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Urgent – Branch Meeting Tues 22/11 EB.G.10 1-2.30pm to discuss Portfolios & Field Leader Issue


We have a serious crisis at UEL for academic staff over two issues which have come to a head in the last couple of weeks: workload allocation and the Field Leader role. More discussion about each of these issues further down this post.  Please do not respond to any request to move to Portfolio Model until this meeting has been held.

We are therefore reminding all members of our Branch Meeting on TUESDAY 22th November in room  between 1-2.30pm in room EB.G.10. PLEASE ATTEND.  On the table will be the resolution below.  UCU officers will explain why this has to be our next step and the resolve we need to demonstrate to management that we have had enough. The position we face is the most serious at UEL since the attempt in 1998 to impose mass redundancies (which, together with the students, we saw off) and we need to hear your views.


This branch meeting notes the failure of UEL management  to engage meaningfully in discussion about Field Leaders and workload allocation.

The branch endorses the call from UCU Co-ordinating Committee for a final meeting with management to identify credible resolution of these matters. The branch resolves that if no acceptable response is forthcoming from management a collective dispute will be declared and a branch ballot for industrial action will be organised in respect of that dispute.


Management appears to have instructed Deans that the Academic Portfolio Reference Model Portfolio Model is to be used for 2011-12, despite workloads being agreed earlier in the year.  In one email there appears to be a clear link to “budgetary reductions requiring workloads to be amended”.  This instruction is in bad faith and goes against a meeting held by UCU with management in July whereby it was acknowledged that:

1.      There were serious problems with the Academic Portfolio Reference Model and how it can offer an overview of the full workload of an academic member of staff.

2.      The Academic Portfolio Model is not a mechanism for allocating workload.

3.      AWAM is still our AGREED workload allocation model until such times as a new model is agreed through consultation and negotiation.

It was agreed that:

4.      We would work with management to look at new workload allocation that would “take into account the full range of professional activities undertaken by academic staff and will reflect also the best practice to be found within the sector.”

5.      For academic staff there is a need to “take special care to ensure that the way our workload is allocated is both fair and transparent.”

It is deeply regrettable that management is citing budgetary constraints in its efforts to implement APRM – even though the VC asserts that UEL is very good financial shape. The Portfolio Model is neither fair nor transparent, and management has acknowledged that it should not be used to allocate workload.  We therefore have to demonstrate a resolve to defend AWAM and to demand a proper process of negotiation before any changes can be introduced. We urge you to participate fully in this discussion and make your views known at the branch meeting.  Please do not respond to the any requests to work out which Portfolio you could be placed in until this meeting has been held. We will update members shortly after the meeting what was agreed.

Field Leader Role

UCU has made its views about the Field Leader issue completely clear to management on several occasions. This is also a national issue, as UEL wants to assign line-management duties to a role profile that does not have them.  We have asked for a review of the role and it was agreed that the post would cease on 31stAugust 2011.  No further discussions have taken place and despite our objections to the FL questionnaire it has now been sent to staff in most schools, with comments to the effect that this is part of  the review we have asked for. The preamble to the management questionnaire is disingenuous, to say the least, which is why we have issued our own version which UCU urges you to complete and return as soon as possible to Rae Beaver.

It has become increasingly clear over the past 18 months that management are:

·       not clear about what negotiation means with trade unions;

·       are not honouring agreements  – even the Framework Agreement, negotiated for four years was broken within one month of signing when they decided to pay £3,000 to Field Leaders;

·       are increasingly acting in bad faith.

We need to show management that we have now had enough. This academic year has been very hard on academic staff and it is not going to get better unless we unite and show our strength. This is the time to do that: at the forthcoming branch meeting we will explore what form of collective industrial action is appropriate.

Please come to the meeting on Tuesday.



UCU (Docklands) Branch Secretary



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