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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.