General Meeting to discuss USS Pensions

General Meeting to discuss USS Pensions

The branch committee have called a meeting of all members to discuss the USS pensions situation on Friday 8th October at 1pm. Please add this to your calendar and join us on the day.

Members ,check your email for a link to join the meeting.

The timetable for UK-wide industrial action over USS pension cuts and Four Fights (pay, workload, casualisation, and equality) is as follows:

Mon 18 Oct – ballots open

Thurs 4 Nov – ballots close

Mon 8 Nov – HEC meets to consider results

See a video message from Dr Jo Grady, UCU President, here: https://twitter.com/ucu/status/1440745807716642818

Please let your colleagues know it’s not too late to join UCU and have a voice in the ballots: https://www.ucu.org.uk/join

Meeting: Anticasualisation at Loughborough

You are invited to attend an open meeting on the topic of anticasualisation hosted by Loughborough UCU on Thursday 30th September at 1-2pm. The meeting will be held on Microsoft Teams.

What: This meeting will discuss UCU’s campaign against casualisation at Loughborough, and provide updates on agreements made through the Casualisation Task and Finish Group. It will explore how to ensure gains made are properly implemented, and discuss where the campaign against casualisation at Loughborough and Loughborough London might go next. It will also be a chance for those concerned about casualisation to ask questions, offer suggestions and meet others. 

Who for: Anyone concerned about casualisation in higher education, whether or not they are a member of UCU. You don’t need to be an experienced campaigner or knowledgeable about casual employment.

This might include:

·       Hourly paid workers

·       Employees on fixed-term contracts

·       Those who have previously undertaken, or would like to undertake work at Loughborough

·       PhD students concerned about employment during and after their PhD

Staff on open-ended contracts are also encouraged to attend to hear about why casualisation affects all staff, and how they can support anticasualisation efforts.

Link to join the meeting on Thursday 30th September: Click here to join the meeting.

LUCU Committee

Decarbonise & Decolonise 2030 Webinar

Decarbonise & Decolonise 2030 Webinar

The LUCU committee recently discussed UCU’s new Decarbonise & Decolonise 2030 campaign and feel this should be supported by the branch. With this in mind and a campaign on the topic to come, we wish to encourage members interested in the topic (and potentially being involved in the local campaign) to attend the Decarbonise and Decolonise Webinar for UCU members in the East Midlands region on Wednesday 8th September starting at 2pm. For more information on the campaign please click this link where you can find a quick guide pdf for download and further resources.

What to expect from the webinar:

Decarbonise and decolonise is the third in a series of our webinars on the climate crisis, and how we can play our part in resisting it. Building on existing CPD workshops ‘Introduction to climate education’ and ‘Embedding climate education in the curriculum’, SOS-UK have developed for UCU a ‘Decarbonise and decolonise‘ workshop to introduce members to the interconnectivity of these two agendas and identify opportunities to take action.

To take part in this webinar you do not need to have completed the previous sessions.  This workshop will give an overview of climate justice, and how this links to the concepts of decolonising and decarbonising as the structural and systemic roots of the human-induced climate crisis. We will explore examples of climate injustice, and how this often intersects with issues like race, gender, class and indigeneity. We will also look at examples of when sustainability actions and initiatives have not taken an intersectional approach, with discussions on how we can avoid this in education to create sustainability activities that recognise and work to challenge the harmful legacies of colonialism and imperialism.

Learning Aims – The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • provide an introductory understanding of climate justice and its connection with decolonising and decarbonising
  • support participants to identify opportunities to apply decolonising and decarbonising for climate justice to the education sector
  • encourage participants to develop their own practice to consider climate justice and intersectionality
  • explore the role of UCU branches and members in mobilising action for decolonising and decarbonising.

How UCU CPD webinars work

The taught session will last for about 75 minutes, after which time we take 15-20 minutes to discuss the issues raised. The total time commitment will be around an hour and a half.


You will need to find a quiet space, away from distractions (like telephone and email!), and you may prefer to use headphones for the session. UCU would also recommend that you check that you can use zoom before the session if you are unfamiliar with it.

Once registered you will be sent a meeting number and password for the webinar using zoom. You will be able to join the session from about 10 minutes before the stated start time. UCU would also recommend that you do join 5 to 10 minutes early as you will need to be admitted to the session, and of course there can be technical problems. Live transcription will be available.

If you have any questions please email Glen at gpickard@ucu.org.uk

If you require any additional support in accessing or taking part in this webinar please let Glen know ASAP so that he can do everything possible to help.

To register for the session on Wednesday 8th September please CLICK this LINK.

Women in Trade Unions and Discussion Group for “Complaint as Diversity Work”

Women in Trade Unions and Discussion Group for “Complaint as Diversity Work”

Women in Trade Unions

Women are seriously under-represented in trade union leadership roles, despite the fact that they form over half of UK membership. 

Women still earn an average of 18% less than men in our economy – the Gender Pay Gap at Loughborough University is larger, with a mean difference of 22.7%.

During the COVID-19 pandemic women are facing increased domestic violence, unpaid care duties, unemployment, and poverty. Despite women making up a majority of front-line workers, there is disproportionate and inadequate representation of women in national and global COVID-19 policy spaces

Only 20 countries have women as Heads of State and Government. The United Nations call for “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls

Complaint as Diversity Work: Thursday 25th March 1-2pm

Our discussion group this week explores issues in Sara Ahmed’s lecture ‘Complaint as Diversity Work‘, which takes a critical (though not hostile) approach to management-led diversity agendas in Higher Education, with a particular focus on the gendered and racialized forms of labour they require. With Equality at the heart of UCU’s national #FourFights campaign and local work, our discussion will be led by members’ responses to the lecture. You can watch the lecture, which is an hour long, ahead of the session here and/or read a shorter blog post which introduces its main themes can be read here

Link to join the discussion session is here: Click here to join the meeting

Equality, Diversity, Inclusivity

Equality, Diversity, Inclusivity

Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (IWD2021)

International Women’s Day (IWD) was started in the 1900s when women’s oppression and inequality spurred them to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change in working hours, pay and for voting rights.   The first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed in the United States on February 28, 1909, followed by the establishment of International Women’s Day in 1911 in Europe and the US. International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975.

Over the last 110 years, there is more equality in legislative rights in many countries, and an increased visibility of women role models. However, the gender pay gap persists, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health, and the violence against them is worse than that of men. https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Activity/15586/The-history-of-IWD).

To celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, LUCU will be sending weekly emails with information about women in the workplace and also holding 2 free events on:

  1. #ChooseToChallenge bias.  A workshop with Marie Hanlon to empower people to identify and challenge bias head-on.
  2. Complaint as Diversity Work reading group discussion with David Bell and David Wilson. This group will discuss the complexities that emerge when institutions take on the mantle of ‘diversifying’ themselves, and the struggles of those who complain about gendered and racialized issues in the workplace. 

The University has also organized events to mark these dates: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/news-events/iwd-2021/

Listening to Lived Experience

We all have complex identities made up of intersecting characteristics such as race, gender, sexuality and much more.   We may face prejudice against our gender, while experiencing privilege because of our race, or vice versa.  It’s important that we listen to the experiences of those around us and think about how they compare to our own, in order to help us understand this complex picture.  Sharing our personal experiences, especially painful experiences, can make us feel vulnerable.  Indeed, such experiences can make us materially vulnerable.  It is a privilege when someone is willing to let us see into their lives, and it gives us an opportunity to learn and grow.

We are therefore very grateful to our colleague David Roberts, who recently shared an intimate account of his life on the University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion blog.  In ‘Recollections of a racial past in a racist present’ David paints a vivid picture of the challenges he’s faced, and continues to face, and those who have helped him achieve the success he has.  We urge you to find time in your busy lives to read it – especially if your race is not something you’ve ever thought much about.

Gendered Lives.

When a baby is born, or indeed more often these days long before it is born, we ask “what is it?”  The gender of the brand-new human becomes their defining feature before they have drawn their first breath – determining the choice of clothes in which they will be dressed and the colour of the toys on which they will dribble and chew.  In the short piece “What are you having?”, David Wilson explores why we’re so keen to answer this burning question, and what problems it might cause.

If you would like to have a piece of writing on EDI circulated among the membership, please get in touch: ucu@lboro.ac.uk

LUCU Committee

UCU Week of Action Against Workplace Racism

UCU Week of Action Against Workplace Racism

(22-26 February 2021)

LUCU would like to call members’ attention to this week of national action. Action Against Workplace Racism aims to encourage anti-racist initiatives in further and higher education to transform education by placing the broader anti-racist agenda at the centre of our thinking – from how we relate to each other as colleagues to how we teach and carry out research/enterprise activities.

The theme for this week of national action is Community Accountability: an antiracism for abolitionist times.  For more information about the lived experiences of racism, its impacts on Black and Global Majority people in education, and how we might act to bring about change, members may find the following video material of interest.

Building an anti-racist environment: barriers to progression (2 mins)
The Race Pay Gap (2 mins)
Racism in the workplace – ‘intelligent covert racism’ (2 mins)
Micro-aggressions – ‘death by a thousand cuts’ (2 mins)
Unconscious bias – ‘what will it take for the unconscious to become conscious?’ (3 mins)

You can find out more about the UCU campaign here.

LUCU Committee

Working Safely During the Pandemic

Working Safely During the Pandemic

Following on from Wednesday’s EGM on Covid and Health & Safety, our branch is inviting Expressions Of Interest from our membership in undertaking this course: Working Safely During the Pandemic: a webinar focussing on key topics around working safely this year. The course is 90 minutes long (date and time TBC).

The course will be for LUCU members only, but it will be run by National UCU.

If you take part, the expected learning outcomes are:

  • Understand why it’s important to unapologetically look after your health and wellbeing at this time;
  • Identify some of the challenges you face in working safely, whether from home, back in the workplace or a blend of the two;
  • Be clear about what support you can expect from your employer;
  • Identify support available from UCU.

Please click here to send an expression of interest.

LUCU Committee

LGBTQI+ History Month

LGBTQI+ History Month

February is a time to highlight and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQI+ communities in Britain.

At a time when the Covid pandemic is increasing existing inequalities globally, and countries such as Poland and Hungary are removing hard-won rights, it is especially important that we stand in solidarity with LGBTQI+ people, who often face discrimination in accessing healthcare among other inequities. Closer to home we have concerns about the government’s recent decision to shelve improvements to the Gender Recognition Act and the potential for transphobic implications of the government’s consultation on gendered toilet provision.

We would like to call attention to an excellent resource bank that UCU has put together to commemorate the history of LGBTI+ communities and to highlight and combat ongoing discrimination. This includes short videos on understanding what is meant by LGBT+ and what issues the community can face at work.

You can find all of the resources at UCU – LGBT+ History Month

LUCU Committee – 5th Feb 2021

International Women’s Day 2019

International Women’s Day 2019

Loughborough University UCU and Unison branches are teaming up to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th.

Each year International Women’s Day is celebrated across the globe. It is widely celebrated as an opportunity to draw attention to the struggle for women’s rights, to link these up with women’s struggles worldwide and to demonstrate international sisterly solidarity with working women everywhere.

To celebrate International Women’s Day we will be screening a UCU produced film titled ‘A Woman’s Place is in the Union’ to raise awareness and to encourage all women to play an active role within their union at local as well as national level.

This will be followed by a discussion on the issues facing women at work today, led by women officers from both union branches.

Please come along to Martin Hall room MHL.1.17 at 12:30pm on Friday 8th March and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

Doors open at 12:15pm.

All staff and students welcome.

LUCU News – February 2019

LUCU News – February 2019

In this month’s newsletter we update you on our Anti-Casualisation Campaign, inform you of the process for submitting motions to UCU Congress, ask for your views on wellbeing support and student feedback, and finally we let you know about upcoming events and campaigns.

Anti-Casualisation Campaign

LUCU is stepping up its campaign relating to staff on casual contracts. We want to address pay, preparation, marking and admin time, and any other issues important to you.

We hosted an initial planning meeting Wednesday 27th Feb to work out the details of the campaign, we invited everyone, especially those on a casual contract, to attend. It was a productive session.

We are keen to involve as many casual staff as possible in this campaign, in small ways or large. If this sounds like you, or might appeal to someone you know, please get in touch with the branch anti-casualisation officer, Steven Parfitt, at s.j.s.parfitt@lboro.ac.uk, or with the UCU rep in your Department or School.

UCU Congress Motions

If anyone has a motion that they would like the branch to submit to congress, the branch must approve and submit that by the 15th March. The branch may submit one motion to congress and two motions to the sector conference. Motions from branches must meet the following criteria:

• Be properly approved by a quorate branch general meeting
• Be given a title of not more than 10 words
• Be not more than 150 words in length (excluding the 10-word title)
• Be clearly submitted to Congress or to a Sector Conference

If you wish to submit a motion to congress, please let us know ASAP, as we will have to call an emergency general meeting due to the deadline date. More detailed information on submitting motions can be found here.

Wellbeing Support

You should have received an email from us asking your views of the wellbeing support offered by the University to staff. We are still open to further information, so if you haven’t already, please can you feedback via email to Mary Brewer, LUCU Vice-Chair, or contact Mary if you prefer to set a time to chat – m.f.brewer@lboro.ac.uk. Your feedback will be kept confidential, and all evidence presented to the University will be anonymised.

We would be interested to hear about your experience across the following:

  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • The Counselling Service
  • The Mental Health First Aider scheme (as a user or a First Aider)
  • Courses offered by Staff Development:
    o The Mindfulness 8-week course to Increase Resilience and Effectiveness, Understanding the Impact of Stress
    o Becoming More Resilient at Work

We would also welcome feedback on any resources you may have accessed through the Loughborough Development Hub, such as articles on wellbeing and stress.

Student Feedback

As we reported last month, some members have noticed an anomalous spike in negative feedback from students. For example, questioning the content of an exam or piece of coursework – even before the results are known. Members are concerned that many of these are groundless and reflect a worrying trend which threatens to degrade academic rigour. We are still gathering information on this, so if you have observed similar, but not responded yet, please contact ucu@lboro.ac.uk with anonymised examples.

#BlackStaffMatter

On Wednesday 27th Feb, UCU held a day of action against workplace racism. This annual campaign event has grown from strength to strength as it involves and includes a whole union approach to tackling the issues of workplace racism and its impact on careers, mental health and well-being and relationships with peers/students. The theme of this year’s Day of Action is #BlackStaffMatter. Look out for our social media campaign using the #BlackStaffMatter. Please share and retweet to help get the message out. Also, please contribute by making your own posts on Social Media using the hashtag. If you experience any racism in the workplace, please get in touch with the branch so we can better shape our efforts to fight against this deplorable behaviour.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is on March the 8th, we are organising an event to commemorate and celebrate our female colleagues. Further details to follow.

Leicester May Day and International Workers Memorial Day

Leicester and District Trades Council (LDTUC), of which we are a part, has organised these two events and we encourage our members to attend:

Leicester’s International Workers Memorial Day service will be on Sunday, April 28th, in the Town Hall Square, Leicester, from 12pm onwards. The names of those who have died in the East Midlands will be read out to be followed by a minute’s silence. All the dead will be commemorated with the display of a red Rose.

LDTUC will be celebrating Mayday (International Workers Day) in Leicester with a march & rally on Saturday 4th May. For six years they have joined together with fellow trade unionists, interested groups and individuals to help demonstrate their solidarity on International Workers Day. If you are attending the rally and would like to take along our branch banner, please get in touch.

Our Reps Working for You

We are here for you, if you have any issues you wish to discuss with a case worker, please email ucu@lboro.ac.uk or call the branch office on 228299.

To Be Continued…

Our next newsletter is scheduled to appear in late March. In the meantime, continue to contact us with your views and suggestions about LUCU activities on campus. The Committee’s contact details can be found here; we hope you will also follow us on both Facebook and Twitter.

LUCU Committee, 1st March 2019