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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

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

UCU South West Regional Committee Motion

UCU South West Regional Committee Motion

From Michael Carley (Regional Chairperson) on behalf of the UCU South West Regional Committee.

Dear Member,

The motion below was carried unanimously at our meeting of last Saturday 29th October

In the climate of open racism which has developed since the EU referendum, we as South West UCU members

1. condemn attempts to exclude non-UK students and staff from our institutions of Further and Higher Education, and to discriminate between staff on the basis of nationality.

2. condemn the proposal to oblige employers to list “foreign” staff and to treat the employment of non-UK nationals as a reason for shame.

3. condemn the scapegoating of immigrants for problems caused by a policy of “austerity”.

4. condemn the treatment of immigration as a problem to be solved.

5. condemn any rhetoric which divides workers amongst themselves.

We reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental trade union principles of solidarity and unity and

1. demand that institutions of learning remain open to students and staff of all nationalities.

2. demand that our employers guarantee that they will not discriminate between staff on the basis of nationality or implement lists of “foreign” workers.

We will work with and through organizations in the labour movement and beyond to live up to our principles and to stand with our brothers and sisters from wherever they may come.

We ask UCU members to:

1. sign the UCU petition calling for protection for non-UK staff and students post Brexit.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8463/Will-you-help-UCU-stand-up-for-EU-staff-and-students

2. organize within branches and communities to defend staff, students, and anyone else who might be affected, for example, through trades councils, students’ unions, immigrant defence groups, anti-racist organizations, the Migrants’ Rights and the One Day Without Us campaigns.

Further information and resources:

UCU’s legal service now offers immigration advice: https://www.ucu.org.uk/legal#immigration

UCU and CLASS have produced a report on why immigration is good for us all: http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/6865/Why-immigration-is-good-for-us-all-UCU–CLASS-Oct-14/pdf/whyimmigrationisgoodforallofus_oct14.pdf

South West TUC has produced a booklet on immigration in the region. Copies are available through your branch or regional office, or you can download a PDF: https://www.tuc.org.uk/about-tuc/regions/migration-and-south-west-south-west-tuc-guide-population-and-migration

A number of universities have already taken action in support of non-UK staff. For example:

Exeter University is covering the cost for EU staff applying for a permanent residency card, which proves their right to remain in the UK.

Newcastle University is offering interest free loans to staff who wish to become UK citizens:

https://my.ncl.ac.uk/staff/nuconnections/item/welcome-to-this-brexit-edition-of-nu-connections

At UCL, management, trade unions, and the student union issued a joint statement in defence of the rights of EU and EEA residents in the UK:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/staff/staff-news/August/24082016-Provost-and-union-representatives-press-government-EU-citizens-status

If you want to discuss this motion further or get more involved in the UCU South West Regional Committee then please contact me via the regional office at exeter@ucu.org.uk.  The next meeting will be on January 21st in Bristol (full details will be sent out nearer to the date).

Yours in Solidarity

Michael Carley (SW Region Chairperson)

 

UCU/NUS Joint National Demonstration Saturday November 19

UCU/NUS Joint National Demonstration Saturday November 19

Coaches

Coach 1 – Regional Coach booked. Pickup points will be Falmouth – departing at 04:00, Plymouth – departing at 05:45, Exeter – Departing at 07:00, arrive Park Lane 11:30am – Departure 5:00pm. Primary Contact is Dave O’Toole dotoole@ucu.org.uk . All booking of seats for this coach via dotoole@ucu.org.uk . Tickets on this coach are free.

Falmouth – There will be no pickup at Falmouth
Plymouth – 05:45 – Outside Plymouth University, opposite The Plymouth Museum and Art gallery
Exeter – 07:00 – bus stop on Cheeke Street opposite the bus station.
Coach company is Roselyn Coaches.

Coach 2 – Bath AreaBath University UCU Departures and pickups TBA. Primary contact is Michael Carley M.J.Carley@bath.ac.uk . This coach will serve Bath University UCU, Bath University SU, Bath Spa UCU, Bath Spa SU, Bath College UCU.

A link for tickets for the Bath coaches is here https://www.bathstudent.com/national-demo/

It is not necessary to have an SU account, but non SU members will need to login with a guest account to purchase one.
If you have any problems buying a ticket in this way please contact ucu-sec@bath.ac.uk  

Coach 3 – Bristol Area – Bristol University SU.  Primary contact for UCU is Jamie Melrose Jamie.Melrose@bristol.ac.uk . This coach will serve Bristol University UCU, Bristol University SU, UWE UCU, UWE SU, City of Bristol College UCU.

Bristol UCU has reserved 13 seats for Bristol UCU members on coaches to the demo. The coaches will be leaving from outside the Bristol Students’ Union at 8am. To reserve your place and for more info, please go the below Eventbrite link and click TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bristol-ucu-coaches-united-for-education-demo-19th-november-tickets-28686764886  The subsidised tickets are £5.

Nationally

There is a useful NUS maintained page which shows some of the national picture (mostly NUS arranged coaches) at:

http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/winning-for-students/campaigns/national-demo-united-for-education


This page is being updated as information is firmed up.

 

 

 

 

 

Action on Pay – UCU and Joint Unions National Pay Claim 2016/17

Action on Pay – UCU and Joint Unions National Pay Claim 2016/17

Background – The FE England Joint Trade Unions submitted their 2016/17 claim to the Association of Colleges (AoC) on 26 April 2016. The heads of claim were:

  • An increase of £1 extra per hour for all staff
  • All Colleges to ensure fair pay for women by conducting Equal Pay Audits or reviewing any existing Audits; identifying any gender pay gap; and constructing an Action Plan with the Trade Unions locally to eliminate any such gaps.
  • Hourly paid, temporary, fixed-term or casual staff working in a college for more than two years to be offered a permanent post on a pro-rata basis that is commensurate with the hours they actually work.
  • The starting rates to be no lower than the Living Wage Foundation rates of £8.25 outside of London and £9.40 in London with annual up rating. Colleges to work to become Living Wage Foundation accredited.

The second meeting of the National Joint Forum the 2016/17 pay round, originally scheduled for 5 July but postponed, was held on 21 September. The AoC addressed all four elements of the trade unions’ claim in the following manner:

Living wage“The pay arrangements in many colleges are already equivalent to or greater than the Living Wage Foundation rates. Where this is not the case, colleges should consider strategies to address this as part of an overall review of reward, employment offering and job design. The decision on whether or not to formalise accreditation is a matter for individual colleges based on their particular circumstances.”

Casual Employment – “It is recommended the colleges continue to regularly review their establishment flexibility ratios to ensure they continue to reflect and plan for the changing business and operating environment and keeping the requirements of the regulations in mind. Similarly, in line with the regulations and any existing agreements, colleges should identify any staff who have been employed on fixed term contracts of four years or more and take any appropriate action needed.It is suggested that a joint working group be formed to develop models of good practice.”

Gender pay Gap – “As responsible employers, it is recommended that colleges review their existing audits or make use of NJF’S agreed toolkit to identify and assure themselves that males and females undertaking exactly the same work are paid equally. Where gaps are identified or there is potential for a pay gap to develop, colleges should seek to identify and address the matter through an action plan and consult with staff and workforce representatives on the plan and its implementation.

It should be noted that for the majority of colleges this is a routine action for HR functions who will undertake such activities in the general course of their work.”

Pay“In line with the headline pay recommendations in public services for 2016/17, AoC will recommend the following to its members:

1% applied to all points or £250 where this is more beneficial (typically salaries below £25,000). Where an award is made and affordable, colleges should implement with effect from either August 1, their usual ‘award’ date where this is not August 1 or at the nearest available date thereafter subject to local conditions.”

It can be seen that despite protracted negotiation period the AoC final offer falls far short of addressing the substantive losses in pay of the FE sector. Importantly AoC recommendations are not binding on any college. The National FE Committee is currently collating feedback from UCU branches (as of October 13) and will meet to discuss any further actions.

The Trade Union Act – May 2016

The Trade Union Act 2016

The Trade Union Bill has been said to contribute to the already most draconian anti-trade union legislation of any western country. Thought much diminished in its original scope it is now passed into legislation as the Trade Union Act. (May 2016)

Implementation timetable

Although the Act will not come into force immediately: some of its provisions require further legislation in the form of regulations which need to be made before they can be implemented. The remaining provisions require the Government to set a date for their implementation, which they have yet to do. Therefore, the implementation timetable is currently unclear. However, we expect phased implementation to commence this year with some changes, such as to check-off, to be delayed until 2017.

Key changes under the Act in overview

Balloting

  • A strike ballot must currently have the support of a simple majority of those voting. The Act introduces a new minimum voter turnout (i.e. that at least 50% of those entitled to vote do so) and an additional minimum support threshold applying in some Important Public Services (IPS) (i.e. that at least 40% of those entitled to vote must vote ‘yes’).
  • Important public services include parts of the fire, health, education, transport, border control and nuclear services and include some private sector workers. Further regulations will be made providing the details. NB whether education and what parts of it are seen to be IPS will be subject to further discussion.
  • The 40% support is triggered where the majority of workers are normally engaged in the provision of IPS. It does not cover ancillary workers engaged in IPS activities, as initially proposed. A trade union will have a ‘reasonable belief’ defence if it mistakenly breaches the 40% requirement.
  • The ballot voting paper must carry more information, including a summary of the matters in dispute and the periods within which the action is expected to take place.
  • Notice of industrial action to the employer is doubling to fourteen days (unless the employer agrees to seven days’ notice).
  • Currently, industrial action must take place within four to eight weeks of the ballot and action can be taken indefinitely, provided the dispute remains live. This is repealed and the Act provides that a ballot mandate expires after six months, or up to nine months if both sides agree.
  • Against its wishes, the Act requires the Government to conduct an independent review of electronic balloting for strike ballots. However, there is no legal commitment to its introduction.

Picketing, facility time, check-off and the Certification Officer

  • Parts of the Code of Practice on Picketing become legally enforceable, including the requirement to appoint a picket supervisor who is identifiable when present at the picketing location.
  • Public sector employers and some in the private sector (i.e. those with functions of a public nature and mainly public funded) with at least one trade union official will be required to publish facility time information, such as the amount spent on paid time off for union duties and activities. This change will not be introduced until further regulations, including defining which employers are included, have been made. The Act provides also for the possibility of future regulations limiting the amount and cost of facility time, should a particular employer’s facility time be a cause for concern.
  • While the check-off ban has gone, the changes still require affected employers to make arrangements to recover costs from their trade unions. Some charities, housing associations and similar employers, where they carry out public functions and receive public funding, will also be concerned to understand more clearly from the Government whether they fall under the facility time and check-off changes.
  • The Act introduces new powers for the Certification Officer (CO) to investigate and take enforcement action, including the imposition of financial penalties, against trade unions for breaches of their statutory duties. There will be changes to the annual returns filed by unions with the CO, including a requirement to set out details of any industrial action taken.

Finally, it should be noted that the Government announced last year a repeal of the ban on employers from hiring agency staff to provide cover during strikes. This change is not part of the Act and there is no further news on timing.

Comment

It is anticipated that the new ballot thresholds will focus trade union minds, for example, resulting in more strategic balloting where unions lack confidence in voter turnout or the level of support (in important public services ballots).

Higher Education Dispute – Second round of Strike Action

Members of University and College Union branches across the country will be taking local strike action in the following weeks and university branches here in the South West will be taking part in this action on whichever days are deemed by them to have the most effect on employers. This follows a two day national strike in May and ongoing working to contract. The escalation is the result of a continued refusal by employers to address years of falling pay, gender inequality and worsening casualisation in Higher Education.

Branches of course seek maximum publicity for these actions and encourage all trade unionists to contact them and offer practical support or messages of solidarity. This page will be updated with actions across the South West Region and contact details for those branches. You can share this page using the tinyurl http://tinyurl.com/fpinhesw (Fair Pay In HE South West) or by using the Facebook and Twitter buttons at the foot of this page.

The University of Bath UCU Branch – Friday 17 June, 2016 – Strike and Boycott of Open Day

Full details can be found on the branches excellent web page posting here: http://bath.web.ucu.org.uk/2016/06/12/industrial-action-2016-faqs/

Contact the branch here: bathucu@gmail.com  or @UCUBath

Pickets infographic (printable version): http://bath.web.ucu.org.uk/files/2013/01/University-of-Bath-Open-Day-Strike-1.png

The Bristol University UCU Branch – Friday 17 June, 2016 – Strike and Boycott

Staff at Bristol have timed their action to hit open days for potential students and their parents. Staff will lobby parents and students as they arrive to explain more about the union’s campaign for fair pay and better conditions.

Bristol union members will also be on picket lines from 8.30am outside the university at the junction of Woodland Road and Tyndall Avenue. They will also be holding a rally outside Senate House at 10:30am.

To contact them email Bristol Uni Union Office mailto:ucu-office@bristol.ac.uk

Please send messages of support via Twitter to @Bristol_UCU, using the hashtag #fairpayinhe.

The Oxford Brookes University UCU Branch – Friday 24 June, 2016 – Strike and Information Sharing

Oxford Brookes UCU members have decided to strike on one of the University’s main graduation days. They will speak directly with parents and students in order to inform them about the union’s campaign for fair pay, gender equality, and improved conditions.

Full details can be found on the branch website here: http://oxfordbrookes.web.ucu.org.uk/

Contact the branch here: cvergerio@ucu.org.uk  or @BrookesUCU 

The Plymouth University UCU Branch – Wednesday 22 June, 2016 – Strike and Boycott of Open Day and Assessment Panels

Staff at Plymouth have timed their action to hit the open day for potential students and their parents but also Assessment Panels. Staff will lobby parents and students as they arrive to explain more about the union’s campaign for fair pay and better conditions.

Plymouth union members will be on picket lines from 8.30am outside of Portland Square opposite The Cuba Cafe.

You can contact the branch using the email ucu@plymouth.ac.uk

Please send messages of support via Twitter to @UCU, using the hashtag #fairpayinhe.

The University of Falmouth UCU Branch – Thursday 30 June 2016 – Strike – Protest

UCU members at The University of Falmouth will picket at University College Falmouth, Woodlane, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 4RH

You can contact the branch via the Branch Secretary Tom Ingate – mailto:tom.ingate@falmouth.ac.uk

Please send messages of support via Twitter to @UCU, using the hashtag #fairpayinhe.

The Bath Spa University UCU Branch – Tuesday 5 July, 2016 – Strike and Boycott

Staff at Bath Spa have timed their action to hit a university-wide Staff Development Day. Bath Spa UCU members will also be on a picket line from 8am outside the main gate of the Newton Park campus.

To contact them email Bath Spa UCU branch: ucu@bathspa.ac.uk

The University of the South West of England – Tuesday 5 July, 2016 – Strike

Staff at UWE will strike for the second time on Tuesday 5 July, 2016. There will be a rally at the College Green, Bristol from 11am.

To contact the branch email Branch Secretary Nicky Goodall nicky.goodall@ucwe.ac.uk

The University of St Mark and St John (Marjon), Plymouth – Thursday 7 July, 2016 – Strike and Boycott of University Progression and Awards Boards (PAB)

Staff at Marjon will strike for the second time as part of the National Pay Dispute. Members will withdraw all labour for that day, boycott university events and picket from 7:30am – 3:00pm

For information issued by the University about strike action: http://staffnews/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=3862

To contact the branch email Branch Secretary Michael Hall mhall@marjon.ac.uk

The University of Exeter – Monday 11 July, 2016 – Strike

Staff at the University of Exeter will strike on this day. There will be pickets at Stocker Road and Queen’s Drive entrances. Pickets will start at 7:45am and continue through until after 3:00pm. The branch welcomes visitors to the picket in solidarity.

To contact the branch email Branch Secretary Barrie Cooper B.Cooper@exeter.ac.uk

Arts University Bournemouth – Tuesday 12 July, 2016 – Strike

Staff at the Arts University Bournemouth will strike on this day. The strike coincides with the School Executive Board. The branch welcomes visitors to the picket in solidarity. Arts University Bournemouth is along the road from Bournemouth University on Fern Barrow, Wallisdown, Poole BH12 5HH

For more information please contact branch secretary Christian Edwardes  cedwardes@aub.ac.uk

FE Pay Dispute 2015 FAQs

Strike FAQs and guidelines on picketing

If you have a question that is not answered here, please email your branch secretary or campaigns@ucu.org.uk . We will do our best to reply to you and/or update this FAQ.

1. What am I expected to do during a strike?
2. Do I have to tell my employer that I am taking strike action?
3 . What about my students?
4. Am I breaking my contract by taking strike action?
5. How much money will I lose?
6. What if I am part time?
7. How will it affect my pension?
8. What is the law on picketing?
9. I am not a UCU member. Can I take part in the strike?
10. I am a Research Fellow fully funded by external bodies but I don’t want to cross the picket line.(HE)
11. I am a clinician and a UCU member, and I have clinical commitments on strike day. What can I do? (HE)

1. What am I expected to do during a strike?

Your union will only take strike action once every other avenue of influence has been exhausted and when your branch officers think there is no other way to make members’ views clear. It is a very serious sanction and that’s why we ask that every member observes the strike. Every member who does not observe the strike is directly undermining the union’s bargaining power and making it harder for the union to protect all its members.

When we call a strike we ask that members do not come into work and do not reschedule their classes. The best possible thing you can do is contact your local rep and volunteer to help out on the picket lines. It isn’t illegal, it isn’t dangerous and it can be fun.

2. Do I have to tell my employer that I am taking strike action?

In order to fulfil legal requirements, employers have been provided with statistical information about UCU members taking industrial action, but not individual names. You are under no obligation to inform management in advance as to whether you will be taking part in strike action or action short of a strike. However, if your manager asks you after the strike whether you took action, you should answer truthfully.

3 . What about my students?

We are a union of professionals and we know that our members don’t like taking any action that affects students. It is the same for many public services. However, when we take action, we are generally making a case for greater investment in or defence of the quality of the service we provide. In the case of job cuts, for example, we argue that our students will be hurt far more by management’s actions than by our own. Observing the strike is defending the interests of staff and students alike. Undermining the strike might feel like the right thing in the short term but will only serve to encourage management and we will all suffer more in the longer term.

Formally, it is management’s responsibility to explain to students if classes are to be cancelled on strike days. However, you may wish to talk to your students before the strikes explaining why the union is taking this action. We will have a leaflet available explaining to students why we feel it is necessary to take action. Ask your rep for copies.

4. Am I breaking my contract by taking strike action?

All effective industrial action may be a breach of your contract of employment. But because UCU has carried out a statutory ballot and the action has been formally called, the law protects workers from dismissal whilst taking part in lawful industrial action or at any time within 12 weeks of the start of the action and, depending on the circumstances, dismissal may also be unfair if it takes place later.

5. How much money will I lose?

You should expect to have a day’s salary deducted for taking part in the strike. Some institutions state that 1/260th of your annual salary will be deducted for each day of action. Any loss greater than this can be challenged by the union.

6. What if I am part time?

UCU believe that any deduction must be pro-rata for part time staff. The deduction must only be for your contracted hours. Please contact UCU for support in challenging any greater loss.

7. How will it affect my pension?

In previous one-day strikes it has been the experience of UCU that most university employers do not withhold superannuation contributions and therefore participation in strike action has not generally affected pensions. Also, institutions that do choose to withhold contributions often make provision for members to make up pension and AVC deficits from their pay. If you are concerned about any effect, contact Geraldine Egan at UCU (gegan@ucu.org.uk).

8. What is the law on picketing?

Peaceful picketing is entirely legal. Picketing should be carried out at or near an entrance or exit from a site at which the pickets work. When others who are not in dispute come into work or use these entrances or exits, pickets must not interfere with them.

The legal categories of people permitted to picket are:

  • UCU members in dispute
  • UCU officials and NEC members supporting members in dispute, providing they are accompanying union members who work at the location.
  •  Visitors to the picket are entirely lawful but should not form an official part of the pickets and should not, for example, be given armbands.
  • Further detailed advice on the picket lines should be issued separately.

9. I am not a UCU member. Can I take part in the strike?

We would like everyone to respect the picket lines and not go into work, but if you are not a UCU member we will not be able to support you if the college decides to take disciplinary action against you. However, it is your general support that counts—if you can get permission from your line manager to take annual leave or work from home, this would be support.

10. I am a Research Fellow fully funded by external bodies but I don’t want to cross the picket line.(HE)

If you are a UCU member please join the picket line! If you are not, try to arrange to work from home.

11. I am a clinician and a UCU member, and I have clinical commitments on strike day. What can I do? (HE)

We fully understand that clinical staff including medics and psychologists have professional commitments to provide clinical cover. Clinicians are advised not to withdraw from any commitment to direct clinical care and activities in support of such. Any clinician concerned about the definition of these terms is advised to contact their own professional defence organisation, and ask them to contact the relevant professional body (eg the GMC) on their behalf. The UCU will therefore respect this. A clinician who intends to strike should be aware that this will only count as lawful action as part of the UCU strike and if s/he is a UCU member.

Getting involved in your UCU branch

Not everyone can be, or wants to be, a union rep but we DO need people in each area to pass information, discuss issues with their colleagues, put up posters or pass on information to colleagues. Each branch is constantly exploring ways in which more members can be drawn into playing a role, however small.

Getting Involved in Your UCU Branch

Model branch rules are available on the UCU website ( www.ucu.org.uk/ucurules ) but in general, branches try to ensure that they have a core of officers as per below:

  • chair/president
  • secretary
  • membership secretary
  • equality officer
  • health and safety reps
  • departmental reps
  • caseworkers

Every branch needs to consider its own specific circumstances and may decide to have further positions, but the suggested job description for the above are usually as follows:

Chair / President

In Further Education (FE) the role is normally referred to as “Branch Chair”, in Higher Education (HE) it is most often “President” but the job is the same.  The chair/president will chair all general meetings and all committee meetings of the branch / local association (LA) and perform such other duties as are laid upon the chair/president by any rule or are decided upon by the committee. In accordance with normal practice, the chair/president may, between meetings of the committee, take any action on behalf of the committee which is both urgent and necessary. Such chair’s action must be reported for approval to the next committee meeting.

Secretary

The duties of the secretary are to call general and committee meetings of the branch/LA; to ensure that minutes of those meetings are kept; to organise membership communications as the committee deems necessary; to arrange notification of local election and ballot results to all members; and to perform such other duties as are laid on the secretary by any rule or are decided by the committee. In the absence of the secretary, the secretary’s duties will be performed by another officer as the committee decides.

Treasurer

The treasurer will have custody of the funds of the branch/LA and authority to make payments from them in accordance with the rules as the need arises. The treasurer’s duties will be to keep the books of the branch/LA; to present the accounts of the branch/LA for auditing as necessary; to present these audited accounts to a general meeting of the branch/LA; to publish them to all members of the branch/LA and to submit a copy to the treasurer of UCU.

Membership and Recruitment Secretaries

The recruitment secretary will be responsible for setting recruitment targets, planning, coordinating and reporting back on recruitment. The membership secretary should ensure that central membership records are accurately recorded for the UCU members with their branch/LA to enable statutory and rule requirements of membership recording to be met. Although these two roles are often combined it is often better to have dedicated recruitment and membership officers.

Equality Officer

The equality officer will:

  • have knowledge of and commitment to relevant equality issues and be willing to undertake training according to the needs of UCU, monitor the implementation of equality policies within the institution, and, where appropriate, encourage and support local negotiations on equality matters
  • monitor the volume and nature of personal casework which involves equality issues to ensure that the branch/LA has appropriate mechanisms in place for handling such cases
  • where appropriate, provide information, encouragement and support to members about equality issues
  • ensure that UCU’s national annual meetings, and any other relevant events and opportunities for women, black members, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members and disabled members are publicised locally, that members from all groups are encouraged and enabled to participate, and that the branch/LA maximises the opportunities for recruitment and organisation amongst all groups.

Health and Safety Representatives

Health and safety reps are unique in having a detailed basic statutory framework of functions and rights outlined for them, which derive from the fact that their trade union is formally recognised by the employer. These rights and functions are supported by a number of absolute (i.e. unqualified) duties on the employer, including:

  • a duty to allow safety reps time off, with pay during working hours to undertake their functions
  • a duty to allow safety reps time off (as above) to undergo training in their functions approved by UCU or the TUC
  • a duty to provide such facilities and assistance as the reps reasonably require to help them
  • undertake their functions (note: the ‘reasonableness’ test relates to the rep’s needs, NOT to restrict what the employer has to provide)
  • a duty to consult in good time with safety reps on a range of matters.

Departmental Reps

Departmental reps fill an organising role within the branch,  talking and listening to members’ and non-members’ views; finding out their problems and concerns; identifying areas with low levels of membership or membership involvement; educating and informing members on issues of importance to them; encouraging members to get involved.

Caseworker

Caseworkers provide individual support and advocacy with the everyday problems which arise in the workplace. These may range to advice on college policy to  representing UCU members in matters of disciplinary and grievance (where members have a legal right to representation).

Getting involved without being a rep

A strong union branch is democratic and follows the wishes of its members. It follows, then that the more people who are involved the better. It is also a key tenet of the trade union movement that Equality is central to everything we do. We therefore seek that officers and reps within a branch are representative of the diversity of the membership in terms of gender, ethnicity etc..

Lots more information on being a UCU rep can be found here: www.ucu.org.uk/rep

Solidarity

Higher Education institutions across the region will “walk out” out on Thursday 31 October as part of a national, rolling programme  of industrial action by three unions (UCU, Unison and Unite) in support of pay.

Fellow trade unionist will realise that OUR struggle is YOUR struggle. Please send messages of support to exeter@ucu.org.uk

Best wishes and solidarity for today’s strike and your dispute in general from the South West Region of the NUT.   We all have a common interest in our current public sector disputes and in education it is necessary to make it clear that the austerity and privatisation being promoted by this Government is not in the interests of either school students or those involved in Further and Higher education.

 Andy Woolley, Regional Secretary, NUT South West

Dear Colleagues,

There comes a time when you run out of options, when no one will listen, when no one will take any notice of your concerns.   That time for us was punctuated by a series of national rolling strikes, the last ones being on 17th  October which saw over 3,000 teachers on the streets of Bristol alone.  Your support for us on that day was very much appreciated and was greeted by cheers from those in the hall.  For you the time to stand up and be counted is now.  It is not something any of us take lightly and NASUWT SW  Region send best wishes and solidarity to you now in your time of action.  Brothers and sisters, we stand with you.

 In Solidarity

Ian Phillips, Chair of SW Regional Committee NASUWT
Kathy Wallis, Vice Chair of SW Regional Committee NASUWT