December 2022 Newsletter
This month we report on industrial action, caseworker training, and local negotiations.
UCU Rising Update
We would like to thank members who took part in pickets at the Loughborough Midland and London campuses – the turnout was fantastic! Our branch also made a good showing at the virtual picket, and members helped swell the numbers at the London Rally on 30 Nov.
We would like to remind members that Action Short of Strike – ASOS began on Wednesday 23 November and will continue until further notice. ASOS entails:
- working to contract;
- not covering for absent colleagues;
- removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action;
- not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action;
- not undertaking any voluntary activities.
It can be difficult to ascertain the duties that fall under ASOS. If you are unsure whether a task is covered by ASOS, or if you feel that you are being pressured to undertake work that is covered by ASOS, please contact your area Rep – you can find their contact details here: https://tinyurl.com/3hw4h6sb
We reported in our last newsletter on the scale of personal casework undertaken in support of our members. Additional volunteers to join the casework team are always very welcome. If anyone is interested in taking on this role, then please come along to an online training session that will be delivered for the branch by UCU’s Regional Office from 2-5 pm on Tuesday 17 January. From past experience, this will be a friendly and supportive occasion; existing members of the casework team will also be attending. Anyone who would like to take part in the session should contact our Personal Casework Coordinator Andrew Dix (A.Dix@lboro.ac.uk) for further details. Andrew will also be happy to meet with anyone to discuss more generally the personal caseworker role.
UCEA Consultation on Pay: As you may be aware from Jo Grady’s recent comms, the strikes have brought the employers back to the table to discuss pay and working conditions. Loughborough management recognizes the need to reward staff fairly for the University to retain and recruit staff. We can report that management responded to the consultation carried out by UCEA in November in favour of bringing forward the March pay negotiation round. This has been agreed by UCEA and the unions at a national level and negotiations regarding the 2023/24 pay round will commence in December with the aim of being concluded by the end of January.
Working Group on Pay, Pensions and Workload: The new working group to explore how Loughborough University might address the issues at the heart of the industrial disputes held constructive meetings in November and December. The first meeting refined the group’s objectives and scope, while the second meeting followed up on national developments and preliminary plans to make meaningful changes to local teaching loads and modelling good practice around evenings and weekends. The group will meet monthly, and we will keep members informed on progress via the newsletter.
Review of Promotions Process and Criteria: As part of the consultation regarding the promotions process and criteria, LUCU recommended an additional focus group to capture the experience of colleagues with disabilities. The focus group has met, and the views expressed will inform the final draft documentation that will be submitted to for approval by Senate and Council. We would like to thank Lisanne Gibson (Dean SSH) and Chris Reily Dean (AACME) for working with us to facilitate this additional focus group.
Working with LSU: We are pleased to report that the first meeting between LUCU, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) and University senior management will take place in January. We look forward to working collaboratively with student union Reps alongside management to progress matters of common interest.
Health and Safety – Rest Breaks: We raised the issue of back-to-back Teams’ meetings with management following reports from members of difficulties experienced after spending too much time in front of a screen without a break. We would like to thank management for actioning a change to Outlook so that meetings are scheduled by default for 25 or 50 minutes. This cannot be automated across all computers, so staff are advised set up their own Outlook accounts if they wish meetings to follow this pattern.
Open Outlook and go to the “File” tab at the top of the page and select “Options” at the bottom on the left-hand side
Click on “Calendar”
Put a tick in the box next to “Shorten Meetings and Appointments”.
Select “End Early” in the drop-down list next to this
Next to “Less than one hour” select 5 minutes from the drop-down box
Next to “One hour or more” select 10 minutes from the drop-down box
A communication has also gone out to line managers so that large group meetings are also scheduled to allow staff time away from the screen between Teams meetings.
Have a great break over the holidays and a very happy new year!