LUCU News: Branch Committee, Casework Training, LGBT Group, Award for David Kerr
In our latest newsletter, we introduce the newly elected members of the Branch Committee, including those who will be taking on officer roles. We also highlight a forthcoming Union caseworker training event that we hope will be of interest to colleagues. Other items cover the work of the University’s LGBT+ Staff Group and the award of a prestigious University honour to a long-time Branch activist who will be familiar to many members.
The incoming Branch Committee
Nominations closed several weeks ago for election to the Branch Committee for 2018-19 and so we are now able to name those colleagues who from 1 August will be representing the interests of members at Loughborough. Given that many people may not have found occasion in the past to scrutinise minutely the structure of the Committee, it may be helpful to say a little about this here, as well as to identify the coming year’s incumbents.
Among the Committee’s members, nine are designated as officers, indicating that they have particular areas of responsibility with regard to the Union’s business on campus; these are also the people most likely to represent the Union on committees alongside University managers and representatives of our two sister unions. All of these posts have now been filled for next year. With Matthew Inglis (Maths Education) stepping down as Chair, we are very pleased to confirm that Alan Bairner (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences) is once more to fill the role. As Vice-Chair, Andrew Dix has been succeeded by his Arts, English and Drama colleague, Mary Brewer.
No other reshuffling of portfolios has been necessary, however, with officers continuing to occupy positions which they previously held. So, David Wilson (IT Services) remains as Negotiating Secretary, Marc Gibson (IT Services) as Admin Secretary, Marie Hanlon (Academic Language Support Service) as Membership Secretary, Dan Towns (IT Services) as Treasurer, Ian Jones (Maths Education) as Personal Casework Coordinator, Thomas Swann (Politics, History and International Relations) as Anti-Casualisation Officer, and Eugenie Hunsicker (Maths) as Equalities Officer.
The officer holders are supported by six ordinary members of the Committee. Andrew will continue to serve as one of these, along with five colleagues who represent a range of sections and roles in the University: Clare Bonham (Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering), Alec Edworthy (IT Services), Mark Murphy (Student Services), Steve O’Sullivan (Academic Language Support Service) and Steven Parfitt (Politics, History and International Relations).
While many advantages accrue to the Committee from people’s continuity of service in these various roles (indeed, for an example, see the last item in today’s newsletter), it is equally important for it to be energised by new members’ ideas and perspectives. We hope that the incoming Committee represents just such an opportune blend.
Union caseworker training
We have regularly reported in newsletters about the invaluable support offered by caseworkers to members on campus who are facing difficulties or problems of various kinds. Casework is a challenging (though highly rewarding) activity – and so we are pleased to announce that a training session led by UCU’s Regional Official Sue Davis will take place on campus next month. The training will cover all aspects of support for Union members who have workplace concerns that typically include such things as PDR outcomes, bullying, discrimination, and disciplinary and capability investigations. Sue knows the subject extremely well, and similar training sessions she has run at Loughborough in the past have always been stimulating and informative. While the training will be particularly suitable for Committee members and Departmental reps, a warm invitation to attend is also extended to colleagues who are considering becoming more actively involved in the life of the Union on campus. The session will take place on Tuesday 17 July, from 12:30 to 4pm. Please contact the Personal Casework Coordinator Ian Jones at I.Jones@lboro.ac.uk if you would like to come along or have any questions about what will be involved.
News of the LGBT+ Staff Group
Having reported in a previous newsletter on the LGBT+ Staff Group at Loughborough, we are very happy to circulate details of its latest activities. The Group continues to populate its new website and has also just produced its first newsletter, giving details of achievements, initiatives and forthcoming events (which begin with a lunchtime social on 18 July). You can read the LGBT+ newsletter here.
David Kerr and the University Medal
Members may recall that in our newsletter of 3 August last year we interviewed David Kerr on the occasion of his retirement. During a long career teaching and researching in the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, David somehow also found the time to be an indefatigable officer of our Branch Committee. As Vice-President and Negotiating Secretary over many years, he played a key role in advancing all members’ well-being on campus, not least through his painstaking efforts in helping to frame the terms and conditions we all currently work under.
We are delighted to report that, along with his distinguished academic achievements, David’s dedication to UCU members at Loughborough and his commitment to unions’ civilising effect on campus have now been recognised by his being awarded the University Medal. This award, as its description runs, is given to members of staff ‘who have made a distinctive and long-running contribution to the University […] and consistently performed above-and-beyond the call of their duties.’ With characteristic modesty, David says that he believed a mistake had been made when he opened the Vice-Chancellor’s letter, informing him of the award; those of us who have worked with David on the Branch Committee, however, are very clear there is no error here.
David will receive his award at the graduation ceremony of the School of the Arts, English and Drama on 19 July – and he can be assured of an enthusiastic reception from students and visitors at what is always one of the liveliest of the University’s graduations.
To be continued
The next newsletter will appear near the end of July and will include a tribute to Matthew Inglis, our outgoing Branch Chair. In the meantime, do continue to contact us with your views and suggestions with regard to UCU 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 June 2018