Making Sure You Get Your USS Back Pay – Meeting Recording

Making Sure You Get Your USS Back Pay – Meeting Recording

The branch held an open meeting on Wednesday 31st January to discuss the recent changes to the USS Pension scheme . While it is important that everyone understands what has been successfully negotiated on your behalf, it is especially important that colleagues who have opted out of USS are aware of the implications of how restoration of the lost 2020-2023 benefits will be implemented. There is a significant financial benefit to joining the scheme before 1st April 2024 that will not apply after that date. All staff on grade 6 and above are eligible to join USS.

You can view the recording of the meeting here.

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UCU Elections – LUCU Branch Committee Endorsement

UCU Elections – LUCU Branch Committee Endorsement

Like many UCU members, the LUCU Branch Committee has been disheartened by a number of decisions taken centrally at UCU in recent years.

Although we have had some national victories (as with USS), we believe that major decisions taken by the Higher Education Committee (HEC) – most notably around the nature, frequency, and timing of industrial action – have been harmful and out of sync with members’ wishes.

We believe that factionalism within the union is a major driver of this. Indeed, there have even been clear, public clashes between our current General Secretary, Jo Grady, and the HEC on these issues.

The upcoming UCU elections offer a turning point to shape our union. After comparing candidates’ platforms and considering their responses during our hustings, we have decided to endorse Jo Grady.

Whilst we may not agree with every decision that Jo Grady has taken as General Secretary, we believe that she has shown real leadership during a difficult period – especially from the start of the pandemic – and has demonstrated an ability to critically reflect on past decisions and learn from them.

We are also supportive of her plan to build UCU and raise the profile of our union, her efforts to co-ordinate with other trade unions to improve our leverage, and her intersectional approach to tackling discrimination.  

Our stance is that Jo Grady offers the most realistic path toward improved pay and working conditions, greater stability in our sector, and a trade union that inspires confidence in its members.

In solidarity,

The LUCU Branch Committee

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Winter Break – Branch Closure Details

Winter Break – Branch Closure Details

The LUCU branch office will be closed for the winter break from 4pm on Wednesday 20th December. We will re-open (and respond to enquiries) from 10am on Wednesday 3rd January 2024.

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/

We wish you all a well-deserved break, see you in 2024!

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November General Meeting Report

November General Meeting Report

For those who couldn’t attend the branch general meeting on 8th November we are providing this written summary of what took place. Mary Brewer, Branch Chair, opened the meeting and, after the formalities, presented slides on new LUCU activity since our June AGM as well as developments to projects that are ongoing.

Branch Wins

We have successfully negotiated that performance ratings will be removed from PDR, which was recently confirmed by the VC at the General Assembly meeting.

We also supported Unite and Unison in persuading the University to become a Living Wage Employer. We now plan to push for an increase in London Weighting in accordance with research conducted by Loughborough University academics that demonstrates the current weighting is insufficient to compensate for the real cost of living.

Regular meetings are now taking place between LUCU Reps and Deans/Directors. We will work to capitalise on the outcomes of these meetings to increase membership across campus by demonstrating how the branch positively impacts on working conditions.

We achieved agreement with management for Facilities Time that means we are able to offer more hours of workload remission to our caseworkers, and this enables the branch to support more members when they need help.

We have succeeded in establishing a constructive working relationship with Loughborough Students’ Union. In our most recent meetings with LSU officers, they reported a favourable view of our branch and its members and an understanding of our reasons for taking action among students. Going forward, we will work more closely with LSU on issues of commonality, especially EDI. The tri-partite meetings that we initiated during recent industrial action will now become standard practice at LU. We will meet with LSU and SMT once per term, and potentially more if there is a period of further industrial action.

Anti-Casualisation remains on the agenda.  A revised and improved Charter has been distributed to managers.  Our requested review of contracts across campus to check that staff are on the correct type of contract and are being paid at the correct grade level has been completed. As a result of this, more staff have been moved onto permanent contracts. Should any staff be found to be on a lower grade than should have been the case, we will be working to get them back pay.

USS Pensions Win

We can report that the Joint Negotiating Committee has asked the trustee to implement member contributions at a rate of 6.1% as of January 1, 2024. This leaves more money in members’ pockets at a time when it is really needed.

Casework

As always, casework has been a major focus of our time and efforts as a committee, led by Andrew Dix, our Casework Coordinator who we thank for his ongoing efforts in this area.  Andrew gave an overview of the casework undertaken on behalf of members, and the related individual support provided to 24 members since June.

Local Negotiations

We have firmly embedded the union’s voice across campus, and we are active contributors to numerous committees where we work to ensure that strategy and processes are working in the interests of those who will be working to implement them – you, our members.  For example, our branch has representation on The University Research, Culture and Innovation Working Group, Project Enable, Project Expectations and the EDI Operations Committee.

Increasing Branch Membership

One of our main desires currently is to increase our branch membership therefore recruitment is a key campaign for the branch. We will employ strategies from organising for power and the new UCU campaign, Me Plus 10.

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Recruitment Subcommittee

Recruitment Subcommittee

As part of the branch goal to increase our membership we have decided to re start our recruitment subcommittee. Previous industrial action meant this project didn’t get off the ground on our first attempt, but we feel now is a good time to push forward with this initiative.

This subcommittee will have ownership of setting and implementing the recruitment strategy for the branch and for monitoring and assessing its impact. We are looking for volunteers to get involved in this work. You may only be interested in parts of this work, but you would still be very welcome to join the group. Training on recruitment techniques will be provided where needed.

Please get in touch with our Branch Organiser, Callum Salfield, if you are interested in joining the recruitment subcommittee or have any questions about it.

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Reps’ Team – Another Addition to the Team

Reps’ Team – Another Addition to the Team

We are extremely pleased to welcome back our former branch Chair and Pensions Officer, Matthew Inglis, to the branch team. Matthew has taken on the role of department rep in both Mathematical Sciences Department and the Department for Mathematics Education, in the School of Science.  We know Matthew will bring a wealth of experience to the role and will do a great job in representing members in these departments.

Matthew Inglis (Mathematical Sciences & Department for Mathematics Education Departments Rep in the School of Science)

I’m a Professor of Mathematical Cognition in the Department of Mathematics Education. My research focuses on the cognitive processes involved in doing mathematics. This includes studying young children’s behaviour when they start engaging with numbers for the first time, but also the behaviour of my colleagues in the Department of Mathematics when they’re doing their research. I’ve been at Loughborough since 2008, was a longstanding member of the LUCU Committee, and served as LUCU Branch Chair for a three-year term that included the 2018 USS dispute. Currently I continue to help out with individual casework and am an elected member of the University Council (thanks to everyone who voted for me!). 

We do still have a few vacancies in our reps’ team: please see this page of our website for an up-to-date list of positions available. If you have any interest in taking on one of the vacant roles, please get in touch with our Branch Organiser, Callum Salfield, for an informal chat about what it entails and what you might bring to it.

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Reduce Your UCU Subscription Cost by Claiming Tax Relief

Reduce Your UCU Subscription Cost by Claiming Tax Relief

Following approval from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), UCU members can claim tax relief on up to 67% of their total annual subscription, at the tax rate applicable to their earnings. You can claim this tax relief online, by post or via telephone. You have up to four years to claim for each tax year. All the information you require to make a claim is available on the UCU website, here.

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Professional Services Town Hall

Professional Services Town Hall

LUCU requested more opportunities for members to hear first-hand about major strategic developments at the University and to ask questions of SMT. We welcome the introduction of Town Halls as a response to that request. Richard Taylor, Chief Operating Officer led the Professional Services Town Hall designed to enable Professional Services colleagues to learn about how the new University strategy relates to their roles, to hear about other major developments and the context in which the university is operating, and to enable feedback.

The first Professional Services Town Hall took place on 18 October, and it provided a good opportunity for colleagues to provide input into how the University might improve the experience of colleagues.  Key areas covered were:

  • The LU strategic plan.
  • An update on progress with the Enabling Programme and what it means for Professional Services staff.
  • The HE financial situation and what is planned to meet the challenge.
  • What Loughborough plans to do on Pay, Benefits, Reward and Recognition in response to the Staff Experience Survey.
  • How Professional Services are impacting success exemplified through a recent Archibus project.

The event concluded with recognition for Professional Services staff and their achievements on specific projects.  If you missed the event, we’ve included the slides and recording here:

Professional Services Townhall PPT

Professional Services Townhall recording (please note you will need to login to access the recording)

We felt the event was really well put together and really useful for staff, especially those that tend not to be as involved in the strategic-level goings-on in the University. We strongly encourage members to attend any future Town Halls to ensure that our union voice is fully considered in decisions about the University’s strategic aims.

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Are you working for ONCAMPUS Loughborough?

Are you working for ONCAMPUS Loughborough?

Following ONCAMPUS starting work for Loughborough University, we are looking to speak with any of our existing members who do some or all of their work for ONCAMPUS Loughborough.

Please get in touch with our Branch Organiser, Callum Salfield, if you can help.

Additionally, if you are aware of colleagues working for ONCAMPUS Loughborough please encourage them to get in touch, they don’t need to be UCU members.

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Having a LUCU Voice on Staff Networks & Age Appreciation Group Relaunch

Having a LUCU Voice on Staff Networks & Age Appreciation Group Relaunch

Let’s get our union’s voice heard in as many staff groups as possible! We ask members to consider joining the Age Appreciation Group which is about to be relaunched, and/or any of the existing staff networks. More information on the Age Appreciation Group is given below. You can find a list of all staff networks here with contact details for joining each network listed on their own sub-pages.

Age Appreciation Group (AAG) Relaunch

Are you a member of another staff group who is also interested in age as a protected characteristic? Would you like to be involved in shaping this relaunched staff group? Many hands make light work, and the AAG will be best led by as diverse a team as possible, in terms of age profile, protected characteristics and job roles within the organisation. If you are interested in hearing more about the group’s plans, please email Catherine Armstrong.

Mission and values

Age is often the forgotten protected characteristic. Issues and concerns around age and aging in the workplace are diverse and can be difficult to address. The Age Appreciation Group (AAG) will champion the voices of those within the organisation who experience or observe age discrimination, and will highlight the organisation’s obligations under the Equality Act 2010. Age-related discrimination, harassment and victimisation are often experienced intersectionally, and therefore meaningful collaboration between the AAG and other staff groups will be at the heart of its mission. It will also raise awareness of issues faced by staff members in various parts of the employment life cycle from early career to retirement.

Ideas for activity

  • Challenging discriminatory behaviour towards young or young-appearing staff members (being treated as ‘junior’, lacking expertise, older colleagues expecting deferential treatment).
  • Research on age and aging from a non-Western, non-Eurocentric perspective. What can we learn from, for example, indigenous cultures?
  • Reviving menopause support and awareness raising, for example the Menopause Café
  • Working with the Staff Inclusivity Group to ensure that staff experiencing age-related disability are getting the help in the workplace that they need.
  • Reviewing university provision for retiring colleagues. Are they getting support to help them make informed decisions about retirement and to make preparing for retirement as positive an experience as possible?

LUCU Committee

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