Extraordinary General Meeting – USS/FourFights

Extraordinary General Meeting – USS/FourFights

LUCU members are invited to attend an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss the USS & Four Fights disputes on Friday 6th May at 1pm. The meeting will be held on Microsoft Teams. 

The Four Fights sector conference has voted to: 

•            call a marking and assessment boycott 

•            call 10 days of strike action 

•            keep the Four Fights and USS disputes, and action called in them, coupled

We have been asked by the UCU Higher Education committee to consult our members ahead of a branch delegates meeting on the 10th May and the HEC meeting later that week. A key question for consideration is:  

When does your branch believe would be the most effective start date for 10 days of strike action in your institution? 

A. Monday 6 June (this is the earliest possible date) 

B. Monday 13 June  

C. Other (please give more information – operational issues may make it impossible to accede to specific requests)  

The EGM offers members the opportunity to discuss how our branch can best manage the results of the HEC decisions and best manage the dispute at a local level.

The results of the Four Fights sector conference are available, and we should receive the results of the USS sector conference before our EGM so both can be discussed at the meeting. 

An agenda and minutes of our previous GM, a calendar invite and link to join have been emailed to all members.

LUCU Committee

General Assembly: Notice of Postponement

General Assembly: Notice of Postponement

We have received many messages from members about the timing of the meeting on Friday and about the lack of an option to attend online. We raised your concerns with management. Due to staff availability, we were informed that it was not possible to set up a hybrid meeting this week; hence, we have requested a postponement. We are in discussions with management about rescheduling the meeting at a more convenient time and in a hybrid format so that as many members as possible can attend.

However, developments in the USS dispute continue at a fast pace. LUCU will be using the time originally scheduled for the GA on Friday to meet with the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer to discuss building consensus following the next valuation, which is likely to be more favourable than the valuation conducted at the height of the pandemic. LUCU will be pushing for the restoration of benefits. We will also ask management to respond to the issues raised in the two motions tabled for the GA. Depending on what arises from the discussion, and the response to the motions, there may not be a need to reschedule the GA.

We will feedback to members about the outcome of the meeting as soon as possible

LUCU Committee

Teach Out & Picket Details for Week 3

Teach Out & Picket Details for Week 3

Teach-out: Creating Racial Dialogue
You are invited to attend a Teach-out: Creating Racial Dialogue, hosted by Angela Martinez Dy on Monday 28th February from 10:30am – 11:30am, online via MS Teams. The teach out is open to all Loughborough University staff & students and builds on the previous work of “Building the Anti-Racist Classroom” & Collective Anti Racist Efforts (CARE) training. Please register here before Sunday 4pm to receive the link to join: https://lboro.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/event-registration-teach-out.

Please share this invite with other staff/students you think may like to attend.


Picket Details – Week 3

Thanks, again, to everyone for their efforts on the picket line so far. We wanted to remind you of the picket arrangements for next week when we will be striking over Four Fights dispute. Strike days for week three are Monday 28th Feb, Tuesday 1st March & Wednesday 2nd March.

Picket times and locations remain the same 8am – 11am daily at the main gate of the Loughborough Campus (unless you’ve agreed to attend another gate – contact M.A.Gibson@lboro.ac.uk ). London based colleagues, please keep an eye on our social media accounts for details of further London Campus pickets. Well done to all for your solidarity so far, let’s keep the pressure on and force employers back to the table.

LUCU Committee

Notice of General Meeting: USS & Four Fights

Notice of General Meeting: USS & Four Fights

LUCU members are invited to attend our branch General Meeting on Wednesday 12th January 2022 from 1pm.  This meeting is open to all members of UCU in the Loughborough University branch and will be held online via Microsoft Teams.

The agenda for this meeting will include USS Pensions and Four Fights. There is a branch delegates’ meeting preceding the HEC on the 18th January where further decisions around industrial action will be made.  This meeting will offer members the opportunity to inform how LUCU’s delegates report back to UCU on the action thus far and future strategy.

If you have a motion you wish the branch membership to consider please submit by no later than 1pm on Wednesday 5th January. If you want to raise a motion and need some help or guidance then please contact the branch secretary, Marc Gibson, who can advise or, if appropriate, put you in touch with another committee member to help.

The agenda will be sent out 1 week before the meeting along with any motions received as will a link to join the meeting.

LUCU Committee

LUCU News December 2021

LUCU News December 2021

USS: Response to Vice-Chancellor’s email

We have reported on our ongoing work with management related to workload, EDI and casualisation in previous newsletters, so we concentrate here on USS.

We welcome the University’s continuing willingness to discuss these issues with the branch. This has led to a several important developments. Firstly, we are pleased that the University continues to recognise that the current USS valuation is excessively prudent and that, as a result, the cuts to our pensions we are being asked to accept are unnecessary. Secondly, we are also pleased that the University has called for a new evidence-based, moderately prudent valuation to supersede the existing flawed valuation.

Making such a call was one of the two demands that UCU made of employers in the current dispute. Finally, we very much welcome the University’s acceptance that UUK should provide the same level of covenant support to all proposals considered at the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC). UUK’s refusal to do this in August, with the consequence that UCU’s proposals could not be considered, is a direct cause of the industrial action scheduled.

However, we are disappointed that the University is not willing to call for the current UUK proposals to be withdrawn, the second of the two demands in UCU’s dispute letter. The rationale given by the Vice Chancellor – this would mean that we would be on a path to crippling contribution increases – is unjustified for at least two reasons. The first is that it ignores the fact that employers’ actions put staff on a path to crippling pension cuts. Essentially the Vice Chancellor’s argument is that the costs associated with the flawed 2020 valuation are so crippling that the University cannot risk being exposed to a share of them, so staff must be exposed to almost 100% of these costs instead. This is simply not fair. The second reason is (as explained here) withdrawing the UUK proposals would not involve significant contribution rises until October 2022. This would create enough space to find a negotiated settlement without the need for industrial action. Such a settlement would prevent the unaffordable increases scheduled for that date.

To be clear, the forthcoming industrial action would not be necessary if employers were willing to (i) call for a new evidence-based, moderately prudent valuation, and (ii) withdraw the current UUK proposals, and (iii) enter into good faith negotiations to find a fairer solution. We are very pleased that the University accepts (i) and (iii), but we are disappointed that it has chosen industrial action over calling for the withdrawal of the UUK proposals.

EGM Report: USS/Four Fights/Industrial Action

At the UCU delegates’ meeting on 12 November, the Branch representatives voted in line with the views expressed by Loughborough members at the EGM two days earlier: that is, in support of re-balloting universities that did not reach the 50% threshold, with industrial action to begin in the New Year.

The NEC met the following week and indeed decided to re-ballot those universities, but also to initiate strike action before the Christmas break. Therefore, failing a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations, we will be on strike on December 1-3 inclusive. We encourage you to let students know in advance if you will be taking part in strike action so as to maintain good relations and to avoid causing them undue inconvenience.

We are grateful to senior management for agreeing to delay pay deductions for December strike action until February, and for agreeing to maintain pension contributions during the action.

Pickets

There will be in-person pickets on campus each day. We will meet at the main University entrance at 8:00 am and picket until approximately 11 o’clock. There will be a BBQ on Friday.

BBQ on the Picket Line

To keep members safe, hand sanitiser will be provided as required on picket lines, social distancing will be observed, a list of participants for contact tracing purposes will be kept, and members intending to join the picket are asked to take a lateral flow test before participating.

Members who do not wish to use public transport to attend a picket might consider offering or taking part in virtual forms of action, such as organising a teach-in or using social media to distribute fliers and messages.

If you can support the action by joining a picket, offering a virtual event, or helping to advertise the action, please contact Marc Gibson

Out of Office Message

Below is a suggested out-of-office message for you to use during the period of industrial action. Of course, please feel free to adapt as you see fit:

I am currently unavailable as I am taking part in the University and College Union’s (UCU) strike action to defend our right to a fair pension. Please redirect your query to the University management, asking them to use their leverage to help secure a return to negotiations.

Solidarity with Leicester UCU

Some of our members will be supporting Leicester colleagues to GTVO in their re-ballot on USS. If you can’t travel to join the Loughborough picket line, but live in Leicester, please consider visiting their picket lines: they propose an 8:30 am start, with each day ending with a rally and march at 11am.

Branch News

LUCU Health and Safety officers undertook a programme of health and safety inspections in one School (as per Regulation 5 of the 1977 Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations), following multiple reports from members in three subject areas who reported excessive workloads and work-related stressors that were having a detrimental impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.

The inspection took place between 26 October and 19 November. Four meetings chaired by a LUCU H&S officer enabled participants (both members and non-members in the School) to feed back on their work experience in terms of Demands (workload, work patterns and environment); Control (how much say they have over how they work); Support (resources provided both centrally by the University and by line management); and Change (how changes are managed and communicated). This was followed up by a survey. In total, we captured feedback from 66 staff.

The data collected revealed significant stress hazards, and a discursive analysis of responses, along with the survey results, was submitted to HR, with a request that management urgently develop an action plan to address the problems (with deadlines for reaching interim targets, as well as long term improvements). We are pleased to report that the University recognizes the validity of concerns about staff wellbeing in the School, and a meeting is scheduled between HR and the School’s SMT to start formulating an action plan. We will continue to monitor the situation through our reps, as well as through consultation with management about progress on the action plan.

New Reps

We would like to welcome two new reps. Saul Albert, who lectures on social psychology in Social Sciences and Humanities, is our new rep in Communications and Media. Tony Sutton, who is a University Teacher in Wolfson, will now be representing members in Mechanical Engineering. Saul succeeds Dominic Wring, while Tony is taking over from Kaddour Bouazza-Marouf. The Branch Committee would like to thank Dom and Kaddour for their many years of excellent service to members in their areas.

LUCU reps serve as essential ‘on the ground’ points of contact for members. If you might be interested in serving as a rep for your area and would like to know more about what the role entails, we encourage you to talk to our Membership Secretary Marie Hanlon

LUCU Committee

General Meeting: Professional Services Workload

General Meeting: Professional Services Workload

You are invited to a branch general meeting on the topic of Professional Services Workload. This meeting is targeted at Professional Services staff and not all of our members will have a direct interest in this topic but all members are welcome should you be interested.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 3rd November from 12pm to 1pm.

The meeting will be held on teams and the link has been sent to you by email.

LUCU Committee

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