Email sent to branch members 20 May 2020
I’m writing with some further information about the two disputes – the reports from the UCU negotiating teams. Please read these if you possibly can before our emergency general meeting 1pm Friday where we will discuss the disputes and elect a delegate to take the branch views to a branch delegates meeting next week which will inform the union’s Higher Education Committee (HEC). The HEC will then take a decision on what the union will do in each dispute, including whether to put the employers’ offer on the Four Fights to a membership ballot, and about balloting for further industrial action. The current position is that the union will re-ballot on both disputes, starting at the end of June or as soon as practically possible thereafter, and ending in September. HEC can decide to continue the ballots as planned or to cancel, postpone or otherwise alter them.
- Four Fights negotiators statement (please also read the Four Fights briefing emailed by Jo Grady)
- USS negotiators report (please also read the USS briefing emailed by Jo Grady)
Our negotiators have worked incredibly hard for many months on both disputes and their statements are crucial to these discussions. Our industrial action has pushed the employers to improve on their original offer on the Four Fights, particularly on casualisation and workload, but falls short of what we hoped to achieve, particularly on pay. Issues for us to discuss include whether we think this offer should go to a ballot now, and what should the union seek to negotiate over in the next ‘pay and related issues’ bargaining round which starts soon. On USS, there are encouraging signs of better co-operation from the employers, but no indication that our contribution level will go back to 8% (“no detriment”). For both disputes, we need to discuss whether/how we think further industrial action could be effective, whether we think we could pass the 50% turnout threshold on a ballot over the summer, and whether we think reballoting should continue as planned, be postponed or be cancelled.
I hope you can join us at the Emergency General Meeting (EGM) to discuss this on Friday. Committee members are attending UCU briefings on both disputes to find out more, today and tomorrow, and will be reporting on these briefings to Friday’s EGM.
We have previously elected 5 delegates to Congress (which would have been next week but is of course postponed – the number of delegates is based on branch sizes). At Friday’s EGM we will elect one delegate to attend each of the branch delegate meetings. The delegates could be our Congress delegates, but other members could also volunteer for this. Please let me know by 12 noon on Friday if you would like to volunteer. If there is more than one person offering for either or both delegate meetings, we will hold an election during the EGM using a Poll on Blackboard Collaborate. Both the branch delegates meetings are on Tuesday 26th May (unfortunately this is a university closure day) and last for two hours. They will be run using Microsoft Teams.
– Four Fights branch delegate meeting 10:00 to 12:00
– USS branch delegate meeting 13:30 to 15:30
I will send a further email on Friday with the link to our online EGM.