IWD 2021 – Lean In Circles Workshop

IWD 2021 – Lean In Circles Workshop

Are you sitting comfortably?

Over the last 100 years a repeated theme has been the lack of sanitary facilities for women being used as a reason to reject them when applying for jobs.

  • ‘Respectable’ women couldn’t relieve themselves in streets or alleys as men did – London’s first public toilets were built for the 1851 Great Exhibition
  • Lack of access to toilets effectively tied women to their homes, putting them on a ‘leash as long as their bladder capacity’

This silent discrimination continues in many countries around the world. In 2012, female demonstrators in India marked International Women’s Day by storming men’s public toilets in the city of Nagpur, protesting inadequate numbers of bathrooms for women

In 2021, the UK Government has been running a Toilet Consultation to consider ‘the ratio of female toilets needed versus the number for men, given the need for women to always use cubicles’ … and to ‘take into account the needs of all members of the community, to ensure there is a fair provision of accessible and gender-neutral toilets’.

They acknowledge that even in 2021, women often face excessive queues for toilets or do not have access to appropriate facilities. In some cases, this can mean women are reluctant to go out or take trips – so no progress from the 19th century.

Lean In Circles Workshop

Thursday 18th March 1pm-2pm

In this workshop you will have the opportunity to:

  • Connect with other women through small group discussions to share your struggles, give and get advice and celebrate each other’s wins.
  • Discuss and select a #ChooseToChallenge action card making a pledge for action to support and empower other female employees all year round.

Link to join the workshop via Microsoft Teams: Click here to join the meeting

We very much look forward to seeing you there.

LUCU Committee

LUCU Covid Bulletin: Critical Workers and Schooling Guidance

LUCU Covid Bulletin: Critical Workers and Schooling Guidance

While we will continue to update members on Covid-related matters in our regular newsletter, we will also update you through e-bulletins as new information emerges about how the university is responding to the pandemic.

We are writing in response to members’ 1) requests for clarification about the government’s categorisation of university employees as critical workers and what arrangements this allows them to access for their children’s schooling, 2) to clarify the position for staff with children in nursery/day-care and, 3) to clarify the position for casual staff.

Full Government guidance for critical workers may be found here: Critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The University’s FAQs relevant to critical workers and caring responsibilities may be found here: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/internal/coronavirus/staff/faqs/ 

UCU Guidance on Critical Care Worker Status in HE is available here for your convenience.

Confirmation of Critical Worker Status

  • To request a letter confirming your critical worker status, please ask your line manager to email: iTrentAdmin@lboro.ac.uk.

Primary and Secondary Schoolchildren

  • Only one person needs to qualify as a critical worker for children to attend a primary or secondary school. However, depending on capacity, schools have the power to restrict attendance; for example, they might require that both parents be critical workers.
  • If you are working remotely and prefer not to send a child to school while government guidance states that only vulnerable pupils and pupils of key workers should attend in person, the university has committed to supporting staff as much as possible to balance home-schooling requirements with workload.
  • If you are working remotely and prefer not to send a child to school while government guidance states that only vulnerable pupils and pupils of key workers should attend in person, members can request a period of unpaid leave or that their hours of work are reduced on a temporary basis.
  • Members should contact their line manager to discuss how best to manage workload while carrying out home-schooling or to discuss the options of unpaid leave or reduced hours.
  • Staff are under no obligation and will not be compelled to take unpaid leave or to reduce their hours of work if they cannot send their children to school, or if they decide they would prefer not to send their children to school, while government guidance remains in place for prioritizing vulnerable pupils/pupils of key workers.

Children in Nursery/Day-Care

Government guidance does not currently apply to children who attend nursery/day-care because such facilities can remain open. However, we can report that management is committed to being as supportive as possible to all staff who have childcare and/or other caring responsibilities and may be experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic.  Members may contact their line manager for support. Your personal circumstances will be considered, and an effort made to agree the best way forward to balance work and childcare.

Casual Staff

The University has agreed to pay hourly paid workers for agreed and scheduled work that cannot take place due to COVID-19.  Therefore, the same arrangements as described above apply also to casual staff with caring responsibilities arising from Covid-19 – but only for work that has been agreed.

If you experience any difficulties in making suitable arrangements with your manager related to home-schooling, childcare and workload, please contact your area Rep or the branch at UCU@lboro.ac.uk. You may find your Rep’s contact details here:  Department Reps – Loughborough UCU (lboro.ac.uk).  You may also contact your HR Partner for further guidance.

LUCU Committee

Loughborough UCU: Position Statement on Race Equality

Loughborough UCU: Position Statement on Race Equality

LUCU recommends that the University:

  • Be open and transparent regarding race inequality statistics at the university with the intention to improve outcomes and achieve parity over time
  • Be pro-active in taking positive action to improve outcomes for staff and students from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, with a focus on increasing BAME leadership for staff and closing the degree awarding gap for BAME students
  • Refrain from considering ‘BAME’ and/or ‘international’ as static, homogenous categories, and instead seek to take account of the specific forms of oppression and exploitation which different groups face
  • Draw upon and utilise expertise from within its academic community and beyond to inform its definitions, processes and procedures around race equality and ensure they are fit for purpose.
  • Challenge racist legislation from the Home Office surrounding the surveillance of international students and staff, and comply to only the legally minimal extent
  • Increase financial and legal support to international staff struggling with time-consuming and costly procedures regarding their citizenship, settled status and/or right to work in the UK (and similar)
  • Reduce reliance on casual contracts (including zero hours contracts), as they disproportionately affect BAME colleagues
  • Become an accredited Living Wage employer on both campuses, considering the fact that low pay disproportionately affects BAME colleagues
  • Be willing to engage with and take on board constructive critique regarding race-related matters at the university
  • Recognise how intersectionality can result in particular groups of staff and students’ facing specific problems or disadvantages which remain unaddressed by initiatives focussing only on one aspect of their identity, demographic characteristics and/or social positionality.
  • Ensure BAME staff are recognised and compensated for their efforts and contributions to the race equality and EDI strategies of the university through accurate citation and agreed workload hours, secondment time or additional payments. Additional payments should also be available to casual staff, who should be encouraged to contribute and rewarded where they do so.
  • Create and promote accessible pathways for students, especially BAME students, to contribute to and demonstrate leadership within the university’s race equality efforts. This may involve creating paid positions for students and pay for these roles should be at a level which acknowledges the importance of the work and the emotional labour it requires.
  • Systematise and share knowledge about best practice in race equality throughout the university through staff and student development.

LUCU are pleased to share this Race Equality statement which has been co-developed with LU BAME staff network.

LUCU Statement on Anti-Racism

LUCU Statement on Anti-Racism

12.06.2020

Black Lives Matter protests in the past week across the United States and worldwide have demonstrated international resistance to, and outrage against, police and white supremacist murders of Black people, most lately George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, as well as David McAtee and Jamel Floyd who were killed by police during the protests. Many people who want to condemn racism and show support for the Black Lives Matter cause have been asking “What can I do?”

First, it is important that we do not tell ourselves that this problem exists only in the USA.  As a colonising nation Britain has a deeply problematic track record with race relations, which is far from over, as evidenced by the recent Windrush scandal, ongoing police brutality and racism, racialised unequal COVID19 health outcomes, including the condemnable deaths of Belly Mujinga and Trevor Belle, Black British essential workers, both of whom were assaulted at work and later died of COVID19. We should recognise that the legacy of colonialism, including structural and interpersonal racism (overt and covert), anti-Blackness, shadeism and colourism, lives on across Europe and worldwide.

Second, we can call attention to the issue. In particular, we believe it is the role of white people, and those whose racial backgrounds put them in closer proximity to whiteness, to use their relative privilege and safety to amplify Black voices and advocate for change. The ability to ignore this issue and believe it does not concern you is one way that structural racism is perpetuated. In response to this moment, it is not enough to be “not racist”.  We must be “anti-racist”.

Third, we can acknowledge and understand the history that has made it necessary to demand in this moment that Black lives do matter. Racial inequality in the world today is the outcome of historical processes, producing structural racism benefiting white people, while othering and discriminating against those who are not white. 

Finally, we can recognise that many Black colleagues and students, and those of mixed Black heritage are currently experiencing trauma, anger and exhaustion, as a result of the combination of everyday racism, the disproportionate health impacts of COVID19 on communities of colour, and the heightened racialised violence, pressure and anxiety of this moment. The LUCU committee extends to them our care and concern, and we urge supervisors and peers to please be mindful of and compassionate to these circumstances.

We welcome the articulate response from Loughborough University and its commitment to recognise its part in the problem and dedication to being part of the solution, as well as the Vice-Chancellor’s recent statement in which he centres the importance of challenging racism, and positioning the university as anti-racist. LUCU are also committed to (1) working closely with the BME staff network to address issues of racism within the union, and (2) continuing to engage with university management to improve staff experiences in a way that is cognizant of the specific issues faced by Black staff, staff of colour and minority backgrounds. In addition to anti-Black racism, we also wish to speak out against the everyday Sinophobic and Islamophobic racism against Asian and Muslim colleagues and students on campus and in Loughborough, which has increased due to COVID19, and the ongoing challenges of the hostile environment for immigration that affects our international colleagues.

We invite all members of our University community, but particularly those who are white, to respond to this opportunity to listen, learn and take action.  Below we provide a range of suggestions, some which can be done for free in seconds, others which ask you to invest some money or time. While some of the resources were developed in the US, this does not mean they are irrelevant to us in the UK.

More recommended books available here.

Resources for teaching staff

Educators have a special role to play in tackling racism in the curriculum, in the classroom, and in the student experience as a whole.  These resources will support you in doing this.

Resources for Black/BME Colleagues

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the individual members of the BME, International, and LGBT staff networks, many of whom are UCU members, who co-developed this statement on our behalf. Thank you also to all the Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and white ally thinkers, activists and content creators whose excellent work we draw upon here.  

LUCU Statement regarding the Strike

LUCU Statement regarding the Strike

We are writing about the email sent by the Vice Chancellor on Wednesday 13 November regarding the strike.

The VC is quite right that he engaged with staff, and that he has made a public call for limiting employee contributions to 9.1%. Most Vice Chancellors have not done this and we appreciate the VC has made himself unpopular with some of them. Further, we acknowledge the frustration for our VC that some of the universities where the ballot turnout did not exceed the 50% threshold have less proactive, less sympathetic Vice Chancellors. Moreover we take his expressed concerns about the financial implications of increased contributions by the university seriously and in good faith.

However UCU’s position is that no one, not employees and not employers, need have their contributions increased. Rather at the root of the dispute is the valuation method. The debate is not “who should fund the increases” but whether or not increases are necessary.

The resolution to the 2018 strikes came from the establishment of a UUK/UCU Joint Expert Panel, which was tasked with reviewing the valuation method and proposing a way forward. If the methodology recommended by the Joint Expert Panel in their first report had been implemented, then neither employer nor employee contributions would be going up.

A couple of other points. The VC’s email mentioned that “employees currently contribute 9.6% of salary” but we highlight that this is only true since 1st October 2019. It was 8% before last year’s strike, then went to 8.8% and now has gone up to 9.6%. The email also noted that the USS Trustee includes UCU representatives but two clarifications are in order. First, UCU has nominees not representatives: these nominees are legally independent of UCU, and their actions are not controlled by UCU. Second, in recent weeks one of the UCU nominees, Professor Jane Hutton, was dismissed by USS after raising concerns about their valuation method.

Finally, we note that our VC is in engaging in meaningful discussion with LUCU committee and is making constructive proposals about how we might resolve the situation. We are grateful to have such a proactive and sympathetic Vice Chancellor at Loughborough who engages meaningfully with the branch and we do not take this for granted. We will be in touch again to canvas members’ views on the options as we see them.

LUCU Committee

LUCU Committee Advice to Striking Members

LUCU Committee Advice to Striking Members

The branch think it important that staff who are considering strike action understand what is legally required and understand the guidance being issued in relation to both the proposed strike action between Nov 25th and Dec 4th and action short of a strike that will continue thereafter.

We believe some managers are making suggestions which are not in keeping with current guidance.

You are not required to give of strike action to management, or to students – although when asked afterwards if you did take strike action, you are required to provide this information.

It is recommended that colleagues give notice on the morning of the strike that they will be absent, as they would if they were going to be absent due to sickness. This is the case whether it involves lectures, seminars, or project supervision. This gives managers the same time frame to notify students of changes. Even though, again, there is no need to do so.

The branch is concerned that some of recommendations from some managers are asking to ensure the ‘smooth running of the programmes’ after December 4th is a request to ignore the action short of strike, thus to act to minimise disruption lessens and undermines the impact of the strike itself.

For more information please see the FAQ’s on UCU’s website.

LUCU Committee