To support our negotiations with management at Leeds Beckett, please sign our petition to end the use of casual teaching contracts:
Our claim was that all lecturers who teach a minimum of 100 hours for 2 years should be transferred, on agreement with the lecturer, onto a fractional permanent 0.2 contract. The university’s current positon falls considerable short of our claim – offering merely to make permanent after an unspecified period of years, and not necessarily via automatic transfer, those who have taught the equivalent of a 0.4 contract. Even at the most generous estimates this would only cover just short of 10% of all hourly paid lectures. As part of our campaign UCU nationally have set up a petition to help support our negotiations. Please sign following the link below and circulate as widely as you can. The students union have also given their support and I will send the petition to them, so encourage your students to sign too – it’s in their interest that all their lecturer are on contracts that are secure and sustainable.
- Anti-casualisation negotiations
Our claim of automatic conversion to 0.2 permanent fractional contract of all those who have worked as an hourly paid lecturer on a minimum of 100 hrs for 2 years has been rejected by the university after initial talks with mgmt. Currently they will consider looking at possible transfer (NOT automatic) of all those teaching above 200 hrs annually pending a number of years service (yet to be determined). This falls a long way short of our claim and would only cover under 10% of all hourly paid lecturers at the university, leaving the vast majority in exactly the same precarious situation as before. Negotiations have only just started and at our branch meeting we discussed the need to support his with a wider campaign. We are therefore launching a petition to support our negotiations ( news of this to follow), running stalls at the Rosebowl on Wednesday 14th November from 12-1 and Headingly refectory on Thursday 15th November from 1-2pm – any member is welcome to help us with these stalls, contacting the Students Union and local MPs (if you wish to do this we can supply you with a template letter).
- Graduation and turn around marking time – this was raised at JCC (Joint Consultative Cttee) – with concern around the shorter marking time – senior mgmt said our concern would be raised at the next Senior mgmt group (SMG) and that where lecturers need support this will be considered – not ideal I know but if you are worried that the marking volume is too great please raise this with your subject group head citing the commitment by senior mgmt to help address this.
- Pay ballot result – despite not meeting the new 50% legal threshold the results were actually better that in 2016 when UCU took strike action. Nationally there was a turnout of 42% (our branch had slightly higher at 42.5%) with 69% (63.6% in our branch) voting in favour of industrial action – compared with just a 35% turnout in 2016 and 65% in favour of action. There is a call for a re-ballot given the close results and UCU is holding a special Sector Conference next week where this will be thrashed out – we have delegates going to this too.
- Module evaluation – an email will be sent out by our committee to ask for your views on module evaluation. The branch meetings almost unanimously decided to propose that module evaluation should be taken back under course team/module tutor control. The present online system via Evasys produces a very low response rate and with data that is insufficiently informative. Watch out for the email asking for your views so we can feed this back to mgmt.
- Next branch meetings – please note dates originally given have changed and are now – Wed 5th December Headingley 12-1 in Macaulay 112 and 6th December City 1-2 in Calverley 213. Let us know if you have any items you wish to submit to the meeting.
Our next branch meetings are coming up with some really important agenda items that we need input and feedback on from members If you work on an hourly paid contract we have finally had our first meeting to trigger negotiations with senior management, around our claim to end the use of casual contracts,. We’ll feedback on this – if you are a permanent member of staff we also need your views on what management maybe offering and what our position is and what we do next.
Workload will also be on, some input and feedback on proposals around module evaluation, the university financial position and student numbers update (following a meetings with senior management).
Headingley Wednesday 24th October 1-2pm Macauley 201
City Thursday 25th October 12-1pm Rosebowl 207
Please make sure that you vote in the pay ballot as at least 50% of members nationally need to vote in order to trigger industrial action. This is also important at a local level. So if at Leeds Becket we do not get at least 50% turnout then we will not be included in any future industrial action.
UCU members in 110 colleges in England and 147 UK universities are being balloted for strike action in a row over pay. The ballots open on Thursday 30 August and close on Friday 19 October.
The dispute in universities has arisen after the universities’ representatives, the Universities and Colleges’ Employers Association (UCEA, made a final offer of 2% at the final pay talks in May. UCU said the offer does nothing to address the falling value of higher education pay, which has declined in real terms by 21% since 2009.
Meanwhile college staff have seen their pay decline by 25% over the last decade. Earlier this week the Association of Colleges revealed its request for extra funding had failed. The union said colleges would have been foolish to rely solely on a government plea to meet staff pay expectations and must find the money from elsewhere.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘Staff working in our colleges and universities have had enough of seeing their wages held down while some principals and vice-chancellors pocket double digit pay rises and max out expense accounts. The pay offers do nothing to address years of decline in the value of our members’ pay and have left us with no option but to ballot for strike action.’
Following members’ overwhelming rejection of the UCEA final offer, on 17 and 23 July UCU participated in dispute resolution talks with UCEA and the other HE trade unions. During the meetings UCU negotiators pressed the employer’s side to improve their offer on pay, gender pay, precarious contracts and workloads, all of which are core UCU policy objectives and headline elements of the campaign.
It is very disappointing to report that the employers failed to sufficiently improve their offer.
In line with the decisions taken by the Higher Education Committee (HEC), UCU has now written to the heads of institutions we believe are part of the JNCHES national bargaining arrangements lodging a trade dispute with each institution and setting out the steps they should take to resolve the dispute.
It is highly likely that UCU will now proceed to a statutory ballot of members over pay this autumn. Exact dates are to be finalised and branches and members will be advised in advance of the opening of the ballot.