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/