UCU face to face teaching guidelines

Here are some guidelines on face to face teaching. Further guidance can be found on the UCU website:
1.      All member should have an individual risk assessment before any face to face teaching takes place so the covid guidelines can be followed. It should also have been discussed at individual deployment meetings.

2.      The individual risk assessment should identify any health risks and appropriate steps should be taken e,g, members may need to be referred to occupational health, supplied with PPE or reasonable adjustments made.

3.      If there are any issues that cannot be resolved at local level then please contact your HR Business Partner to try and resolve the issue. UCU reps can support you in these meetings if required.

4.      Members should not be forced into teaching face to face until the above steps have been taken.

5.      if there is a disagreement between staff and line managers regarding members coming on site for face to face teaching then UCU has produced letters that can be written to the University/Line Manager to request to continue to work remotely. UCU can supply these to members if required or advise you where to find them. There are different letters to cover different circumstances. They cover the following categories:

-an employee who is clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable;

-an employee from a BAME background

-an employee with anxiety/depression related condition

-an older employee

-a pregnant woman employee from a BAME background

-a pregnant woman from a white background

-an employee with no particular relevant characteristics

-an employee with no particular relevant characteristics but with vulnerable household member(s)

-disabled staff at increased risk.

6.      Each letter covers issues relevant to the circumstances/characteristics of the employee and includes reference to the employer risk assessment (or lack of one) to raise concerns with the member’s manager. To be most effective the letters should include reference to the employer’s risk assessment, to highlight deficiencies in that and the reasons why the member considers it to be unsafe to return to onsite working in the current circumstances, until deficiencies have been removed and adequate control measures implemented.

7.      The letters flag up key issues such as:

Right to stop work when in danger and work from a place of safety (Management of Health and Safety At Work Regulations 1999)

Indirect Discrimination (Equality Act 2010 s 19)

Negligence (Duty of care)

Breach of Contract (Employer’s Contractual Duty of Care)

Protection for Whistleblowers

8. If you notice any missing signage or health and safety issues (e.g. congested areas, inadequate ventilation etc) then please report these to Sareen Galbraith who is the UCU Health & Safety Rep.

8. All cases of coronavirus at the University and any health & safety issues should be reported to UCU so that we can report them to UCU Head Office.

Branch update July 9th 2020

  1. Our anti- racism work has continued and we now have agreement from the university that most members of UET will attend the next Race Forum in September. We sent the motion we unanimously passed to Tracey Lancaster who together with Peter Slee,  has confirmed attendance and will hopefully share the university draft plan currently being worked on, with the Race Forum. We will make sure that we hold another UCU anti-racism meeting BEFORE the Race Forum – for any further info on any of this contact our UCU anti-racism officer Margaret Chawawa ). UCU Left (and NEU Left) is also holding what looks like an excellent webinar tomorrow on Black resistance in Britain – registration and details at the bottom of this email.
  2. On deployment we have failed to get agreement with the university to apply a minimum tariff to be applied to all staff as a result of the extra workload implicated with the changes needed for teaching delivery next year. Instead we  have received information what tariff individual schools are applying. I send this out on Tuesday and this already indicates some worrying differences. We have asked HR to supply more exact detail and we will discuss how to take this matter forward at our next branch cttee and then at our final branch meeting of the year. In the mean time if you have issues around this the best members to contact are our school reps (see list attached), make sure that when you receive you deployment details for next year that EVERY hour you are being required to teach (including the extra seminars triggered by social distancing)  is included in your FST.
  3. ​We intend to hold a special meeting for those staff engaged in research staff ​to look at specific issues we may need to raise as members have raised both the pressure of being research and teaching active  (especially those who have been identified as independent researchers for the next REF)  and the pressure on research more generally (as well completion of PhDs) from impact of a more teaching intensive year as ell as all the longer term threats posed by this. Erika Laredo is organising this and will inform members when a date has been set. 
  4. ​This morning we met with the head of IT services this morning where we went through all the technical problems/glitches etc,  particularly around TEAMS that have been reported to us and were highlighted in the training that we conducted the o​ther week. We were informed that any TEAMS problems are likely to be local to your connection and that the security issue that we reported should not occur. The best news on IT is that we are now ALL able to request a laptop from the university,  this means that if you are currently using a home laptop then you will, on request to your line manager, be supplied a university laptop delivered to your home (the university is currently awaiting an order). Also any other ‘reasonable’ request such as broadband upgrade with your providers if your current connection is insufficient to reliably teach – should be accepted. If you want to book to pick up a chair or something from your office you can do so here – https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/COVID19/#tabplaceholder3 
  5. We now have joint Environmental Officers for our branch. John Willott and Brian Jones have agreed to share the role. We will look at our priorities around climate change and sustainability at the university in September but if you would like to email them reagrding what you think the top issues are that we should be campaigning on then please cont cat them – they will reporeswnt on the new university action group that is currently looking at what are the key issues. ( John – 
  6. ON the VS we understand that currently 20 have applied and a further 20 have expressed firm interest. The criteria that the panel will use for acceptance or rejection of the application are currently being worked on and will be shared with us for comment. At JCC it was reported that student numbers are slightly down from last year but that any firm  numbers for next year will not be known until late September. for obvious reasons.
  7. Hopefully most are aware that there is an automatic entitlement to carry over 5 days annual leave not taken to next year and a possibility of requesting 10 days in more exceptional circumstances. If you need to carry over leave then you MUST contact your line manager as otherwise it will be lost on ITrent and your manager can adjust your leave for next year accordingly.
  8. In collaboration with the unions the university has now finalised their risk assessment for vulnerable employees  returning to campus and it is attached – so if you have an underlying condition, are a BAME member of staff then have a look at it. For those who have needed to shield then your manager should be getting in touch with you – and if you have developed an underlying condition that has not been highlighted yet your manager should be doing a further check of all staff. 
  9. It is likely that we will hold one further branch meeting in the w/c 27th July but if you have any further queries/concerns etc. please contact your school rep –
A webinar hosted by NEU Left & UCU Left in the East of England.


Information for UCU members on working in the Covid 19 crisis from UCU Head Office can be found here  ucu.org.uk/coronavirus

At Leeds Beckett we are involved in a number of different working groups with HR and senior management to discuss the return to work, planning for next year and reacting to the changing national guidelines. Weekly branch meetings are currently taking place online where members can contribute to the consultation we are undertaking at university level, ask any questions around implementation for example of adapting our delivery to students, health, safety and wellbeing (including workload) concerns.

A helpful guide is the advice we have put together on this website in the icon Deployment guidelines” , here you will find information around custom and practice that should guide the deployment process, national agreements limiting the hours of teaching etc. and locally agreed guidelines and limitations on duration, time scheduling of teaching etc.

Our re-ballot is now open

Together with 11 other universities we are being re-balloted on whether we want to join action over pay and pay inequality, workload, job insecurity.  This runs from the 4th December until the 24th January.

These issues are instrumental in creating a decent workplace, one that respects us all and provides equal opportunities.

The current strike wave at 60 universities has already brought the employers back to the negotiating table and a response is expected in the next few days.

The re-ballot that we and 11 other universities are taking part in clearly adds to the pressure on employers.

Please will you post your ballot paper as soon as you get it and then email your local rep or a.piso@leedsbeckett.ac.uk to let us know that you have done so and we will tick you off the list – we need 50% turnout and missed this by 6 members last time round.



Latest news and have you voted yet?

  1.  Fractional contracts for hourly paid members quite a few issues are arising as a a result of members being offered fractional contracts – these are mainly round deployment and a good starting point (for existing staff as well) is our website page on deployment guidelines (see link above).
  2. This link provides a useful guideline as to what to look for in terms of negotiating your deployment. There are also issues around whether some members should in some cases be offered a grade 8 (SL) as opposed to a grade 7 (which is the normal offer). This should be done to discussion with your line manager BUT is ultimately tested through a regrading application. We are also looking at whether those with longer experience should be higher than the bottom of grade 7 and have had discussions with HR about this. There is some agreement that those with more experience should placed on a higher incremental point – again your line manager is the person to have this discussion with initially.
  3. At our JCC last week we discussed the climate emergency and proposed that the university revisits and extends its commitment to look at all areas of its activities – for example travel for business/conferences etc. We have now been invited to take part in a working group to look at this. Our branch has also met with the NUS to try and work jointly and look to come up with a set of proposals to put to the university. If you would like to contribute and/or be part of a UCU working party on this then please let me know. We are also organising a meeting and inviting Extinction Rebellion to speak in November – details to follow.
  4. National pay/workload etc. ballot – it is not too late to post your ballot (as long as it is in by the 31st Oct.). It is not difficult to make a case for a better pay offer – as the value in our pay has fallen by around 20% since the crisis. We need a 50% turnout in our branch – so if you have not yet let us know that you have voted then please email me back (thanks to all those who did last week)
  5. Dont’ forget about the UCU initiated session, as part of Black History Month, next week on Decolonising the curriculum – Room CL313  Thurs 24th  October 13.00-14.30
  6. Protected conversations  ( a mechanism for employers  terminate employment without  evidence of an existing dispute) – these are currently on hold thanks to both our and UNISONs interventions. Though the last time we spoke to the university they were still intending to re-introduce them. These were discussed in our branch meetings and members unanimously opposed their re-introduction (will keep updating on this)
  7. Menopause guidelines – good news on this. Last year we asked mgmt to work with us to draw up guidelines to support women going through the menopause. As a result the university has now adopted this and we have been advised on the content. This gives details as to support mechanisms, reasonable adjustments, including requests for flexible working and timetabling considerations (i.e. asking for later teaching starts due to insomnia etc.). The guidelines go live today (see attached for mgmt guidelines).

Reminder forthcoming branch meetings:

Headingley Wed 30th Oct 12-1 Cavendish 104

City Thursday 1-2 Rosebowl 224








Your ballot papers should have arrived – look out for a white A4 envelope with the UCU logo. If you can’t find it, request a new one at www.ucu.org.uk/ballotrequest

Please vote now – don’t let that envelope disappear under piles on your desk! It’s really important to have your democratic say, and your union needs to know what you think.

The two disputes are linked. Inequality and casualisation in employment lead to inequality in retirement. We have won a pretty impressive deal around casualisation at Leeds Beckett but there is more work to be done nationally.  Pay stagnation will reduce our incomes in retirement as well as squeezing us right now. Increased pension contributions mostly wipe out the tiny pay increase that has been imposed.

Four fights dispute
We were not impressed by the employers response to our annual pay and conditions claim. Pay inequality and excessive workloads are all significant problems at Leeds Beckett, as elsewhere. We had hoped that this year, the employers’ side (represented by UCEA) would negotiate sensible national agreements on these issues which matter so much to staff, often more so than pay. This has not happened – they were unwilling to discuss these issues meaningfully. On pay, the offer is yet another below inflation pay rise.

SO please use your vote

September 4th 2019 update

  1. Hourly Paid lecturers – transfers onto substantive contracts. Those HPLs who qualify for a permanent fractional contract (anyone teaching over 110 hours per year) will have been or are about to be written to and offered fractional permanent contracts. As anticipated this is already highlighting some issues which need addressing. Most of these so far appear to be due to Heads of Subject not being sufficiently aware that what is being offered and the way hours are calculated as part of a fraction should be NO DIFFERENT to how current permanent staff are treated. If there are issues then your first port of call is your subject group head. If there is no resolution here then you can contact one of us. We are running an initial advice session next Thursday 12th September from 1-2pm in the far end of the Rosebowl café(we’ll be at a table nearest the vending machines – so just come and join us if you have any questions) to deal with queries

2. Ballot to fight for better pay award. You will be aware by now that UCU nationally are balloting members to take action in support of a better pay deal – a paltry 1.1% has been offered and UCU is asking for 3% to try and claw back the significant real losses in pay that we have suffered. The ballot will open next Monday 9th September and will run until 30th October. So you should be receiving ballot papers from next week. As the ballot is being organised nationally but is disaggregated (to get round Tory ballot legislation) to branch level we MUST make sure that at Leeds Beckett AT LEAST 50% of our membership vote in the ballot. Therefore expect to be contacted by a branch rep/member asking you if you have voted. If as a branch we do not achieve 50% turnout (whatever the result) then we cannot as a branch take part in any action organised nationally. UCU is proposing that if the result is positive then the first strike day will be Monday 18th November. Both UCU and our cttee locally are advocating that members vote in favour of industrial action. In line with many other universities our university will be implementing the “final” pay offer this month – this should not deter members from voting in favour of industrial action in support of a better deal for this year.

3. Climate Strike 20th September – you may be aware that as a result of the call by Greta Thunberg and the weekly action by school students highlighting the climate emergency, a call has been put out to workers to join students on Friday 20th September. UCU nationally have proposed a 30 minute walkout on that day. We contacted HR and management are supportive of the cause and have agreed that if staff wish to be involved in the stoppage the then they will take no issue with members rearranging their commitments accordingly to accommodate that 30 minute period, provided that students are not adversely affected. This gives us all the go ahead to try and build involvement from our branch. A march is being organised from Leeds University – I have asked them to march past our entrance so that we can join in the demo into town on that day and join the protest planned for outside the town hall. We will notify members nearer the time of all the timings round this but it will be round lunchtime. A Climate Conference has also being organised in Leeds specifically for trade unions on Sat 19th October at Notre Dame Sixth from 10.30- 4.20 pm, register at www.tiny.cc/crisis2019

4. Recruitment and campaigning stalls – please let us know if you fancy helping us at some recruitment and campaigning stalls. The stalls will be both to recruit more members to UCU AND help build for the Climate action on Friday 20th September (we should have leaflets by then). We will be making some banners for the Climate Strike demo at the stall so please join us. The details for these are – Rosebowl and Gaiia Café Tues 17th September 12pm–. Wed 18th September stall at Headingley (near the Food Court) , 12pm. This will also be a further opportunity if you have an issue around fractional contracts to ask us questions.

5. We are organising a Stand Up to Racism day on Friday 18th October – at the moment speakers are being contacted but we hope to run sessions on Decolonising the Curriculum, a campaigning meeting with national speakers. This is a campaign supported by UCU nationally and given the current climate it is clearly important as trade unionists, and academic staff, to take this up. More info to follow on this but add the date to your diary. Please get in touch if you want to help us organise this.

6. Branch meetings – our next branch meetings are as follows:

  • City campus Wednesday 2nd Oct 11:30-12:30 at city, Headingley 12-1pm Thursday 3rd October
  • And again on Headingley Wednesday 30th Oct 12-1pm, and City, Thursday 31st 1-2pm

7. Our new general secretary, Jo Grady, is coming to Leeds on Wed 2nd October. You will have been emailed about this, but the details are – Wednesday 2 October 2019 1pm-2pm, at Leeds University, Mechanical Engineering Lecture Theatre B, Mechanical Engineering Building, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT. Full details including directions and accessibility at http://www.leedsucu.org.uk/ucus-new-general-secretary-is-coming-to-visit/ . It would be helpful if you could register on the EventBrite page at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ucu-general-secretary-jo-grady-at-leeds-tickets-67031700621 if you will be attending.


August update 2019

  • HPL contracts – For those waiting to hear about a possible permanent fractional contract. The agreement between UCU and the university has been finalised and  HR is in the process of contacting managers who, if around, will be sending out letters to those eligible for a permanent fractional contract (anyone with teaching hours over 110 for next year). I am aware that a number have already been contacted to offer them permanent contracts. However for others there may be a delay as many managers are on leave until September and therefore no meeting will take place until they are back. Any contract will therefore will be backdated to the 1st September.  For details of the agreement see our web page on this https://leedsbeckett.web.ucu.org.uk/campaigns-2/campaigns/
  • Redundancies – as noted in my last email, no compulsory redundancies will occur in the School of Sport as sufficient staff came forward via the voluntary scheme. Either way a distressing time for all involved. For those in the School of Education  however the situation looks bleak and the outcome of the voluntary scheme offered will not be known until the end of August and we continue to represent members in there.
  • UCU 30 min for Climate Emergency on 20th September – you may be aware that UCU nationally proposed a 30 minutes walkout to the TUC for all other unions to follow on the 20th September, to coincide with the next school students strike on that day. We will circulate more about this in September but there is an event planned in Leeds – 11.30 outside the town hall and with a possible march afterwards. The initial call for workers to join the school students in September came from, Greta Thunberg and was taken up in the UK by our union.
  • UCU pay ballot starts 9th September – we are launching a Get The Vote Out Campaign in September for the ballot for industrial action in support of our national pay claim. As this is a ‘disaggregated’ ballot (meaning that the outcome of the ballot will be calculated per each branch rather than nationally – in response to the Tory threshold of needing to get a 50% turnout of members) it means how we vote a s a branch is of crucial importance. We will contact individuals once the ballot starts to record who has voted. You will have been sent an email by UCU asking you to check your membership details. Currently old school names are still the only option but this should be changed over the summer.
  • Finally if you need UCU advice in the remaining weeks of the summer, I am on leave after today (as are nearly all other reps) and the only rep around is Sue Birch. For reps at any other time please see our contact us page on our website https://leedsbeckett.web.ucu.org.uk/contact-us/


JULY 2019 Update

  1. Our last consultation meeting was held concerning the proposals to cut staffing in the School of Sport. The application to apply for a voluntary deal was yesterday and as a result the university was able to report to us that the savings identified had been met and that they would therefore not now be moving to instigate compulsory redundancies. This will be a relief to all those in that school but does not remove the fact that the process has been extremely distressing and has forced many into a decision that they would otherwise have not had to make. Morale has clearly dipped and we have stressed to both HR and the school that to move ahead there needs to be both understanding of the impact this has had, and mechanisms provided to ensure transparency and engagement with staff in determining the school’s future strategy.
  2. In the School of Education we are still unfortunately involved in consultations again regarding proposals to cut staffing to meet a deficit.  We informed branch members of this process only a few weeks ago and requested that giving the unprecedented late timing of these proposals that the university delay the consultation until September. This was refused and the process is ongoing.
  3. Languages – a proposal has been put forward to restructure and re-align staff within the Languages provisions of the university. A meeting was held with Peter Slee and staff. Again this has caused very understandable anxiety amongst those staff as their future is uncertain. This is not at yet at the stage of any formal proposal for staff cuts as the staff have been provide with time to consider the proposals and come up with alternative ones to be considered in the autumn.
  4. We are still moving ahead with the agreement we have negotiated with the university to offer permanent fractional contract to all hourly paid members where there is anticipated demand. The agreement has not yet been signed as there are a few aspects that still need checking but the university has committed to writing to all those affected and for contracts to start, or be backdated to 1st September (should there be a delay). There is little more advice we can give at the moment but once staff start receiving letters and have queries we can address these.
  5. Some issues have arisen around the deployment process – particularly where staff are leaving and others may be asked to fill the teaching etc. For a full guideline and tips on deployment see our website page – https://leedsbeckett.web.ucu.org.uk/deployment-guidelines/

Updates June 2019

  1. In terms of our hourly paid claim and the current proposal from management, we are meeting with the VC and HR twice next week to iron out finer details of what has been proposed by the university (see my earlier emails). We have shown the current proposals to UCU’s head of higher education who generally thought the deal was good. Once we have a written agreement from the university it will need to be passed by something called the ‘hourly paid ratification panel’ within UCU to make sure that it is in line with national bargaining (i.e. would not set a worrying precedent both for us and members throughout the sector). Once this has occurred we will organise a further branch meeting to allow our own members to vote on whether to accept or not. Once this occurs we will also organise some UCU advice surgeries specifically (at each site) for our hourly paid staff and any issues around converting onto a permanent contract (we have already indicated to the university that those that will convert onto a permanent fractional contract will need to be looked at on a case by case basis to assess the appropriate incremental point (or even grade) that they are converted onto. Therefore if you are hourly paid but not checking your email over the summer – maybe watch out from notifications from us around all this to keep in touch).
  2. Most members will have or are about to take part in discussions with their managers around next year’s deployment. We have a guide for this on our website. This covers all the national and local agreements that you need to check. It is agreed practice for ALL members of staff to be invited to a discussion with their line manager, as opposed to having their deployment imposed on them without discussion. We took up a few cases this year to make sure that certain schools would in future follow this practice, therefore this should now be happening. The guidelines on our website can be found here – https://leedsbeckett.web.ucu.org.uk/deployment-guidelines/
  3. Don’t forget that next academic year there is a week less in the calendar between the end of semester 1 and the start of semester 2. This could put pressure on marking HOWEVER custom and practice is that we have 4 (non-teaching) weeks to mark work and the current regs., allow course teams to determine the feedback time themselves. Therefore the advice is to think very carefully before you add a feedback date for each assignment to your module handbook (as this is the one that determines what we ought to stick to) and make this both ACHIEVABLE and REASONABLE.
  4. In our last branch meeting we highlighted our concern around the recent use by the university of protected conversations’ being used to bypass existing procedure around performance mgmt/discipline and/or redundancy. The university has now agreed to stop the use of these pending discussions with both unions. Protected conversations are used to end employees contracts and do not allow employees to submit evidence to an employment tribunal on the content of that conversation. Our branch recently voted to oppose their use on the basis that they signify a retrograde step in employee relations and offer little protection to members. Again we will report back on discussions.
  5. Don’t forget our annual general meeting on Tuesday 18th June Headingley 12.30-1.30 Priestley G11 (note slightly later time) and City 2-3pm Calverley 303. All union offices are up for re-election so if you are interested I one of the following posts please email Sue Birch and me: The secretary, assistant secretary, chair, vice-chair, Headingley site convenor, City site convenor, health and safety Officer, treasurer, membership secretary, Women’s officer, BME officer, LGBT officer, Disability Officer, anti-casualisation officer, Case work co-ordinator
  6. If you do not wish to stand for office BUT simply would like to be a rep in your section then please get in touch. Reps can (via branch cttee approval) be put on the cttee at any time during the year.
  7. A number of us went to UCU’s annual congress last weekend – we will feedback on this at our AGM. A lot of the discussion was on the USS dispute, the impact in the post 1992 sector of employer increased TPS contributions (a number of universities have faced potential redundancies over this and successfully fought this off). casualisation in the sector (particularly how this affects women, those with disabilities, from BAME background). There was also a lot of discussion about tackling the rise of the far right and racism and in response to this we have decided to organise a an anti-racism day. This is to coincide with the annual Show Racism the Red Card Day ( see https://www.theredcard.org/wear-red-day ) on Friday 18th October. The day is supported by UCU and our intention is to organise some speakers, (hopefully including a workshop on decolonising the curriculum etc.). In conjunction with this we’ll run a Stand Up To Racism Stall ( we are affiliated to this as is UCU nationally) in September. If you are interested in helping run/organise either event please get in touch.
  8. If you fancy taking part in the local protest against Trump’s visit (the last was brilliant) then here are the details – Monday, June 3, 2019 at 5:30 PM – 7 PM Dortmund Square, Leeds, see https://www.facebook.com/events/316059442656386/