LUCU Committee Meeting

Branch committee meeting, committee members and departmental reps can attend. Currently held online.

April News

April News

We hope that you’re reading this having returned from an enjoyable Easter break.

IMPORTANT: remember to vote in the formal consultation on the dispute proposals.

We appreciate that if you’re returning from time away from work over Easter, you’re likely to be wading through a big backlog of emails.  However, please make it a priority to act on the email which you should have received late on Tuesday 4 April from Jo Grady. Your vote must be cast by 10 am on 17 April.  Allow yourself enough time for this task as UCU has supplied a considerable amount of material to enable you to make an informed decision.

Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB)

Should the consultation results take us into a MAB, a branch General Meeting will be called to discuss our approach and to answer members’ questions. You can read UCU’s MAB FAQs here and specific advice for academic-related and professional services staff here.

In the meantime, we urge you to register for UCU MAB training on 17 April, beginning at 5pm. For more information and details of how to register, please click here.

Joint statement with management and LSU

Building a strong relationship with Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) has been high on our agenda for some time, and we are delighted that a recent innovation has been the scheduling of tripartite meetings between ourselves, student leaders and members of the University’s senior management. Though our perspectives on the disputes sometimes differ, the meetings have been highly constructive and have allowed us to stake out some common ground. Please see here for our first joint statement. We will continue to meet while the industrial action lasts – though our aim is for this positive collaboration to extend beyond the current moment and engage other of our priorities as a branch.

Hardship fund donation by Leicester Workers Support Group

The branch is very grateful to Leicester Workers Support Group for its generous donation of £100 to our hardship fund.

WhatsApp groups

We would like to remind members that we have two WhatsApp groups available for your use. The first group is for all members, regardless of which campus you work on. The second group is specifically for London campus members. These groups were set up to allow members to communicate during strike action when the use of work email is discouraged. The WhatsApp groups have developed into a fantastic branch building forum, enabling members to stay informed and up to date on the latest dispute news and – more broadly – to connect with each other and engage in discussions on union issues.

Our branch is committed to extending engagement with our membership, so that we can more effectively represent your interests. We encourage all members (both those in Loughborough and in London) to join and participate in our main WhatsApp group. We believe that, together, we can create positive change and better working conditions for all.

We should emphasise that, while we welcome questions and feedback via WhatsApp, it is essential to email the branch directly if you have a message for the committee. This ensures that nothing is missed and we can address any concerns as quickly and effectively as possible.

In summary: stay connected, stay informed and let your voice be heard. Join the Lboro UCU WhatsApp and, if a London member, the LUCU London WhatsApp using the links in the email of this newsletter that has been sent to members, or email the branch for the link to join.

Branch Equality roles

During our recent general meeting, a motion was presented to create new Equality Officer roles for various areas of equality work, including BAME, LGBTQ+, Women, and Disability. After considering the feedback received, the committee has decided it is currently most practical to maintain the arrangement of one branch Equality Officer. However, with an important modification: we hope that the Equality Officer will be supported by several Equality Reps who will work on their chosen area(s) of equality interest. The Equality Rep roles will be created as volunteers come forward. 

Equality Reps will be encouraged to join the committee in non-officer positions and will be welcome to attend all committee meetings.

If you are interested in becoming an Equality Rep for the branch, we encourage you to get in touch with us. Your involvement will help us to better address the needs of our members and ensure that we are effectively promoting equality in all areas.

Advance notice of AGM and branch elections

We are pleased to announce that this year’s LUCU AGM is scheduled for 28 June. Official notice of this meeting will be sent out in May, and, with it, a call for nominations for branch officers and committee members. We encourage all members who are interested in joining the committee to put your names forward.

It is important that we increase our numbers on the committee, in order both to better represent our membership and to share the load of union work. All committee members have time assigned to them in their workload allocation so that they can undertake this role during normal working hours. By joining the committee, you will play a vital role in shaping the union and supporting our members.

If you are interested in joining the committee and would like to find out more about our work before the nominations open in May, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We would love to see some new faces on the committee for the upcoming year, and we hope that you will consider taking an active role in our union. Let us work together to strengthen our collective voice and achieve positive change for our members.

Motions sent to Congress and SHESC

The branch has recently approved two motions to be forwarded to national bodies. The first of these, regarding student engagement in our campaigning and disputes, has been sent to the Special Higher Education Sector Conference scheduled for later in April. This motion urges national UCU to form a working group to extend student engagement during industrial disputes, so as to increase pressure on university managements.

In addition, the branch has passed a motion for UCU Congress in May. This calls on UCU to move away from using the term and principles of Equality, and instead adopt the concept of Equity. The reason for this change is that Equity, as a concept, recognises that not all individuals start from the same place, and some may require greater support to reach fair outcomes. We believe that adopting the term Equity will both serve our members better and contribute to a more just society.

Both motions are available to read here.

University of Leeds petition

We express our condemnation of the recent decision by management at the University of Leeds to implement 100% pay deductions for staff who did not deliver teaching missed on strike days. This approach goes beyond the usual deductions applied across the sector for strike action and is punitive and provocative.

We urge our members to join us in signing the petition to revoke the 100% pay deduction threat for action short of a strike (ASOS) at Leeds. It is crucial that we stand together in solidarity with other branches and push back against this unjust treatment of our colleagues. Let us send a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated and that we demand fair and respectful treatment of all staff.

LUCU Committee

LUCU Committee Meeting

Branch committee meeting, committee members and departmental reps can attend. Currently held online.

LUCU Committee Meeting

Branch committee meeting, committee members and departmental reps can attend. Currently held online.

LUCU News: June 2021

LUCU News: June 2021

AGM Report

Matters of interest going forward that were reported on/discussed are as follows: ongoing negotiations with management have resulted in a formal review of the PDR process, promotions process, and Grievance process being initiated this year – these reviews will conclude at different points through 2021-22. A Charter to improve and protect the working terms and conditions of Casual Staff is in the final stages of negotiation following the work of the Anti-Casualisation Task and Finish Group, and we will report back when this has been adopted. 

Three motions were debated: 1) Rule Change Motion (Annual General Meeting) – passed; 2) Rule Change Motion (Rules for Local Motions) – withdrawn; 3) Local Subs Motion 2021 – passed. 

Local Subs Motion 2021

The majority of our local branch income pays for our excellent administrative support, without which the branch would not be able to achieve all it does.  Branch officers would spend much more time doing administrative tasks and would have far less time to spend negotiating with the University and supporting members through casework.  UCU staff are members of the USS pension scheme alongside us.

This motion had two aims:

  1. We needed to stem a current deficit in the branch finances and allow for expected staffing cost increases, especially due to USS;
  2. We hoped to move from a regressive flat-fee structure to a progressive tiered structure.

As a result of this motion passing, local subscription rates will move from a flat fee paid by all members (whose earnings vary enormously) to a tiered structure based on the pay bands used for your national UCU subscriptions.  This does mean a small increase for our highest earners but allows for a decrease for those earning less.  Our very lowest earners (under £5,000 per year), typically employed part time and often on precarious contracts, will no longer pay local subscriptions.  Previously they paid over three times more for their local subscription than their national subscription.

The changes are as follows:

TierNationalNew LocalCurrent totalNew totalChange
£60,000 & above (F0)£27.11£6.87£30.61£33.98+£3.37
£40,000 – £59,999 (F1)£23.94£4.58£27.44£28.52+£1.08
£30,000 – £39,999 (F2)£21.06£3.44£24.56£24.50-£0.06
£22,000 – £29,999 (F3)£17.96£2.52£21.46£20.48-£0.98
£15,000 – £21,999 (F4)£10.71£1.72£14.21£12.43-£1.78
£5,000 – £14,999 (F5)£4.67£0.57£8.17£5.24-£2.93
Below £5,000 (F6)£0.99£0.00£4.49£0.99-£3.50
Changes to contributions rates

77 of our lowest paid, often most precariously employed, members have their subscriptions reduced
84 pay roughly the same
319 pay just over £1 more
66 highest paid members pay £3.37 more – to use a now somewhat hackneyed phrase, “the price of a coffee”.

I’m grateful to all of the members who voted in favour of the progressive option which makes our subscription model much fairer.

David Wilson, Branch Treasurer

The composition of the LUCU Committee for 2021-22 was announced:

Chair – Mary Brewer

Negotiating Secretary – Marc Gibson

Casework Coordinator – Andrew Dix

Health and Safety Officer – Alec Edworthy

Equalities Officer – Sue Hignett

Pensions Rep – Matthew Inglis

Treasurer – David Wilson

Membership Secretary – Marie Hanlon

Ordinary member – Joanna Boehnert

EGM on Workload – Report

Our most recent EGM addressed how workload for next year is being managed across departments/schools.

There was some good news from members in SDCA, where SMT is taking a more progressive approach to workload, which involves open discussions at school meetings where staff (and our LUCU Reps) can raise the question of tariffs, un-costed work, EDI, and other issues of concern.  This effort at genuine consultation, transparency, and inclusion is welcome!  We are also pleased to report that the Dean of Loughborough London responded immediately and positively to working with us on workload and EDI related issues as part of the planning for next year’s workload. 

While these are hopeful developments, members in other schools reported limited or no consultation on workload, tariff reductions to make staff appear to be working within the 1598 agreed workload, tariffs that bear scant relation to the time needed for tasks, stress from overwork, a lack of transparency/fairness relevant to workload, and uncertainty regarding the appropriate consideration of EDI and workload. LUCU will be running a workload campaign in 2021-22, with the aim addressing the problems with workload that have been highlighted by members.

In response to issues raised by the Workload Task and Finish group (which is ongoing),  the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor is preparing a paper on the new workload model that will be presented at the next ARSNC, and we will report back to members about this in due course.  

If you would like a copy of the minutes from the AGM and/or EGM, please write to UCU@lboro.ac.uk.

Covid Update

LUCU continue to work closely alongside the other campus unions, HR, and Health and Safety to monitor the situation surrounding Covid-19.

Loughborough still has the highest student testing compliance rates in HE, and it is because of this that cases remain very low.  We have seen a slight increase in cases recently, reflecting the national situation, but with the prompt action from Connect and Protect the numbers are being kept low and full contact tracing is taking place (no links between the cases have been identified suggesting that they are community acquired rather than University related).  With the likelihood of further relaxation of the restrictions, we’re anticipating campus getting busier and more people returning to the office.  As and when this happens, we will work to ensure that our members’ working environments are managed safely and appropriately.

LUCU would like to remind our members that we must not get complacent – social distancing, face coverings (except where exempt), regular hand washing and plenty of ventilation are still essential.  If you feel comfortable, please do politely challenge others where you see these rules not being observed, or, if you prefer, please alert the relevant Health and Safety contact in your area so that they may ensure compliance with Covid safety rules. And please continue to let us know of any concerns you may have about health and safety in your area of work.

Alec Edworthy, Branch Health and Safety Officer

USS Pensions

We would like to remind members to use the UCU modeller that has been developed, which will show how your pension will be affected if the changes to USS advocated by UUK become a reality: UCU – UUK pension proposal modeller.

The modeller may be used by non-members as well, so please share widely with colleagues.

LUCU Committee