The following motions were passed by the branch.
University Climate Plan
This branch notes that:
- The university strategy includes commitment to working to solve global challenges including the climate crisis change. The University is also a key partner in the Leeds Climate Commission and the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission.
- Leeds is a major research university with research in all sectors that potentially or actually can impact on factors mitigating against climate change.
- Increasing numbers of UCU members are directly involved in research and community activism to promote a just transition to zero carbon
- Much work has gone into developing a Climate Plan (by Sustainability in conjunction with many staff and students across the university) which would provide a detailed and time-sensitive pathway to enact the 7 Climate Principles already agreed.
- After more than 2 years since the publication of the 7 Principles, this Climate Plan has not yet been agreed by university Council, who have instead set up further discussion groups. What is most concerning is that the University of Leeds Council has not allocated any resource for climate initiatives amongst the £67 million strategic investments it has agreed at its last meeting in August 2021.
This branch believes that:
- The university must show leadership in the sector and the region by taking effective action and following the Climate Plan to reduce its own carbon emissions as one of the largest employers in the region and to reach the net zero target spelled in the principles (by 2030).
- It is unacceptable that no strategic funding has been allocated for climate-related actions.
- The agreement by the VC to the trade unions’ request for paid time off to support the Youth Climate Strike on 24th September was welcome but real action at the organisational level is needed too as a matter of urgency.
This branch resolves to:
- Work with student groups and other interested parties to campaign for the Climate Plan to be agreed and funded, by:
- Writing to university Council and the Vice Chancellor
- Carrying out a social media campaign to expose the university’s delay in taking action
- Sending speakers and committee members to other climate campaign meetings
- Work with the University to foster and enhance research in all sectors that mitigate against climate change.
- To encourage members to use trade union teaching materials in their teaching during Climate Learning Month in November, to time with COP26
- To share COP26 campaigning information with members
- To negotiate with the university that appropriate time off for union duties is allocated to ‘green reps’ who are going to play a key role in supporting the university community to achieve a just transition to net zero.
Curtailment of Senate and Council Democracy at the University of Leeds
Leeds Uni UCU condemns the duplicitous behaviour of our employers who produce blogs and staff comms expressing their respect for staff whilst including a number of proposals to curtail democracy and remove staff involvement in decision making via its governance review paper recommendations to Senate : CL-20-85 Governance Review.pdf . These recommendations include:
- reduction in size of Senate to 80 members
- abolition of
allelected staff member seats on University Council
- removal of eligibility for academic related (professional/managerial) staff to be elected to Senate – only those in teaching and/or research roles to be eligible for election to Senate
- Senate to be restricted to strategic, policy-oriented, monitoring and governance matters related to academic issues (not operational issues which may impact on staff working lives)
- Removal of that part of the Senate roles and responsibilities statement which includes: “may discuss and declare an opinion on any matter whatsoever relating to the University”.
The UCU branch resolves to:
- Make public this undermining of the extremely limited scope for democracy that existed at the University of Leeds.
- Formally request that the above items are removed from the recommendations.
- Lodge a formal dispute with our employers about the disenfranchisement of academic-related staff and the erosion of democracy if the University fails to undertake 2.
- Discuss at the next GM forms of industrial action to be taken in pursuit of 2.
Motion 7 University response to COVID-19
This branch notes
- that COVID-19 case, hospitalisation and death rates are higher now than they were a year ago and that COVID-19 therefore still presents a significant risk to community health;
- that, whilst the government has abandoned shielding requirements for clinically vulnerable and clinically extremely vulnerable people, such people remain particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19;
- that campus trades unions have been kept at arms length by the University when discussing their responses to this, with no trade union representation on the COVID group, Transitional Ways of Working Group, or Future Ways of Working Group
This branch believes
- that a number of mitigations, include the wearing of face coverings, are necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19
- that an organisation that aspires to be an inclusive community needs to put the needs of the most vulnerable members of that community of the heart of its policy making and communication;
- that the best way of ensuring that University policy meets the needs of the whole community is to involve the campus trades unions in decision making
This branch resolves
- to continue to press the University to encourage and require the use of face coverings on university premises
- to continue to insist that staff vulnerable to COVID-19, or who live with those who are, are proactively enabled to continue to work from home;
- to call on the University to include campus trades unions in the decision making of the COVID group and the Future Ways of Working Group;
- to lodge a formal dispute with the University if these matters are not satisfactorily resolved
This page was last updated on 11 October 2021