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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
From email sent to all members by branch president Vicky Blake at 3.14pm on Friday 13 April 2018
The result of the UCU members’ ballot over whether to accept the latest UUK proposal closed at 2pm. We have just heard the result from HQ: Accept
This means that our industrial action will be called off. So no strike on Monday.
This was not the result that the branch EGM agreed to support, however we know that everyone gave the issue considerable thought before voting and we respect each other’s opinions. We need to keep our solidarity strong and carry on working well together. We have uploaded a Dinosaur of Solidarity image created by our very own Honorary Secretary Jonathan Saha for everyone to use on social media [here] – solidarity shared is strength and support increased!
(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
An important note from Committee (Text reproduced from email 6/4/18) At yesterday’s EGM, a number of members raised concerns about the email from UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt (sent on Wednesday 4 April) that accompanies the link to the ballot (text is [here]), because it contains a significant conflation between the “revise and resubmit” position (which is about process) and the “no detriment” position (which is about the possible content of revisions). The two are not synonymous, and many branches who preferred the “revise and re-submit” approach (as ours did) had varying positions on whether they also preferred the “no detriment” position, preferred “no pre-conditions”, or somewhere in between. There were also questions at yesterday’s meeting about why a recommendation has been issued from the General Secretary in the absence of any vote by the Higher Education Committee to include a recommendation (the latter is usual practice). The recommendation in the ballot email has been sent by the General Secretary as an individual. On receipt of today’s latest email from the General Secretary we (committee) agreed to write to everyone again. As we noted at yesterday’s EGM, our committee is a signatory to a joint letter from UCU branches, which raises concerns and questions over the balloting process. I have pasted the text below this email and you can read it online [here] – …continue reading