LUCU News – July

LUCU News – July

In this month’s LUCU newsletter you will find:

Dispute Joint Statement

A LUCU/LU joint statement is in progress and having responded to a first draft we now await amendments and continue to push for this to be finalised soon.  In the meantime, the university has agreed to internally publish an update on the work that has been ongoing on the issues of concern.  We are pleased to share that senior management has agreed to consult locally with LUCU on their response to the USS consultation which is currently in progress.

MAB Deduction Grievances

UCU is supporting branches and members in challenging the pay deductions made for MAB. Their advice is that this process is likely to be a breach of contract claim which would be made via the County/Sheriff Court.  However,the first step would be to go through the internal grievance process.

Should you wish to raise a claim, guidance on the steps to follow and who to contact can be found here

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): We want to hear from you!

The University has recently chosen to suspend its provision of in-house counselling to staff who need support in overcoming personal and professional problems that are affecting their well-being. Instead, they are offering a confidential advice service that is run externally via the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).  We are seeking UCU members’ feedback on this service to ensure that members are receiving high-quality and ethical support in this important area of occupational health. Responses will be held securely and confidentially by LUCU committee and will be fed back to senior management in an anonymised way. Please share your experiences with us by clicking the link in the email version of this newsletter.

Fighting Fund Claims: National and Local

After discussions with UCU National, we have had confirmation that you are eligible to claim from the National Fighting Fund for 50% MAB deductions for the weekdays where these deductions are applied. We strongly encourage you to make use of both the national and local fighting funds. For many of us this is a challenging time financially, and we want to make sure you know you can claim for strike or MAB days where you have lost wages/had deductions taken. For more information and to make a claim from the national fund, please see here.

The local fund is available to hourly paid staff and staff who are facing immediate financial hardship as a direct result of industrial action e.g. difficulty paying for essentials for themselves or their dependents. The local fund will pay out for the first day of industrial action, and any later days which are not covered by the national fund. To make a claim from our local fund, please contact our treasurer David Wilson.

Our local fund is quite healthy currently so if anyone wishes to donate you can find out how to donate to the national fighting fund, here.

Member News – Council and Senate Elections

Congratulations are due to Professor Matthew Inglis, who has been elected to membership of Council for a period of 3 years from 1 August 2023. Congratulations also to Dr. Giulia Piccolino and Dr. Sarah Parker, who have been elected to Senate, both representing the School of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Vacant Council Seat

We would like to call your attention to another vacancy on University Council for a member of Academic Staff from August 1, 2023, for a 3- year term of office. Because Council is the governing body of the University and is responsible for its strategic direction and overall governance, having positions filled by colleagues who are sympathetic to the union’s aims is important. If you are eligible, please consider standing, and let us know if you put yourself forward so that LUCU can support your bid to represent Academic Staff. 

Report on General Assembly (16 June)

The General Assembly, called by members in response to the University’s policy of pay deductions for participation in the Marking and Assessment Boycott, offered an opportunity to question the Vice-Chancellor.

Questions from the floor covered a wide range, beginning with the University’s decision to timetable the General Assembly for a Friday afternoon and without the possibility of online participation. Though we appreciate the VC’s point that his busy diary left few other scheduling options, we remain concerned at the lack of remote access and believe this represents poor practice with regard to important university-wide meetings.

From this starting-point regarding the GA itself, questions turned to the University’s response to MAB. The Vice-Chancellor was asked among other things about the fairness of applying equivalent deductions when colleagues’ marking loads and other assessment duties differ significantly (he reiterated the point made to us previously that deductions actually applied are at the discretion of Deans); about the loss of good will caused by this policy (he did not deny that there has been damage); and about the incompatibility we perceive between this policy on the one hand and the new University Strategy’s emphasis on valuing staff on the other.

The VC was also asked how the University settled on a figure of 50% pay deductions for participation in MAB. His response was that the number is somewhere in the middle, as regards the sector, with several institutions applying no deductions at all and others at the opposite end of the spectrum deducting 100%. Our position remains that the Loughborough policy is punitive, demoralising, and shows the University more squarely entrenched in the UCEA mainstream than at other times when it has engaged in coalition-building towards progressive positions in industrial disputes.

LUCU is grateful to members who attended the General Assembly and asked questions. It was valuable to be able to raise concerns about University policy directly with the VC.     

Casualisation Update

In our June newsletter we reported on our work with senior management to revise the Casual Employment Charter, which was initially created following our 2018 industrial action.  This work is now complete, and the revised LU Casual Work Principles have been shared on University News (5th July) and are on the HR website.   Deans were consulted prior to completion of the Principles and should now have disseminated these to staff involved in organising casual work contracts.

To ensure casual staff are informed of their rights, work is currently underway to produce a shortened version of the Principles for inclusion with future casual work contracts. Going forward, HR Partners will monitor compliance in schools.  Further, a member of HR has been assigned to review all existing contracts.  Where issues are identified, they will meet with Deans and managers, and where needed will provide training to ensure the casual staff are contracted to the correct grade and have been given the correct information regarding their role and rights. It has been agreed that where grades are found to be incorrect, this will be corrected and the potential for back-pay will be considered on a case by case basis.

We request that any members on casual contracts who have concerns get in touch by emailing

Report on our Branch AGM

The branch held a well-attended AGM. We’d like to extend our thanks to all members who took the time to come along and take part in branch democracy. Next year’s committee members (Term of office begins on 1st August for 1 year) were announced as:

Chair: Mary Brewer; Secretary: Marie Hanlon; Treasurer: David Wilson; Equalities Officer: Ellen Nicholls; Health, Safety and Environment Officer: Alec Edworthy; Personal Casework Co-ordinator: Andrew Dix; and Ordinary Committee Member: Marc Gibson.

Several vacancies remain for officers and ordinary committee members, so please get in touch for information if you have any interest in joining the branch committee.

The branch passed a motion in support of Ukraine and are raising a similar motion at the UCU East Midlands Regional Committee. As requested by the motion, the branch committee will discuss signing up to the Ukraine Solidarity Movement at the next committee meeting.

LUCU Committee

MAB Grievances and Legal Claims  

MAB Grievances and Legal Claims  

We have received the following information from head office and want to share it with you if you believe you have suffered unfair pay deductions for participating in the MAB and other ASOS, but are unsure what to do next.

UCU is supporting branches and members in challenging the pay deductions that are being made for MAB. Their advice is that this process is likely to be a breach of contract claim which would be made via the County/Sheriff Court; however the first step would be to go through the internal grievance process.

If you wish to raise a claim, please follow these steps:

  1. Ensure you keep evidence of all of the work you are doing during this period, to demonstrate that you are working at least 100% of the time. Evidence could include: outlook calendar of the work you are doing; departmental timetable of teaching/meeting/classes etc that you are providing; notes from lectures/meetings etc; records of meetings / events; other evidence of administrative / research/ knowledge exchange work you are doing to make up 100% of your time.
  1. On receipt of the pay slip outlining the pay deductions for MAB, contact Payroll if necessary to get clarity on how the pay deduction has been made.  For example, how many days are deducted, what period does the deduction cover, what is the rate of deduction etc.
  1. At this point in the process, if you wish to talk about raising a grievance, please contact Andrew Dix, our Casework Co-ordinator, who will assign a caseworker to help guide you through the rest of this process.
  1. Keep all communication, correspondence and documents from the grievance and appeal processes, together with all your evidence of work done, communication from employer and pay slips outlining deductions.

Should the grievance / appeal not be upheld, the next stage would be to take the claim externally, which we and UCU regional will assist you with.

We will, potentially, be dealing with lots of information, for a lot of members, on this issue and therefore members may not get immediate responses. This will all take some time, so please be patient.

LUCU Committee

Important Update on MAB & Deductions

Important Update on MAB & Deductions

MAB and New Methodology for Deductions

Since the university announced that deductions would be imposed for MAB, branch officers have attended multiple meetings with the head of HR, Anne Lamb, the Chief Operating Officer, Richard Taylor, and the VC, Nick Jennings. Following these meetings, an improved formula for deductions has been announced by the university – please see the original communication here that explains the new methodology and the university’s reporting process.

While it was hoped that management would opt for no deductions, once it became clear that deductions would be made, we pressed for a system based on proportionality, that is, to be based on how much work an individual was withholding due to participation in MAB. 

Unfortunately, management would not agree to proportional deductions. However, the new methodology for deductions represents a better position for members: 1) deductions for members who choose to participate in MAB are subject to a cap of 10 days at 35% for not marking; 2) deductions for boycotting assessment related tasks (e.g. exam boards, MC panels, etc.) will also be capped at 10 days.

We advise members to follow HR’s instruction to report their participation in MAB, as this does not necessarily equate to an acceptance of the university’s policy on MAB, but it protects members in terms of following the legal duty to report participation.  We are aware that some members would like to challenge these deductions formally based on proportionality, and the new methodology does not preclude members from mounting an individual legal challenge in the county courts.

Human Resources has now completed the FAQs and you can find the updated version here. If you have further questions, please contact your HR Partner or your Dean. Please copy in so that we can keep track of questions as they arise.

We remind members that we have a weekly drop-in meeting every Wednesday – 2-3 pm – to support those who are participating in MAB. If you need the link to join, please email

Fighting Fund Update

We encourage you to make use of both the national and local fighting funds, as applicable. For many of us this is a challenging time, financially, and we want to make sure you know you can claim for strike days where you have lost wages.

Since the passing of a motion at our EGM the Friday before last, extra financial help is available from the local branch fighting fund for members who are either:

  • Hourly paid, or
  • Are facing immediate financial hardship as a direct result of strike action e.g. difficulty paying for essentials for themselves or their dependants.

The local fund will pay out for the first day of strike action, and any later days which are not covered by the national fund, which is currently capped at 11 days for the period up to 1st May.

It can also be used for MAB deductions, which are currently only covered by the national fund for universities where deductions are at least 50% (Please see Jo Grady Email sent Tuesday).

To make a claim from the local fund, please send the following to our treasurer David Wilson:

Claims for loss of hourly earnings:

  • confirmation from your School or Department of the hours not worked due to striking
  • the number of hours missed and the hourly rate of pay you receive
  • your normal annual earnings (so that we can verify you are paying the correct subscription level and determine which level of payment you are eligible for)

Claims for financial hardship:

  • a list of days on which you have taken action
  • payslips showing total deductions (including those covered by the national fund)
  • your normal annual earnings (so that we can verify you are paying the correct subscription level and determine which level of payment you are eligible for)

Payments can be made up the normal daily maximum, i.e. £50 per day for members earning £30,000 and £75 per day for members earning less than £30,000, gross annually.

Note that due to national UCU rules, claims to the local fund must be made within 3 months of the deductions. We are seeking to change this to 12 months to match the national fighting fund rules.

Donations to the LUCU local fighting fund

It is important that members who are in a financial position to so donate to the to our local fighting fund as soon as possible, as well as promoting the fund to encourage others to donate. Please be as generous as you can. It is especially important that members who will not be impacted by pay deductions for MAB contribute to the fund in order to support those members who will suffer substantial financial detriment as a result of their participation. You can donate via a bank transfer, please contact David Wilson for the details.

LUCU Committee