November News

November News

UCU Rising Update/Casework Report/Reps Recruitment Campaign

UCU Rising – Update

LUCU was represented at the Branch Delegates’ Meeting on Monday, Oct. 31st where our delegate used their vote in line with members’ views as expressed at the Oct 26th GM and via the survey.

The GM vote combined with the survey feedback showed a clear majority among LUCU members for: 1) giving the employer a time limited period of negotiation to reach a settlement prior to calling strike action; 2) no action in November; 3) if action were to be called in November, it should be limited; 4) initiating a programme of phases of escalating action to cover the six-month lifetime of the ballot mandate; 5) an assessment and marking boycott beginning in Spring 2022; 6) prioritising action that members feel able to support and that will promote unity.

The BDM voted 72% in favour of offering the employers time to negotiate; 80% in favour of action in November, but with 70% voting for action in November to be limited; 87% in favour of escalating phases of action throughout the ballot period; 54% in favour of a December assessment and marking boycott, and in favour of prioritising action that members feel able to support and that will promote unity.

The HEC met on Thursday, Nov. 3rd and voted in line with the views expressed by the majority of branch delegates. The employers will be served notice for three days of strike action at the end of November, a marking and assessment boycott to begin in December, and to escalate action from February unless the employers enter into good faith negotiations.  We expect further details and strike dates to be announced the week of Nov. 7th. Once we know the details, we will invite members to a GM for a discussion about local strategy.

Personal casework

Compared with other of LUCU’s activities – negotiating local conditions with senior management, say, or planning for industrial action – the personal casework that we do is inconspicuous, even hidden. By its very nature, it takes place behind the scenes. However, it is one of the most vital things we do.

Since the beginning of the last academic year, our personal caseworkers have supported over thirty members. Some of this has been low-key and time-limited – offering advice by email, for instance, or via a brief meeting. The majority of the cases we take on, however, are more complex and demanding; they range from supporting members in preparing grievances through advising them when they are at risk of redundancy to representing them at disciplinary hearings and appeals.

Challenging as it is, however, this personal casework is highly rewarding, as we can make a difference to members in very difficult and stressful circumstances. It also gives caseworkers an opportunity to become familiar with other parts of the University – we don’t take on cases in our own School or section – and to identify issues that may have broader significance and connect to our campaigning and negotiating activities.

Our team of caseworkers is small – we need more. We would ask anyone interested in joining us to contact our Personal Casework Coordinator Andrew Dix (A.Dix@lboro.ac.uk) for an informal conversation about what the role entails. Training will be given, with the next course – delivered by the Union’s Regional Office and lasting only a few hours – to be delivered sometime in January. Do look out, in due course, for the exact date. As you begin your casework, you will also be supported by an experienced colleague. We hope to hear from interested members. 

Building LUCU: Your branch needs you to become a rep

There’s never been a greater need for members to step up to becoming a branch rep. The current committee is committed to facilitating a thriving branch reps’ network, empowering you to take an active role in guiding the branch in its negotiations with LU’s senior managers. Reps are our eyes and ears on the ground, the first port of call for members in need of assistance, and crucial to helping us recruit more members across campus.

The role will be what you make of it, though we are positive in encouraging you to help make Loughborough the best place to work that it can be. Though Reps are not eligible for facilities time, in keeping with the positive working relationship we have developed with management, most reps have been granted some remission in their workload by their managers who recognise the value of working with LUCU on matters of common concern (c. 10-15 hours). We can help facilitate a discussion with your manager about this should you wish to serve as a Rep.

Come and join the life of the branch and make a difference! Contact our Membership Secretary, Marc Gibson, for more information: M.A.Gibson1@lboro.ac.uk or via Teams.

LUCU Committee

Share this...

LUCU News: October 2022

LUCU News: October 2022

In this newsletter, we report on local negotiations, UCU Rising, and upcoming training/conference opportunities. 

Local Negotiations

Cost of Living Support

We are continuing discussions with management, including our Vice Chancellor, regarding support for staff during the cost-of-living crisis. We are pleased to report that senior leaders recognise the need to act on this important matter. We are discussing a range of measures to support members in this difficult financial climate – e.g. one-off payments, supermarket discount cards, discounted gym memberships.  Further information on this is expected shortly.   

Project Expectation

This project is related to the new University strategy and aims to ensure the accountability of managers at all levels.  LUCU has long argued that there are areas in the University where management practice could be better. Branch officers will be participating in the development and furtherance of this project: our aim is to improve members’ conditions through working with management to devise leadership development processes and best management practice recommendations.   

Living Wage

We have been working closely with the local Unison and Unite committees on a living wage campaign, and we can report that management has reiterated its commitment to paying staff the living wage and to becoming an accredited living wage employer. The Vice-Chancellor indicated his support for this in our October quarterly meeting with him, and so we expect further information on this in the coming months.  

UCU Rising

Just in case you haven’t voted yet, we again encourage you to return your ballots asap.  Also, a reminder that we have another GM on Wednesday, October 12 at 12 noon (you should have received a Teams invite). This meeting will offer another opportunity to discuss the issues on the ballot: USS, pay, workload, casualisation. 

Conferences/Training Opportunities

Annual Equality Groups Conference, 8-10 December 2022

This year the equality groups conference will be focused on building a shared intersectional equality agenda that pushes back against far-right narratives looking to divide workers, with the aim of building solidarity among members. There will be the five separate conferences for black, disabled, LGBT+, migrant and women members to discuss issues relevant to their group, move motions and elect members to the national standing committees. It will take place at Conference Centre Hotel, Aston Street, Aston University Campus, Birmingham, B4 7ET.  

Participants to the Black, Disabled, LGBT+, Migrant and Women’s conferences are self-nominating and delegates must self-identify with the relevant equality group. All members of UCU who self-identify with a relevant equality group(s) are invited to attend.   

Registration deadline is Tuesday 8 November. This is set so UCU can accommodate all accommodation requests. For more information about this conference and for registration details please click here:  

 Climate and Ecological Emergency Annual Meeting, Thursday 10 November 2022

The UCU Annual Meeting for Climate and Ecological Emergency will be held on Thursday 10 November 2022 online via Zoom from 11.00 am to 4.00pm. The annual meeting will advise and make recommendations to the climate and ecological emergency committee and National Executive Committee on matters relating to climate and ecological emergency and environmental sustainability.  The meeting will hear reports on the work of UCU in relation to the climate and ecological emergency, discuss motions submitted by branches and local associations. There will also be plenty of opportunity to network with colleagues.   

Members with an interest in furthering the union’s work on climate and ecological emergency may register to attend the meeting. Registration deadline is Friday 4 November, 12 noon.  For more information about this conference and for registration details please click here.  

LUCU Committee

Share this...

Drop in Meeting for Staff on Casual Contracts

Drop in Meeting for Staff on Casual Contracts

We inviting all Loughborough University staff on Fixed Term, Zero Hours, Hourly Paid or Variable Hours contracts to attend our first drop-in meeting for members of staff who are on casualised contracts.

We are keen to offer you a safe space to discuss any concerns or issues you are having in the workplace and an opportunity to build links between workers with similar employment terms. During the meeting there will be options for discussion as a group or one to one.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 31st of August at 1-2pm please join at any time during the hour if you can’t make it from the start of the meeting.

Email the branch to get a login for the meeting: ucu@lboro.ac.uk

We plan to hold these meetings regularly going forward and will try to hold them at different times on different days to allow all members of staff to attend. These meetings are open to both UCU members and other members of staff at Loughborough University, so if you have any colleagues who also fit into the above-mentioned categories please invite them to come along.

We hope to see you at the meeting.

LUCU Committee

Share this...

LUCU News: August 2022

LUCU News: August 2022

Featuring news of the USS Governance Review, Covid-19, current campaigns and negotiations

USS Governance Review 

We are pleased to report that LUCU has been consulted by the University on the UUK-initiated review of USS governance. LUCU argued for early clarification of the review’s purpose; evaluation of the governing board’s composition and member competencies; formulation of clearer processes for recruiting and removing board members; assessment of the role of the ‘independent’ chair; channels for feedback from the scheme’s members, as well as employers, on reforms; better and more timely communication with members; and – crucially – the devising of a valuation process that is fit for purpose. We are pleased to report that these suggestions form part of the University’s response to the consultation.  

Further, management confirms that they stand by the terms of our joint statement on USS, specifically regarding benefit restoration as preferential to lower contributions. Sadly, this remains a minority position among SMTs across the sector, but Lboro SMT continues to lobby behind the scenes to increase support, and a member of SMT will be standing for a position on the USS Employer Liaison Group, which will offer a wider platform for influence. The possibility of another joint LUCU-SMT statement remains an option as the review and the pensions campaign progress.   

Covid-19 

Covid precautions 

Throughout Covid, LUCU has been campaigning for every protection possible for members, other staff, and students. Unfortunately, as precautions in wider society have been relaxed, we have found it harder to keep protections in place on campus. The University’s view is that if the precaution has been removed in the country at large (e.g. face coverings), then it cannot be imposed on campus. LUCU disagrees: we believe that we can continue to ask staff, students and visitors to take additional measures in the interests of public health.  

Teaching spaces 

All lecture spaces should have presenter positions that provide a natural separation from the other room occupants (usually 2 metres or more; where it is less than 2 metres, additional protections such as Perspex screens are available). This, coupled with the improved ventilation and CO2 monitors, means that teaching spaces should have a high level of protection from the risks of Covid. All teaching spaces should also have printed details at the presenter location of the room’s ventilation arrangements. If you find yourself in any locations where the information given is clearly incorrect (e.g. stating that windows should be opened where this is not possible), please get in touch with either the University’s Health and Safety department or with LUCU. 

FFP2 masks 

Where staff are concerned about additional risks (e.g. close working with students, visitors or other colleagues), then the University can provide FFP2 masks. These protect both the wearer and those around them. If you are interested in obtaining an FFP2 mask, please speak to your line manager in the first instance. LUCU recommends that FFP2 mask wearers undergo a Face Fit Test to ensure the mask is providing a high level of protection. 

Lateral flow tests 

The University has supplies of lateral flow tests and will continue to make these available to staff and students while stocks last. You may request LFTs here: You will be sent a QR code, and the tests can be collected from the Wavy Top building (at the rear near the steps leading to EHB) on presentation of your QR code or staff ID on Monday, Wednesday or Friday at either 11am or 2pm. This arrangement will be reviewed at the end of October.  Please continue to inform the University about a positive result, through the Connect and Protect service here.  

At the start of term, students will be encouraged to test but will not be required to show proof of a negative result before coming on to campus. LFTs will be made available to all students on arrival, and through the scheme above for students who wish to test. LUCU believes that the University should test students on arrival, but management will not agree.  

Contingency planning 

Should the rate and severity of Covid infections increase to the point of posing a significant threat to staff, students and visitors, management has plans to reapply proportionately the precautions developed over the last few years. The University will also be purchasing a limited supply of flu vaccinations, to be made available to staff later in the year; please look out for details on the University’s news channels.  

If anyone has specific concerns about Covid, Neil Budworth (Director of Health, Safety and Wellbeing) has offered to discuss these directly with staff: N.Budworth@lboro.ac.uk. LUCU is also happy to raise your concerns: please contact Alec Edworthy, our Health and Safety Officer, at A.Edworthy@lboro.ac.uk

Campaigns

UCU Rising 

On 10 August, UCU launched UCU Rising, which follows on from the USS and Four Fights campaigns. This initiative focuses on the connection between pay, casualisation, workload, and USS pension cuts. Further details may be found here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs

All universities are to be balloted from the end of August on ASOS and strike action, and the results will be aggregated: therefore, any university where more than 50% of UCU members participate in the ballot and deliver a yes vote will be able to join the action.  

The decision to ballot at this time was made by HEC in June, following a branch delegates’ meeting, at which LUCU was represented. However, the timing is not in line with the voting preferences expressed by delegates: a minority wanted an immediate summer ballot, but a majority favoured a later ballot to allow for recovery from previous actions and to enable branches to build support for further campaigning.  

Branch officers will be attending a meeting chaired by Jon Hegerty, UCU Head of Bargaining, Organising, Campaigns and Education, on 17 August. This will offer an opportunity to ask questions about the rationale for an August ballot and other issues raised at the branch delegates’ meeting in June. We will organise an EGM once we know when the ballot will open.  

Help up grow the branch!  

We would appreciate members sharing the following social media recruitment posts via Facebook and Twitter. Due to the nature of social network algorithms, and with many of you being connected to other colleagues via these platforms, if members share these posts, they are more likely to be seen by colleagues who are not yet UCU members.  The bigger our branch the stronger our position to negotiate better terms and conditions for all staff!   

Facebook post – please share  

Twitter post – please retweet 

Negotiations 

Parking 

Negotiations with management on parking charges has resulted in a fairer system, especially for those on lower pay. One sticking point remains, however: whether visitors will be charged. LUCU supports visitor charges as a way of raising income to subsidise further reductions in parking charges for the lowest paid and to encourage more environmentally friendly ways of travelling to campus. We can report that any new software system introduced will provide the University with the ability to charge visitors. While there is a general view that visitors should pay to park, this has not yet been translated into policy; therefore, we will raise the matter again at the September meeting of JNCC.  

Fair pay 

The branch is currently negotiating on behalf of members in SDCA to ensure that staff receive the appropriate pay for work being done as University Teachers, in line with the University’s own policy (see here). We have received broad agreement and co-operation from senior managers and are working to resolve the issues to the satisfaction of the members concerned. 

LUCU Committee

Share this...

Higher education disputes: updating contact details on MyUCU

Higher education disputes: updating contact details on MyUCU

Plans are underway to hold the biggest ever aggregated ballots of the entire higher education sector regarding the pay and working conditions dispute (Four Fights) and USS pensions. The industrial action ballot will run during the autumn and UCU will be communicating with HE branches and members regularly over the next weeks. UCU will be in a position to share campaign details and timelines in the very near future.

Keeping clean data is vital to our success. Therefore, we are asking all our members to please check your details by logging onto MyUCU. Please make sure that the following details are correct/up to date:

  • Preferred postal address (where you will receive the industrial action ballot)
  • Preferred email address (where you will receive UCU’s emails including local branch emails and the Friday Email)
  • Mobile phone number (where we have current mobile phone numbers for members, this will greatly assist in ‘get the vote out’ (GTVO) efforts involving ThruText, the peer-to-peer SMS texting platform.)
  • Employer and workplace
  • Membership category (N.B. certain membership types such as retired members and student members are not included in industrial action ballots; members can also upgrade their membership on MyUCU if necessary)
  • Employment income band

Are you retiring this summer, leaving LU or taking parental leave?

If you will be retiring over the summer, these are the options with regard to your UCU membership.

If you are leaving LU and will be unemployed for any time, see here for more details on the ‘attached unemployed’ membership.

Members who are currently on parental leave can use MyUCU to inform the union. Members who are on parental leave/extended absence will be excluded from industrial action ballots for the duration of the leave. For more details please see here.

Issues logging on to MyUCU

If you encounter difficulties logging into MyUCU, this is very often because you have not registered to use MyUCU yet. You can register for MyUCU here. If you have already registered and still can’t log in please get in touch with the branch and we will assist you in resolving the issue.

Tax Relief on UCU Membership Subscriptions

We also want to take this opportunity to remind you that you can claim income tax relief on your UCU subscription. For more information on claiming tax relief please see here.

LUCU Committee

Share this...

LUCU News – July 2022

LUCU News – July 2022

This newsletter reports on the AGM, USS & 4 Fights and Management Negotiations.

AGM Report

In brief, the AGM addressed the activities of the branch committee over the last year including – e.g. – the removal of ratings and the decoupling of rewards from PDR, our monitoring of Covid safety measures, GTVO campaigns for USS and 4 Fights, organising strike actions, the joint statement with Loughborough management on USS, and our input to Project Enable and the review of promotions criteria.  Looking ahead, we discussed a major recruitment campaign for next year, which will include opportunities for members to receive training and support their Reps in this vital activity. 

Officers for the 2022-23 committee were also confirmed:

  • Mary Brewer: Chair
  • Marc Gibson: Secretary
  • Marie Hanlon: Membership Secretary
  • Alec Edworthy: Health, Safety and Environment Officer
  • Andrew Dix: Casework Coordinator
  • David Wilson: Treasurer
  • Sue Hignett: Equalities Officer
  • Joanna Boehnert: Ordinary member

Minutes of the AGM have been emailed to all members.

USS & 4 Fights

A branch delegates’ meeting was held on 27 June.  Delegates were asked to vote on the timing of an aggregated ballot for industrial action on USS & 4 Fights. 79% of delegates voted to ballot in October, with action to take place in Spring/Summer 2023; 51% of delegates voted against a summer ballot.  Full details of questions and ballot results have been emailed to members.

HEC met on 1 July and agreed the following demands for 2022/23:

  • To call on UUK to withdraw their imposed benefit cuts to USS
  • To call on USS to carry out a new evidence-based valuation
  • To reject the pay offer from the employers
  • To seek a substantial (at least £2,500) pay increase
  • To seek meaningful agreements on workload, casualisation, and equality pay gaps

However, regard timing, HEC decided to open the ballot in August to run until October, with industrial action to begin in November, should the employers not agree to the above demands. This appears out of line with the expressed view of a large majority of branches, whose delegates proffered a variety of reasons why they did not support this strategy and/or feel able to deliver a positive ballot result within this time frame. Consequently, branch officers have requested a meeting with Justine Mercer, HEC Chair, to discuss further the rationale for November strike action.

Management Negotiations: PDR and Covid 19

JNCC, in which the 3 campus unions negotiate with management, met on 6 July.

PDR:

Management confirmed that the 2023 round of PDR will follow the same process as this year, that is, there will be no ratings or reward tied to PDR.  However, in 2024, management is considering returning to ratings and re-linking PDR to rewards.  The three campus unions made clear our strong opposition to the reintroduction of a judgemental rather than developmental review of staff performance.

C-19:

The unions requested that senior management

  1. reiterate to all line managers that staff are not expected to work when ill, whether from Covid or another illness,
  2. recirculate the policy that asks staff who have Covid or any other communicable disease to stay at home to protect others, and
  3. continue providing cleaning materials for commonly used equipment, whether desks, copiers, vans, etc. We are pleased to report that management agreed to these requests.

The unions also asked that clean air is ensured, free from airborne spread diseases. This could be provided by adequately filtered air handlers, where fitted, and HEPA air purifiers where there is no mechanical ventilation.  We are disappointed that management would not agree to the installation of air purifiers, because, they argued, there is insufficient evidence to support their effectiveness. LUCU disagrees with this analysis, and our Health and Safety officers will discuss the question of evidence further with Neil Budworth, the Director of Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

Addendum

We have received a response to our newsletter, above, from Anne Lamb, Director of Human Resources, regarding the item on PDR.

It remains the case that there is not likely to be any significant change on ratings or rewards for PDR 2023; however, we have been asked to circulate further details about the timing and decision-making process regarding PDR.

  • Following a meeting of the Academic Leadership team and consultation with Deans, final details about PDR 2023 will be shared with staff in the autumn.
  • Looking ahead to 2024: PDR and reward are to be included in one of the University’s enabling projects, Project Expectation, which will explore the longer-term arrangements.

LUCU Committee

Share this...

LUCU June News: Workload / USS & 4 Fights / LSU

LUCU June News: Workload / USS & 4 Fights / LSU

Workload: Project Enable

Colleagues involved in Phase 1 of Project Enable, the University’s review of workload, have thus far identified 77 areas where work could either be removed from the system or processes could be revised to create more headroom in staff workloads.  For example, a new triage system has been set up in the Research Office so faster decisions can be made on contract approvals, and bureaucracy is being reduced in the staffing approval process.

Changes are being made to the Ethics Approval process for both staff and student projects, which will reduce the amount of checking and save time for both PS and RTE colleagues, particularly in SSEHS and SDCA where staff have highlighted this as a workload stressor. Also, changes to a range of practices around learning and teaching, such as module and programme approval processes, are either underway or are being planned. LUCU welcomes these initiatives as they afford potential to free up time for professional services & RTE colleagues. 

The work carried out by the branch committee on the Task and Finish workload groups for RTE and Professional Services staff informed Phase 1 of Project Enable. In June, the Programme Board, chaired by Richard Taylor, will meet to carry out a prioritisation exercise to determine the workstreams for Phase 2 of Project Enable.  This exercise will consider the impact, effort required, beneficiaries and appetite for change in each of the items identified in Phase 1.

LUCU will be represented by Mary Brewer in Phase 2, who will join the Project Group. She will work closely with Sue Hignett as Equalities Officer to assess the EDI implications of proposed changes. Management recognizes that Phase 1 is unlikely to have captured all the activities where we might change working practices; therefore, members are encouraged to pass on ideas/suggestions for smarter working in their areas by speaking to their Department Rep or emailing UCU@lboro.ac.uk.

USS and 4 Fights: LUCU solidarity with assessment boycott at University of the Arts, London

UCU members in a relatively small number of branches began a marking boycott on the 23rd of May, in support of the USS and Four Fights campaigns.  As we are not taking part, our branch has “twinned” with the University of the Arts, London, who are undertaking this action despite threats of 100% pay deductions for partial performance.  The branch committee will offer practical campaign assistance where possible, and to further support our colleagues at UoA, £500 has been donated from our hardship fund to theirs.

We also urge you to consider donating to their Just Giving page if you can afford it.  This small number of colleagues are taking on a huge burden on behalf of us all, and any financial solidarity we can offer them will make a real difference to those who face having their pay withheld.

LUCU and LSU

At recent EGMs, members have asked us to prioritise establishing supportive exchanges with Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU), and we can report good progress on this front. Though mindful of the need to reflect a range of student opinion on campus, LSU has been helpful in soliciting material from us about our reasons for taking industrial action and in posting this on their social media platforms.

With a possible marking boycott in the air, Freya Mason, the LSU President, recently contacted us again. Mary Brewer and Andrew Dix then met with Freya and four of her team. We’re glad to inform members that this was a warm and productive conversation. While it would be unreasonable to expect LSU to be on the barricades with us, they are keen to play whatever role they can in finding solutions to current disputes (most pressingly, the pensions issue). With this in mind, we will be exploring the possibility of tripartite meetings, involving management, LSU and ourselves. At present, exchanges are only bilateral – and we would welcome the chance to make our case with student leaders, as well as managers, in the room.

We will say more in future newsletters as these initiatives develop (there will be opportunities for collaboration with LSU on other fronts as well, including mental health and equity and inclusion). For the moment, we’d just like to thank Freya and her colleagues for their support this year and to say that we look forward to working equally productively with the incoming LSU team. 

We hope you have a good break over the extended bank holiday!

LUCU Committee

Share this...

Joint Statement from Loughborough UCU & Loughborough University – 9 May 2022

Joint Statement from Loughborough UCU & Loughborough University – 9 May 2022

Loughborough UCU and Loughborough University have continued to work together during the industrial action, to make positive progress on issues locally wherever possible. Today we have agreed the following statement on USS Pensions:

There should be an evidence-based, moderately prudent valuation as soon as possible. Any positive changes resulting from the next valuation of the scheme’s assets and liabilities should be used to improve member benefits and not to reduce employer or employee contribution rates from current levels.

Employers should continue to provide enhanced covenant support through the future valuation process and recognise that this should apply to any benefit proposals agreed through the JNC by either UUK or UCU.

The retention of a defined benefit element of the pension scheme that is affordable for employers and members, sustainable and at a contribution rate that will not discourage employees from participating in the USS pension scheme, is a necessary requirement to settle this series of disputes.

There is an urgent need for the national parties involved in the USS pension negotiations to work toward building and restoring trust. This should be a significant priority.

LUCU Committee

Share this...

LUCU News – May 2022

LUCU News – May 2022

EGM Report

Members’ views were canvassed regarding a further 10 days of strike action and a marking boycott as voted for at the recent HE sector conferences on USS & 4 Fights. An emergency motion was tabled that instructs branch officers to communicate to UCU HEC the following:

  • LUCU does not agree with the timing of a marking boycott in May/June;  
  • LUCU will hold our strike days in reserve at this time;
  • LUCU believes that national actions require a majority to be participating, and we are in favour of aggregated ballots.

The motion was passed with a majority of 84%. We have shared the motion with Paul Bridge, Head of UCU HE. The EGM revealed strong support for the strategy proposed by Jo Grady to delay action in order to build broader support throughout the sector (you can find her position paper here), but which was not supported at the sector conferences. At the meeting on May 10th for branches that have a mandate for action, our delegates will report members’ views as expressed in the motion and recommend that HEC give further consideration to Grady’s recommendations.

Throughout the dispute, the LUCU committee has kept the channels of communication open with management.  We reported to members on a joint LUCU-Lboro statement that syncs with the recent statement between Glasgow UCU & management (click here for the Lboro  statement). It is hoped that the statement will encourage other institutions to come forward and publicly support a fair resolution to the USS dispute. LUCU will now work to secure a joint statement on 4 Fights. 

General Assembly

The Chief Operating Officer, Richard Taylor, has responded to the 2 motions that were tabled for the General Assembly meeting that was postponed.

  1. Concerning the request that GA does not take place during strike action: the date of GA was fixed before Lboro UCU fixed their strike dates. We do not routinely re-organise University events affected by strike dates.
  2. On the second motion (the deficit), it is not clear if this is a motion to ask Council not to pay the deficit reduction now; if this is the case, we believe it would be beyond Council’s legal power to act in this way. If the intent is to push for a dispensing of the need for the deficit reduction payments in the future, this would be within Council’s powers, and therefore it could consider this. I believe it would be best to raise this following the next valuation.

I would like to note this point of governance: Council cannot be compelled to act by GA. The GA called and postponed, can still be reinstated at UCU’s request, but I would hope we could determine a better route. Management has no objection to the view of Loughborough UCU being shared with Council. If there are views/statements that Loughborough UCU wish us to bring to the attention of Council (which it could then choose or not choose to consider), we would be happy to do this. 

Given this statement, should another GA be called on a strike day, LUCU will act to gather the 25 signatures needed to call another meeting, and the branch committee welcomes the opportunity to present members’ views to Council.

Pay Gaps

The Government Pay Gap Review 2017-2022 reveals little progress over the last 5 years on gender; for example, Lboro is in the worst position for 3 metrics compared to other East Midlands universities. Click here for Lboro data on gender pay gaps; click here for government data.

We will be raising the issue of pay gaps for all staff with protected characteristics at the JNCC on September 14th. Management agrees that more progress is needed, and they have agreed to invite Charlotte Croffie (PVC for EDI) to present her initial thoughts on closing pay gaps.  LUCU will work to ensure that solving the pay gap problem at Lboro is high on her agenda.

Lboro University Council Elections

LUCU endorses the candidacy of Priti Meredith, who is standing for the role of non-academic member of University Council.

I have worked for five different Universities in the Midlands and in London since 2005. I joined the University in 2015 and currently work for the School of Science as a Development Manager in the Centre for Mathematical Cognition. I will take on a role in operations management this summer for a new, large-scale research centre in early mathematics learning.

Having worked for different Universities has enabled me to experience a range of organisational strategies, policies, and procedures. In addition, I am female and of Asian British Indian origin and a working mother. As a result, I feel that I would be able to make a unique and pragmatic contribution to Council. Furthermore, I am presently on maternity leave following the birth of my second daughter and becoming a member of Council would further contribute to my career development.

My experience overlaps with the remit of Council including advising in the development of strategy and vision and contributing to decision-making. In addition, I have worked collaboratively with colleagues to create risk strategies and helped identify and monitor Key Performance Indicators.

I have strong communication and presentation skills and regularly present to audiences, shaping my delivery to suit. Much of my career has involved encouraging academic colleagues to apply for external funding and I have a track record of achieving this successfully through my experience and ability to be honest and empathetic, which I feel are also important attributes for Council. I understand that good governance is critical to ensuring the organisation’s success and endeavours to make the most of available opportunities to move the organisation forward. I feel greatly enthused at the prospect of playing an active role in contributing to Council’s work and adding representation in terms of a professional staff member and one who is able to represent academic colleague’s views and experiences, thus bringing an exclusive and valuable insight –Priti Meredith

LUCU Committee

Share this...

Extraordinary General Meeting – USS/FourFights

Extraordinary General Meeting – USS/FourFights

LUCU members are invited to attend an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss the USS & Four Fights disputes on Friday 6th May at 1pm. The meeting will be held on Microsoft Teams. 

The Four Fights sector conference has voted to: 

•            call a marking and assessment boycott 

•            call 10 days of strike action 

•            keep the Four Fights and USS disputes, and action called in them, coupled

We have been asked by the UCU Higher Education committee to consult our members ahead of a branch delegates meeting on the 10th May and the HEC meeting later that week. A key question for consideration is:  

When does your branch believe would be the most effective start date for 10 days of strike action in your institution? 

A. Monday 6 June (this is the earliest possible date) 

B. Monday 13 June  

C. Other (please give more information – operational issues may make it impossible to accede to specific requests)  

The EGM offers members the opportunity to discuss how our branch can best manage the results of the HEC decisions and best manage the dispute at a local level.

The results of the Four Fights sector conference are available, and we should receive the results of the USS sector conference before our EGM so both can be discussed at the meeting. 

An agenda and minutes of our previous GM, a calendar invite and link to join have been emailed to all members.

LUCU Committee

Share this...