At our General Meeting on 3 December we unanimously passed a motion revising the rules for our local Hardship Fund to allow us to provide greater support to members facing financial difficulties due to pay deductions for striking. The local Hardship Fund will work alongside and in addition to the UK-wide Fighting Fund. Members should apply to the Fighting Fund for support initially, except where claiming for days of strike action not covered by the Fighting Fund (day 1 for those earning less than £30,000 gross annually, days 1 and 2 for those earning more than £30,000 gross annually). The local Hardship Fund will the supplement the UK-wide Fighting Fund, or provide support where the UK-wide Fighting Fund cannot. The new rules mean that the Hardship Fund:
- Will comply with the appended guidance from UCU to ensure continued solvency of the branch, and that the branch is able to continue to meet all its usual commitments for and on behalf of members;
- Will be managed by local branch officers a panel of at least three elected branch officers, including the Treasurer;
- Will prioritise members in precarious, low paid work, as per national and local priorities;
- Will also prioritise members who can demonstrate that their contractual and/or financial status means that they would be disproportionately impacted by strike deductions;
- Will limit the amount that can be claimed by a member to no more than would have otherwise been earned;
- Will cap the amount that can be claimed by a member per day to £75, except for the first day of the strike action when the cap will be £150, so long as this is not more than would have otherwise been earned;
- Will cap the total amount that can be claimed by a member during the disputes to £1000, so long as this is not more than would otherwise been earned;
- Will initially prioritise support in the days 1-2 of the strike (or pro rata equivalent), and subsequently will seek to complement support provided by the National Fighting Fund according to the principles of those most in need first, as outlined above;
- Will, where funds allow, seek to support members suffering disproportionate impact from any further deductions made in connection with industrial action (e.g. ASOS) subject to the same principles of prioritisation outlined above;
- Will, once the USS pension and the “Four Fights” disputes are over, allow unused funds that originated from the University of Leeds UCU main operational account remaining in the Local Hardship fund to be either transferred back into the branch’s operational funds, retained in the Local Hardship Fund, or sent to the National Fighting Fund.
The full motion can be downloaded here: http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Motion-Revising-Terms-of-Leeds-UCU-Local-Hardship-Fund.docx
The application form for making a claim to the local Hardship Fund can be downloaded here: http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/UCU-local-hardship-claim-form-JANUARY.docx
See also this post explaining how the national Fighting Fund and the local Hardship Fund work together.
There will be drop-ins to help members to complete the application form organised over the coming weeks.