Leeds UCU is working hard to end casualised contracts in UK Higher Education. We think everyone at Leeds and other institutions should have a secure job, and that it is unacceptable that people live without knowing if they will be able to pay their rent or not due to precarious working conditions. Through our Anti-casualisation roadshow, Ignition (October 2018), the subsequent Anti-casualisation claim (January 2019) and our broader campaigns for fair pay we have highlighted the challenges faced by precariously employed staff and research students on teaching contracts and demanded the university pay attention.
To keep in touch with anti-casualisation news more broadly, follow Leeds Anticasualisation news @casualsleeds and nationally @UCUAnti_Cas. (The hashtag #zinesagainstprecarity may also be of interest as contains some great creative critiques of the current state of UK HE.)
Text of email from branch president Ben Plumpton to members on 26 June 2020 Dear members, UCU levy You will have seen the email today from Jo Grady, our General Secretary, about UCU taking a levy from members of £15 (in two instalments) for the Fighting Fund, so that the union can continue to support members taking industrial action. Obviously it’s important that the union can help members in this way: many members in our branch have been supported by the Fighting Fund over the recent strikes, and the union has prioritised low-paid and casualised staff in disbursing strike pay. However, your branch committee is concerned about the lack of consultation on this, and that it wasn’t possible, according to the UCU rule book, to make this a progressive levy dependent on salary. We know many hourly paid, part time and low paid members will find this levy difficult to afford. (Note: members on the full free membership are excluded from the levy). Some members have already offered to contribute to cover the levy for low paid members of this branch (thank you!), and we would be glad to hear from any other members who feel able to do the same. …continue reading
Text of email from branch president Ben Plumpton sent 3 June 2020 Dear members, At our branch General Meeting on 28th April we passed an important motion about supporting casualised staff (copied in full below) which included calling on you to support the CoronaContracts campaign. Please sign the national open letter at https://tinyurl.com/coronacontract – thank you. Locally, your branch officers and committee are pressing our management on many of these issues, particularly the renewal of contracts and the impact on migrant workers, and our caseworkers are supporting individual members too. The CoronaContracts campaign have written an open letter to the union’s General Secretary and newly elected National Executive Committee, asking them to hold a mass online meeting of UCU members, both casual and permanent, to discuss urgent action around casualisation. The letter is headed “If you don’t do it, we will” and you can view and sign it at https://forms.gle/5FfShwDFB4HfC6vk9 CoronaContracts are holding a mass meeting tomorrow (Thursday 4th June) on Zoom, at 6:30 pm, and I’d encourage you to join it if you possibly can. The Zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81863074335?pwd=RWNsaWNiY1FOQ0s5WjlmSXZ0M1pLQT09 It is crucial at this time, when many universities are wanting to make savings on staff costs, that we as union members stand together in solidarity, …continue reading
An emergency meeting of the branch was help today to establish the branch’s position on the employers’ offer on casualisation, equal pay, workloads and pay (the ‘four fights’ dispute) and on the latest developments in the USS pensions dispute. The meeting is to let our delegates know how to vote on our behalf at a meeting of branch delegates on Tuesday (26 May), ahead of the UCU higher education committee meeting on 27 May. (For more details see Your feedback on next-steps in the ‘Four Fights’ and USS disputes) No formal vote was taken on the USS pensions dispute, so our delegate will try to vote with the contributions made in mind. On the ‘four fights’ dispute, members passed the following motion: Motion 1 This branch rejects the latest ‘offer’ in the 4 fights dispute. We don’t believe that sufficient progress has been made on any of the key issues in the dispute in the light of the developing crisis in the sector. Accepting an ‘offer’ that does not give sufficient guarantees to women members on the gender pay gap, BAME members on the race pay gap and to our casualised staff and includes no movement on pay would be …continue reading
Email sent to branch members 20 May 2020 I’m writing with some further information about the two disputes – the reports from the UCU negotiating teams. Please read these if you possibly can before our emergency general meeting 1pm Friday where we will discuss the disputes and elect a delegate to take the branch views to a branch delegates meeting next week which will inform the union’s Higher Education Committee (HEC). The HEC will then take a decision on what the union will do in each dispute, including whether to put the employers’ offer on the Four Fights to a membership ballot, and about balloting for further industrial action. The current position is that the union will re-ballot on both disputes, starting at the end of June or as soon as practically possible thereafter, and ending in September. HEC can decide to continue the ballots as planned or to cancel, postpone or otherwise alter them. Four Fights negotiators statement (please also read the Four Fights briefing emailed by Jo Grady) USS negotiators report (please also read the USS briefing emailed by Jo Grady) Our negotiators have worked incredibly hard for many months on both disputes and their statements are crucial to these discussions. Our industrial action …continue reading
In the event of difference between the web version and the minutes agreed at the branch general meeting 14 May, the latter is the correct version. (Formatting is the most likely difference.) General meeting Tuesday 28 April 2020, 1pm – 2pmVideo meeting Minutes Chaired by branch president Ben Plumpton Agreed to restrict speeches to 3 minutes for movers and 2 for debate. Minutes of the previous meetings 7 November 2019 EGM. Minutes agreed. 22 January 2020 EGM. Minutes agreed. 2 March general meeting. Minutes agreed. Local update Update on local discussions with university senior management. We are meeting with HR regularly. We’re concerned about how frequently we’re being informed about decisions rather than being consulted on them. We’re not being involved in the decisions of the university executive group (UEG) – we’re being frozen out of decisions about how the university proceeds. Fixed term contracts is a priority – we’ve asked for extensions for all staff. The university made a minor extension to the end of May for most but we are trying to impress upon them the urgency of extensions for all staff as soon as possible particularly while the job market is frozen. There has been confirmation about …continue reading