then continue its good work and secure the assurances members have asked for.
UCU members are powerful – we have demonstrated this so well.
A UCU Left report that I contributed to is here: http://uculeft.org/2018/03/now-vote-no-and-continue-the-fight/