Thanks to everyone who wrote to their MP about this – the pressure worked! See more details on separate post.
Legal advice on working in the UK
UCU has produced guides and legal briefings about working in the UK for UCU members who aren’t UK nationals. There’s also free legal advice from specialist immigration lawyers available for UCU members. See the national UCU website: Working in the UK – a Guide for EEA and Non-EEA Nationals
Gabriella Alberti and Dima Barakat Chami report on this significant change to Home Office rules brought about by pressure from UCU, especially from members of UCU University of Leeds branch On Thursday the 12th of July our General Secretary informed all union members that our UCU campaign for the right to strike of international staff under visa has been won. According to the guidance and immigration rules for migrant workers (under the tier 2 and 5 immigration routes) any staff dependent on a working visa who would incur more than 10 non-consecutive days of unpaid leave (thus including legal strike action) per calendar year would risk the possibility to be reported by their employer to the Home Office. This would effectively put her/his and their family’s right to reside in the UK at risk. It is thus not impossible to imagine how such a punitive and unequal law would discourage migrant workers from joining strike action beyond the symbolic day or two. In this sense we are very proud that our longest ever strike in higher education has acted not only as a terrain to test such unequal treatment on a fundamental democratic right, but ultimately also as springboard for …continue reading
The TUC (Trade Union Congress) in Yorkshire and Humber has contacted trade union branches in the region looking for young (35 or under) members interested in a visit to Brussels to learn about the international role of trade unions. See message below, and please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like an expression of interest form: Dear colleagues, The TUC is pleased to be offering a ‘European trade unionism – Brussels study visit’ for young members from our affiliated unions, taking place between 4-6th September 2018. The application form is attached. The focus on the visit will be: discovering trade unions’ international role, monitoring the status of working rights, learning about cross border collective bargaining, solidarity & making connections. The draft programme includes: Meetings with ETUC, ITUC, UNI Europa, IndustriALL and other European trade union partners A tour around the European Parliament and the opportunity to meet Labour as well as Socialist & Democrat MEPs to discuss Brexit & working rights in Europe Meeting the GMB and/or NUJ Brussels branches, as well as the Labour assistants working in the European Parliament Meeting the TUC international officer An opportunity for a structured study session on European Trade Union issues delivered by the Foundation …continue reading
Legal briefing for international members Friday 25 May, 12pm – 1pm Baines Wing seminar room 2.37 This briefing will be particularly focused on members’ concerns around visa requirements in relation to industrial action (“unauthorised absence” and reductions in pay), but can also cover any other questions regarding our legal working rights (not surpassing the 180 days in a 12 month period, research leave, pensions, etc.). This briefing is also open to international staff who aren’t UCU members. This is a general briefing legal briefing rather than casework representation. If you need individual support through the union please contact email@example.com or for individual legal advice on immigration issues see ucu.org.uk/legal Let’s get the law changed The legal briefing will look primarily at the Home Office current rules, but UCU is challenging the Home Office to change it’s rules to ensure staff working on visas don’t have a reduced right to strike. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt and Labour’ shadow chancellor John McDonnell MP have written an article calling for clarity from the Home Office. UCU is calling on members, especially staff working on international visas, to write to their MP and ask them to back UCU’s call. UCU international staff email list There’s …continue reading
(Text reproduced from email sent to all members by Gabriella Alberti, Equality Officer, 12/4/18) As we have already pointed out in a previous email, the latest USS strike has brought to the fore what the union understands as differential treatment for University staff members on working visas in terms of their participation in industrial action. We believe the experience of unfair treatment by our colleagues on working visas is far from marginal to this important dispute, and that it rather points out to the many contradictions that inhabit our campuses and the HE sector in the UK, where the effects of the Point based system and monitoring of international students and staff have been contested and challenged by our unionsince their introduction. The latest events have shown even more that immigration controls directly hinder our fundamental collective rights. UCU national HQ has released today a message regarding members on working visas’ participation in the strike action, following the lack of response (as of today) by the Home office to Sally Hunt’s letter on this matter on the 15th of March 2018. Matt Waddup, UCU national head of policy and campaigns writes: “Our parliamentary team have been strongly pressing the minister for a response but despite assurances …continue reading
On 12 December the European Commission published a memo with questions and answers based on the common understanding of the rights for citizens following the recent negotiations. We’re linking to this here not as legal advice but because we know this will be of interest to many members and because it hasn’t been widely publicised in the UK. “Questions and Answers – the rights of EU27 and UK citizens post-Brexit, as outlined in the Joint Report from the Negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government” You may also be interest in the response of the campaign group the3million to the latest negotiations. For UCU members there both general and individual legal advice available – see Guide to working in the UK for EEA and non-EEA nationals. …continue reading