Important Update on MAB & Deductions

Important Update on MAB & Deductions

MAB and New Methodology for Deductions

Since the university announced that deductions would be imposed for MAB, branch officers have attended multiple meetings with the head of HR, Anne Lamb, the Chief Operating Officer, Richard Taylor, and the VC, Nick Jennings. Following these meetings, an improved formula for deductions has been announced by the university – please see the original communication here that explains the new methodology and the university’s reporting process.

While it was hoped that management would opt for no deductions, once it became clear that deductions would be made, we pressed for a system based on proportionality, that is, to be based on how much work an individual was withholding due to participation in MAB. 

Unfortunately, management would not agree to proportional deductions. However, the new methodology for deductions represents a better position for members: 1) deductions for members who choose to participate in MAB are subject to a cap of 10 days at 35% for not marking; 2) deductions for boycotting assessment related tasks (e.g. exam boards, MC panels, etc.) will also be capped at 10 days.

We advise members to follow HR’s instruction to report their participation in MAB, as this does not necessarily equate to an acceptance of the university’s policy on MAB, but it protects members in terms of following the legal duty to report participation.  We are aware that some members would like to challenge these deductions formally based on proportionality, and the new methodology does not preclude members from mounting an individual legal challenge in the county courts.

Human Resources has now completed the FAQs and you can find the updated version here. If you have further questions, please contact your HR Partner or your Dean. Please copy in ucu@lboro.ac.uk so that we can keep track of questions as they arise.

We remind members that we have a weekly drop-in meeting every Wednesday – 2-3 pm – to support those who are participating in MAB. If you need the link to join, please email ucu@lboro.ac.uk.

Fighting Fund Update

We encourage you to make use of both the national and local fighting funds, as applicable. For many of us this is a challenging time, financially, and we want to make sure you know you can claim for strike days where you have lost wages.

Since the passing of a motion at our EGM the Friday before last, extra financial help is available from the local branch fighting fund for members who are either:

  • Hourly paid, or
  • Are facing immediate financial hardship as a direct result of strike action e.g. difficulty paying for essentials for themselves or their dependants.

The local fund will pay out for the first day of strike action, and any later days which are not covered by the national fund, which is currently capped at 11 days for the period up to 1st May.

It can also be used for MAB deductions, which are currently only covered by the national fund for universities where deductions are at least 50% (Please see Jo Grady Email sent Tuesday).

To make a claim from the local fund, please send the following to our treasurer David Wilson:

Claims for loss of hourly earnings:

  • confirmation from your School or Department of the hours not worked due to striking
  • the number of hours missed and the hourly rate of pay you receive
  • your normal annual earnings (so that we can verify you are paying the correct subscription level and determine which level of payment you are eligible for)

Claims for financial hardship:

  • a list of days on which you have taken action
  • payslips showing total deductions (including those covered by the national fund)
  • your normal annual earnings (so that we can verify you are paying the correct subscription level and determine which level of payment you are eligible for)

Payments can be made up the normal daily maximum, i.e. £50 per day for members earning £30,000 and £75 per day for members earning less than £30,000, gross annually.

Note that due to national UCU rules, claims to the local fund must be made within 3 months of the deductions. We are seeking to change this to 12 months to match the national fighting fund rules.

Donations to the LUCU local fighting fund

It is important that members who are in a financial position to so donate to the to our local fighting fund as soon as possible, as well as promoting the fund to encourage others to donate. Please be as generous as you can. It is especially important that members who will not be impacted by pay deductions for MAB contribute to the fund in order to support those members who will suffer substantial financial detriment as a result of their participation. You can donate via a bank transfer, please contact David Wilson for the details.

LUCU Committee

Marking & Assessment Boycott (MAB) Update

Marking & Assessment Boycott (MAB) Update

In this update you will find information on our weekly MAB drop-in meetings, our branch MAB survey, minutes and slides from our EGM last week, advice on MAB questions raised by members, links to the MAB guide and FAQs, a link to join our branch What’s App group and a Crowdfunder for Save university pensions, and save the planet.

Weekly MAB Drop-in Meetings

These will take place between 2pm and 3pm every Wednesday afternoon. The first will be taking place today, please drop in at any time during the hour to raise any concerns you have or to ask any questions. The link has been emailed to all members as a re-occurring meeting invite.

MAB Branch Survey

Most members will have been emailed a link to take part in our branch MAB survey (if you are a retired or attached member you will not have received this survey). This will provide your LUCU branch committee with a picture of action across campus to inform their negotiations with management. Please complete the survey as soon as you can. It will close at midnight on Tuesday 2nd May.

Minutes & Slides from the MAB EGM

Minutes & Slides from the MAB EGM held on Friday, have been emailed to all members.

Your MAB Queries Answered

We have followed up on queries arising from the discussion of the MAB at our GM, and some emailed to the branch.


Are PhD examinations exempt from MAB? No. As per the FAQs provided by UCU:

What academic programmes or stages are covered?

All summative marking and assessment, at all levels, are covered in the boycott–undergraduate, sub-degree, and postgraduate–so it will include all taught postgraduate summative assessment; PhD final vivas and MPhil to PhD progression/confirmation vivas/assessments.

Preliminary comments on chapters submitted by doctoral researchers as part of the supervisory process are not considered part of summative assessment, and, therefore, this work does not violate the MAB. 

While members are not required to report in advance that they will be participating in the boycott, given the close working relationships with doctoral researchers, as a matter of courtesy, we would recommend that you let the student know that you will not be participating in their viva. 

Regarding whether members should/can resign as external examiners: This ASOS does not explicitly call upon members to resign. However, members may resign as an external examiner without detriment at any time, providing they comply with the terms of their contract, that is, they honour their required notice period.

Regarding whether timetabled sessions that focus on assessment should be cancelled: workshops and other teaching sessions that may teach writing or other skills needed for assessment are not covered by MAB, and members should deliver this teaching.

Regarding whether to provide guidance on study skills and other assessment related issues: During MAB, students remain entitled to ask their module tutors/personal tutors for support in improving their writing and other skills that may be used in an assessed task during tutorials, via email exchanges, etc.

MAB Guide and FAQs

You can find the UCU MAB Guide here and the FAQs here. These should provide answers for most MAB queries, if you cannot find the answer here then please email ucu@lboro.ac.uk and/or attend the next MAB drop in meeting on a Wednesday afternoon.

WhatsApp Groups

We would like to remind members that we have two WhatsApp groups available for your use. The first group is for all members, regardless of which campus you work on. The second group is specifically for London campus members. These groups were set up to allow members to communicate during strike action when the use of work email is discouraged. The WhatsApp groups have developed into a fantastic branch building forum, enabling members to stay informed and up to date on the latest dispute news and – more broadly – to connect with each other and engage in discussions on union issues.

Our branch is committed to extending engagement with our membership, so that we can more effectively represent your interests. We encourage all members (both those in Loughborough and in London) to join and participate in our main WhatsApp group. We believe that, together, we can create positive change and better working conditions for all.

We should emphasise that, while we welcome questions and feedback via WhatsApp, it is essential to email the branch directly if you have a message for the committee. This ensures that nothing is missed and we can address any concerns as quickly and effectively as possible.

In summary: stay connected, stay informed and let your voice be heard. Links to join the Lboro UCU and the Lboro London UCU WhatsApp groups have been emailed to all members.

Update from Crowdfunder: Save university pensions, and save the planet

It’s set to be the biggest crowdfund in the UK ever. Even without yet winning in court, they’ve already:

•            exposed the nonsense “deficit” that USS directors predicted as a pretext to the April 2022 cuts – based on a 0.0% asset growth assumption for 30 years that was always a lie;

•            exposed the discriminatory conduct, that could have made every UK university liable for violating the Equality Act for the cuts’ disproportionate impact on grounds of gender, age and race;

•            pushed Universities UK to say they to reverse the cuts after the next valuation in August;

•            seen the architect of the nonsense deficit, USS CEO Bill Galvin, resign;

•            got UUK to say it will “examine” divesting fossil fuels;

•            got USS to vote against the BP chair, who’s planned to reduce fossil fuel cuts, and go into greenwash overdrive.

“But it’s not a done deal. We’re not satisfied until we have a legally binding reversal of the cuts, a policy that protects our planet, and we want a precedent to ensure that pension directors can never do the damage we’ve seen again – not to our pension or anyone else’s. This is essential to end the cycle of disputes over the scheme. We still need to hit our funding target, so that we – Ewan and Neil – don’t risk personal bankruptcy by fighting this court case! If all donors so far gave just £11.91 each, we’d be over the line.”

Here’s the link should you wish to contribute: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-pensions-and-planet/

LUCU Committee

April News

April News

We hope that you’re reading this having returned from an enjoyable Easter break.

IMPORTANT: remember to vote in the formal consultation on the dispute proposals.

We appreciate that if you’re returning from time away from work over Easter, you’re likely to be wading through a big backlog of emails.  However, please make it a priority to act on the email which you should have received late on Tuesday 4 April from Jo Grady. Your vote must be cast by 10 am on 17 April.  Allow yourself enough time for this task as UCU has supplied a considerable amount of material to enable you to make an informed decision.

Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB)

Should the consultation results take us into a MAB, a branch General Meeting will be called to discuss our approach and to answer members’ questions. You can read UCU’s MAB FAQs here and specific advice for academic-related and professional services staff here.

In the meantime, we urge you to register for UCU MAB training on 17 April, beginning at 5pm. For more information and details of how to register, please click here.

Joint statement with management and LSU

Building a strong relationship with Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) has been high on our agenda for some time, and we are delighted that a recent innovation has been the scheduling of tripartite meetings between ourselves, student leaders and members of the University’s senior management. Though our perspectives on the disputes sometimes differ, the meetings have been highly constructive and have allowed us to stake out some common ground. Please see here for our first joint statement. We will continue to meet while the industrial action lasts – though our aim is for this positive collaboration to extend beyond the current moment and engage other of our priorities as a branch.

Hardship fund donation by Leicester Workers Support Group

The branch is very grateful to Leicester Workers Support Group for its generous donation of £100 to our hardship fund.

WhatsApp groups

We would like to remind members that we have two WhatsApp groups available for your use. The first group is for all members, regardless of which campus you work on. The second group is specifically for London campus members. These groups were set up to allow members to communicate during strike action when the use of work email is discouraged. The WhatsApp groups have developed into a fantastic branch building forum, enabling members to stay informed and up to date on the latest dispute news and – more broadly – to connect with each other and engage in discussions on union issues.

Our branch is committed to extending engagement with our membership, so that we can more effectively represent your interests. We encourage all members (both those in Loughborough and in London) to join and participate in our main WhatsApp group. We believe that, together, we can create positive change and better working conditions for all.

We should emphasise that, while we welcome questions and feedback via WhatsApp, it is essential to email the branch directly if you have a message for the committee. This ensures that nothing is missed and we can address any concerns as quickly and effectively as possible.

In summary: stay connected, stay informed and let your voice be heard. Join the Lboro UCU WhatsApp and, if a London member, the LUCU London WhatsApp using the links in the email of this newsletter that has been sent to members, or email the branch for the link to join.

Branch Equality roles

During our recent general meeting, a motion was presented to create new Equality Officer roles for various areas of equality work, including BAME, LGBTQ+, Women, and Disability. After considering the feedback received, the committee has decided it is currently most practical to maintain the arrangement of one branch Equality Officer. However, with an important modification: we hope that the Equality Officer will be supported by several Equality Reps who will work on their chosen area(s) of equality interest. The Equality Rep roles will be created as volunteers come forward. 

Equality Reps will be encouraged to join the committee in non-officer positions and will be welcome to attend all committee meetings.

If you are interested in becoming an Equality Rep for the branch, we encourage you to get in touch with us. Your involvement will help us to better address the needs of our members and ensure that we are effectively promoting equality in all areas.

Advance notice of AGM and branch elections

We are pleased to announce that this year’s LUCU AGM is scheduled for 28 June. Official notice of this meeting will be sent out in May, and, with it, a call for nominations for branch officers and committee members. We encourage all members who are interested in joining the committee to put your names forward.

It is important that we increase our numbers on the committee, in order both to better represent our membership and to share the load of union work. All committee members have time assigned to them in their workload allocation so that they can undertake this role during normal working hours. By joining the committee, you will play a vital role in shaping the union and supporting our members.

If you are interested in joining the committee and would like to find out more about our work before the nominations open in May, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We would love to see some new faces on the committee for the upcoming year, and we hope that you will consider taking an active role in our union. Let us work together to strengthen our collective voice and achieve positive change for our members.

Motions sent to Congress and SHESC

The branch has recently approved two motions to be forwarded to national bodies. The first of these, regarding student engagement in our campaigning and disputes, has been sent to the Special Higher Education Sector Conference scheduled for later in April. This motion urges national UCU to form a working group to extend student engagement during industrial disputes, so as to increase pressure on university managements.

In addition, the branch has passed a motion for UCU Congress in May. This calls on UCU to move away from using the term and principles of Equality, and instead adopt the concept of Equity. The reason for this change is that Equity, as a concept, recognises that not all individuals start from the same place, and some may require greater support to reach fair outcomes. We believe that adopting the term Equity will both serve our members better and contribute to a more just society.

Both motions are available to read here.

University of Leeds petition

We express our condemnation of the recent decision by management at the University of Leeds to implement 100% pay deductions for staff who did not deliver teaching missed on strike days. This approach goes beyond the usual deductions applied across the sector for strike action and is punitive and provocative.

We urge our members to join us in signing the petition to revoke the 100% pay deduction threat for action short of a strike (ASOS) at Leeds. It is crucial that we stand together in solidarity with other branches and push back against this unjust treatment of our colleagues. Let us send a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated and that we demand fair and respectful treatment of all staff.

LUCU Committee

Update on UCU Rising Disputes

Update on UCU Rising Disputes

Local Survey Results

The results of the LUCU branch UCU Rising consultation survey are listed below:

QuestionYesNo
Do you support moving forward in negotiations with UCEA based on the terms of reference agreed at ACAS?68%7%
Do you support UCU members being formally consulted over the commitments that have been agreed with UUK to restore benefits and lower pension contributions?89%1%
Do you support UCU members being formally consulted on the proposals that have been agreed with UCEA on pay, ending zero-hour contracts, workloads, casualisation and closing equality pay gaps?77%6%
If members vote for industrial action in the re-ballot, do you support beginning a Marking & Assessment Boycott over the pay and conditions dispute from w/b 17 April?51%28%
If members vote for industrial action in the re-ballot, do you support beginning a Marking & Assessment Boycott over the USS cuts imposed in April 2022 from w/b 17 April?44%35%

Overall, it’s clear that there is strong support among LUCU members for further consultation and action, though there are some differing opinions on specific tactics. Please note abstentions are not listed above.

Branch Delegates Meeting (BDM) held on 29th March

The results of the national survey were the main topic of discussion. Mary Brewer, LUCU’s branch delegate, voted in line with your views as expressed in the local survey. Mary was given opportunity to speak and reported the main themes captured through your discursive feedback:

  • Members’ have felt confused and uninformed
  • Members feel that their voices were not heard by the Higher Education Committee (HEC)
  • Central communications have been poor
  • Members found the questions asked in the national surveys to be unclear and difficult to respond to

Our feedback was in line with that of many other branches and assurances were given that the feedback raised will be taken into account as the union moves forward in its efforts to represent its members effectively.

Results of UCU Rising Re-ballots

In the re-ballots for UCU’s pay and conditions and USS pensions disputes, our union has achieved resounding YES votes to continuing action, surpassing the anti-union turnout threshold in both disputes. The ballot results are:

BallotTurnoutYes to Strike ActionYes to ASOS
Pay & Conditions56.41%85.65%89.92%
USS (Pensions)58.40%89.05%91.61%

UCU has made history as the first education union in the UK to win multiple national ballots. Full results of the ballots can be found here. Negotiations will continue and notice of a national marking and assessment boycott will be served to employers later this month. Well done to everyone who voted in this ballot, helping UCU get over the line and empowering our negotiators. Very special thanks to our Get The Vote Out volunteers for their hard work.

What’s Next?

The LUCU committee will call a branch General Meeting as soon as we know more from the HEC about further action.


LUCU Committee

LUCU News – March 2023

LUCU News – March 2023

We would like to thank Reps and members for their tremendous support for the action so far: our success is driven by your creativity, time, and energy!

An additional day of action has been called by the HEC for 15th March in order to increase pressure on the employers during the ongoing talks. Upcoming strike dates, pickets and teach-outs as below:

Strike action datePicketsTeach-Outs
Wednesday 15 MarchNo picket11am-12pm: Organising and Power – Rose Pesotta
Thursday 16 MarchLboro Picket: 8:30 – 10:30 Main Gate11am -12pm: Memories of anti-racism
Friday 17 MarchNo picket2pm-3:30pm: Organising for Power Workshop
Monday 20 MarchLboro Picket: 8:30 – 10:30 Main Gate11am-12pm: Starting conversations about race and racism
Tuesday 21 MarchNo picket 
Wednesday 22 MarchNo picket 

Teach-Out Details: Please advertise the three of these events that are open to all students and colleagues.

The “Organising and Power” teach-out will be held online. Ruth Kinna will give a talk about Rose Pesotta (1896–1965), anarchist, feminist and labour organizer in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union:  Teams link

The “Memories of anti-racism” teach-out is hybrid. Emily Keightley will introduce the Migrant Memory and Postcolonial Imagination exhibition at: Charnwood Arts (27 Rectory Pl, Loughborough LE11 1UW) and will talk about histories and memories of anti-racist protest and experiences of racism in Loughborough and East London. All are welcome to attend in person or via Teams link

The “Organising for Power Workshop” will be held online. Alexandre Christoyannopoulos will lead the workshop introducing methods from the Organizing for Power training that some members attended last year, with time for discussion about how they could work within Loughborough UCU. This workshop is for LUCU members only, and you can attend via Teams link.

The “Starting conversations about race and racism” teach-out is hybrid. Denise Coles and Amanda Harrington will talk about how to start conversations about race and racism, with fellow workers and students, in meetings, corridors, formally and in informal exchanges. All are welcome to attend in person at: The Council Chambers, Loughborough Students Union, or via Zoom Link.

ASOS: We would also like to remind members that ASOS is ongoing.

GTVO

It is vital that the union returns a Yes vote to further action to give our negotiators the necessary mandate and leverage to succeed in discussions with UUK and UCEA.  Your ballot must be received by 31 March, and the last safe posting date is 28 March. If you have not received a ballot, please contact UCU directly: replacement ballot request form.

Campaign Resources

Thanks to Saul Albert and Anthony Kevins we have some inspiring videos that showcase student support for our action. Please support UCU Rising by circulating these videos via your social media.  We are very grateful to Saul and Anthony for creating these valuable resources. To see the videos on our various platforms please click the links: YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

Local Strike Fund

We would like to acknowledge grateful receipt of a £100 donation from Leicester Workers Support Group, which will allow us to make another donation to the UCU Fighting Fund, directly benefitting our members in the coming months.

Local Negotiations

EDI: We are pleased to report that there will be direct union involvement on the new University EDI Operations Committee, led by the new PVC-EDI Charlotte Croffie. This recognises union members as a key stakeholder constituency, and our participation in the work of the committee will enable us to inform the direction and implementation of EDI initiatives. As this is not a space for negotiation, the three campus trade unions will rotate sending a delegate to serve for one year. There will be regular meetings with Unite and Unison to consolidate the unions’ perspective.

LUCU is currently in the process of expanding our representation on LUCU committee by seeking multiple equality officers. Our aim is to maximise our engagement with relevant university EDI projects and working groups and to prioritise aspects of EDI in line with national campaigns. We have expressions of interest from two members to stand for the following officer roles: Disability; Women & LGBTQ+. We are keen to hear from other members who may wish to join committee and lead on BAME. We would like to assure members that we recognise the importance of an intersectional approach to EDI, and we envision our EDI officers and other committee members working together to ensure our approach to EDI is aligned with best practice.

REF: LUCU will also continue to have a voice on the REF Code of Practice Working Group, which is chaired by the PVC for Research and Innovation. The group works to ensure the fair and transparent identification of staff and selection of outputs for REF. We ask that members feedback any issues of concern about the REF process in their schools so that they can be raised either at a working group meeting or ARSNC.

Professor Dan Parsons, PVC – Research and Innovation,  attended ARSNC to discuss items we had put forward for discussion following concerns raised by our members about the internal review of REF outputs at school level, as well as grant capture and EDI. It was agreed that schools should ensure they approach the review with parity and transparency in mind; the process should be developmental in focus, and internal scores will not be used as a measure of performance during PDRs.  The University also recognises the inherent biases in the grant process in terms of applicants with protected characteristics, and the PCV was keen to ensure that the University aims to mitigate as much as possible these external factors when, for example, considering applications for university fellowships and promotion. 

Restructures: We have been in consultations with management about restructures in IT Services, the Research and Innovation Office, and the School of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering. We can report that no redundancies are planned, and where individual members have requested it, a caseworker has been assigned for support. 

WAMS and Workload: Members have raised concerns about the timing of workload allocation, which, in some schools, has come too late for efficient planning of teaching and research. Steve Harris, Change Portfolio Manager & Process Improvement Lead, has agreed to review WAMS to explore how workload allocation can be managed in a timelier manner.  

LUCU Committee

Pickets in Loughborough and London – 9th Feb

Pickets in Loughborough and London – 9th Feb

Thanks again to everyone who was involved in the busy and engaging UCU rising picket we held on the 1st February, and also to those who came to the planning meeting that followed.

This Week’s Pickets

This week the branch has organised pickets on both Lboro and London campuses. Both will take place on Thursday 9th February. The Loughborough picket will be at the Shirley Pearce Pedestrian Crossing (on Epinal Way – exact location) from 8:30am to 10:30am. The London picket will be at the main entrance of the London campus building from 9am – 11am. We hope to see as many of you there as possible. The longer the picket line, the shorter the dispute.

Future Picket Dates, Times & Locations

Strike DayPicket TimePicket Location
Thurs 16th Feb8:30-10:30Shirley Pearce Pedestrian Crossing
Wed 22nd Feb11:30-14:00Holywell Gate
Wed 1st March11:30-14:00Holywell Gate
Thurs 16th March8:30-10:30Main Gate
Mon 20th March8:30-10:30Main Gate

Future London picket details will be communicated as and when they are arranged.

Although we are only picketing on the above dates, please remember that the following dates are also strike days.

February: Fri 10th, Tues 14th, Wed 15th, Tues 21st, Thurs 23rd, Mon 27th & Tues 28th.

March: Thurs 2nd, Fri 17th, Tues 21st & Wed 22nd.

Update on Teach Outs

We now have three teach outs planned during this period of industrial action, unfortunately the ones we had hoped to hold in the LSU building will now have to be on-line only due to no rooms being available. Please advertise these events to your colleagues, students and anyone else who may be interested in joining us.

Unions and the Media, an online teach-out: Wednesday February 22nd, 2:30-5pm (Teams link): We will start with a Trade Unions 101 by Anthony Kevins: Is a trade union like a student union? Are strikes just protests? And why are strikes even a thing? In this brief introduction to trade unions, we’ll cover everything you ever wanted to know about collective bargaining but were too afraid to ask. Bring your questions! Then John Downey will present a talk entitled ‘What about the workers? How do news media frame unions and what we can do about it’ discussing unions, inequality, and media representation, including reflections on how UCU does self-mediation and how it is being represented in the current dispute.

Organising and Power, an online teach-out: Wednesday 1st March, 2:30-5pm (Teams link): Ruth Kinna will give a talk (open to all staff and students) about Rose Pesotta (1896–1965), anarchist, feminist and labour organizer in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, then Alexandre Christoyannopoulos will lead a workshop (for LUCU members only) introducing methods from the Organizing for Power workshops that some members attended last year, with time for discussion about how they could work within Loughborough UCU.

Memories of anti-racism, a hybrid teach-out: Thursday 16th March, 11am-12 noon in-person and online (Teams link): Emily Keightley will introduce the Migrant Memory and Postcolonial Imagination exhibition at Charnwood Arts (address: 27 Rectory Pl, Loughborough LE11 1UW), and will talk about histories and memories of anti-racist protest and experiences of racism in Loughborough and East London.

Resources for Staff

Please regularly check our website for updated versions of strike resources for staff such as out of office messages, email templates you can send to students or use on learn and slides for students.

LUCU Committee

UCU Rising Picket Dates and More

UCU Rising Picket Dates and More

Firstly, thanks to all those who attended our picket on the 1st February. It was great to see so many people out in support of the UCU Rising dispute. Following on from the picket we held a productive meeting to plan the rest of our action where many members contributed to an engaging discussion. It was really inspiring to see so many members getting involved and volunteering to take actions. A summary of the outcomes agreed by members at the meeting is below.

Targeted Picketing

It was agreed that we would target picketing to 6 days (one per week of the strike action), please attend as many of these pickets as you can. As always friends, family and supporters are more than welcome on our pickets:

Strike DayPicket TimePicket Location
Thurs 9th Feb8:30-10:30Shirley Pearce Pedestrian Crossing
Thurs 16th Feb8:30-10:30Shirley Pearce Pedestrian Crossing
Wed 22nd Feb11:30-14:00Holywell Gate
Wed 1st March11:30-14:00Holywell Gate
Thurs 16th March8:30-10:30Main Gate
Mon 20th March8:30-10:30Main Gate

London picket details will be communicated in due course.

Although we are only picketing on the above dates, please remember that the following dates are also strike days.

February: Fri 10th, Tues 14th, Wed 15th, Tues 21st, Thurs 23rd, Mon 27th & Tues 28th.

March: Thurs 2nd, Fri 17th, Tues 21st & Wed 22nd.

Teach Outs

We have also had several people volunteer to host Teach Out sessions. We hope these sessions will be hybrid meetings and will confirm details nearer the time. Anyone else interested in hosting a teach out session on any of the strike days please get in touch with the branch. Presently this is our plan:

  1. 22nd Feb at 2:30pm at the LSU (tbc) – Two members will host a teach out on the subject of Unions and the Media.
  2. 16th March at 11am at Charnwood Arts (tbc) – A member will host a teach out on Colonialism and Anti-racism – followed by a members meeting.

Resources for Staff

Please regularly check our website for updated versions of strike resources for staff such as out of office messages, email templates you can send to students or use on learn and slides for students.

LUCU Committee

LUCU News January 2023

LUCU News January 2023

Addressing UCU Rising and local negotiations & campaigns

UCU Rising: Update

At the January BDM, branch delegates fed back members’ views as expressed at our recent GM and via email, where a majority of LUCU members backed escalating strike action in semester two and a marking and assessment boycott (MAB) beginning in April.  Feedback from other branches and voting results at the BDM indicated that these views were also held by a majority of members across the union.  Accordingly, HEC voted to call for 18 days of strike action, with the first day of action on Wednesday, February 1st (future dates yet to be confirmed), and members will be re-balloted so that action can continue after the current mandate ends in March 2023, that is, should current negotiations not bring about a resolution to the disputes on pay, workload, casualisation and USS pensions. 

The branch committee is already mobilising for a re-ballot and planning for a MAB. Branch officers have undertaken training on MAB and will produce guidance that is specific to LUCU members in due course. 

Interestingly, new research by Loughborough’s Centre for Research into Social Policy underscores the need to continue the fight for restoration of our benefits, as inflation adds 20% to the cost of retirement, while UUK chooses to cut our pensions by c. 30%:

Our action has already resulted in positive movement on the pay front, with UCEA making an improved offer to UCU negotiators. However, negotiations on pay are ongoing, as the offer of a pay rise between 4-5% was not deemed sufficient considering the insufficient pay rises awarded over the last 10 years and current inflationary pressures.  Negotiations on workload and insecure contracts also continue at national level.

At local level, discussions continue with University SMT about workload, pay and pensions. The University remains committed to the position it set out in our joint statement on USS, which we were pleased to hear from the visiting speaker at our recent GM has proved helpful to other branches in moving their SMTs toward a public statement supportive of improved benefits, as well as to UCU’s national negotiators. We are currently exploring with management the idea of another joint statement addressing other issues in the dispute – workload, pay, precarious contracts.

We have had some promising discussions with senior leadership regarding workload. The matter was discussed at the Vice Chancellor’s Reports meeting on Monday 16 Jan, and it will be discussed in more detail at University Executive Board (formerly known as ALT) in early February. We have a meeting scheduled shortly after this and will provide an update in next month’s newsletter.

Tri-partite meetings involving LUCU, SMT and LSU also continue, which offers a valuable space for us to present our perspective on the disputes to student representatives.

Local Negotiations and Campaigns – Re-structures

We can also report that LUCU has been meaningfully consulted on a new restructure in IT Services, where we do not envisage any negative impact to members. However, we remain available to support any member affected by this restructure. Any member who would like a caseworker to attend meetings with them should contact their area Rep in the first instance.

The Enabling Programme:

The Enabling Programme – comprising six projects – has been established to collectively drive positive change in the areas of Loughborough’s reputation, digital capabilities, workplaces, compliance levels, processes/ways of working, and culture. Details of the projects and their aims can be found via the Organisational Development website. All six projects are now live, with Projects Enable, Workplace and Compliance being the most advanced.

LUCU is regularly consulted by management on programme developments as these initiatives impact on our working conditions, and we can raise issues of concern in our monthly meetings with SMT, as well as via JNCC and ARSNC.

We would like to update members on key examples of Project Enable’s success so far:

  • Changes to the ethics approval process: ethics applications made by UG and PGT students classified as low risk will be signed off by the supervisor without further review. This will remove over 1500 additional checks from the process each year.
  • Changes to assessing student placements, will save over 800 staff hours (academic and Professional Services), whilst it is estimated that the change to a greater number of online progress meetings will save over 4,500 hours per year.

Project Expectations’ workstreams have been defined, focusing on strategy engagement; leadership development; reward and recognition; internal communications; development and performance. The findings of the recent Staff Engagement Survey will also help to shape the project, and an independent review of the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Awards has commenced to inform enhancements for 2023. Projects Reputation and Digital have set up their governance and Programme Boards and have begun scoping the project workstreams.

If you have a question(s) about any of the projects, please feel free to contact the Enabling Programme Manager Meg Stafford, who is taking over from Jenna Townend. We would like to thank Jenna Townend for working so collegially with LUCU committee members on Project Enable.

Casual drop-in meetings; UCU annual meeting of staff on casual contracts

The first two drop-in meetings with our colleagues on casual contracts went really well. Attendees are steadily building a sense of community, and we were able to discuss their concerns at the meeting. We have since progressed some issues through our casework. We are happy to announce a third meeting on Friday 27th January at 2-3pm, which is open to all Lboro staff (UCU members and non-members) on these types of contracts. To get a link to join the meeting please email ucu@lboro.ac.uk and encourage folk to come along!

The annual UCU meeting of staff on casualised contracts takes place on Sat 25 Feb, online. If you are interested in being one of our Lboro UCU branch delegates for this meeting, please email the branch. More details can be found here.

Branch membership

After reaching a low point in October 2022, membership secretary Marc Gibson is very pleased to announce that branch membership has subsequently been rising, while we have also recruited 3 new area reps. As one of LUCU’s priorities this year is to ensure this upward trend continues, we’d like to ask you to consider adding one of the following logos into your email signature. Video instructions for adding signatures with logos to your email can be found here.

LUCU Committee

Updates on Industrial Action & MAB Training

Updates on Industrial Action & MAB Training

LUCU General Meeting & UCU Branch Delegates Meeting (BDM) Results

The results of the voting at our branch meeting combined with email responses were as follows (abstentions mean the results do not add up to 100%):

Escalating strike action – 67%MAB Jan 2023 – 35%Immediate Re-ballot Yes – 76%
Indefinite strike action – 13%MAB April 2023 – 42%Immediate Re-ballot No – 6%

At the Branch Delegates Meeting, our branch delegates cast LUCU’s votes as follows: for escalating strike action, for MAB April and for re ballot. The voting at the BDM was in line with LUCU voting and the results have now been released:

Escalating strike action – 57%MAB Jan 2023 – 26%Immediate Re-ballot Yes – 91%
Indefinite strike action – 31%MAB April 2023 – 56%Immediate Re-ballot No – 4%

Full question/answer text and results of the BDM can be found here.

The next steps are for the results from the BDM to go to the HEC on Thursday for consideration with the aim of a clear outcome from HEC on our next steps in the dispute. We will let you know as soon as we have the outcome.

Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) Training

We strongly encourage members to attend one of the two upcoming sessions on Marking and Assessment Boycott training. Please pre-register for one of the following 90 minute online training sessions held later today and Friday:

  • Session 1 – Wednesday 11 January – 16:00 to 17:30 – Register here
  • Session 2 – Friday 13 January – 10:00 to 11:30 – Register here

LUCU Committee

Winter Break Office Closure

Winter Break Office Closure

The LUCU office will be closed for the winter break from 4pm today (21st December). We will re-open (and respond to enquiries) from 10am on Wednesday 4th January 2023.

Have a great winter break!

LUCU will not be monitoring the main branch email inbox during the winter break so if an urgent response is required please email the branch secretary or relevant committee member directly. Please bear in mind they are also on their winter break so won’t be checking email daily. Their contact details can be found here: https://ucu.lboro.ac.uk/contacts/

In the meantime, should you need it, the Education Support Partnership is a free service for our members, active 24/7. They provide counselling, support, financial assistance and more.

Phone: 08000 562 561

Email: support@edsupport.org.uk

Website: https://www.educationsupport.org.uk/helping-you/