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Motions passed at extraordinary general meeting 17 June 2021

Members passed the following motions at today’s extraordinary general meeting. The meeting was called to discuss motions on Palestine and Israel, after a late motion couldn’t be heard at the annual general meeting, and to discuss donations to branches on strike. Motion 1 Leeds University UCU branch offers its solidarity with the Palestinian people in …
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Upcoming general meetings

Extraordinary general meeting: Palestine + branch strike donations We have an extraordinary general meeting on Thursday 17 June, 1pm – 2pm, to discuss two items. An emergency motion was submitted to the annual general meeting about the situation in Palestine that week. The motion wasn’t taken because of there not being enough time to give …
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Committee for 2021-2022 elected

UCU members have elected/appointed the branch committee for 1 August 2021 until 31 July 2022. President Chloe Wallace Vice-president Aisha Walker Immediate past president Ben Plumpton Treasurer Alaric Hall Honorary secretary Tim Goodall Membership officer Jane Holgate Equality officer Temporary job share of Megan Povey and Ben Plumpton, with a by-election to be held in November/December. Campaigns officer Lesley McGorrigan* Health and safety officer Neil Maughan Anti-casualisation officer Job-share Joanne Armitage and Xanthe …
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Act now to protect the arts in Higher Education

From email sent to branch members 6 May 2021 Dear members I expect you’ve heard about the Governments latest plans to decimate arts provision in Higher Education – see for example https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/may/06/plans-for-50-funding-cut-to-arts-subjects-at-universities-catastrophic A 50% cut to arts funding would be disastrous both across the UK and for this university and our amazing arts schools. I am writing to …
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AGM postponed to Thursday 20 May

The branch annual general meeting will now be Thursday 20 May 2021, same time 3.45pm – 5pm. (Postponed from Thursday 13 May.) That means the deadline for standing for the branch committee is now the end of Wednesday 19 May.
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The USS pension ‘deficit’ and the forthcoming survey of members

Text from email sent to members 21 April 2021 The USS pension scheme recently calculated that on a ‘best estimate’ basis, our pension scheme is £4bn in surplus.* ‘Best estimate’ (or ‘unbiased estimate’) means that this scenario is considered 50% likely to happen. The legal requirement for submitting a pension valuation, however, is that the …
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Get involved with UCU Health and Safety!

The health and safety work of trade unions has been very important in the last year. As your branch Health and Safety Officer, I’ve been working to raise your concerns about the pandemic, improve guidance, inspect buildings and liaise with the other campus unions. I’ve spent many many hours in meetings to represent all our interests and improve safety for staff and …
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UCU branch AGM

This post has been edited as the AGM date has been changed from 13 May to 20 May. A reminder that UCU branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be at 3.45pm – 5pm on Thursday 20 May. The meeting will be on Zoom (link to follow nearer the time). (Not to be confused with the …
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UKRI/ODA Funding Cuts

From email sent to members 16 April 2021 You’ll have seen from the General Meeting agenda circulated yesterday that we’ll be discussing a motion about the UK Research and Innovation Official Development Assistance funding cuts at our branch meeting next week, to go forward to the union’s Higher Education Committee. Before then, your UCU committee …
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USS pensions – bite-sized

The University has undertaken a series of ‘town hall’ meetings on the matter of the pension, and the VC is currently going around Schools to discuss the matter in smaller groups. We offer here some bite-sized notes, from questions that have come to Leeds UCU, or which have arisen in such meetings. Is …
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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 to propose amendments …
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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 them …
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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 have …
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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 other staff …
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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 should …
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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 …
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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 around …
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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 Tuesday 2 …
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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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