Text of email from Ben Plumpton to members 27 March 2020 Hello everyone, Many of you will have been working at home for a week or longer. These are challenging times, and you might feel you are struggling with too much to do, juggling different responsibilities, health issues, practical problems or mental health. Many of us are caring for children or other family members, and that needs to be the priority. Try not to let work get you down, do what you can, and be kind to yourself. I hope that we as union members can support each other with some of this, and that our solidarity can help us to feel less alone and less worried. If there is anything you think the union could help with please email email@example.com. 1. Welcoming the start of constructive progress on Covid-19-related issues On Wednesday 25 March we had a more productive meeting with university HR managers which indicated that the university senior management is starting to listen to some of the serious issues staff have been raising through UCU, Unison and Unite unions and through their managers. There is a lot still where the decisions are yet to be made, which … continue reading
Salaried staff can apply to the UCU fighting fund and branch hardship fund when you’ve received your payslip showing the strike deductions. Our branch hardship process is ready to support those members who need it sooner, such as hourly-paid postgraduates who teach, who would normally be paid before the usual payroll dates. For details and how to apply go to leedsucu.org.uk/hardship-applications-and-surgeries
Strikes and next steps in the disputes First of all, huge thanks for your strike action over the past four weeks. We have shown university managements across the UK that staff are not prepared to put up with precarious contracts, gender and race inequality, excessive workloads, and effective pay cuts through below inflation pay rises and increases to pension contributions. Special thanks to everyone who has joined the pickets, rallies and teachouts, and made them a joyful, determined and supportive experience. We can go back to work on Monday with our heads held high and the knowledge that our actions have moved the negotiations forward. See the latest negotiators’ update on the Four Fights dispute at https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10783/Negotiators-update-on-Four-Fights-11-March-2020/pdf/Four_Fights_negotiators_update_11_March.pdf). On USS there is encouraging progress on underlying issues, and signs of frustration with USS from employers, but we still need an improved offer on contributions. We really need our VC to put pressure on USS to make a better offer on contributions rather than refusing to tell us what our university’s response has been on this. Negotiations will continue on both disputes, but sadly it looks as if further industrial action will be needed to get a decent resolution to both disputes. A … continue reading
Negotiations are at a crucial stage. We need pickets out in great numbers. Thank you so much for all the strength you have put into the action over the last few days. The weather has been shocking, public transport a nightmare, and yet we have seen lots of cheerful and, most importantly, determined picketers every day – and many more a visible presence online. We need to keep up the pressure and grow the action. Because of what we have done so far, UCU’s negotiators were back in negotiations with the employers’ body UCEA today, on the anti-casualisation, workloads, equal pay and pay dispute. They are back in ‘without prejudice’ talks which means they are not able to share details about what was discussed, but we understand the meeting went on much longer than it was supposed to, which has to be a good sign! The next couple of days are, therefore, crucial. Please come out to picket if you can – if you don’t live in Leeds you can give support to a picket at a university closer to you. Here’s the picket sign-up form (for University of Leeds branch). If you can’t picket, please be as loud and … continue reading
We know many of you don’t check your university email when you are on strike, which is sensible to avoid getting drawn into work-related things. However, this can mean that you miss important emails from UCU. The union nationally and the Leeds branch want to be able to let you know what’s going on – updates on negotiations, local rallies and teach outs, meetings to discuss any offers that come from the employer bodies, etc. So we recommend that you change your preferred email for the union to a personal address which you would look at whilst we are on strike. To do this, log on to myUCU at https://ucu.org.uk/myucu and edit your email address on the Personal tab. If you haven’t used myUCU before you will need to register first, which is fairly straightforward. Whilst you are in myUCU, please check your other details are correct (address, employment details, and your income band on the Payment tab so that you are paying the correct subscription). Thanks!