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 – 
  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.

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