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
In May we posted about why Leeds UCU committee believes it is crucial that migrant members have representation within the national UCU structure. At the UCU annual conference later than month, Leeds University UCU, along with UEA UCU, Manchester University UCU, Cambridge University UCU, Sheffield University UCU and the Black Members Standing Committee, moved and seconded the motions that made this happen. We are very proud to have been involved at this significant moment in UCU history and particularly want to thank our equality officer Dima Barakat Chami and committee member Laura Loyola-Hernandez for their hard work and passion in campaigning for this and introducing the motions at congress. Details of the motions passed by congress can be read here but in brief, congress resolves to: recognise migrant status as a protected characteristic under UCU equality structuresimplement rule changes necessary to ensure the representational gap is closedensure protection of migrant members is a priority for UCU The newly set up committee will be dedicated to addressing issues faced by migrant members. These issues can range from unfair visa fees (as of yet, not reimbursed by universities) to discriminatory practices which abound in the everyday life of migrants as they negotiate …continue reading
Text of email sent to all members 5 July. (Agenda not published on the website; if you’re a member and haven’t received the agenda please email email@example.com) Extraordinary general meeting 12pm Wednesday 10 July The committee called this ‘EGM’ for all members because of a load of urgent issues going on now which they think members should have the opportunity to take a collective position on. It’s 12pm – 1pm on Wednesday 10 July in Michael Sadler seminar room LG15 The attached agenda includes all motions on those subjects for members to decide if they agree these should be branch policies/strategies. The meeting was called to discuss: USS pensions disputePay and Equality disputeHead of School appointmentsMisuse of lecture capture by the universityUniForum (another round of collecting benchmarking data on “the efficiency and effectiveness of administration and support services”)Discussion boards for in-course feedbackTimetabling (which includes a motion on workloads negotiating principles)Centralisation of admissions Please update your details before the strike ballots If you’re moving institution or changing jobs, or if you’re a postgraduate student who will start doing paid teaching so be eligible for full (free) voting membership, or you want to get your post or your emails to a different …continue reading
University of Leeds University & College Union USS Pensions There seems to be no comfortable end in sight for the USS dispute. USS have proposed three options as solutions to the ongoing valuation, all of which mean members and employers paying more, and none of which implement the Joint Expert Panel’s recommendations. Employers prefer option 3 which would increase member contributions to 9.6% with possible imposed additional increases after later valuations. It has recently been revealed, after whistleblowing from a USS trustee, that USS misled employers and members about the 2018 valuation, claiming wrongly that The Pensions Regulator had said the JEP recommendations would be too risky. UCU believes we can’t trust these people any longer, has called for the resignation of USS CEO Bill Galvin, and is exploring the possibility of legal action against the USS Trustee Board. We reject any members’ contribution increases, we call on UUK to pick up any imposed extra costs, and we plan to ballot on industrial action in September if they do not agree. See leedsucu.org.uk/pensions What’s happening on pay? 2019 pay negotiations with the employers began in early May and the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) offered 1.8% (increased to 3.65% …continue reading
UCU’s annual congress is its supreme policy making body and it met this year over the May Bank Holiday in Harrogate. This report is an attempt to summarise three very full days of intense and important debates on the various areas with which UCU is concerned. Motion numbers are included in brackets for reference: a full account of all motions with decisions can be found here: www.ucu.org.uk/Congress2019 Congress business is ordered according to the business of various committees: equality; education; recruitment, organising and campaigning (ROC) and strategy and finance. There was a further section on democracy and rule changes. On the second day of congress, delegates divide into a Higher Education Sector Conference and a Further Education Sector Conference. The agenda was very busy indeed. As a result, some motions could not be debated. Those relating to rule changes will be sent to the special Democracy Conference to be held in November; the rest are remitted to the National Executive Committee (NEC) for decision. Leeds University UCU sent five branch delegates to Congress: Arunima Bhattacharya; Dima Chami, Laura Loyola, Megan Povey and Chloe Wallace. In addition, Lesley McGorrigan attended as delegate from the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Committee, and Vicky …continue reading
UCU University of Leeds UCU is one of several branches with motions calling for a migrant members equality strand in UCU. We urge branches and delegates to UCU Congress to support our motions. Why is it so important? Three in every ten staff in UK universities aren’t British (29 per cent). Half of research-only staff (mostly postdocs) are from overseas (47 per cent). Migrants constitute a large demography within British academia (both in FE and HE) – and even while we make up a considerable proportion of UCU’s membership, our voice is not always heard. During the strikes, we were on the front lines with our colleagues, but our solidarity came at a price: migrant staff who took ‘unlawful’ absence from work for more than 10 days were eligible for having their contracts ended – in other words, if migrants took strike action for more than 10 days, they were at risk of deportation. It took considerable pressure, and very loudly voiced anxieties, from University of Leeds branch and others to bring this to the attention of UCU national officers who thankfully took this matter seriously. The right to strike is a human right, but the Home Office – until …continue reading