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.
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.
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.
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.