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UCU writes to government to call in airport expansion application

Following the decision of members on 10 March to oppose Leeds City Council’s airport expansion decision, branch president Ben Plumpton has written to the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government Robert Jenrick MP calling on the government to call in (review) the planning application for the expansion of Leeds Bradford…
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Next general meeting reminder

The next UCU general meeting (meetings for all members) is scheduled for 1pm – 2pm, Thursday 22 April The deadline for motions is 12pm on Tuesday 13 April. (See the branch website for details of all the scheduled general meetings for this academic year) The 22 April general meeting is also the chance…
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The USS pension scheme 2020 valuation

Our pension scheme is yet again seemingly under attack by the people who are supposed to be looking after it. This time even the employers’ body Universities UK have made a public statement criticising the valuation. If you want to know more about the USS pension scheme 2020 valuation, and why everyone wants…
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UCU University of Leeds Branch statement on gendered and sexual violence

For too long women, transgender, gender non-binary people and children have faced the threat of male violence and have been subjected to this violence to a sickeningly disproportionate degree. The horrifying kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard and the appalling murder of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry are the most recent examples of…
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Opting-out of the USS – at what cost?

This blog post is not intended and cannot be taken as financial advice. An individual should seek independent financial advice based on their own circumstances and objectives.  One of the concerns that faces the USS pension is the number of eligible members who have opted out of the scheme. As the contribution levels…
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Members vote to oppose Leeds City Council’s airport expansion decision

UCU University of Leeds Branch voted to oppose Leeds City Council’s decision to approve the Leeds Bradford Airport expansions in a general meeting of members on Wednesday 10 March 2021. The Branch President has subsequently written to the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP, to ask him to call in this planning application…
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Senior management have agreed to withdraw new draft Trans Equality Policy

Following pressure from UCU, Unite, Unison, and the LGBT+ staff network and LUU students’ LGBT+ society, University of Leeds senior management have announced that the detrimental draft new Trans Equality Policy will be withdrawn. (For background see Unions oppose detrimental changes to university trans equality policy) The draft document, which UCU and the…
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Unions oppose detrimental changes to university Trans Equality Policy

Staff unions UCU, Unison and Unite, alongside the LGBT+ staff network and LUU students’ LGBT+ society have jointly written to University of Leeds management asking them to withdraw the draft replacement for the 2017 Trans Equality Policy. UCU, with Unison and Unite, have made clear in early consultations that the proposed replacement policy…
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USS meeting this Thursday, open letter and more to #DefendUSS

A quick reminder that Leeds UCU has organised an Open Meeting on USS this Thursday (11 March) 12 noon – 1 pm.  Please come along to find out what’s going on with the latest valuation.  Our pensions rep Mark Taylor-Batty will be expanding on the brief contribution he was able to make to…
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The 2020 valuation of the USS pension scheme

It is March 2021, and once again USS pension members have been told there is a ‘deficit’ in the valuation of the scheme. USS are planning further contribution increases, going up from 30% of salary (combined total of employer and employee contributions) to potentially 56%, in order to cover this ‘deficit’. This is…
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Graph showing value of fund rising way above the benefits payable

The ABC of USS – a guide to the jargon that surrounds our pension scheme

A is for Assets, but also for Assumptions. In the Universities Superannuation Scheme pension (USS), the assets are held as investments, mostly in stocks and shares but also partially in Gilts (see ‘G’) and in other asset classes. The USS pension scheme assets are currently valued at around £78bn and were posted at…
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Making UCU policy – deadline for motions

Our next scheduled branch general meeting is on Wednesday 10 March, 12pm – 1pm If you would like to submit a motion to UCU Congress 2021, to help shape UCU’s national policy and strategy, this will be our last meeting to agree the motion. The deadline for motions to this meeting is 12pm…
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National meetings – academic-related or casualised

Please contact ucu@leeds.ac.uk by 1st March if you would like to represent the branch at either of these events (to be held online): Academic-related professional staff annual meeting (Thursday 18 March), see https://www.ucu.org.uk/acrelannual  Annual meeting of staff on casualised contracts (Saturday 13 March), see https://ucu.org.uk/cascontractsmeeting
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Overseas working

Thanks from the branch officers for feedback from members who are/were working overseas. Many of you were very distressed by the initial communications you received from the university and by follow up conversations. The UCU negotiating team are feeding this back in conversations with HR managers to try to make sure the process…
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School of Education NOT in review

Staff in Education have been worried about a review seemingly being announced at a school meeting, after which staff were invited to small group meetings to discuss this review. UCU branch officers queried this, because any potential review/reorganisation should go through an ‘organisational change’ process involving consultation with the trade unions. After discussion with…
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Consultations

Senior management are currently consulting the campus unions and staff networks about changes to the university’s disability equality framework and trans equality policy. The UCU negotiating team has strenuously expressed the concerns raised by members about detrimental proposed changes to both of these policies. If you’d like to be involved in the UCU…
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Anti-casualisation – get involved

Branch officers are continuing to push for fixed term contracts to only be used in very limited circumstances. We are having some success in particular areas, and we are also monitoring the university’s job adverts so that we can raise concerns at an early stage. If you would like to be involved with…
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Health and safety in libraries

Library staff remain seriously concerned about the health and safety implications of Library study space being open to students. Two motions were overwhelmingly passed at last week’s emergency general meeting supporting Library colleagues, which you can read at leedsucu.org.uk/members-vote-to-call-to-close-library-study-spaces Members at the meeting were keen to ensure that the university provides study space for…
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Voluntary redundancies in Biological Sciences and Medicine

The Voluntary Leavers Scheme (VLS) in FBS/SoM has concluded. 64 staff in total across the two areas applied, and 33 will be leaving the university under this scheme. The campus unions have still not been provided with either full financial details for FBS/SoM or the criteria that were used to decide which VLS…
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Members vote to call to close library study spaces

UCU members have voted in an emergency meeting today (9 February 2021) to call on the university to close library study spaces and make alternative, unstaffed study spaces available to students who have that essential need. Members also agreed a motion to the union’s national academic-related and professional staff meeting to highlight the…
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Library staff receive no reply from VC about safety concerns

On 18 January over 100 library staff at University of Leeds wrote to the vice chancellor about the decision to keep library study spaces open when the risk from covid-19 is so high. Following a weekend which has seen thousands more students return to Leeds, they have still not had a reply, other…
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Jeremy Toner

With great sadness I’m writing to inform you of the awful news that Jeremy Toner has died of cancer after a short illness. Jeremy was our first openly-gay local president, then our treasurer; he was one of the activists who transformed Leeds AUT/UCU into a branch that actively fought back against managerialism, marketisation,…
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