Attendance: Mark Taylor-Batty, Brendon Nicholls, Briony Thomas, Lesley McGorrigan, Hugh Hubbard, Nick Efford, Elwyn Isaac, Steve French, Alan Smith (administrator)
Apologies: Gavin Reid, Ben Plumpton, Stephen Lax, Ann Blair, Mark Walkley, Gabriella Alberti, Malcolm Povey, Neil Maughan, Vicky Blake
Minutes of previous meeting: Agreed
Matters arising: There were no matter arising
New branch administrator:
Mark welcomed Alan to the branch and explained Alan is also employed as an organiser and will be helping with recruitment, campaigns and communications.
Trade Union Side met management about proposed academic-related document on 7 September. TUS stressed members perceptions is academic-related lack of promotion opportunities – in some cases have ‘no promotion’ clauses in their contracts and our perception is the threat of downgrading is also a serious problem. TUS requested data from management around promotions of academic-related staff, and said we will consider that data before looking at the proposed re-wording of the promotions document.
Discussed lines to take with rewording of academic promotion document. Removing of gendered language is welcome, but some of the simplification risk making promotions more difficult to get in some circumstances. Concerns raised that they are using HERA, rather than HERA-related as previously assured. TUS will request that role profiles are published on the website again, as these have been removed.
Noted that a workshop had raised issues about the mechanism, not just the wording, but these haven’t been addressed yet in the proposals.
Management proposing response to situation in IT which may make the situation worse. Serious concerns to raise at JCUU and if necessary ESRG
Agreed to take to JCUU
Members shocked by the increased costs. Management stating these were ‘agreed’ but they must mean agreed with other parts of management as not agreed by trade unions. To raise at General Meeting.
Setting date for General Meeting
Meeting will be 7 October 2pm
Setting away day agenda
Ref and Tef, Cubane, pay dispute, Prevent, access to facilities for former employees, job security and casualisation, comms, surgeries / roadshows / themed meetings, recruitment and organisation, casework
Manchester pay discussion
Committee members to let Mark know if they want to attend
Collecting items in UCU office or with Mark or Lesley, working with LUU.
Carry over to following Committee
School of Education
Concerns raised, to consider raising at ESRG
Last week, we explained how the take-home value of your salary has been eroded by 15% over the last five years. Today, we’ll map that decline in the value of your pay against UK university finances, to challenge any sense that our pay has been squeezed because of the health of HEIs’s finances.
A HEFCE report from October 2014 on the financial health of the higher education sector 2013/14 to 2016/17 summed up the situation accurately.
Bottom line: the short term viability of institutions was not a concern.
Over the period in which your pay sank in value by 15%, the following is evident:
UK universities cash reserves increased by 57.4%
Income has increased by 14.7%
Capital expenditure has increased by 8.2%
And the cost of paying staff as a percentage of expenditure dropped by -1.2%
One might sum that up by saying that paying us less has contributed to universities becoming richer. You may feel proud to work at your institution; you may consider yourself lucky to have a job – does that mean you are so grateful and proud that you are content for them to keep some of what you have rightly earned to bolster the university’s bank accounts and investments?
It is worth noting that this report cited here used data that did not include the recent additional 30,000 students recruited following the removal of the cap.
Present: Mark Taylor-Batty, Brendan Nicholls, Neil Maughan, Hugh Hubbard, Mark Walkley, Malcolm Povey, Steven French, Paul Steenson, Nigel Bubb, Gabriella Alberti, Lesley McGorrigan, Ann Blair, Nick Efford, Ben Plumpton, Alan Smith (admin)
Steven Lax, Vicky Blake
Co-options The following co-options to the Committee were agreed:
Brendan Nicholls formally co-opted so that both joint Honorary Secretaries may vote at the committee
Tim Goodall co-opted as Environment Representative
The Committee can co-opt 4 members, and will seek to co-opt a member on a fixed-term or casual contract and a post-graduate representative.
Refugees Agreed it would be useful to have a motion to the general meeting; agreed to talk to LUU about what more we can do together; agreed to liaise with CARA and discuss possibly having a speaker at the general meeting General meeting
14 October agreed as new date, and 25 November agreed for subsequent meeting. Alan to put notice out this afternoon. The committee authorises Brendon to set dates for the year. Car parking Agreed to put members’ issues to JCUU.
Joint Committee of the University and UCU (JCUU)
Agreed that JCUU minutes can be circulates to the Senate if they are agreed by Secretaries of both Management Side (MS) and Trade Union Side (TUS).
JCUU TUS will normally be Mark, Brendon and Vicky plus one other delegate, in addition to the regional officer and Alan to keep notes.
Statutes Congratulations to negotiators – current proposals infinitely better than they were a year ago.
Date of next meeting not set. Must have principle of no detriment.
Among issues discussed: serious concern that “some other significant reason” clause for dismissal, if not a disciplinary or capability matter, could be used for senior management strategic aims
Negotiating team to raise issues discussed with the employer.
Fixed-term contract policy
A number of concerns were raised about the policy, including that it would give more freedom for the employer to use fixed-term contracts because it gives examples rather than prescribed circumstances. Negotiators would seek to improve the policy further. JCUU trade union side to request details including rationale of new fixed terms contracts on ongoing basis.*
Pay campaign questions The committee agreed responses to the UCU consultation on the pay campaign
Prevent policy and motion JCUU TUS will seek an update from employer. Agreed it might be good to have a motion on this for the general meeting.
Inviting reps to attend the committee (in non-voting capacity)
Principle agreed, with 4 abstentions, but not clear if allowed in the rules. Agreed that a more detailed proposal would be brought to the next Committee
Facilities This and subsequent items were not discussed as the meeting closed
You will recall that, earlier this year, your union issued a consultative ballot over the pay issue, and that members voted to reject the 1% pay offer. In the next few weeks, we want to offer some information to contextualise the union’s concerns. Today’s is the first of these messages: you are being paid significantly less in real terms than you were five years ago.
In 2010, the annual change in inflation (RPI) was 4.6%, but your pay increased by 0.4%. A pay cut in real terms.
In 2011, the inflation increase was 5.2%, but your pay increased by 0.3%. A pay cut in real terms.
In 2012, the inflation increase was 3.2%, but your pay increased by 1%. A pay cut in real terms.
In 2013, the inflation increase was 3%, but your pay increased by 1%. A pay cut in real terms.
In 2014, the inflation increase was 2.4%, and your pay increased by 2%, following a dispute. Still, a pay cut in real terms.
The last five pay settlements, then, amount to a 4.8% increase in pay for most HE staff. Cumulative inflation over the same period rose by about 19.8%. This represents an average pay cut in real-terms take-home pay of 15%. Some will have lost more.
Over the same time, many of you will have seen further cuts to your take-home pay in the shape of the over-inflation rise in transport costs (West Yorkshire rail fares rose by 6.2% in 2014, then 3.5% for 2015, for example). This erosion of take-home pay will be exacerbated further by the increase in pension contributions and potential increase in national insurance payments.
As a university and union we are proud of our commitment to, and record of, challenging any expression of prejudice or discrimination directed against any group or individual (whether in form of racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism; attitudes to sexuality, gender or disability). Where any safeguarding or more general duty of care concern is raised that may put a student or other persons at risk of harm, there are established procedures of prompt referral which every member of staff should be aware of and should be able to act on accordingly. In addition:
It is essential that in order to explore views and opinions and where necessary, challenge them, we actively promote a climate of free discussion and debate. There should be no fear that this will incur suspicion, or limit on free expression within the boundaries of our equality and diversity policy and disciplinary codes on harassment or abuse.
It is essential that legitimate political opinions expressed by staff or students are not in any way regarded as ‘extreme’ or legitimising ‘extremism’. In the context of ‘Prevent’, it is perfectly legitimate for example, to criticise government foreign policy; to criticise the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan; to express support for Palestinian rights or to express either support for or opposition to Israeli domestic or foreign polices. Neither is it extreme or illegitimate to hold that the rise of terrorism or hostility to western governments is a direct result of any of these. One may agree or disagree with such views. However, they form part of legitimate discussion and debate; they are widespread in the political and academic sphere and in society at large. They are neither ‘extreme’, nor should they be presented as ‘excusing’ or providing cover for ‘extremism’ or acts of violence or terror.
Finally, the insistence on freedom of expression and free debate, within the boundaries of established policies and codes of behaviour, is paramount. Therefore sufficient time for discussion, debate and respectful exchange of views is essential in any forum in which ‘Prevent’ is discussed or presented. Everyone is entitled to their own political view or opinion but no-one should privilege one view over that of others, or present one political explanation as ‘expert’ or not subject to challenge.
All presenters in ‘Prevent’ forums, whether internal or external, should be made aware of these principles and be expected to abide by them.
University of Leeds UCU resolves to present the above to the Senior Leadership team and at our negotiating forum, as an agreed set of principles by which any discussion or training on Prevent be conducted.