Members passed the following motions at the extraordinary general meeting on Friday 20th August. This was a single issue meeting to decide the branch’s positions about the disputes over USS pensions and over pay, casualisation, workload and equality (the Four Fights), in advance of the UCU Higher Education Sector Conference on these issues on Thursday 9 September.
Branch motion – Progressing the Four Fights and USS disputes
This branch notes that:
- UCU paused the USS and ‘Four Fights’ disputes during the pandemic.
- UCEA imposed a 0% pay rise last year and their ‘final offer’ of 1.5% this year is below inflation.
- despite progress during 2020 negotiations, UCEA are now not making any substantial offers on casualisation, workload and equality.
- UUK have not joined UCU to pressure USS and the Pensions Regulator to cancel the 2020 valuation and use a moderately prudent approach in 2021.
- Pension contributions will rise in October to 11% of salary.
- UUK’s proposals on USS are likely to mean lower pension benefits, a two-tier scheme which disadvantages early career members, and further contribution increases
This branch believes that:
- The four fights and pensions issues are inextricably linked. Low pay, pay inequality and job insecurity all lead to poorer pensions and a worse retirement. Casualised and low paid members may not be able to afford to join the USS pension scheme at all.
- It is in all our interests to make sure that everyone has fair pay, good working conditions (including a reasonable workload), job security, and a decent future pension.
- Employers would seek to divide us, pitting those with relative job security who are worried about their pensions against those whose main concerns are low pay, equality and casualisation. So solidarity across roles and job types is vital – we must stand together rather than only caring about what affects us personally.
- This solidarity was strong during the action in 2019-2020 and we must reinvigorate it now.
This branch resolves to:
- Make clear to UCU centrally that we believe co-ordinating the disputes is essential.
- Campaign locally on the four fights and pensions campaigns together.
- Hold local UCU meetings across the university during the start of the autumn term to discuss the disputes and plan the campaign.
- Work with student groups to seek their support, particularly to pressure management to use Leeds’ influence within the employer bodies to make substantial progress in both disputes.
- Work closely with our sister campus trade unions on campaigning.
- Prepare for industrial action balloting by developing a strong local ‘Get The Vote Out’ strategy.
Motion to be submitted to Higher Education Sector Conference (HESC) – Combining Four Fights and USS disputes
HESC believes that:
- The four fights and USS issues are inextricably linked. Low pay, pay inequality and job insecurity mean poorer pensions and a worse retirement, and some members cannot afford pension contributions.
- Solidarity between different groups of members (casualised/permanent, different pay grades, equality groups, academic/related, pre- and post-92 branches) was hugely important during the 2019-2020 industrial action.
- Continued solidarity will be vital to winning the disputes and for building the union.
- It is therefore crucial not to separate the disputes or give priority to either.
HESC resolves to:
- Coordinate the four fights and USS campaigns, highlighting the links.
- Give parity to both disputes in strategic planning, balloting and publicity, ensuring that all affected branches have a voice in developing the dispute strategy.
- Ballot and take action on both disputes concurrently.
- Coordinate action with sister unions, if possible, to improve effectiveness.
This page was last updated on 24 August 2021