More than 30 climate researchers from the Priestley Centre at the University Leeds attended one of the previous two youth strikes for climate that took place in Leeds in March. At each event they took the opportunity to talk to young people and Leeds residents about the climate crisis, and answered a range of questions. Answers to some of them are online here.
We’re certain that our climate researchers are not the only ones who believe the youth are doing brilliant things by striking for the climate. We’ve spoken to some of the organisers in Leeds (our own students) for the next climate strike taking place 11am-2pm Friday 12th April, and we are calling on University staff to come along to show their support.
The time is now to take action to avoid climate breakdown. It is crucial that staff at the university have a voice and take a stance in this universal human life threatening issue. The children are leading the way. Let’s go and show them that they are right, and that they have our support.
UCU is part of a wider regional network of unions concerned about the climate crisis and searching for coalitions in our workplaces. Locally, we have passed a motion on creating a finance group that monitors UOL external investment that damages the environment and contributes to raising Co2. Leeds UCU is developing a campaign for divestment. Motions to this effect will be brought to the next UCU general meeting (Thursday 2nd May 1-2 pm Roger Stevens 8.04). Please come to this meeting to help us show how important this issue is for our union.
We invite those of you that are able to, to form an audience for the youth strikers, joining conversations and enjoying the range of performances planned for outside the Leeds Town Hall 11am-2pm Friday 12th April
If you cannot walk out during the lunch break, you can still make noise on the day and contribute to supporting the youth climate strike by:
• Talking to your colleagues about what is happening
• Wear something green on the day
• Share the event on social media:
• Like and follow the facebook page LeedsYouthStike4Climate
• Share the hashtag #UOLStaff4ClimateStrike
Gabriella Alberti and Andrea Rylands on behalf of the Leeds UCU Committee Environmental Reps
The university has agreed to identify parameters they think they can align with to publish a joint statement on casualisation. We anticipate formal time-limited negotiations to begin shortly but further steps in this regard require active engagement from our casualised members. We are putting together a survey to find out the details and extent of the casualisation problem at Leeds and also planning towards a meeting of all casualised staff that will soon be announced.
1pm – 2pm, Roger Stevens lecture theatre 4 (8.04). The deadline for motions or agenda items for this meeting is 12pm Tuesday 16 April. If you want our branch to propose an amendment to a motion on the UCU congress 2019 agenda, or propose an emergency motion to UCU Congress, or to encourage our delegates to the congress to vote in a particular way on a motion at UCU congress, this is the meeting to put that to.
Annual General Meeting, Thursday 16 May
3.45pm – 5pm, Workshop Theatre. The deadline for motions for the AGM is 12pm Tuesday 30 April. The deadline for nominations to elected committee positions is 3.45 Wednesday 15 May.
Tuesday 9 April 1-2pm: USS Pensions Open Meeting: with UCU Pensions Rep Mark Taylor-Batty and UCU national USS negotiator Sam Marsh
Mechanical Engineering LT B (2.37) (Open to members + non-members – bring colleagues!)
Our pensions rep Mark Taylor-Batty and Sam Marsh (one of UCU’s elected national negotiators on USS) will give an update on the current situation and lead discussion with members. Please bring your questions too! We have deliberately timed this meeting to fall after the next USS negotiation meeting between UCU and UUK.
employers’ body Universities UK (UUK) has recently conducted a consultation of
member institutions regarding the USS 2018 pension scheme valuation. UUK has
written to USS with a summary of the institutional responses which they have
published [here]. The University of
Leeds put its consultation response online yesterday, which is [here].
(UCU) have many and growing concerns in the sector over the governance of the
USS pension scheme, and poor communications from the USS executive. You can
read the latest statement from the UCU National Disputes Committee which was
convened after Congress 2018 to steer the USS dispute [here].
had hoped that our University position would take full account of these
concerns. We note that several other key employers in the USS scheme have
consulted with UCU branches on these important issues and/or have taken a much
more critical / questioning position in their consultation responses, and have
made these concerns public. For example, the University of Oxford and the
University of Sheffield, have rejected the call for contingent
contributions. Sheffield goes further and argues that the institution
“continues to have serious concerns regarding the approach taken by the
USS Trustee to the 2018 Valuation”. The Deputy director of HR at
Sheffield wrote “the contentious nature of the methodology adopted by the
USS Trustee in undertaking both the 2017 and 2018 Valuations, and the lack of
transparency and explanation/rationale behind decisions and positions of the
Trustee, is leading once again to a position whereby key stakeholders do not
have trust in the figures and outcomes resulting from the latest valuation.” We
find it difficult to believe that the University of Leeds council have been
able to look at all the given information and not also come to this same
conclusion. The University of Bristol express disappointment that the USS
trustees have not “fully reflected the JEP’s recommendations in the 2018
valuation technical proposals to date.” The University of Edinburgh make a
similar point and ask for further commentary on that decision. The University
of Newcastle, in a similar vein, reiterate that they “support all the
recommendations made by the JEP”. The University of Warwick specifically
foregrounded the JEP’s assessment and criticism of ‘Test 1’. The University of
Bristol’s recommendation that USS should appoint more member-nominated trustees
is a proposal we would wish our own employer seriously to consider backing.
What next? Come to this meeting to be part of the discussions we will
feed back to UCU at the UK-wide level. We have fought hard to defend our
pensions — to keep doing this we need to make sure everyone knows what’s going
on and that members are able to feed into what happens next.
We need members’
views on the draft Code of
Practice for REF 2021 (CoP) that the university
released for consultation yesterday. We are looking to build on the wealth
of experience and expertise in our membership to inform the branch’s position.
To this end, we have put together a very short survey that can be completed [here].
Alternatively, you can email your comments to us directly at email@example.com.
comments and concerns are welcome. We are particularly keen to receive your
views and experiences relating to:
how preparations for REF 2021 interact with Annual Academic Meetings (AAM) and the Staff Review and Development Scheme (SRDS) [CoP para 19];
the process for identifying staff with significant responsibility for research and staff who are engaged in independent research [CoP para 35-41]
the process for appealing these decisions [CoP para 55-60];
and the process for selecting outputs [CoP para 76-84].
providing your feedback to UCU, we also encourage members to
engage with the university’s consultation process by
either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org,
or by attending one of the three drop-in sessions organised by University
Management, details of which can be found [here].
are holding a Leeds UCUEmergency General Meeting on 2
April, at 2pm, in Michael Sadler LG 19 to discuss the Code
of Practice, as well as other REF related concerns. Please do come along
if you are able, and if you would like to propose a motion / motions for
the branch to consider as policy positions please email email@example.com — including if you
would like any advice on how to draft them. The motions deadline for the EGM is
2pm on Monday 1 April.