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

Vaccination of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable

Vaccination of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable

We have just been sent the below information from Rob Johnstone on behalf of the TUC Midlands, which may be useful info for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable members.

Anyone who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable can book their Covid vaccine appointments at the below link. It does not require a letter, they just need their NHS number (it appears at the top of their shielding letter from the DHSC).

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

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

LUCU Covid Bulletin: 25th January

LUCU Covid Bulletin: 25th January

In light of the more transmissible variants of Covid-19 (including B117 plus at the time of writing, others) and the upsurge in infections, UCU advised branches to consult with employers on revised workplace risk assessments and control measures and to confirm implementation of recommended safety measures for any workers undertaking onsite or in-person work.  The information below is intended to illustrate for members what UCU has called for and how Loughborough University is responding. 

While the university relies on government guidance in determining what measures to put into place, other sources of information also inform decision making. We have provided links to information that has informed our discussions with management on Covid-secure measures, and in the interest of transparency and clarity, we are providing links to relevant documents. Not all materials are available online. If you would like to read any of the documentation cited here, please contact the branch and we will provide a copy.

Given how quickly the Covid landscape can change, committee members are continuing to meet regularly with senior management to review and monitor health and safety measures related to Covid. We will regularly update members as and when UCU health and safety guidance changes and/or the lockdown period ends. We would like to thank Neil Budworth (Director of Health Safety and Wellbeing) and Anne Lamb (Deputy Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development) for the generous amount of time they spend with the campus unions discussing health and safety and providing responses to our written requests for information.

If members have further queries, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you are currently working on campus and feel that sufficient health and safety measures are not in place or see evidence of poor compliance, please alert your line manager/local health and safety officer, and let us know.  Remember that you have the right to work in a safe environment: if you feel that there is a serious and imminent danger which you cannot avert yourself, and that you have brought to the attention of your line manager and/or local health and safety officer, then under the Employment Act 1996 section 44, you have the right to remove yourself from that situation until that danger is resolved. While staff can remove themselves from immediate danger, this is not an action that should be taken in isolation. Please continue to report any deviation from safety protocols as soon as you become aware of them.

The address for committee correspondence is: UCU@lboro.ac.uk

What UCU asks for…

What Loughborough University is doing…

Reduce the number of people required on site to the lowest level possible so that only essential and unavoidable work activities take place during lockdown.

Only essential and unavoidable work activities are currently taking place.

Reduce the number and duration of in person interactions to the lowest level possible.

Number and duration of in person interactions have been brought to the lowest level possible (currently this affects mainly grounds crew, security personnel, etc.).

Reduce the number of people permitted in a space at any one time to the lowest level possible.

The number of people permitted in one space is being kept to the lowest level possible (e.g. by staggering clocking in).

Set a safety threshold for ventilation of 12-17 litres per second per person for typical offices and educational settings. SAGE suggests employers adopt a precautionary approach. 

The university has/will take a precautionary approach by increasing ventilation rates to reflect the increased risk of transmissibility of the new variants) of COVID-19, as recommended the HSE, DfE and CIBSE (professional engineering association authority for ventilation).

 

Ensure a minimum of 2m social distancing as standard.

 

Measures are in place so that staff should be able to maintain a 2m distance in working environments. The guidance that Loughborough has been given directly by HSE and PHE is that they are not planning to change the guidance and that the main thing (as emphasised by the SAGE report) is compliance with the precautions in place.

Ensure all essential workers undertaking in-person work have the highest possible level of respiratory protection. This should be FFP3 face masks (providing 99% particle filtration) where available and with priority for workers who could have interactions that fall below 2 metres social distancing and FFP2 face masks as a minimum standard for all (providing 94% particle filtration). 

*Please see below for further details.

Where colleagues have to work within 2 metres of others, FFP2/3 masks will be recommended, and face fit testing provided.  These masks are not suitable for in person work where individuals do not come within 2m of others as they require careful fitting to the face and make breathing harder (due to the resistance from the filtration).  There is also a national/international supply shortage of these masks; hence, the university is reserving them for the circumstances where the protection is needed.

 

Ensure any use of face coverings in the workplace meets the WHO standard of three protective layers (Type IIR surgical masks). 

The university recommends the use of multi-layer coverings.  When campus re-opens, LUCU will continue to advocate for the most appropriate level of PPE to minimise risks for staff and students.

Ensure effective cleaning and hygiene measures are in place.

 

In light of the new Covid variant, all health and safety risk assessments are being reviewed, in consultation with campus unions, and effective cleaning and hygiene measures are in place. Additional ventilation has been provided in teaching spaces where needed. Fallow periods have been implemented/increased in rooms where needed to ensure pre/post-use clearing of the air. 

Ensure all workers and anyone they interact with during the working day receive adequate instruction, information, and training on any new safety measures that need to be followed.

 

Information and training instructions are being/will be regularly updated as and when new safety measures are put in place. This guidance will be disseminated to staff at school/unit level.

Ensure lateral flow testing is undertaken by highly trained volunteers.

 

 

Ensure access to regular testing for all who are not able to work or study remotely. Where lateral flow tests are used to identify asymptomatic cases, ensure a minimum of two negative tests prior to any attendance on site.

 

Lateral Flow Testing is being offered to staff and students, with a view to building up to between 16,000 to 20,000 per week, with further consideration being given to twice weekly testing. Students are encouraged to book a second test when booking their first one but not all students are attending for their second test.  Consideration is being given to how this can be improved on.  A positive LFT will result in the individual being asked to isolate and referred for a confirmatory PCR test (either internally or through the NHS depending on the circumstances).

Ensure workers and students are given support to quarantine, self-isolate and undertake testing as required. Testing should not be used to reduce isolation periods for close contacts of infected people.

Support for testing, quarantine and isolation is in place for students and testing is not used to reduce isolation periods after a positive PCR test (testing may be used to reduce the quarantine time for international travellers etc. where all prior testing has been negative). To arrange testing see here.

Any workers at increased risk from COVID should not be required to undertake in person work at this time and alternatives should be offered to ensure exposure risks are avoided or minimised.  

Clinically extremely vulnerable staff are not expected to undertake in person work. At present, in person teaching is limited to specific permitted courses and/or year groups for activities which cannot be delivered online, i.e. requiring access to specialist facilities. The situation will remain under review.

*Ventilation

Documents from the Health and safety Executive (HSE), Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA) have been issued during the COVID-19 Shutdown. These documents have been updated several times to reflect new knowledge. We have used these documents to aid our response to the Covid-19 situation.

CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation Guide (Version 4, Published 23rd October 2020)

HSE – Air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak

REHVA COVID-19 Guidance (Version 4, Issued November 17th 2020)

REHVA COVID-19 Limiting Internal air leakage across the Rotary Heat Exchanger

REHVA COVID-19 Use of Fan Coils and avoiding Recirculation

CIBSE – Coronavirus COVID 19

LUCU Committee

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

LUCU News: January 2019

LUCU News: January 2019

In this month’s newsletter we give you advance notice of our next General Meeting and Annual General Meeting, update you on our latest negotiations with the University, invite you to consider becoming our LUCU pensions lead, let you know about the Education Support Partnership and remind you about UCU-supported Stand up to Racism events.

General Meeting and AGM Dates

Our first General Meeting of the academic year was held recently, and we want to give even more of you an opportunity to attend our second General Meeting and, later in the year, our AGM, by getting the dates out to you early:

Spring General Meeting:

Wednesday 27th March from 4pm-5pm in Room SCH001 in the Schofield Building.
Guest Speaker: Vicky Knight, UCU President.
Followed by branch social at the Swan In The Rushes.

Annual General Meeting:

Wednesday 5th June from 4pm-5pm in Room J002 in the Edward Herbert Building.
Followed by a branch social barbeque outside the branch office on campus.

Our Negotiations with the University

People Strategy

We have recently been working closely with HR Director Adèle MacKinlay on the development of the University’s new People Strategy, to put forward our priorities such as workload sustainability, work-home balance, support for international staff and ensuring that senior managers set a positive and collegiate tone. We’re grateful to Adèle for her constructive engagement.

Student Complaints

Some members have reported an anomalous spike in complaints 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. If you have observed the same, please contact ucu@lboro.ac.uk with anonymised examples.

TurnItIn

We are concerned about whether sufficient training and guidance is given to staff on how to properly interpret similarity scores generated by TurnItIn, and to translate these into student feedback. For instance, where poor citation crosses into academic misconduct. Getting these calls wrong can lead to complaints from students and parents. Let us know your thoughts on whether more help is needed at ucu@lboro.ac.uk

Pensions Lead Training

UCU are encouraging all branches to have a named Pensions Lead. With the ongoing dispute over USS there has never been a more important time to have someone focussed on this topic.  The pension lead could become a committee member or could be involved only when pensions are being discussed. UCU are running training for this role. The courses are 5-6 March 2019 at the head office in London and 3-4 July 2019 at the regional office in Birmingham.

Please get in touch at ucu@lboro.ac.uk if you are able to fill this vital role.

Educational Support Partnership

The Educational Support Partnership is a charity providing mental health and wellbeing support services to all education staff and organisations.

Stress and anxiety levels across the sector are reaching alarming levels and calls to their helpline are increasing year on year.  For education staff they provide two main services; a free and confidential helpline and grants to cover short-term financial issues or training costs.

There are many stresses on those who work in education – a challenging student, stress & depression, personal financial worries and so many more. That’s why they offer free, confidential help and support, no matter what the problem. Their trained counsellors listen without judgement. No issue is too big or too small. The free and confidential helpline is available 24/7 to everyone working in education and is available UK wide on 08000 562 561.

Their grants service helps working in or retired education staff experiencing short-term financial issues. Use their online form to apply for a grant. They can also support with training costs if you’re wishing to change career or re-join the education sector.

UCU-Supported Stand up to Racism Events

UCU is affiliated to Stand up to Racism nationally and we as a branch committee support their work. If members are interested in getting involved please consider attending one or more of these events:

“Decolonisation: Confronting racism on campus” This conference will bring together students, staff and education workers to discuss how we can decolonise our campuses and make them free from racism. Saturday 16 February 2019: 10:30am – 5pm, NEU, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD.

“Stand Up To Racism Trade Union Conference” A day for trade unionists to discuss, debate and organise challenging the far right in our communities and to oppose institutional racism in the workplace. Saturday 23 February 2019: 10am – 4:30pm, NEU, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD.

UN Anti-Racism Day, this event is to demonstrate confidence in our values of respect and equality for all.  It will demonstrate our solidarity in action against the politics of hate, against bigotry, racism and discrimination of all kinds, and against the politics of fascism. Saturday 16 March 2019, Central London, Glasgow, Cardiff.

For more information on any of the above events please get in touch with the branch office at ucu@lboro.ac.uk

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.

Please continue to contact us with your suggestions for future newsletter items. The Committee’s contact details can be found here; we hope you will also follow us on both Facebook and Twitter.

LUCU Committee, 5th February 2019.

LUCU News: November 2018

LUCU News: November 2018

In this month’s newsletter, we remind you of our first General Meeting and social of the academic year, alert you of the opportunity to become a Union Learning Rep, advise you of the University’s proposal to stop automatic increments for people on final warnings, update you on the latest news from our negotiations with the University and more.

General Meeting

All LUCU members are invited to our first General Meeting of the academic year, 4pm Wednesday 5th December in J001 EHB.

Nita Sanghera, Vice President of UCU, will be speaking on the topic of “Defending Education & Academic Freedom: resisting privatisation and marketisation”.

We will also be discussing and voting on our response to the University’s proposal to withhold automatic increments from staff on final written warnings, a motion on solidarity with International Staff in the face of the government’s “hostile environment” and a motion calling for support of a counter demonstration against Tommy Robinson on December 9th

Branch Social

Following the general meeting, from 5pm onwards, there will be a branch social which will take place in the “Swan in The Rushes” (21 The Rushes, Loughborough LE11 5BE). Join us for a chat and a drink and get to know your fellow Union members.

Caseworker Training Success

This month the branch hosted a case worker training session run by Regional Support Official, Joe Rooney. Case workers help UCU members across Loughborough’s campuses with issues that arise, from redundancy to bullying to workload. It is therefore vital that we maintain a large and substantial team of case workers. Twelve committee members and departmental reps attended the session which was very well received.

Our Negotiations with the University

Withholding of Increments

The University has, for some time now, been pursuing a policy change which would see pay increments withheld from staff on final written warnings.  Perversely this would introduce a significant financial penalty – but only for staff who are not already at the top of their pay grade. Further as this would currently affect only 2 members of staff, the unions have long argued that this should not be prioritised and that the time and effort should be spent tackling real problems such as workload and bullying. After lengthy discussions management have agreed to change the proposal so that it would only apply during the first year of the written warning.  As a matter of discipline this change can only be implemented in consultation with the unions which means it will be voted on at our December General Meeting.

PDR

In more positive news you will be aware that LUCU have,since the re-launch of PDR, advocated for a system of no more than 3 ratings.  This would reflect the real-world situation where the vast majority of staff are performing their role as required, while recognising those who either need more help and support, or those who warrant a reward.  This would help keep PDR focused on the constructive communication rather than the distraction of a rating.  Many of you contacted us to support this position after our recent email on the subject.  You will have seen in the email from the Vice Chancellor last week that the University have moved significantly closer to our proposed position for the forthcoming round of PDR. This is a good demonstration of what can be achieved through our constructive local industrial relations.

People Strategy

The University will soon be launching a new “People Strategy”.  We believe this will be a real opportunity to work with the University on some of the biggest problems facing our members.  Based on the issues you raise with us we have so far highlighted workload sustainability, immigration and aggressive management as issues we feel should be prioritised.  Get in touch if there are other topics you would like to see included.

What are Union Learning Reps and should I become one?

Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) are like health and safety representatives; but while health and safety representatives focus on health and safety issues, learning reps focus on members’ personal and professional learning interests.

Every UCU branch should have at least one Union Learning Rep. They offer assistance and expertise on training and development in local collective bargaining agreements and can offer members individual advice and guidance on development issues. Learning Reps may take statutory time off to undertake their duties if they are trained. Find more information about the role here. If you are interested,please get in touch.

School Drop-ins

Members of the LUCU committee are undertaking a series of recruitment and drop-in sessions. We recently had our first, in the AAE Atrium, and it was a great opportunity to discuss experiences of working at Loughborough University with members and non-members alike.

Our next session is planned for the Design School on the 4th December from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Lookout for us visiting your department soon.

Our next newsletter is scheduled to appear in January, so we want to take this opportunity to wish all our members an enjoyable winter break. In the meantime,please 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, 28th November 2018.

LUCU News: October 2018

LUCU News: October 2018

In this month’s newsletter:

Results of the 2018 Pay Ballot
General Meeting  – change of date
Memorial service for Memiş Acar
Update on Local Negotiations (USS, Lecture Capture, Increments, PDR, Annual Leave Protection)
General Assembly
Proposed campus smoking ban  – tell us what you think
Child Tax Credits
Anti-Casualisation Campaign

Pay Ballot Results & Thanks for Voting
As many of you will already know the pay ballot has closed and the votes have been counted. At Loughborough we achieved the 8th highest turnout of any HE branch in the UK so we wanted to thank everyone for voting and congratulate our members for the turnout. Unfortunately, this was still one vote short of the 50% government-required turnout.  Loughborough’s results, on a turnout of 49.8%, were 55.6% for taking industrial action consisting of a strike and 68.3%  for taking action short of a strike. Full results are available here.

General Meeting – Note: Change of Date and Time
All LUCU members are invited to our first General Meeting of the academic year which will now be held on Wednesday 5th December from 4pm-5pm. This meeting will be held in Room J001 in the Edward Herbert Building.

Nita Sanghera, Vice President of UCU, will be attending and speaking on the topic of “Defending Education & Academic Freedom” An agenda and a request for motions will be communicated nearer the time.

Memis Acar Memorial Service
A secular service for our colleague, and longstanding UCU committee member, Professor Memiş Acar, who passed away following a short illness in August, will be held at 1:15pm on Wednesday, 14th November at Loughborough University in room T003, Wolfson Building.

Colleagues, family and friends will pay personal tributes to Memiş and acknowledge his contribution to university and professional practice. If you would like to attend the service and stay for refreshments after the service, please click here. A book of remembrance has been placed outside the Wolfson Reception and will be available until Friday, 9th November.

Local Negotiations
USS
We draw members’ attention to a series of statements from Dr Sam Marsh and Professor Mike Otsuka, both prominent commentators on the ongoing USS dispute, about whether USS has correctly applied its own Test1, which largely drove the disastrous proposals a year ago.  These begin here with further analysis of USS’s responses in later posts here.  Meanwhile the University has replied to the latest UUK consultation expressing support for the first report of the Joint Expert Panel.  This is good news for members and we hope that other institutions will take the same sensible approach.

Lecture Capture
After much discussion about ruling out the use of lecture capture to undermine industrial action the University have committed themselves to the following: “The University agrees that it will not use ReView, or any material taken from ReView, to undermine lawful industrial action (for example, by telling students in a live dispute that they could make up for lost lectures by viewing ReView at the time)”.  We are pleased that the University has taken this pragmatic step which underlines the respectful nature of industrial relations here. This now needs to be integrated into the Lecture Capture policy.

Withholding of Increments
The University continues to push for a policy change allowing “automatic” increments to be withheld for those staff on a final written warning.  We expect a final proposal from management soon which UCU has agreed to put to a vote at the upcoming General Meeting.

PDR
We would like to thank members who took the time to complete our PDR survey and send us their thoughts on the system.  The unions and University management held a special meeting to discuss potential revisions to the PDR system.  The University has decided not to make significant changes this year although there are a number of minor tweaks many of which we feel could be beneficial.  The University has committed to a more thorough review next year which we are hopeful will include a full reconsideration of the usefulness of the grading system.

Protection of Annual Leave
The University have agreed that in situations where a member of staff moves down a grade, such as during a restructure, and this reduces their leave entitlement (i.e. moving below grade 6), leave will only be reduced to 25 days.  Previously the leave entitlement reduced to 20 days where accrued service was less than 5 years.

General Assembly
We encourage members to attend the General Assembly on the 7th of November. This is an opportunity to hear from senior management about current events, future plans and, more importantly, to put your own questions to them.

Smoking on Campus
The University are considering whether a smoking ban across campus would be desirable and UCU have been asked how our members would feel about such a move.  The issue is bound to be divisive. If you have strong views either way we would be interested in hearing them.  Please email ucu@lboro.ac.uk with your views.

Child Tax Credits
We want to alert you of changes that could significantly impact on people with children born before 6 April 2017.  You are urged to read the link and consider whether you should claim, even if you are not granted an award now, as it may protect future applications.

Anti-Casualisation Campaign
The Loughborough UCU Anti-Casualisation Campaign is getting underway. Look out for updates from the branch and remember that all casually-employed staff (on fixed term or variable hours contracts) can join the Facebook group and can always contact the committee members involved: T.Swann@lboro.ac.uk and S.J.S.Parfitt@lboro.ac.uk

With best wishes from your LUCU Committee, 30th October 2018

LUCU News: September 2018

LUCU News: September 2018

In this month’s newsletter

  • Please vote in the 2018 Pay Ballot
  • An update on negotiations with the University
  • UCU National Recruitment Week
  • UCU Caseworkers
  • Forthcoming branch meetings in October and November
  • Leicester and District TUC

2018 Pay Ballot

You should have by now received your postal ballot. Please make sure you complete and post it back in time for the ballot which closes 19th October. If you have any questions please contact the Officers of the branch, or click this link to read more.

Negotiations with the University

Last week UCU attended both the JNCC, where all unions meet with management, and ARSNC which is UCU’s own negotiating forum.  Among the issues discussed were:

USS and Pay
Members will have noticed that the first JEP report reflects very closely the positions on USS adopted by LUCU and by Loughborough University following our discussions in January.  It is of great frustration that so many Universities instead took a hard line position and forced us into the strike. We were however disappointed that the University had responded to a recent UUK consultation without discussing their response with us first despite their previous commitment to do so.  We have exchanged comments on UUK’s latest consultation, in light of the JEP report, and hope that management will endorse the position of the JEP and challenge UUK to do the same.

PDR Review
Colleagues from HR shared the breakdown of ratings received in this year’s PDR round.  It was noted that only Excellent and Requires Improvement numbers were commented on, which adds to our argument that the distinction between Good and Very Good adds no value.  We remain concerned about the number of ratings downgraded by Senior Review Groups and about whether equality and diversity are being properly considered.  The results of our survey suggest satisfaction with the PDR process has reduced since last year with 1/3 of respondents reporting their PDR was not constructive, half that it was not valuable and a shocking 2/3 that is was not motivational.  Unions and management will be holding a meeting specifically about PDR in October.

Restructures
After pressure from the unions HR have produced guidelines on how schools and departments should communicate with both unions and staff during restructures.  We hope that Deans and Directors of Service will follow them.  We remain concerned by the number of restructure activities taking place at any one time but appreciate that this is Loughborough’s preferred approach to a challenging financial landscape which is prompting some Universities to instigate large rounds of redundancies.

Role changes
A number of members have contacted us in recent months to complain their Deans had taken large roles such as Directorships of Institutes away from them without due process.  We were pleased that our new HR Director Adèle MacKinlay took this issue very seriously and will be looking into these cases.

UCU National Recruitment Week

As part of UCU National Recruitment Week next week, we will be holding a recruitment stall outside of the Edward Herbert Building on Thursday lunchtime from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Please come along for a chat or to help out with recruiting new members.

Can you Recruit a Colleague?

By far the most effective form of recruitment is a personal invitation explaining the importance of the union for our pay, pensions, conditions and support when it’s needed.  Could you recruit one colleague next week?  If you have any questions or would like any leaflets please get in touch with Marc Gibson, Branch Admin Secretary.

Our Reps Working for You

Every day Loughborough case workers help members with problems arising at work. These can include disputes with managers, unwarranted changes in working patterns or roles and problems with due payments.  We also assist members with processes such as Disciplinaries and Grievances.  Colleagues in these positions often say “I never thought this would happen to me”, but when these situations arise they are glad not to have to face them alone.  Casework is time consuming but can be a very rewarding part of being a rep.  More on this in future newsletters.

Congress Mandate Meeting

UCU have called a one-day Congress on the 18th of October to complete the business not taken at this year’s summer Congress. We want to give you a chance to let your delegates know your views on the motions being discussed. To see the motions please click here.

All LUCU members are invited to attend the mandating meeting in room J001 in the Edward Herbert Building on Wednesday 10th October from 1pm-2pm. You will have an opportunity to discuss the motions with our delegates so that they can better represent the your views.

LUCU General Meeting

All LUCU members are invited to our first General Meeting of the academic year which will on the afternoon of Wednesday 28th November. Confirmation of the time and location, an agenda and a request for motions will be communicated nearer the time.

Leicester and District TUC

We still have two more delegate places to fill at Leicester and District TUC. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact the LUCU Branch Administrator.

Meetings of L&D TUC take place in the City Hall, Leicester on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7pm.

To be Continued

Our next newsletter is scheduled to appear in October. In the meantime, please 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, 26th  September 2018