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First day of strike

 

Industrial Action 2020 – communicating with students

Communicating with students

Our members on the picket line felt that not all students were informed about our dispute and action. We suggest sending this message to all students on your modules.

‘As part of the dispute between UCU (University and College Union) and UCEA (the universities’ employer body), members of academic staff at UEL have been taking industrial action alongside 73 other Universities.

This includes strike action, planned for:

24th, 25th, 26th February
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th March
9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th March
16th, 17th March

UCU members will not be working on these dates.

UCU is taking industrial action to address the following grievances:

• women are paid on average 15.1% less than men
• the disability pay gap is 8.7%
• black academic staff earn 12-13% less than white colleagues of the same gender and experience
• salaries have fallen against inflation by over 20% since 2009
• academic staff work over 50 hours during a typical week
• Over 100,000 staff are employed on fixed-term contracts, and a further 70,000 are employed on other casual contracts.

The UCU’s industrial action is intended to force the employers who run higher education to improve the situation in four specific areas:

• Inequality
• Casualisation
• Workload
• Salaries.

In addition, UCU members will be taking action short of a strike – and will be refraining from voluntary duties, cover and out-of-hours activities until our dispute is resolved.

You can see further information on the UCU dispute from the National Union of Students here:

https://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/press-releases/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-ucu-strike/

Great first week of strike action

The first three days of strike action saw a strong picketing presence at all three sites. Thank you to everyone who came to the picket line. Management are watching closely to see if the action is supported – we ask all members to come to help on the picket line. Together we are strong!

UCU@UEL

This site gathers together key information for UCU members at UEL.

In particular, we encourage members to check this site during the industrial action – UCU will not be posting to work emails during strike action.

UCU strikes 2020 – important information

Strike action:

UEL UCU will be striking on:

Monday 24th February
Tuesday 25th February
Wednesday 26th February
Monday 2nd March
Tuesday 3rd March
Wednesday 4th March
Thursday 5th March
Monday 9th March
Tuesday 10th March
Wednesday 11th March
Thursday 12th March
Friday 13th March
Monday 16th March
Tuesday 17th March
On every strike day there will be UCU pickets at Docklands, Water Lane and USS from 7.30am to 11.30am. Please make every effort to attend pickets. We are running a series of teachouts and other activities at picket-lines.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G6vt1CxVCoerfmWdqdElD_BOrw_eLvg32jhLwzPDzlk/edit?usp=drivesdk

If you would like to offer a session or contribute to a themed day, please contact us at ucugargi@gmail.com
Please also share the schedule for teachouts with students – this document will continue to be updated throughout the strike.
PLEASE DO NOT RESCHEDULE YOUR TEACHING. This is strike-breaking and makes striking colleagues more vulnerable.
Picketing guidelines:

If you have never picketed before – please do not worry. Picketing is an opportunity to publicise our case, speak to colleagues (including non-academic colleagues) and students and to let the wider community know what our dispute is about.
There will be UCU committee members at all three sites. You may find it helpful to read these picketing guidelines. Pickets for recent UCU disputes have been very good-humoured. We hope to see you there.

https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/1132/Branch-picket-guidance/pdf/ucu_picketing-guidance1.pdf
Strike pay:
UCU is providing strike pay, with priority being given to lower paid and precarious colleagues. See details here:
https://ucu.org.uk/article/10452/Fighting-fund-donations-and-claims
International students:
Please forward this advice to your international students.
Page 97 of the guidance for Tier 4 sponsors makes it clear that absences due to industrial action do NOT count towards the 10 consecutive absences that students are allowed to have before they reported. What should students do in this situation to show that they were ready and available to attend classes that were strikebound?
The usual obligation on sponsoring educational institutions is to report a student who misses 10 consecutive expected contact points.  However, this does not apply to those students who miss an expected contact point due to industrial action by lecturers. The rationale for this is that ‘An expected contact point is one which the student would in principle have been able to attend. If a lecture, tutorial or other planned contact point with a student is cancelled due to industrial action, any missed contact points caused by the industrial action of lecturers should not be treated as unauthorised absences.’  (See page 97 of Tier 4 of the Points Based System: Guidance for Sponsors, document 2: Sponsorship Duties.)
Action Short of a Strike:

UCU will be taking Action Short of a Strike (ASOS) as part of this dispute.

While a strike is a concerted stoppage of work, action short of a strike (ASOS) is normally action which affects only certain aspects of your work. Since the changes introduced by the Trade Union Act 2016 we have to determine and ballot members regarding the types of action short of strike we are calling. Action short of a strike in these disputes means we are asking you to:

work to contract
not cover for absent colleagues
not reschedule lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action
not undertake any voluntary activities
Action short of a strike begins at the same time as the strike action and continues until the union calls it off.
More about working to contract here:
https://ucu.org.uk/working-to-contract

February 2020 – update on local dispute negotiations

UEL Dispute meeting – stage two – 13/2/20

Present:

For the employer: Amanda Broderick, Peter Gregory, Hassan Abdulla, David Douglas, Andrea Diable (note taker HR)

For UCU: Barry Jones, Jill Daniels, Gargi Bhattacharyya

Key points agreed as route to resolving dispute:

They reiterated that the current student-facing calendar can’t be changed this year. A published student calendar is required for students to apply for student loans.

University agreed instead to commit additional resources to addressing ‘pinch points’ in academic workloads in this session. UCU to provide advice on timing and areas where this is urgent;

UCU and the employer will co-operate to create a staff calendar that takes the requirements of the national contract as its basis and includes provisions to address UCU concerns. This will form the basis of academic planning and staffing planning going forwards. The emergency funding for this session is to address issues arising from both calendar and poor/nonexistent workload planning – therefore UCU also needs to identify pinch points that are arising independently of the calendar;

UCU will begin discussion with the employer on the evolution of a new workload model that is a consistent scheme across the University and includes the range of academic tasks and specifies time required to carry out all tasks in our workloads. This workload model will be used to plan both workloads and staffing going forwards;

We spoke about unevenness across the university and the need to enforce agreements in all areas. UCU continues to welcome the thoughts of members on this issue.

UCU@UEL teachout schedule February and March 2020

This schedule will be updated – please keep checking to see new events.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G6vt1CxVCoerfmWdqdElD_BOrw_eLvg32jhLwzPDzlk/edit?usp=sharing

If you would like to contribute an event or activity, please contact Gargi at ucugargi@gmail.com

Advice on the imposed PDR scheme

The trade union side continues to have grave concerns about the scheme. We do not agree that staff performance and potential can be summarised in one overall rating. We are also extremely concerned about the manner in which personal data relating to the PDR process will be stored and circulated and we do not yet feel satisfied that staff will have access to a fair and transparent appeals process.

We are continuing to speak to management about our concerns and we hope that some aspects will be clarified and improved.

However, we are also aware that members have been asked to participate in the scheme and are seeking guidance from their union.

At this stage, we cannot advise members to boycott the scheme.

In this period when we are seeking greater clarity and agreement, we advise members to clarify the following matters with their own line managers in this early phase of the new scheme. It is very important that members relay their experiences of the scheme back to the branch committee in order to help us guide the membership through this early phase.

  1. We advise members not to engage in target setting for PDR until their workload for the following year has been agreed. It would be helpful to engage your line manager in discussion about how work required for PDR will be registered in your workload.
  2. We advise members to ask their line manager how their personal data will be stored, who will have access and under what circumstances and how their area proposes to deal with any sensitive issues involving personal disclosure.
  3. We advise members to ask their line manager how targets will be viewed within their area, including any local understandings of how the achievement of particular targets might be rewarded or assessed.
  4. We advise members to ask their line manager what support will be provided in their area to ensure the meeting of targets, particularly where such targets represent new areas of work.

It is our understanding that individual targets will be agreed between members of staff and their line managers. It is important, therefore, that members seek to clarify the 4 issues above before agreeing their own targets.

In the event that you experience any untoward pressure during the course of your PDR you are strongly advised to contact your union representative as soon as possible.

We have agreed further meetings with management and will keep members informed of progress.

Workload Survey to all UEL UCU Members

http://kwiksurveys.com/s/dldfPFcV

The Branch Committee is carrying out a survey of UEL UCU members to find out whether the new workload form which replaced the AWAM is being used, whether you are happy with it and whether the process overall of allocating you your teaching feels transparent.

 
The survey will take no more than 5 minutes and for the last question regarding weekly hours, if you are fractional please work out how many hours it would be if you were full time.
 
You can send your additional comments particularly if you have any specific problems to your school rep.  
 
If you have any questions about the survey or comments please do contact Jill Daniels or Gargi bhattacharyya. We need your responses as soon as possible, please don’t wait.
 

Annual General Meeting, Branch Meeting and Workload Workshop Wednesday 3 June Docklands EB1.105

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, BRANCH MEETING, AND WORKLOAD WORKSHOP
Wednesday 3 June 2015
Docklands Campus EB1105 1.15
1.15-2.00           AGM
Your Union needs you!
UCU can’t resist the current attacks on your rights, and those still to come, without a strong, forceful and representative Committee.
The Committee is still recovering from the redundancies last year which swept away three long-serving Union Committee Officers in their wake.
This year your committee has seen a huge demand for advice and support as well as involvement in protracted negotiations on the Performance Development Review.
To continue to meet the growing demand for advice and to fight back effectively we need you to stand for the Committee in 2015-2016:
Nominations so far: Chair: Dave Hyde; Vice-Chair: Gargi Bhattacharyya; Treasurer/Assistant Secretary: Jon Griffith; Anti-Casualisation Officer: Jill Daniels
Nominations still needed for: Secretary; Membership Secretary; Health and Safety Officer; Equal Opportunities Officer
School reps: Andrew Chanerley, ACE; Ros Carr/Marian Hepburn, ADI; John Chandler, Business and Law; James Beale, HSB; Robert Ahearne, SSS.
Volunteers still needed for: Cass, Psychology and assistants to/job sharers with the reps listed above!
 
2.00 – 2.30         Branch Meeting: Performance Development Review
Members of UEL’s three recognised unions rejected PDR by a majority of 2 to 1.
The joint unions got rid of many of the worst things in it, but haven’t succeeded in removing the ratings, confidentiality issues, and we still don’t know what the appeal procedure will be.
The meeting will hear a report back from the recent joint union meeting on PDR, and decide our next course of action.
 
2.30 – 3.30         Workshop: Workload Allocation
This is the time your workloads are agreed for the coming year. Reports are coming in to UCU from all over the University that subject heads are evolving their own interpretations of the workload agreement and increasing workloads.
New staff members are being given excessive workload while on probation.
The workshop will go through the current workload agreement and arm members with informed ammunition to resist subject leaders who pile on the teaching, reduce hours for preparation, external examining, marking and module leading and still expect you to be research active and carry out ‘Civic Engagement’.
UEL management agreed to revisit this scheme to see how it has worked, so we need feedback from you to take this back to them.
 
Jon Griffith
Branch secretary
On behalf of the
UCU branch committee

Performance development review – joint union meeting, UCU branch meeting, and ballot; advance notice of UCU branch agm

TO UCU MEMBERS

PROPOSALS TO INTRODUCE A STAFF PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW SCHEME TO REPLACE THE STAFF DEVELOPMENT REVIEW:

JOINT UNION MEETING, UCU BRANCH MEETING AND CONSULTATIVE BALLOT

JOINT UNION MEETING:

TUESDAY 28 APRIL (STRATFORD) 12.30-2.00, EDG01
(please note changed start time)

UCU BRANCH MEETING:

THURSDAY 30 APRIL, 1.15-2.30, DOCKLANDS
ROOM NUMBER TBC

CONSULTATIVE BALLOT:

YOU SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED AN EMAIL ENABLING YOU TO VOTE – PLEASE CONTACT UCU IF YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED THIS EMAIL

THE CONSULTATIVE BALLOT WILL CLOSE ON 8 MAY

Please read all the attached documents.

The UEL UCU branch committee continues to have grave concerns about the following aspects of the scheme:

– the retention of an overall ranking;
– the limitations on the evidence to be accepted in the appeal process;
and
– the way the scheme might be used by managers;

we urge members to attend the joint union meeting on Tuesday 28 April and the UCU branch meeting on 30 April to discuss the implications of these proposals and our collective response before casting their votes in the ballot by 8 May.

ADVANCE NOTICE:
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
27 MAY 2015

The branch has recently lost some of its most active members as a result of restructurings and retirements, while demands have increased – both in supporting individual members and in negotiations with management; we need a full and active committee of officers, and representatives in each School; workload time is allocated for officer posts, and may also be available for School reps who take on individual casework on behalf of members in other Schools.

We have to elect or confirm the appointment of new officers and reps at the agm on 27 May; we urge all members to consider standing for officer positions (chair, vice-chair, secretary, assistant secretary, membership secretary, equalities officer, health and safety officer, and anti-casualisation officer) or as School reps, and to put their names forward before or at the agm, in order to strengthen the branch, and our ability to both defend the interests of individual academic staff, and protect the role of academic staff in the University.

Performance Review joint union meetings

PROPOSALS TO INTRODUCE A STAFF PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW SCHEME TO REPLACE THE STAFF DEVELOPMENT REVIEW:

Apologies for the delay in updating you about joint union discussions with UEL management on the proposed scheme, and the postponement of the March UCU branch meeting.

JOINT UNION MEETINGS AND CONSULTATIVE BALLOT

JOINT UNION MEETINGS:

WEDNESDAY 22 APRIL (DOCKLANDS) 12.00-2.00, NB205

TUESDAY 28 APRIL (STRATFORD) 12.00-2.00, EDG01

A CONSULTATIVE BALLOT WILL OPEN NEXT WEEK AND CLOSE ON 8 MAY

FURTHER INFORMATION TO FOLLOW

UCU branch committee, UEL

Francisca Valenzuela help needed

Dear colleagues,

You will be sad to hear of the death of Francisca Valenzuela

Francisca came to London, via Madrid, nearly 6 years ago from her native Dominican Republic and started working at UEL from August 2010.

In the last year Francisca had been diagnosed with cancer and was off work whilst undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, Francisca passed away on Saturday 28th March, aged just 57.

Francisca was a hardworking, vivacious and generous woman, who will be sorely missed by her family and many friends at UEL and in her community.

UEL UNISON will remember her, in particular, for her activism and the central role she played in the successful campaign for the London Living Wage at UEL.

Francisca had a strong sense of social justice and a passion for learning. This was best demonstrated by her full (vocal) participation in all of the employment rights training courses and English classes organised by UEL UNISON.

Entertaining, caring and gregarious – Francisca’s loud laughter could be heard from one end of the atrium to the other. She loved talking (and practising her English) and she loved singing. In fact, her singing can be heard across the world on the internet on the Youtube clip “The Cleaners Voice” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-aRNW-Rst4

UEL UNISON are fundraising to try and support her family at this difficult time. Francisca’s family will be taking her back to her native Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, where her son and most of her relatives live. Unfortunately, the costs of repatriation is approximately £6,000. This is a huge financial burden on the family and so every pound we can raise will assist them in taking Francisca home.

If you wish to help – please donate through the paypal donate link at https://uelunison.wordpress.com/

All the funds raised will be provided to Francisca’s family to help with her repatriation costs.

Performance Management and the new Workplace Tyranny report for Scottish TUC

Anyone interested in reading this report please contact Dave Hyde for a copy at D.Hyde@uel.ac.uk

Performance Management and the New Workplace Tyranny
A Report for the Scottish Trades Union Congress
Professor Phil Taylor
University of Strathclyde
philip.taylor@strath.ac.uk

Performance Management Update

PLEASE ATTEND JOINT UNION MEETINGS ON PROPOSALS TO INTRODUCE A STAFF PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW SCHEME TO REPLACE THE STAFF DEVELOPMENT REVIEW.

THURSDAY 5th FEBRUARY 1.30 LT.03 (STRATFORD)
FRIDAY 6TH FEBRUARY 1.30 EB.G.06 (DOCKLANDS)

REGIONAL OFFICALS FROM JOINT UNIONS WILL ALSO BE PRESENT ALONG WITH JOINT UNION NEGOTIATORS

THESE PROPOSALS HAVE SERIOUS IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR CONDITIONS AND HOW WE ARE MANAGED

PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR NEGOTIATORS AND MAKE SURE YOUR VOICE IS HEARD.

The NEW scheme asks reviewers to rate performance in different areas including behaviour. Staff can be judged as unsatisfactory for example against a range of ‘competencies’ some very generic. Reviewers then have to come up with one overall rating of your performance. Included also are ‘stretch’ objectives and it is not clear what consequences would follow from a failure to meet any objectives. Finally a reviewer has to rate a staff member in relation to their “aspirations and potential to make a wider contribution to UEL.”

Please attend the meeting to discuss this proposal and how it should be responded to.
If you are unable to attend please send your thoughts, however brief to G.BHATTACHARYYA@UEL.AC.UK BY 13th February

Reminder UCU Branch Meeting 10 December 1.15 to 2.30 room change to Docklands EB1.44

Please note the Branch meeting is tomorrow December 10 at Docklands at 1.15 to 2.30.
The room has changed to EB1.44.

 

UCU branch meeting, 10 December, 1.15-2.30, EB1105 (car park end of East Building, Docklands)

UCU branch meeting, 10 December, 1.15-2.30, EB1105 (car park end of East Building, Docklands)

PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO ATTEND THIS MEETING – ESPECIALLY TO DISCUSS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT, AND TO MAKE YOUR VIEWS KNOWN, SO WE CAN REPRESENT MEMBERS EFFECTIVELY TO UEL’S SENIOR MANAGERS AND GOVERNORS.

Agenda:

1. Performance Management
Report on current joint union negotiations with management.

Reports and discussion of any experiences members may have of performance management tools being used in the University prior to the completion of negotiations.

2. USS Marking Boycott:
The meeting will be asked to note that the branch committee is not recommending participation in this action by UEL branch members.

3. Promotion to principal lectureships:
UEL Management’s ending of promotions to Principal Lectureships.
4. For Information: Termination of the trade dispute with UEL (as a result of a ballot completed on 27 April 2012).

5. Request for Additional Committee Members

6. Report: UCU Branch Website

7. AOB

(IF YOU WISH TO SEND RESOLUTIONS IN ADVANCE OF THE MEETING PLEASE SEND THEM TO ME.)

Jon Griffith
(BRANCH SECRETARY)
j.griffith@uel.ac.uk
http://www.uel.web.ucu.org.uk

Reconvened AGM 12.30-1.30, Wednesday 5 November, EB103, Docklands

To All UCU members – Reconvened branch AGM

The recent UCU branch AGM was not quorate and it now seems that, due to IT problems, some members may not have received full notice of the meeting. It was therefore not possible to conclude all the business of the AGM and to ratify the new branch committee. We will therefore reconvene the AGM next week and all positions remain open for nomination:

AGM 12.30-1.30, Wednesday 5 November, EB103, Docklands

The reconvened AGM will formally confirm the new committee. Please consider standing /accepting nomination for the following branch positions (nominations can be accepted at the AGM on Wednesday):

Branch officers: Secretary, Chair, Membership Secretary, Equality officer, Anti-casualisation officer, Health & Safety officer, Treasurer.

School rep positions: ACE, ADI, Business and Law, Cass School of Education and Communities, Graduate School, Health Sports and Biosciences, Psychology and Social Sciences.

Because we have lost several active committee members we now need branch members to stand up and be counted more than ever.

Members currently nominated and seconded for the branch committee are:
Chair Dave Hyde D.Hyde@uel.ac.uk
Secretary Jon Griffith j.griffith@uel.ac.uk
Anti-casualisation officer Jill Daniels j.daniels2@uel.ac.uk
Equality officer Gargi Bhattacharyya g.bhattacharyya@uel.ac.uk –
Sports rep James Beale j.beale@uel.ac.uk
ADI rep Rosalind Jane Carr r.j.carr@uel.ac.uk

Meetings of all three UEL unions are planned for the first week of December to report on and discuss progress in the current negotiations concerning UEL management’s proposed performance management/review scheme.

UCU @ UEL

Joint Union Statement Regarding Performance Management Discussions

You may recall before the Professional Services Review that management expressed an intention to change the Staff Development Review (SDR). Some of you may also have been involved in pilots of the proposed new scheme in the past year and registered concern about the new scheme both to unions and to management. In the mid-summer management advised the Unions that they intended to go ahead and implement the scheme with effect from 1st September.

The Joint Unions raised objections to this and made representations to the Chair of the Board of Governors on your behalf. Following an initial impasse, which required intervention by ACAS, discussions with a view to reaching an agreement on the proposals have commenced between management and the Joint Unions.

It is too early to predict what the outcome of these negotiations will be but early discussions have been both productive and constructive. We will give full reports on the discussions at our various branch meetings, our next meetings with management will be on 30th October and 4th November.

Please make every effort to attend all forthcoming branch meetings as it is vital that you hear and consider these discussions.

UCU; Unite; Unison

New Academic Framework, academic profiling and redundancies at UEL

Message from Dave Hyde, UCU rep for LSS, below

 ‘Exiting out’

The redundancies in Computing, RDBS, School of Health, Sport and Biosciences and CASS  are an attack on staff and a warning to all of us as the employer proceeds school by school.  It is  clear that colleagues are being ‘exited out’, partly because programmes have been redesigned around them as part of the restructuring and rationalisation that has accompanied the NAF. This has been done  in a way that makes academic staff surplus to requirements and redundant.  

 Academic profiling

It is important, in order to maintain the quality of service provision and professional morale, that colleagues’ academic profile of skills and knowledges developed over long periods at UEL be recognised at UEL within the NAF.  This applies to many staff as existing modules have been  fused, reconfigured, or closed.  We cannot allow the employer to construct and impose the artificial and arbitrary profiles for staff that they want. It is vital that we stand together as a union to defend the  normal professional right of union members to exercise their full academic abilities.  

 As things stand, we should be under no illusions that members stand to be  ‘exited out’ of their programmes or assigned to administrative duties to replace their teaching lost as a result of NAF restructuring and in the wake of the administrative restructuring per se. This is obviously unacceptable to any colleagues who work to practice their discipline and develop knowledge.  As a growing number of people are recognising, this is the major unattended issue relating to the NAF and as a union we will advise and support members as SDRs take place and during the preparatory period through to next semester. Artificial and arbitrary ‘professional’ profiling is a principal weapon the hands of the management to ‘exit out’ our members.  This is utterly unacceptable and our branch will be discussing what action to take against this.

 SDRs

SDRs are the principal instrument through which our members stand to be bullied and pressured into accepting their ‘fate’.  The administrative redundancies already underway stand to pressure our members into shouldering the burden of even more work beyond their lecturing, pushing us into punitive rates of productivity and dangerous levels of stress. If we do not defend academic profiles  they will be broken, remade and diluted even further by the employer to give them the super flexible profiles they want. Jobs will be inevitably wasted as they proceed.  

 The branch advises members to stand firm in their SDRs and refuse to discuss any proposal or suggestion which would bend their lecturing role in another direction, particularly to take on administrative duties that would have otherwise been done by administrators designated for redundancy.  The branch advises members who come under such pressure to make the legitimate response that these are matters for their union to take up with management on their behalf and that they do not wish to discuss them further.  Please contact your UCU school rep as soon as possible if you encounter encounter any untoward pressure or  bullying. School Reps can be found on the contact us page of this site.

 For and on behalf of UCU

 Dave Hyde