UCUG are holding an EGM on Wednesday 25th October in Boyd Orr Lecture Theatre A 1-2pm. This EGM is to update members on the USS situation prior to a meeting of Higher Education Conference in November. Christine Haswell (UCU pensions negotiating team) will address the meeting. Members and non-members are welcome.
More information on USS can be found at https://www.ucu.org.uk/uss
Vote now to save USS
The consultative ballot on USS pensions closes on Wednesday 18 October on the eve of an important meeting between UCU negotiators and the employers.
Our negotiators need your support. Current proposals could cut benefits for younger staff and mean those nearer retirement may need to work longer.
A strong turnout and support for action will show the employers that we’re prepared to defend our pensions. If you work in a university covered by USS please support your negotiators and vote now as a matter of urgency to defend your pension.
UCUG AGM will take place at 1.00pm in the Hunterian Art Gallery Lecture Theatre (on Hillhead Street, next to the Library). The speaker is Joanna De Groot, UCU UK President who will outline the current UK situation. We will be discussing issues raised by members and the committee, not least the recent move to directly link P&DR outcomes to Reward and Recognition. It is really important that as many members as possible come to discuss this issue, to enable the branch to respond appropriately. Full agenda here AGM Agenda 2017.
Links to UCU petitions on Branch disputes
UCUG note that the opinions and values of some candidates in the Rector elections may not match, and indeed may be at variance to, University of Glasgow and UCU core principles and values. The expressed views of some candidates indicate that it would be difficult for them to properly represent the interests of the full diversity of the University’s students, which is the Rector’s main role. The Rector of the University of Glasgow is elected by the registered students of the University and their main function is to represent the University’s students on Court. We recognise that this is student election, and that staff do not have a vote. Nonetheless we urge UCUG members to encourage students to vote in this election, and also to consider their vote wisely. More information can be found at https://www.glasgowstudent.net/about/rector-elections/
There will be a meeting of UCUG members on Wednesday 22nd February at 1.00-2.00pm in room 201, MacIntyre Building. We will be discussing motions for local, UCU Scotland and National UCU Congresses. There is a packed agenda including topics for discussion on workloads, TEF and car parking. Do come along and bring a colleague.
The full agenda can be found here as PDF
UCU Elections We have just over a week left to vote in this year’s general secretary, NEC and trustee elections. Make sure you have voted by Friday 24th February to get your vote counted.
What am I voting for? Our General Secretary is the elected leader of our union and has a key role to play in directing what sort of a role we play as a union. However, we are also voting for the NEC. The NEC, guided by Congress, the annual delegates conference, meet and vote on key decisions about what we do as a union, from calling ballots for industrial action to deciding through sub-committee on legal support for individual members. Your vote has a big impact on your working life. By voting you have power in making sure that you get the kind of union you want.
Why do I need to vote? We are living in a time of great threat to trade union activity. One of the barriers which stops unions from acting to confront the attacks on our working lives such as workload, redundancy and zero-hour-contracts is lack of participation. Whenever members don’t get involved in the union or vote in key decisions the power the union has is weakened. If you are struggling with your working conditions then get voting – each vote gives us more power as a collective, regardless of who you vote for.
What do my ballot papers look like? I get a lot of post and I might have missed them
Your ballot papers are in a large white rectangular envelope with UCU on it. They may have come to your home address or to your work address depending on which you gave when you joined.
I don’t have my ballot papers – what do I do? If you have not received your ballot papers, then you need to contact Kay Metcalfe asap – her email address is email@example.com
Who should I vote for? You should read the candidate statements and vote for who you think will act to represent you best. UCUG have posted election material as we have received it on the blog here.
Ballots to elect UCU trustees, the general secretary, vice-president from the higher education sector, honorary treasurer and NEC members (including the NEC casual vacancy, FE North East) opened on 1 February 2017. Please do use your vote – every vote is critical to how you want your union to run. You can read more on the UCU web site including what to do if you don’t receive a ballot paper https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/7228/UCU-elections-2017
Candidates standing for election are able to send campaign material around branches and the ones we have received are posted below with links to flyers and text sent to us.
Douglas Chalmers, standing for Vice President:
In these uncertain times of national and international upheaval we need a leadership that continues to focus on members’ core concerns of professionalism and pay & conditions. As Vice President I would see growing the union as priority. The leaflet attached outlines some key ideas for taking the union forward, together with details of candidates who have pledged to work in this manner. I have also taken part in a video interview where these ideas are explored more fully – at http://ucuagenda.com
Marion Hersh, standing for UK elected HE members of UCU National Executive Committee
I am attaching my election flyer, which sets out some of the ways in which I will fight to defend education and members’ interests, including in protecting jobs, pay, pensions, academic freedom, equality and EU and international staff and students and against casualisation, increasing workloads and marketisation.
The UCUG GM is on Thursday 24th November at 1.00pm in room 201, the McIntryre Building. Our speaker will be Douglas Chalmers, UCU Scotland President. We will be discussing P&DR, workload and the estates plans. The full agenda can be read here in PDF format agendaagm_24_11_16
We look forward to seeing members at the GM and we have opened this meeting to non-members as it is part of UCU recruitment week, so come along and bring a colleague.
P&DR Advice to Members
The University’s Performance and Development Review (P&DR) has gone through a number of modifications and changes in recent years. Members have consistently raised concerns that the focus in many cases is primarily on performance with little or no time given to considering wider support for development. The view expressed from members is that P&DR has the potential to be of benefit in discussing objectives which reflect individual expertise and wider area priorities, particularly where those objectives are considered over a wider time period rather than a matter of months. However the experience of many is that objectives become short term targets which detract from more substantial elements of work, that feedback is similarly short term and that the assignment of performance levels de-motivates and demoralises.
UCUG members are asked to report back their experiences of P&DR to UCUG Office, both positive and negative. This will allow the committee to formulate a response, and to present anonymised data to HR were poor practice has been identified. Part of the survey in 2015 demonstrated evidence of members concern around moderation process and this element has now been removed from P&DR.
Should members be asked to sign off completed P&DR forms where objectives, review comments or performance levels have not been agreed, UCUG would encourage members to include text along the lines of: “Signature is provided to mark conclusion of process and should not be considered to indicate agreement with the above.” Members may also provide a brief summary of points where agreement has not been reached and request that is included with the P&DR file.
UCUG members are currently working to contract in support of the 2016 HE Pay Dispute. Part of this action is “not working in excess of the maximum number of hours stipulated in the affected employees’ contract of employment, or, where no maximum number of hours is stipulated, 37 hours per week (or such lesser number of hours as the case may be).” Members may wish to ask their line manager how many hours the P&DR process is expected to take and whether they should prioritise this activity over research or teaching preparation in order not to exceed maximum hours.
UCU Reps Training
This course is aimed at all new UCU reps and branch officers and those who have been longer in post who have yet to attend UCU training. We encourage all UCU activists to attend the first module of this course regardless of which role is held within the branch.
This course will cover the following:
- the purpose of UCU, its structure, functions and democratic processes, and how you can get involved
- your role and other UCU roles within the branch
- your rights as a UCU rep
- how to apply a trade union approach to your work as a UCU activist
- how to develop a local campaign
- the relationship between organising and campaigning, sustainability and the overall effectiveness of the branch
The induction will take place from Monday 29th August to Wednesday 31st August inclusive.
Please register here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/7800/UCU-reps
Members will have differing views on the result of last Thursday’s referendum on EU membership.
However what is not in doubt is that the UK now faces a period of considerable economic and political uncertainty. That uncertainty extends into the places where UCU members work in three main ways.
First, in practical concerns about the loss of funding for projects within or related to universities and colleges supported by the European Union.
Second, in the impact of the referendum result upon government policy. For example, there is now speculation that the apprenticeship levy from which many colleges hoped to benefit may be postponed or scrapped.
Third, in a sector with a highly international workforce which itself teaches a diverse student body, the impact upon staff and students themselves.
I have therefore this morning written to the UK secretary of state with responsibility for further and higher education and UCU will be making contact too with the devolved administrations seeking some clarity in these three areas on behalf of members.
The referendum campaign has produced a rising tide of racism and hostility to migrant communities, as well as a worrying trend of anti-intellectualism (‘who needs experts?’ and so on). In the face of this universities and colleges have a vital role to play in fighting racism and intolerance and in continuing to promote the benefits of education to both the individual and society as a whole. In short we must stand up for our staff and students and celebrate education for all rather than hide away until the storm passes.
UCU for its part will continue to pursue these values in line with a statement agreed by the National Executive Committee last Friday which you can read here.
UCU general secretary
The UCUG AGM is on Wednesday 22nd June at 3.00pm in the Humanities Lecture Theatre (G255, in the West Quad near A24 on this map http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_1887_en.pdf). Our speaker will be Sally Hunt, UCUG General Secretary. We have a reception after the meeting, from 4pm in the Fergusson Room, No 1A the Square to meet with Sally and to say thanks to Bill Stewart who is retiring this year. We will be discussing P&DR, the pay campaign and the estates plans. The full agenda can be found here
We look forward to seeing members at the AGM so come along and bring a colleague,
Members may also enjoy the talents of the UCU Glasgow pickets last week, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EjFP8Ppq3c&feature=youtu.be. Huge thanks to our brilliant and creative colleagues.
Thank you to all the UCUG members who came out in support of the strike action on the 16th at UofG Open Day. Pickets lobbied students & parents explaining why we were taking action that day – we had overwhelming support from those we talked to and it was evident our action was effective, with talks cancelled and stalls empty. Particular thanks to those talented members who entertained us with music and our very own picket line song: – you can see a snippet here : https://t.co/NgKb1G0P0l
We were very active on Twitter as well as the picket and we encourage members to follow @UCUGlasgow and #FairPayinHE tweets to support other HEIs that are taking action over the next three weeks.
We remain taking action short of a strike by working to contract. https://www.ucu.org.uk/heactionfaqs sets this out as:
- performing no additional voluntary duties, such as out of hours cover, covering for colleagues (unless such cover is contractually required), or attending open days etc.
- setting and marking no work beyond that work which you are contractually obliged to set and/or mark or which you are competent to do
- attend no meetings where such attendance is voluntary on your part
- undertake no duties that breach statutory guidance, health and safety policies or other significant employer’s policies.
The UCUG AGM is on Wednesday 22nd June at 3.00pm in the Humanities Lecture Theatre (G255, in the West Quad) with Sally Hunt, UCUG General Secretary speaking. We have a reception after the meeting , from 4pm in the Fergusson Room, No 1A the Square to meet with Sally and to say thanks to Bill Stewart who is retiring this year. We look forward to seeing members at the AGM – agenda will be sent out in due course.
Bill Stewart, On the picket
The Humanities Lecture Theatre here is in the Main Building, GU map: http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_1887_en.pdf