Members met on 10 March and made the following decisions as a branch. The full approved minutes were emailed to members and a copy is available from the honorary secretary or branch administrator.
Rule change motion for UCU Congress 2021: Amend Congress Standing Order 18 (quorum)
Delete “(subject to rounding up to the nearest whole number)”
Add at end:
“except where, by convention, the chair asks that only a subset of the branches in a sector should vote on the topic under discussion, in which case the quorum shall be a fraction of 150 members proportionate to membership in that subset. Quora shall be rounded up to the nearest whole number.”
To have a quorum for sector specific conferences on matters relating to a subset of the sector which is line with the membership of that subset.
Motions for UCU Congress 2021
The branch is allowed to submit one non-rule-change motion to UCU Congress 2021. The branch carried two motions: ‘financial disclosure and transparency’ and ‘Xinjiang and Chinese government oppression of the Uighurs’ and agreed to submit ‘financial disclosure and transparency’ to congress unless another branch submits that motion in which case this branch will submit ‘Xinjiang and Chinese government oppression of the Uighurs’.
Motion for UCU Congress 2021: Financial disclosure and transparency
Congress notes the series of issues relating to expenditure, some of which have caused debate within UCU and the media, including £400k of expenditure for a former General Secretary* which was subject of a non-disclosure agreement.
Congress resolves that:
- UCU National Executive Committee (NEC) must be provided with proposals for, and be involved in, expenditure decisions relating to:
a. Redundancy payments or other non-standard payments to UCU employees
b. Membership levies
c. Consultancy contracts
- The honorary treasurer will report such expenditure to NEC as soon as possible before it has been incurred.
Motion for UCU Congress 2021: Xinjiang and Chinese government oppression of the Uighurs
Congress resolves to issue a statement and initiate a campaign in support of the Uighur population of Xinjiang, calling for the Chinese government to end the on-going forced mass imprisonment, alleged sterilisation, indoctrination, torture and oppression of the Uighur people.
Motion: Ending casual contracts and securing decent work with full employment protections for staff at Leeds: Reaffirming our anti-casualisation claim
This branch notes:
- Two years ago, in January 2019, Leeds UCU branch lodged an anti-casualisation claim with the University.
- The claim addressed growing levels of casualised work in all aspects of university employment through fixed-term contracts, worker contracts and hourly-paid staff, on the basis that insecure contracts are detrimental for staff. It also argued that teaching-focused staff should have 20% of time ring-fenced for scholarly activity. Details here
- The claim states the need for time-limited negotiations over these matters with the aim of revising university policy.
This branch further notes:
- Two years after its submission, the university has not formally negotiated the heads of claim with the UCU branch, although some elements of the claim are the subject of consultation between Leeds UCU and the university through HRTU.
- Based on discussions of the claim in the anti-casualisation working group, the issues outlined in the claim remain and the branch continues to do work, through campaigning and casework to address them.
- we want to to send a strong and unified message to the university that the branch continues to see anti-casualisation as a high-priority and to support branch officers in their discussions with HR
- The branch is aware that, in some instances staff who have been on FTCs for 3 years or more are being transferred onto “open-ended fixed-funded” contracts. These contracts are open only in name and offer no security to staff and potentially offer diminished protections against dismissal by broadening the scope of what would reasonably considered a ‘fair’ dismissal, by allowing the end of funding as a “permissible reason” for termination of contract.
- Reaffirms its commitment to the heads of claim outlined in the anti-casualisation claim of 2019, including:
- An end to the use of worker contracts
- Fractionalisation of hourly-paid staff
- Removing unequal treatment
- Reduction of the use of fixed-term contracts
- Teaching fellowship roles to contain at least 20% scholarly activity.
- Rejects the use of Open-Ended Fixed-funded contracts as an alternative to fixed-term contracts and calls instead for staff who have been on FTCs for more than three years to be moved onto permanent contracts that are not conditional on funding.
- Resolves to continue mobilising and organising members to put pressure on management to start formal negotiation of the claim with UCU as a matter of urgency
Motion: Oppose Leeds City Council’s decision to approve the Leeds Bradford Airport expansion
This branch notes:
- The recent dismal decision of Leeds City Council (LCC) City Plans Panel to provisionally approve the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) to build a new terminal, leading to a substantial increase in flights and therefore carbon emissions.
- Following this provisional approval, the University of Leeds’s UCU Climate and Ecological Emergency working group and University of Leeds climate and sustainability experts drafted a letter to the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP, asking the Government to ‘call in’ (review) the planning application for the expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport. The letter was signed by over 100 people.
- That the UK Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget published in December 2020 states that (i) there should be no expansion of UK airport capacity unless the sector is on track to sufficiently outperform its net emissions trajectory (Table p8.1, p29) and (ii) the Government should assess its airport capacity strategy in the context of net-zero and any lasting impacts on demand from COVID-19 (para 2, p34). Expanding LBA would increase the flight passenger volume by 75%, exceeding the maximum growth compatible with the UK’s legally adopted net-zero target.
- That an increase in international flights runs contrary to the UK’s climate targets and responsibilities to international climate mitigation as per the Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement.
- It also runs contrary to the findings of the Leeds Climate Commission citizens’ jury where 18 out of 21 citizens members believe that it was the wrong decision to expand LB airport.
- That approving LBA expansion is in stark conflict with LCC’s decision to declare a Climate Emergency in May 2019 and makes the stated aim of Leeds being carbon neutral by 2030 practically impossible.
- The planning application and the Planning Office report to Leeds City Plan Panel dramatically understated the climate impact of the expansion. University of Leeds experts found that in case of expansion, LBA’s climate impact would be almost four times larger than LBA claimed.
- The critical role played by University of Leeds climate and sustainability experts who submitted detailed evidence of the full climate impact of LBA expansion during the consultation period to LCC.
This Branch believes:
- The decision of LCC is an abdication of its civic duty to protect the citizens of Leeds from harmful effects of even more aeroplane emissions and pollution over the city, also exposing those under the flight path to more noise pollution
- That it is our responsibility as an academic community with expertise in climate change, sustainability, and zero carbon futures to demonstrate leadership on climate change and oppose this decision and stand up for the wider community in Leeds to fight for a socially just transportation transition
- That to tackle current unemployment and promote post-Covid recovery, job opportunities should instead be created in sustainable businesses, to progress cutting carbon emissions, such as creating green jobs to improve energy efficiency
Leeds University UCU therefore resolves:
- To support the open letter drafted by the University’s UCU Climate and Ecological Emergency working group to the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP, the branch president will write a follow up letter to Robert Jenrick MP.
- To support the Group for Action on Leeds Bradford Airport (Galba) in their attempts to make a legal challenge to this decision by making a donation of £200
- Forward this resolution to other UCU branches in the region, asking them to support this cause.
This page was last updated on 5 July 2021