LUCU News: June 2021
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debated: 1) Rule Change Motion (Annual General Meeting) – passed; 2) Rule Change Motion (Rules for Local Motions) – withdrawn; 3) Local Subs Motion 2021 – passed.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:
- We needed to stem a current deficit in the branch finances and allow for expected staffing cost increases, especially due to USS;
- 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:
|£60,000 & above (F0)
|£40,000 – £59,999 (F1)
|£30,000 – £39,999 (F2)
|£22,000 – £29,999 (F3)
|£15,000 – £21,999 (F4)
|£5,000 – £14,999 (F5)
|Below £5,000 (F6)
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.
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
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.