“I am spending two weeks volunteering with Care4calais which provides food, other basic supplies and social activities, including language classes, to refugees in the Calais camp known as the ‘Jungle’. My goal is to go beyond delivering charity; to be part of collective solidarity offering strength and hope to the refugees.”
Lesley McGorrigan, campaigns secretary of our UCU local association, has written a fascinating blog of her work in the Calais refugee camp over the summer. The text and photos are a real insight into the lives of the refugees there: calaiscalling.wordpress.com
All members are invited to a UCU University of Leeds local association emergency general meeting on Wednesday 6 July at 1pm, in Clothworkers North Building lecture theatre 2.31 (cinema). The agenda is:
1. EU referendum result
To discuss and debate the implications of the EU referendum for our university and the sector
2. IT restructure
An update from the negotiating team
3. UCU president
The committee has voted to appoint Tim Goodall as president for 2016-17 under rule 8.9 because the Annual General Meeting didn’t elect a president. The committee is seeking the general meeting’s approval of that decision.
How to get to Clothworkers North Building lecture theatre 2.31 (cinema): From the main door of Clothworkers North building, go through two sets of double doors and head down the corridor. Go up to level two using staircase 2. Follow the corridor around. The Cinema room is straight ahead.
Present: Mark Taylor-Batty (president), Andy West, Mark Walkley, Neil Maughan, Steven French, Jonathan Saha, Tim Goodall, Ben Plumpton, Steve Lax, Briony Thomas, Lesley McGorrigan, Hugh Hubbard, Elwyn Isaac, Gavin Reid, Brendon Nicholls, Alan Smith (administrator). Also present Heather Blakey and Nicolas Van Labeke elected to the 2016-2017 committee.
Apologies: Vicky Blake, Jeremy Toner, Ann Blair, Gabriella Alberti, Malcolm Povey, Nick Efford, Nigel Bubb, Paul Steenson
Minutes and matters arising Minutes agreed. We have informed the university that we are not content with the privatisation of the first year of degree courses and have demanded further discussions
Vacancy for president for 2016-17 With committee’s agreement, the incoming committee was briefly convened to make a decision on this issue. In accordance with rule 8.9 the incoming committee agreed to appoint Tim Goodall as president subject to approval by a subsequent general meeting. Agreed that the general meeting on 20 June would not be asked to approve this as the item had not been notified to the membership in the convening notice for that meeting.
IT recording of failure to agree We have recorded a failure to agree. Concerns we raised around restructure are being pushed through without consultation – never mind negotiation – or objective justification. Our concerns seem to be being ignored by management. Management have conceded there is no longer a financial justification for the restructure because they have already saved the money they needed to through voluntary severance. Management have now agreed to put it to senate. Management say no-one will lose their job in phase 1 and are refusing to talk about phase 2 at all, saying they have no idea what phase 2 will look like. This is widely seen as disingenuous and a signal that some in management side have contempt for unions and concerns of staff. … to email heads of schools and deans. Management have until tomorrow to respond to regional office letter.
National pay dispute 23 June strike notice to be served this afternoon. … Important to stress to potential students and parents that this is national action. …
Report from congress Item not taken
Disability support tutors Item not taken
Postgraduate organising and regional postgraduate conference Item not taken
Casualisation mapping Item not taken
Education replanning PGCE provision is going to stop. University is going to support in-school training. Management say they will aim to avoid compulsory redundancies, and that this could involve some staff moving to Leeds Trinity university under TUPE arrangements. Will be discussed at Employment Security Review Group. We raised concerns, particularly over fair treatment of hourly paid and fixed-term contract staff. Dean meeting staff on Tuesday at 3.30; Tim to attend. The government is reducing teacher training places and the university management is not minded to fight it politically; we need to put the political case alongside what we put out on the local issues.
Any other business Transgender policy. The university does not have policy or guidance on treatment of transgender staff/students. To raise with the employer next week. Promotions procedure for academic-related staff. Management have made this public without it having been agreed by UCU.
After the two national strike days on 23rd/24th May, UCU at each university were asked to choose one further day for a local strike, and most have gone for Open Days. This means that prospective students and their parents are hearing about the campaign for fair pay in Higher Education quite a lot!
Our strike at Leeds went very well. There were pickets around the university as staff arrived for work, and then a large and friendly presence throughout the morning greeting Open Day visitors and handing out ‘Please support our strike‘ leaflets (and giving directions..) Parents and prospective students were mostly very supportive. We ran the ‘guess the gender pay gap’ game again, and visitors were genuinely shocked that it’s so high at Leeds (£7,995 gap between the average pay of male and female academics, from HESA statistics). The statistic of 52% of academic staff here on insecure contracts also surprised visitors.
The signage around the University mysteriously changed overnight, see the photo gallery below (click on any photo to see it larger) and this generated quite a buzz on social media! Leeds featured heavily in the Storify on the UCU ‘summer of protest‘. The campaign for Fair Pay in Higher Education will continue until universities’ managements offer a reasonable deal for our members on the three key pay-related areas: a fair pay rise, action on gender equality, and action on casualisation.
Follow Leeds UCU on Twitter (@leedsucu) for up to date news, and members please check that emails from Leeds UCU aren’t disappearing into your Clutter folder!
Mark Taylor-Batty spoke tonight to Gayle Lofthouse about pay, the gender pay gap and casualisation in HE on BBC Radio Leeds. Use the BBC Listen again function to catch his interview here (scroll to the 2:17 point):