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.
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.