UCU Elections – LUCU Branch Committee Endorsement

UCU Elections – LUCU Branch Committee Endorsement

Like many UCU members, the LUCU Branch Committee has been disheartened by a number of decisions taken centrally at UCU in recent years.

Although we have had some national victories (as with USS), we believe that major decisions taken by the Higher Education Committee (HEC) – most notably around the nature, frequency, and timing of industrial action – have been harmful and out of sync with members’ wishes.

We believe that factionalism within the union is a major driver of this. Indeed, there have even been clear, public clashes between our current General Secretary, Jo Grady, and the HEC on these issues.

The upcoming UCU elections offer a turning point to shape our union. After comparing candidates’ platforms and considering their responses during our hustings, we have decided to endorse Jo Grady.

Whilst we may not agree with every decision that Jo Grady has taken as General Secretary, we believe that she has shown real leadership during a difficult period – especially from the start of the pandemic – and has demonstrated an ability to critically reflect on past decisions and learn from them.

We are also supportive of her plan to build UCU and raise the profile of our union, her efforts to co-ordinate with other trade unions to improve our leverage, and her intersectional approach to tackling discrimination.  

Our stance is that Jo Grady offers the most realistic path toward improved pay and working conditions, greater stability in our sector, and a trade union that inspires confidence in its members.

In solidarity,

The LUCU Branch Committee

UCU General Secretary Hustings

An election hustings for the position of UCU General Secretary organised by Loughborough University UCU.

Date: January 19, 2024

Time: 12:00 – 2:00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams Meeting

There are four candidates standing for GS:

  • Vicky Blake
  • Jo Grady
  • Ewan McGaughey
  • Saira Weiner

We are pleased that all the candidates have agreed to take part in the husting.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Mary Brewer: m.f.brewer@lboro.ac.uk

Please note that we will be recording the event for members who are unable to attend on the day, and candidates have been invited to live stream it on their social media if they choose.

We hope that as many members as possible across the East Midlands will take this opportunity to learn more about each candidate’s vision for our union.

LUCU News: June 2023

LUCU News: June 2023

Please read below for updates on LU General Assembly, MAB Support, Dispute Issues (Four Fights), our new Branch Equality Officer, our Congress Motion, Social Sciences Senate Elections & a BAME Staff Research Study.

General Assembly

Following our members’ requests for a General Assembly, we submitted a formal request to the Vice-Chancellor. A special meeting of General Assembly will take place at 3.30pm on Friday 16 June in the Edward Herbert Building 110A. The meeting is in-person only for staff based at Lboro campus. Only colleagues from London will be able to access the meeting online. Room LDN.3.23 has been booked by the University for colleagues in London.

This General Assembly was called for by our members and we urge you to attend. This is your opportunity to voice your views on the university’s response to the Marking and Assessment Boycott.

General Assembly is a collective staff forum established under the University’s Royal Charter. Its role is set out in Statute XV. All University staff are members of the General Assembly, so please encourage non-UCU members to attend as well.  Link to announcement on LU website.

Reminders: MAB support

We remind members that we have a weekly drop-in meeting every Wednesday – 2-3 pm – to support those who are participating in MAB and to answer any questions you may have. Please email the branch if you need the link to join.

The LUCU branch WhatsApp group is also a good source of support. If you haven’t already joined and would like to, you can do so by emailing the branch for a link. You can also speak to your department rep or email ucu@lboro.ac.uk should you need support.

To help the LUCU Committee build a picture of marking activity across campus, we would be grateful if you would email us with any information you have of unqualified markers appointed to cover marking at UG and PGT levels not completed as a result of the MAB, any instances where marks have not been properly moderated by a person qualified to do so, and any mitigations put in place that in your academic opinion are inappropriate.  Please email ucu@lboro.ac.uk providing details of: School, module, and reasons for believing either that the marker is unqualified, the moderation is lacking or undertaken by an unqualified marker, or the mitigation is inappropriate.   

Update on dispute issues: Workload; Casualisation; Equality

Workload: We now have a place on both the Project Enable and Project Expectation steering groups, enabling us to be at the centre of discussions on working practices in the interests of improving our members’ workloads.

Casualisation: We raised the need for revision of the LU Casual Staff Charter, created by the Task & Finish working group following our 2018 action.  Concerns over inconsistent implementation across Schools and sections was also raised with senior management, and agreement for a revision of the principles and a review of existing contracts across campus was reached.  Work on this is already well under way and we will provide an update on the outcomes in our next newsletter.

Equality: Agreement has been reached for union representation on the new EDI Operations board.  Our place on this board will rotate with Unite and Unison and we will work collaboratively towards equity for our members. We are also delighted to have appointed Ellen Nicholls as our Equality Rep – welcome Ellen!

Introducing our new branch Equality Officer

Ellen Nicholls was recently appointed by the Committee to serve out the rest of the 22/23 term as our branch Equality Officer. 

Ellen Nicholls, Careers Network. I am the Academic Success Co-Ordinator for the Student Success Academy (Careers Network) and I have worked at the University since 2021. Following the completion of my PhD research in 2019, I began working in widening participation, harnessing my passion for social justice by working to ensure all students have equal opportunities to succeed while studying at university. My work here at Loughborough centres on providing 1:1 academic success coaching and designing learning initiatives that help to reduce awarding gaps for Black, Asian, and low-household income students, in accordance with access and participation plan targets. As the equality officer for LUCU, it is my ambition to extend this EDI work to our staff, working towards gender and ethnicity pay equity for our members at the University.

2023 Glasgow Congress: LUCU Motion ‘UCU to move from Equality to Equity’

Our branch submitted and spoke to a motion to urge UCU to move toward the principles of Equity and implement use of the term Equity over Equality.  As you can see here, an amendment to the motion was put forward, and following debate Congress voted to remit the motion with an agreement to take it to the LGBTQ+ Conference in Birmingham in November this year. Two members of the LUCU Committee will attend the conference and any other members who wish to join them are very welcome. To register your interest, please email ucu@lboro.ac.uk and we will inform you when registration is live.

You can find the full results of voting on motions here.

Social Sciences Senate Elections

There are currently two vacancies on Senate, from 1st August 2023, for members of academic staff in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). Voting is open to all academic staff in SSH and you should have received an email with a link to vote: we encourage you to use this.

The LUCU Committee is promoting the candidacy of three of our members who are in the running for these positions. Please consider voting for Dr Giulia Piccolino, Dr Sarah Parker and Dr Paul Maddrell (in any order you choose) for your first three preference votes. Their candidate statements are available on the link to vote. If you have not yet voted, please check your email and look for “Subject: Ballot Notice: Senate Election for Academic Members of Staff in SSH”. The ballot is now open and will close on Thursday 22 June.

Call for Participants: Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Staff Research Study

Are you a BAME (Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic) staff member who would like to get involved in a research study?

One of our PhD researchers here at Loughborough University is conducting a study which seeks to examine BAME employees’ lived experiences of racial diversity management policies and practices. This research will seek to understand the impact diversity management practices have on BAME employees as well as the contexts that account for employees’ experiences of such policies/practices.

To find out more about how to get involved, please click here.

LUCU Committee