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
Text of members email sent 16 March 2020 at 5.32pm. Dear members, I mentioned in my email on Friday that we were writing to the VC and asking for an urgent meeting about coronavirus. The letter we sent is below, and an equivalent statement is on our website. Along with the other campus trade unions, we met the VC and some of the senior management team at lunchtime today. We argued strongly that the university should close down, as far as possible and as soon as possible (ideally straightaway), both for the safety of staff and students and for public health reasons (the nature of a university means that infected people could spread the virus considerably). This is the national position of UCU also. We recognise of course that some students will need to stay on campus, and some staff will still need to come to work to support them and to run essential services. But the fewer people on campus, the lower the probability of infection, and the more likely the university is to be able to protect those staff. Chloe, Vicky and I represented UCU at this meeting, and were told we were being emotional over the public … continue reading
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
Text from Branch President’s email to members 17th February 2020 As you know, we will be striking again soon, starting this Thursday, 20th February, over our two disputes. This means you should not do any work on strike days (including working from home or anywhere else, and including anything you do because you work for the university). Don’t inform management in advance that you will be striking, and don’t rearrange things to avoid the strike days. Every member who strikes increases our leverage in these disputes. Every member who pickets helps to show our strength and determination. YOU are needed to make this action successful! Remember, the union has financial support if the strike deductions cause you hardship. Together we can win these disputes! What’s happened with negotiations? Negotiations since the November/December strikes have made a little progress but not enough. Our investment of 8 days action and loss of pay must not be wasted, we need to keep the action going to get solid sector wide settlements on casualisation, workload and equality, and to achieve fair pay and pension contributions. Check out this excellent summary from the #FourFights negotiators. For a short USS update read this Twitter thread from UCU pensions … 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!