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SWIRE Online – Friday March 27 – Edition 02

South West Industrial Relations Exchange Online – Friday March 27 – Edition 02

Distribution: Officers of the South West and Extended Region

Working from Home and online teaching

We are receiving some messages from members anxious about their ability to deliver online. Please refer them to the national UCU guidance (link below) sent out from the regional office on Wednesday. Remember that your employer has a duty to support you and advise; you should not be left isolated. It might be also be a good idea to set up a WhatsApp group with colleagues delivering similar parts of the curriculum so that you can share ideas and experiences.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10830/UCU-guidance-on-working-from-home-and-teaching-online/pdf/ucu_workfromhome_guide_mar20.pdf

Staff Unable to Work from Home

Where staff are able to work from home, they should obviously be paid as normal. Where staff can’t work from home – due, for example, to the nature of their work – but are currently prevented from carrying out their work, UCU is obviously anxious that they remain in employment – and continue to be paid – during any period for which they are effectively ‘laid-off’ (we refuse to use the term ‘furloughed’). Clearer details of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme are emerging now, and all employers should have been waiting for that rather than rushing to push out communications saying that they will simply stop paying certain groups of staff where they believe that the nature of the contract allows them to.

One college decided to give all its part time AE tutors 2 weeks’ notice of dismissal …unbelievable . The UCU were all over this and the notice has been withdrawn.

If it helps the AOC has sent this to all its member colleges in regard to the staff retention scheme “Staff on the DfE helpline have already advised college finance directors that colleges will be eligible to apply for support on account of their private sector status.” This may be helpful when challenging colleges that are moving quickly to lay people off.

UCEA COVID 19 statement

You may be aware of a joint statement issued by UCEA on Tuesday and signed-up to by the four other HE unions nationally (Unison, Unite, GMB, and EIS) but not UCU.

This is a note to outline why UCU felt unable to sign-up to the joint statement.  The statement as proposed was too weak, and the final version remains so, as it fails to address three areas of concern for UCU, on which UCEA were not prepared to move:

The closure of all non-essential core face to face functions (in terms of teaching this had largely been done but libraries and other non-essential face to face functions were/are still operating;

A pause to negotiate and agree with trade unions arrangements for alternative ways of working including online and home working;

Agreement to ensure all staff working for /delivering services to universities continue to be paid and retained including casualised staff and those employed by contractors, where necessary making use of the government’s Covid-19 wage subsidy offer.

Holidays

Whilst it is understandable that Institutions will try and ensure that staff do not save entitlements until later in the year it is equally unfair for them to force the front loading of holidays. Please refer to your contracts and policies and insist that they are adhered to and not arbitrarily ignored. Contact you officials if you need support re this.

Business as normal

The Swindon Colleges still insist on ploughing ahead with a merger despite our tying to halt it for the time being. Apparently, the Olympics can be postponed but not this!! Comment from member below representative of views

‘I’m sure that I am not the only one but with unprecedented crisis, caring and supporting my family which includes my wife who is a front line NHS worker working in Corvid wards. She has elderly grandparents and children at home as well as attempting to teach and support students. TUPE consultation is at the very bottom of my priorities. I think the college needs to take a reality check.’

City of Bristol College is currently refusing to pause a management restructure/redundancy process. Ploughing ahead with this in the context of the crisis is ridiculous, and the additional stress and anxiety this creates for those potentially facing redundancy is, in the union’s view not only unnecessary but also heartless.

Other employers are taking a much more humane approach though such as Bristol University who , after requests form UCU have paused their restructuring programme for Professional service staff,

Redundancy Consultations Paused

Cornwall College and South Devon have paused all redundancy consultations.

Casual and precarious staff

In the first edition of SWIROL, we shared some examples of good practice, where employers are providing assurances that, for example, hourly-paid teaching staff will continue to be paid for work that has been scheduled even if it doesn’t take place (through no fault of the lecturer). However, we still have a number of gaps in our information about what employers are doing to support casual and precariously-employed staff. Please keep feeding information to us via exeter@ucu.org.uk

Strike Pay Deductions

Exeter University have agreed to suspend all strike pay deductions until May and then deductions would be taken in May, June and July. UCU have requested that deductions are rescinded but have been told that within the Russell Group, very few were doing so. UCU will continue to press for no deductions to be made.

Prison Education Staff

Although the majority of Prison Education staff are no longer required to attend the workplace, we still have a number of issues we are trying to resolve with the employer and the Government. It is unclear whether Weston College will take advantage of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and lay off their Agency Workers or simply lay them off, with no pay. UCU are pressing for the college to access the scheme and protect their agency staff. UCU has also produced guidance for Prison Education members if they are instructed to attend the workplace and this can be accessed here.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10735/Education-provision-during-Covid-19-lockdown

Video Conferencing

Further to Morin’s piece in SWIRE online’s first edition, distributed on Wednesday, and following updated legal advice we would like to give further clarification on her piece on Video Conferencing:

Individual members should be entitled to seek that a formal internal hearing is conducted in person rather than remotely. If an employer refuses then as a Trade Union we will express concern but given the unprecedented times we all are faced employers are being given leniency in this regard.

Whether an employer’s actions are unreasonable is ultimately up to an Employment Tribunal. We should however argue that refusing a member’s request for an in-person hearing would be unreasonable particularly if the sanction is punitive. This involves a balancing exercise. For example where a case is document heavy and complex the representative could  be significantly disadvantaged in putting forward the member’s case.

Additionally, If a member is disabled then there would be the additional considerations of reasonable adjustments and the member may want to request an in-person hearing, when it is safe to do so, as a reasonable adjustment.

We are now hearing of both good and bad practice but after UCU lobbying at least we are reaching agreements that allow for methodology of meetings to be taken on a case by case basis

Communicating with Members

Please remember at this time it is important for branch officers to keep in touch with their members to update them with the latest advice and to reassure them. I can see no reason why these communications cannot be shared with potential members to remind them the we are the organisation that has staff interests as our highest priority. Please encourage your members, where appropriate to share UCU’s communications with their colleagues and non-members and remind and encourage them to join before they need help.

If anyone needs help with communications please contact dotoole@ucu.org.uk

Your Regional Team

UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE UNION
TELEPHONE 01392 412525
Twitter  @UCUSOUTH WEST

SWIRE Online – March 25 2020

South West

Industrial Relations Exchange Online – Wednesday March 25 – Edition 01

Distribution: Officers of the South West and Extended Region, HE and FE

Dear Colleagues

Firstly, we hope you are keeping safe and well in these extraordinary times. This is the first edition of SWIREOL ( South West Industrial Relations Exchange Online ). The purpose is to keep you updated on a regular basis with best COVID 19 practice across the region plus from time to time shaming some of our institutions.

These newsletters are for local SW regional UCU news. For detailed  general guidance please keep checking the national UCU website on a daily basis. As this is to be the start of an exchange please feed in any  notable practice from your institutions to exeter@ucu.org.uk.

The updates will be very brief to allow for versions across all formats. For more detailed information regarding any item contact  either Nick Catriona or Philippa directly  or if related to dealing with case work Morin. Dave has the responsibility for editing the news and Becca will ensure it gets out to all of you.

University of Bristol has a decent statement on Working From Home (WFH) and the challenges of childcare.

Working from home with young children or other caring responsibilities

“If you have young children at home because the schools are closed or have other caring responsibilities and are working at home, we know that you may be unable to commit to a full day of work. We understand that and thank you for your best efforts. Do what you can, ask for help and take care of your family.  Please talk to your line manager to agree a shared approach to your working practices over the coming weeks.”

Petroc one of the better statements re continued payment of HPLs

Petroc College in Devon told TES that it is paying casual staff for the hours they would have worked if the college was operating normally. It is also paying them full sick pay if they are in self-isolation.

The college’s director of human resources and organisational development, Sheena Murphy-Collett, said: “At Petroc, we value all of our workforce and the contribution they make to the success of the college. We are supporting the workforce during this unprecedented situation we find ourselves in and our part-time hourly paid staff, often referred to as casual staff, are being treated fairly and appropriately. If they are in self-isolation, we are paying them sick pay. If they are fit for work, we are paying them for the hours they would have worked if the college was operating normally.

“We have extended the sick pay entitlement for colleagues who ordinarily would only receive SSP [Statutory Sick Pay] within their first six months of employment.”

Precarious and casual

A number of institutions have agreed to pay their hourly paid, associate lecturers and casual staff for any scheduled teaching. Your institution may give them another name but these are staff who have no open ended contract and may have a schedule of work for the year, a guarantee of a number of hours or something similar to this. Some examples; Swindon College, Wiltshire College, Bridgwater and Taunton College, South Devon College, University of the West of England and Plymouth University are all paying these staff groups. There are others. Weymouth College has also given a commitment that variable hours HPLs will continue to be paid, based on their previous and currently planned hours.

Redundancy consultations have been suspended at South Devon College and Cornwall College.

Cornwall College have been able to close all of their sites by working with the Local Authority, families and other providers.

In terms of sick pay and recording sickness absence, Weston College have confirmed Covid-19 absence will not be included in sickness absence monitoring and South Devon College have suspended the use of the Bradford Factor. Petroc has also confirmed that coronavirus-related sickness absence will not be ‘counted’ towards triggering any formal sickness absence procedure.

Prison Ed

It wasn’t until yesterday that our Prison Education colleagues were finally told they would not be required to attend the workplace. Marianne Quick the Negotiating and Bargaining Officer covering Prison Education has been working tirelessly collating information, lobbying MP’s and negotiating with employers. The union had called for face-to-face provision to be stopped after members raised concerns about health and safety. A survey of prison education staff highlighted widespread concerns about a lack of basic handwashing facilities, classrooms not being cleaned between lessons and equipment being shared between prisoners and staff. Work will now continue to ensure these staff are still paid and the Government continues to pay colleges for the contracts.

Advice from Morin re Individual ​Casework

To Video Conference or Not?

With the Government’s emergency shutdown in response to Covid-19 and its advice about social distancing many of you will be thinking whether conducting a grievance, capability or disciplinary process via Skype, Zoom is advisable. To assist with this I have produced some information for you when advising members in this regard.

The first thing I would say is that it is ultimately up to the individual concerned. However, where the process is likely to lead to a severe sanction such as a Warning or Dismissal then our advice would be to have a face to face hearing when it is safe to do so which obviously means there would be a significant delay given the current pandemic crisis. The reasons for this are essentially three-fold:

1. You won’t get a second chance at it.

2. Conducting a disciplinary hearing, for example, via video conferencing would put both the individual member concerned and you as the representative at a disadvantage as you would not be able to properly gauge non-verbal communication.

3. Your union rep will be restricted with the amount of support that they can provide you as they will not be in the same room as you.

The individual member has the right to opt for a face to face hearing particularly when the sanction of the process is punitive. To not allow this would be unreasonable on the part of the employer. I do not envisage this being an issue but if you come across an employer who insists on going ahead via video conferencing against the individual’s wishes then I would suggest that you contact the regional office immediately at exeter@ucu.org.uk

NB: If an individual member does opt to go for a video conference then we shall support and represent them as best we can.

STOP PRESS

We are getting news from others in England that some managers are being instructed to  access online teaching and calling them ‘virtual walks ‘. Contact your official if any of  your institutions try this.

And Finally…

 

 

 

 

Bath Spa Teach Outs

For more information go to www.ucuatbsu.com

Strike Up! Conversations 2020 schedule v5 Full PDF (print version)

 

UKs biggest ever university strikes

UK’s biggest ever university strikes as staff begin 14 days of walkouts on Thursday

UCU members at 74 universities will begin 14 days of strikes on Thursday (20 February) in the largest wave of strikes ever seen on UK campuses.

The full strike dates are:

Week one – Thursday 20 & Friday 21 February
Week two – Monday 24, Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 February
Week three – Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 March
Week four – Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March

The disputes centre on the sustainability of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and rising costs for members, and on universities’ failure to make significant improvements on pay, equality, casualisation and workloads.

see more here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10643/UKs-biggest-ever-university-strikes-as-staff-begin-14-days-of-walkouts-on-Thursday

UCU members will strike at the following locations in the South West

Bath Spa

Picket locations/times, teach outs/rallies

Newton Park, Newton St Loe, Bath, BA2 9BD, 8am to 12pm on every strike day

Locksbrook Campus, Locksbrook Road, Bath, BA1 3EL, 8am to 12pm on every strike day

Corsham Court, Corsham Court, Church St, Wiltshire, Corsham SN13 0BZ, 8am to 12pm on every strike day

1st teach-out at The Globe on the first strike day, Thursday 20th, at 1-3pm.
Pennyquick, Newton St Loe, Bath BA2 9BB

Subsequent teach outs still being arranged.

Bath

Picket locations/times, teach outs/rallies

Virgil Building Manvers Street 8-11 am
5 Manvers St, Bath BA1 1JQ

Main Entrance 7:30-9:30 am
Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY

North Road 7:30-9:30 am

South Building 7:30-11:30 am

Exeter

Picket locations/times, teach outs/rallies

Streatham Drive / Stocker Road Junction Entrance (EX4 4PX), 8-10am.
Prince of Wales Rd Entrance (EX4 4SB), 8-10am.
Thornlea Entrance, New North Rd (Exeter EX4 4LA), 8-10am.
St Luke’s Entrance, Magdelene Rd (Exeter EX1 2LU), 8-10am.
Penryn Site, Main gate (Penryn TR10 9FE).

Bristol

Picket locations/times, teach outs/rallies

Main entrance on Woodland Road, 8:30am
Main Entrance on Priory Road, 8:30 am

At 10.30am on Thursday, 20 February 2020 UCU members will gather outside the Victoria Rooms for a rally before marching to College Green.

Call for Solidarity – Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Bath Spa begin 14 days of strike action from Thursday 20th (2020)

Colleagues,

In our region Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Bath Spa begin 14 days of strike action from next Thursday 20th.  Please send messages of support/attend local picket lines and donate to fighting fund (see details below).

Donate to the fighting fund.  Please support your colleagues.

UCU uses its fighting fund to support members involved in disputes, including the provision of strike pay where appropriate.  At the 2011 Congress, delegates recognised the current economic situation and the likelihood that this would mean more disputes to save jobs and services and protect conditions and recommended that members who could afford to do so, should make an annual donation to the fighting fund to support others.

 Need to claim or donate?  Please go to: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10452/Fighting-fund-donations-and-claims

Congress suggested that an appropriate donation would be £25, depending upon members’ circumstances but any donation to support colleagues in struggle is greatly appreciated and will be used directly to help members on strike.

How to donate:

Go to: https://www.ucu.org.uk/fightingfund

Securely online by credit card via the PayPal website:

Make a direct bank transfer, or set up a regular standing order, to:

Account name: UCU Fighting Fund
Sort code: 60-83-01
Account no: 20179432
Reference: ‘Fighting Fund Voluntary Levy’

or send a cheque (payable to ‘University and College Union’) to:

Fighting Fund donation
Finance Dept
University and College Union
Carlow Street
London
NW1 7LH

Please also send message of support.  These are always welcome and can be more widely disseminated.

Exeter –  Sharon Strawbridge (s.m.strawbridge@exeter.ac.uk)
Bath – David Moon (d.s.moon@bath.ac.uk)
Bath Spa – Beth Wright  e.wright@bathspa.ac.uk
Bristol  – James Thompson – Bristol Uni (james.thompson@bristol.ac.uk)

Please, show your support.

Thank you
NickVarney
Regional Official

HE Universities USS Strike November 2019

 

 

 

Call to All branches in the UCU SW region

You will know that Bristol, Exeter and Bath University members have smashed though the anti union ballot legislation and that members have voted overwhelmingly to take 8 continuous days of strike action from Monday November 25th right through to Wednesday 4th December.  They are leading the fight against worsening of pensions, year on year pay cuts, increased casualisation, unequal pay and excessive workloads.

These are issues in every part of HE, FE  Prison Education and AE.  Their action is part of the battle we are all fighting.  DO ALL YOU CAN TO SUPPORT.  Turn up on picket lines, send messages of support and contribute to the fighting fund.

Bristol University – (Bristol, BS8 1TH)

There will be pickets from 7.30 am to 10.00 am on Monday 25, Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 November.

On Monday 25 there was a rally outside the Victoria Rooms At 10:00 am (UCU head of higher education, Paul Bridge spoke) followed by a march to College Green (Bristol, BS1 5TJ)

Updated: Thanks once more for all your support. On Wednesday Nov 27, we will be picketing from 7.30 am to 10.00 am. We will have a rally at 10.00 am outside the Victoria Rooms, ( 88 Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1SA ) and then march down to College Green.

Picket locations for Wednesday are here: https://www.ucubristol.org.uk/picket-locations/

Teach Outs: https://bristolucu.blogs.bristol.ac.uk/files/2019/11/BSSSG-Teach-Out-e1574859854763.jpeg

Local picket leaders at each location will be clad in yellow tabards.

The main picket will be at the Victoria Rooms, and anyone is welcome to join that picket.

On Friday the 29th we will meet our students at 10.30am at Senate House (Bristol BS8 1TH) to walk down to join the Climate Strike march.

Please send messages of support to President, James Thompson care of ucu-office@bristol.ac.uk

University of Bath (Bath, BA2 7AY)

Striking staff will be on picket lines at the main University entrance, the North Entrance, at the North Road entrance, and in front of the Virgil Building on Manvers Street

Pickets are starting at 7am.

The University of Bath have organised “Strike On: Teach Out” events.  All are welcome.  See what a real university can be.

More details here: Facebook.com/StrikeOnTeachOut

Bath Teach Out Locations

Monday: 2pm-7pm (The Bell Inn, Bath 103 Walcot St, Bath BA1 5BW)
Tuesday: 2pm-7pm (The Bell Inn, Bath 103 Walcot St, Bath BA1 5BW)
Wednesday: 2pm-7pm (Widcombe Social Club, Bath Widcombe Hill, Bath BA2 6AA)
Thursday: 2pm-7pm (The Bell Inn, Bath 103 Walcot St, Bath BA1 5BW) the Students’ Union will be joining us at 11am at the South (pedestrian) entrance and encouraging students to come along.

Friday: 10am-12:00 Climate 2pm-7pm (The Bell, Bath 103 Walcot St, Bath BA1 5BW)
On Friday, finish at 10:30am in order to head down to the climate strike in the city centre.

Please send messages of support to President, Fran Amery: f.c.amery@bath.ac.uk

University of Exeter (Exeter, EX4 4PY)

There will be pickets from 7.30 am from Monday 25 – Wednesday 4 December

Exeter Picket locations

Streatham Drive / Stocker Road Junction Entrance
Prince of Wales Rd Entrance
Thornlea Entrance, New North Rd (Exeter EX4 4LA)
St Luke’s Entrance, Magdelene Rd (Exeter EX1 2LU)
Penryn Site, Main gate (Penryn TR10 9FE)

Teach-Out, St David’s Church, Queen’s Terrace, Exeter EX4 4HR, Friday 29, 12-4pm.  Line-up TBA.

Rally on the final day – Wednesday 4 December details TBC

Please send messages of support to President, Sharon Strawbridge s.m.strawbridge@exeter.ac.uk

Donations to fighting fund can be made by:

Making a direct bank transfer, or set up a regular standing order, to:

Account name: UCU Fighting Fund
Sort code: 60-83-01
Account no: 20179432
Reference: ‘Fighting Fund Voluntary Levy’

or send a cheque (payable to ‘University and College Union’) to:

Fighting Fund donation
Finance Dept
University and College Union
Carlow Street
London
NW1 7LH

Please follow @ucu and https://twitter.com/UCUSOUTHWEST

for latest details

Tiny URL to this page https://tinyurl.com/heuss2019

Nick Varney

 

 

Regional Official

UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE UNION
1ST FLOOR
BRITTANY HOUSE
NEW NORTH ROAD
EXETER EX4 4EP

TELEPHONE 01392 412525

 

South West Reps Training Calendar – 2019/2020

New Courses have been scheduled for the South West Region. Please read on to find out details!

All the courses are from 9.30am-4.30pm with registration from 9.15am. You are required to attend the full day during the training.

UCU Reps

Rep 1: Induction – 19th, 20th and 21st November 2019, Exeter Regional Office

Who is the course for?
This course is aimed at:

All new UCU reps and officers regardless of role
Existing UCU reps and officers regardless of role
This is a three day module. The course will help you to:
• understand the key structures, processes and support mechanisms within UCU and the ways in which they can interact with these
• understand the role of the UCU representative and other UCU union roles within the branch
• gain confidence to exercise your rights as a rep
• understand the links between organising and campaigning, member involvement, sustainability and the overall health of the branch
• get up to speed with the latest equality legislation
You will need to register through this link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8379/Rep-1-UCU-Rep-Induction-19-21-November-2019-Exeter

Rep 2: Representing UCU members – 10th, 11th and 12th March 2020, Exeter Regional Office

Who is the course for?
This course is aimed at:

UCU reps and caseworkers who have attended the rep 1 induction module. We cannot accept you on the course if you have not completed Rep 1 already.
This is a three day module. The course will help you to:
• develop an understanding of the ACAS code and your own policies on disciplinary and grievance
• identify and progress individual issues into collective action
• practice essential skills and deepen knowledge when representing members cases from initial interview through to the hearing stage with management
• begin to develop a strategic overview of how casework should be managed to take back to your branch
You will need to register through this link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8372/Rep-2-Representing-UCU-members—10-12-March-2020-Exeter

Health and Safety Reps – Safety Reps 1: Induction – 8th, 9th and 10th October 2019 – Exeter Regional Office

This 3 day module forms the first part of a 6 day training programme organised into 2 modules.
• the role and functions of a safety rep
• obtaining facilities and time off to carry out the safety rep’s function
• using the Safety Reps and Safety Committee Regulations
• organising UCU members around hazards at work
• applying a trade union and equal opportunities approach to health and safety
• identifying employers’ duties under health and safety legislation
• using the Health and Safety at Work Act and key regulation
• developing the skills needed to be an effective safety rep

You will need to register through this link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/4800/HS-1-Induction-Health–safety-reps-role-and-functions-8-10-October-2019-Exeter

H&S 2: Organising and bargaining for health and safety 28th, 29th and 30th January 2020– Exeter Regional Office

This 3 day module forms the second part of a 6 day training programme organised into 2 modules.
• building union organisation around health and safety issues
• introduction to risk assessments
• analysing symptoms of ill health by using body mapping and other techniques
• preparing for, and involving, members in inspections at work
• carrying out inspections at work
• using a systematic approach to tackling health and safety problems
• safety reps and the risk assessment process
• the role of safety reps in investigating injuries, incidents and ill health
• developing the skills needed to be an effective safety rep
You will need to register through this link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/6191/HS-2-Organising-and-bargaining-for-health-and-safety-28-30-January-2020-Exeter

Representing individual members: an introduction to casework, 4th December 2019, Exeter

This is a course for reps who are new to representing individual members or those who are considering becoming more involved in the direct representation of individual members. This course is designed as an introduction and you should look to completing the Rep 1: Induction post this course. More experienced reps may find this course useful in order to update their skills and look at current best practice. These one day courses are only available in the area they are advertised.
This course is for the South West area only – if you require this course in your area you should contact your regional office in the first instance.
This course will enable you to:
• Understand the UCU legal support scheme and Recourse
• Understand the role of the rep
• Understand how to communicate effectively with members seeking advice and represent them in meetings with management
• Identify sources of support and information for members seeking representation
• Understand the importance of using individual cases for collective organisation and describe the circumstances and ways in which this can be done
• Develop a collaborative approach with the member and manage their expectations
• Maintain confidentiality and conflicts of interest
• Assert your own rights and take care of your own well-being when handling personal cases
• Increase your understanding of procedures and processes related to individual representation
• Outline systems for dealing with individual casework in your branch.

You need to register through this link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10161/Representing-individual-members—an-introduction-to-casework

Trade unions and the environment – Green Reps role, function & influence 5th February 2020

This one day course is designed as an introduction to the role and functions of the UCU Environment/Green Rep. The course is open to all new and existing Green Reps who have not previously had training in this area, along with any rep who has an interest in environmental issues at work.
This one day introductory course is the ideal starting point for new and existing Environment/Green Reps who have not yet received training for the role. The course is also open to any other branch reps who have an interest in environmental issues at work.
The course will cover the outline below, but we will also look at how the role can influence the bargaining agenda of the branch.
This course will cover the following:
• The role and function of a Green Rep
• How the role integrates with branch structure
• How to progress issues with the employer
• Organising and involving members
• Campaigning around local and national priorities

You will need to register through this link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/7796/Trade-unions-and-the-environment—Green-Reps-role-function–influence

Registration

Due to new funding cuts UCU will be charged up to £150 per learner, for course with fewer than 15 participants. Please ensure you have the time off agreed and calendared before applying for the course. Please also make sure that you do not book anything else once the course booking has been confirmed. It places considerable pressure on the office in trying to replace a delegate when one has cancelled at the last minute, due to time off not being agreed or something else has come up. It could also mean that the course is cancelled if the numbers go below a certain amount which is disappointing and an inconvenience to other delegates who are all set to go.

Time Off for Training

This is something I get asked about regularly i.e. Reps are finding it hard to get the time off for training, either their Line Manager is being difficult, or they don’t want to request the time off as they are busy etc. It is YOUR LEGAL RIGHT as a Rep to have this time off to attend training. Here is a link to the UCU website with regards to this http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=4903 – this link contains sample letters that you and your Branch can use to get time off for training. If all else fails and you still encounter difficulties then please contact this office where your Official will be able to intervene.

ACAS code of practice

The new version of the ACAS code of practice on time off and facilities for union reps came into force on 1st Jan 2010. To access the code of practice, please click here: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2391

Overnight Accommodation, Expenses and Transport

Overnight stays are available for the night/s in between the course if you have to set out to travel to the venue before 6.30am in the morning.

Please note you are unable to book your own accommodation and claim this back through UCU.
Once you are registered please use the most cost effective form of transport available. UCU will cover the cost of any expenses incurred at the end of the course. You are not entitled to subsidence unless you are booked in for overnight accommodation and will require dinner. The cost of dinner should not exceed £15 per night. If you do require sight of an expense form before the course please let me know.

There is also an FAQ page relating to training: https://www.ucu.org.uk/trainingfaqs

Further Education Pay Dispute 29 and 30 January – South West Region

Further Education Pay Dispute 29 and 30 January – South West Region

FE staff in England are getting a raw deal from their employers. Workloads have never been higher while average pay packets have shrunk and the latest kick in the teeth – the recommended 1% pay rise for 2017-18 – has not even been implemented in over 40% of colleges. Three FE branches in the South West have already taken strike action Petroc, New College Swindon and Bath College. Now,  Abingdon and Witney and Bridgwater and Taunton College are joining them for a further two days strike action.  All five of these branches need your help and support. Please circulate these details widely, visit the picket and send emails of support. The TinyURL for this post is https://tinyurl.com/ucufab5

Abingdon and Witney College

Picket location: Abingdon Campus, Wootton Rd, Abingdon OX14 1GG (7:30 – 15:00)

Picket location: Witney Campus, Holloway Road, Witney OX28 6NE (7:30 – 15:00)

There will be a rally at Witney on Tuesday lunchtime (12.30 – 1.30), and at Abingdon on Wednesday lunchtime. (12.30 – 1.30)

For further information please contact Regional Official, Nick Varney NVarney@UCU.ORG.UK

Bridgwater and Taunton College

Picket Location: Bath Rd, Bridgwater TA6 4PZ
7:30am – 12:30 both days
Picket Location: Wellington Road, Taunton, TA1 5AX
7:30am – 12:30 both days
Picket Location: Rodway Hill, Cannington, Bridgwater, TA5 2LS
7:30am – 12:30 both days

For further information please contact Regional Support Official, Philippa Davey PDavey@UCU.ORG.UK

Petroc College

Picket Location: Old Sticklepath Hill, Barnstaple, EX31 2BQ
7:30am – 12:30 both days

For further information please contact Regional Support Official, Catriona Scott cscott@ucu.org.uk

New College Swindon

Picket location: New College Dr, Swindon SN3 1AH
8:00am – 13:00pm both days

For further information please contact Regional Official, Nick Varney NVarney@UCU.ORG.UK

Bath College

Picket Location: City centre campus in Bath College, Avon Street, Bath, BA1 1UP
8:00am – 13:00pm both days

For further information please contact Regional Support Official, Catriona Scott cscott@ucu.org.uk

Industrial Action in FE in support of UCU Pay Claim

The University College Union (UCU) recently reballoted Further Education (FE) branches who had come very close to the mandated 50% turnout but did not achieve it. Again, the ballot was very close to breaking through the threshold of 50% in most institutions .  The turnout was one of the biggest in our history and it is only anti-union legislation that is stopping the action that the vast majority of members that voted clearly want to take.

Now, in the extended SW region Abingdon and Witney plus Bridgwater and Taunton College will be joining Petroc, Bath College and Swindon New College in further strike action strike action on January 29 and 30th.

For some officers and members this will be their first strike action and it impossible to overestimate how much messages from other branches mean to those in the vanguard of what is an all FE sector dispute.

Please send messages of support to those branches and do all you can to organise supporting activity on the days of the strike e.g. joining picket lines/lunchtime protests/contacting local MPs/ sending photos of your members supporting the action etc., etc., etc.

The contact details below of the senior branch officers at the striking branches are listed below:

Abingdon & Witney College  
Jeannie Donald McKim jeaniedonaldmckim@gmail.com
Alison Williams w-01865 765852 alison.williams@abingdon-witney.ac.uk
Bath College
Sarah Keen-Price w-01225 328547
Union office-01225328780
sarah.keen-price@bathcollege.ac.uk
Stephanie Williams w- 01225 312 191 ext. 639 stephanie.williams@bathcollege.ac.uk
Bridgwater & Taunton College
Jon Fones w-01278 455464 Ext-1737 fonesj@btc.ac.uk
Bob Skittrell w-01278 655239 skittrellb@btc.ac.uk
Aileen Glen w-01823 366523 glena@btc.ac.uk
Catherine Patay w-01278 455464 Ext-1821 patayc@btc.ac.uk
New College Swindon
Stewart Fraser w-01793 732830 stewart.fraser@newcollege.ac.uk
Monika Lawson w-01793 732865 (assistant to Monika) monlawson@hotmail.com
Petroc
Cecily Blyther w-01271 852513) cecily.blyther@petroc.ac.uk
Jane Sansbury W-01271 852362 jane.sansbury@petroc.ac.uk

More information on this pay dispute can be accessed on the UCU website at https://www.ucu.org.uk/FEfightsback

USS Pensions Dispute

Updated: Wednesday 21 February, 2018

At the Regional Committee meeting on Friday 2 February at the Exeter Regional Offices it was decided that such was the importance of the USS pensions dispute facing pre-92 Universities, that ALL branches in the region be asked to support it in any way possible. ALL Branches are asked to organise their members to attend pickets, offer messages of support, contribute to any collection for hardship funds and to lobby MPs by writing to them and visiting their surgeries.  You can find out details of your MP here www.theyworkforyou.com.   Please see below for picket and other details. Please circulate this blog link widely to sister trade unions, Trades Councils and interested parties. The short link for printed materials is https://tinyurl.com/USSSW

This page will be updated with the latest strike and picket information. If you can’t find what you need here please contact the branch directly, or Regional Organiser, Dave O’Toole dotoole@ucu.org.uk   or look on the UCU website https://www.ucu.org.uk/strikeforuss

Last updated: February 9, 2017

USS is the collective pensions scheme for pre-92 universities. In this region Exeter, Bristol and Bath three of the 61 affected across the country.

UUK, the representative body to the USS pension scheme, have announced intentions to move from a defined benefits pension scheme to a defined contributions scheme. UCU has been in negotiations with UUK for over a year but has made no progress in overturning this. It means in essence that the current scheme which collectivises pension risk and pays a final pension linked to salary will be replaced by one which throws the risk onto the individual and makes the final salary dependent on the stock market. It has been calculated that the proposed changes will result in a loss of value of the pension of at least 20% with some estimates predicting 60% and more.  Currently, though, the scheme is fantastically successful with around £60bn of assets. It has a positive cash flow and so brings in every year more than it pays out.  This situation is expected will continue for at least the next 30 years (or as far as can be predicted). But closing off new payments into this scheme will very rapidly move it to the situation where it will be in a negative cash flow and this could happen within 5 or 6 years.

More information here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrKIJMLUIO4

These changes represent the biggest attack on UCU’s members that has ever been mounted and requires the biggest ever response.

In a ballot to take industrial action UCU members smashed though the Trade Union Bill requirement for a 50% turnout. More than 58% (a record) voted and there was record vote in favour of action with 88% voting for strike action and 93% for action short of a strike. We are asking for support from all UCU members and fellow trade unionists.

In response to this ballot UCU will be holding fourteen days of escalating action Thursday 22 February, Friday 23 February, Monday 26 February, Tuesday 27 February,  Wednesday 28 February,  Monday 5 March, Tuesday 6 March, Wednesday 7 March, Thursday 8 March, Monday 12 March, Tuesday 13 March, Wednesday 14 March, Thursday 15 March, Friday 16 March

University of Bath

University of Bath UCU Branch will be picketing the three entrances to the campus (North Road, Bathwick Hill pedestrian entrance, and The Avenue from 07:00am to 13:00pm on 22 & 23 February as well as the Virgil Building (the old police station) in the city centre. Messages of support and requests for information can be sent to ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk . We will be delighted to meet anyone on our picket lines. Bring a banner from your union branch if you have one, but most of all bring yourself.

Bristol and BathPaul Bridge, UCU Head of Higher Education, Bargaining and Negotiations, will speak on 26 February at The University of Bath at 10:30am at the pedestrian entrance to campus and later at The University of Bristol 2:00pm at Senate House, Tyndall Ave, Bristol BS8 1TH

Please send messages of support to ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk

For each day we are on strike, we lose a day’s pay. We believe that our lost wages should go into a hardship fund for our students and towards improving mental health support for students and staff.

Staff and students please sign our petition here: http://bath.web.ucu.org.uk/2018/02/18/petition-strike-hardship-mental-health/
All staff and students are invited to sign this petition to university senior management.

The branch is also organising a “Strike on Teach Out” event from 3:00pm – 6:00pm on Thursday 22 and Friday 23 of February. Please see the Facebook page for more details. Venue: Black Bell Inn, Walcott Street, Bath. for details go here:  https://www.facebook.com/StrikeOnTeachOut/

We welcome contributions to our hardship fund. Please contact Michael Carley for details. m.j.carley@bath.ac.uk

University Of Bristol

Main Contacts – Tracey Hooper and James Thompson, email ucu-office@bristol.ac.uk

Prior to the action, Bristol Branch are holding an evening event, co-hosted by Bristol Student Labour Party called ‘Why is my lecturer on strike?’ on Tuesday 20th Feb at 6pm. Lecture Theatre 3, Woodland Road Complex, BS8 1TB.

Thursday, 22nd February
08:00: Picket lines staffed Senate House  (Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH).
10:30: Rally, Rally, Senate House  (Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH). We suggest anyone who would like to join us and show support should head to this location either for rally/march or picket.
11:00-11:30: March to Wills Memorial Building (Queens Road, BS8 1RJ)
11:30-12:00: Rally, Wills Memorial Building
12:00-: Teach-Outs will be held at Woodlands Church, Belgrave Road, Bristol, BS8 2AA. Topics include the history of the trade union movement, and the anniversary of 1968 protests.

Monday, 26th February:
08:00: Picket lines staffed (Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH)
10:30: Rally, Senate House (Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TH)
13:30: Wills Memorial Building (Queens Road, BS8 1RJ
14:00: Senate begins
14:00-14:30: Rally, Wills Memorial Building (Queens Road, BS8 1RJ)

Bristol and Bath – Paul Bridge, UCU Head of Higher Education, Bargaining and Negotiations, will speak on 26 February at The University of Bath at 10:30am at the pedestrian entrance to campus and later at The University of Bristol 2:00pm at Senate House, Tyndall Ave, Bristol BS8 1TH

We welcome contributions to our hardship fund. Please contact Tracey Hooper for details.

Please send messages of support to President, Tracey Hooper

Students at Bristol have backed a petition calling on the university to refund tuition fees for all those who lose lecturer contact time as a result of the action. See here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-bristol-university-of-bristol-strike-compensation

University Of Exeter

Main Contact – Barrie Cooper email B.Cooper@exeter.ac.uk

Pickets Thursday 22 February, Friday 23 February

Streatham (both entrances); meet at the corner of Prince of Wales Road and Stocker Road (EX4 4PU)
St Luke’s Campus (EX1 2LU) Barrack Road (EX2 5DW)
The Alexander Building, New North Road, Thornlea, Exeter EX4 4LA
Penryn Campus, Penryn TR10 9FE

Thurs 22nd: All members out and on picket lines at all campuses 7:30-11:30 followed by a march to a rallying point at St Sidwells
Fri 23rd: All members out and on picket lines at all campuses 7:30-11:30 followed by social.
Barrie Lovejoy – National Head of Regional Organisations and Nations will be in Exeter on Friday 23 February and will visit with pickets.

Mon 26th & Tues 27th: Members strike, but no specific pickets/events planned
Weds 28th: Members strike.  Afternoon – teach-out/public lectures.

University of Exeter Branch will begin a programme of events to which all interested members of the public are welcome to attend. While originating in the strike, we intend to continue organizing such events after we restore our pensions: as an element within the university of the future. Please see their Facebook Page for more details. https://www.facebook.com/volunteeruniversity

We welcome contributions to Exeter’s hardship fund. Please contact Barrie Cooper B.Cooper@exeter.ac.uk for details.

Please send messages of support to Barrie Cooper.

Student support

We have been overwhelmed by offers of support and positive action by students. Students at Exeter have managed to change the mind of key bodies within the university to support our action. Students at Falmouth FXU (which shares a site with Exeter at Penryn are leafletting and at the University of Bristol more than 2,100 3,500 students have backed a petition calling on the university to refund tuition fees for all those who lose lecturer contact time as a result of the action. See here: https://www.change.org/p/university-of-bristol-university-of-bristol-strike-compensation

What can you do?

If you work in universities, join a union and take strike action.

If you’re a student, graduate, or parent of a student, lobby your university leader to oppose the pension cuts and resume negotiations with our union, UCU: https://www.ucu.org.uk/studentvoice. If you’re an Oxbridge student/ alum, this is particularly important because Oxbridge is the leading force promoting pension cuts.

If you’re a concerned member of the public, write to your MP asking them to sign Early Day Motion 619, which calls for a prompt and fair resolution of the dispute, and requesting that they pressure your local university to resume talks: https://www.writetothem.com