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News Letter

Stop cuts to funding for disabled and dyslexic students

David Willets, the Minister for Universities and Science, has announced the  “modernisation” of the government grant for students with disabilities, the Disabled  Students Allowances (DSA). The initial detail of this modernisation is a series of cuts in provision, placing the funding burden on Universities and individual students. We the undersigned believe that these cuts will:
Reduce access to higher education for students with disabilities and dyslexia Reduce successful outcomes with less support meaning lower degree classifications for students who require additional support Reduce the employment prospects for graduates with disabilities and dyslexia Increase the drop out/failure rate in universities amongst disabled and dyslexic students Lead to further inequality within society.
We therefore call on the government to withdraw this policy statement made by the minister, David Willetts.

Lambeth College action against new contracts

At a meeting earlier this week, UCU members a Lambeth College voted unanimously to take indefinite strike action from Thursday May 1st against new contracts which have been imposed. The new contracts affect new staff, current staff who are promoted or wish to change their fraction and will also affect current hourly-paid staff. In addition management documents state that the new contract of employment may be rolled out across the board for all existing staff. On Thursday 1st May, in addition to picket lines at the Brixton and Vauxhall Centres, there will be a Mass Picket at 7am outside the Clapham Centre, 45 Clapham Common Southside (Clapham Common tube station, Northern Line). Please support this if you can.

Additionally, there will be a solidarity strike rally at 6pm in the evening, to which all UCU members, friends and family are welcome, at the Karibu Centre, Gresham Road, Brixton, called by Lambeth College UCU, Lambeth College Unison and London Region UCU. Please send messages of support to Lambeth College branch secretary, Mandy:

UEL settlement for former leaders apparently totals £589,000

The University of East London has apparently paid a total of £589,000 in settlement to three senior managers, including its former vice-chancellor, who resigned before news emerged that two overseas ventures had collapsed. Click on the link to see the  TIMES HIGHER article

UCU to form group to look at Academic Framework

UCU is setting up a working group to look at the new academic framework and the proposals for its implementation in order to collate staff concerns. If you wish to join this group then please contact a branch committee member (see the contact us page for contact details).

Workload and Staffing Cuts

 The sector has gone through a difficult time.  Management and the Board of Governors main strategy to deal with these difficulties appears to be to just keep shrinking the university from a staffing perspective whilst spending enormous amount of money on new buildings. Other competitor universities do not seem to have fared so badly. They have strategies that seem to have mitigated the problems that UEL is under. (more…)

Workload Model

Come and hear about the latest discussions with management with regards to a workload allocation model.  Matters took a step backwards with regards to the workload discussions recently and we are reduced to a surreal discussion about 12 hours notional work.  It is unfortunately clear that management are way out of touch with regards to all the duties that an academic member of staff has, how long it takes to complete them or how many hours we work that are sheer goodwill.  (more…)

Academic Calendar

July resits are back without any discussion with UCU.  This is a breach of good industrial relations and a strong message needs to be sent from the Branch. It is clear that July resits do not work from an academic perspective.  Colleagues talk about the difficulties of finding a time to take off over the year especially with marking coming at the end of semesters.  (more…)

Academic Framework

Changes to the academic framework will require masses of extra work from staff to get all of the programmes restructured, redeveloped, and reapproved by the next academic year. Make sure that this shows on any workload allocation you are given.  Changes must not be rushed through too quickly and in particular must not damage the student experience for third year students that could hit the NSS.

Governance at UEL

Serious questions must now be asked about the governance of the university given the worrying problems UEL has faced recently.  Are they fit for purpose to use their jargon?  The joint unions are going to issue an invitation to the Board of Governors to address a staff meeting; we hope they will honour the staff at UEL and attend.   What other measures should be considered to hold the Board to account?  We (the staff) have to start defending the institution and questions need be asked.

Recycling Assessment Questions

UCU had to recently support staff members through some simply awful disciplinary cases where staff were charged with GROSS misconduct for repeating/recycling questions. We want to remind staff that the new assessment policy states that we are not permitted to repeat/recyle questions.    The new UEL assessment policy has does not permit questions to be reused / recycled but these changes have not been signaled for staff so you may of missed it.

Message from Branch Secretary

A few key announcements and dates for your diary. Performance Review Scheme – meeting to discuss proposed scheme – Tuesday 26th February Stratford Room RB.1.03 1-2pm. (more…)

Verbal Instructions from a Line Manager

 We would like to repeat again advice that any verbal instruction given by a Subject Head/Field Leader or Dean to a staff member should be confirmed back to them by email for the record if you are concerned about what you have been asked to do. This follows Disciplinary Procedures being used in RDBS when staff members were following verbal instructions. (more…)

An opportunity to have better industrial relations at UEL….

Now is the time to put the grim 2012 behind us and to consider 2013 as a year of new opportunities. Recent departures from VCG group offer the possibility of a change of direction by management that returns better industrial relations to UEL in general and halts the creeping culture of fear that many staff are voicing concerns about. (more…)

Important News

Welcome to the new semester and apologies for the delay in communicating with you. To make up for this please find attached our latest newsletter full of important news and giving dates of meetings for the rest of the year including the AGM.  As you will see from the newsletter you will shortly receive, by email, details of the workload model that has resulted from the lengthy discussions with management.  This will be sent to you by UCU National and you will have an opportunity to accept or reject the model also by email(more…)

UCU Branch News Update No 7

Dear colleagues

Apologies for the delay in updating members on the current dispute but matters are complicated and there is also an increase in workload for the Officers which is seriously impacting on all aspects of our union work UEL.   We will discuss this at the next Branch meeting. 

There is much to report on and some VERY important issues to bring to your attention such as:  the on-going dispute, new UEL Attendance Policy, verbal Instructions to from Field Leaders or Subject Heads, dismissal and victimisation of Unite Branch Secretary, Tony Britton, student demonstration 21st November arrangements, farewell and thanks to Peter Mottershead, London Living Wage Report and dates of next branch meetings. (more…)

UCU Response to ALL staff email – ‘UCU matters’ sent 29th February 2012 from Vice Chancellor

 The following article sets out  UCU’s position in relation to the Vice Chancellor’s email to all UeL staff that was sent on 29th Feb 2012. The article is split into three main sections: 1) The use of the Portfolio System; 2) academic staff conditions; and 3) the perceived value of academic staff to Uel.

  The VC says that UCU agreed to a pilot of the portfolio system in 2011/12

UCU says NO

  • We have never agreed to the Portfolio system; it is completely incompatible with a workload allocation system that takes into account the range of responsibilities academic staff fulfil.
  • The Portfolio system was imposed in a number of schools this year. Had UCU not intervened, this system ONLY would have been imposed across the university.
  • Some schools have been advised by their Deans that AWAM is not to be used and some Deans are saying AWAM can be used but then ignore it in reality.
  • There is also mounting evidence that undue pressure is being put on staff to accept workloads set by reference to the Portfolio system only; in some cases this is associated with bullying.
  • Although the VC has misrepresented the UCU position on Portfolios, he has now agreed to negotiate a new workload allocation system with the union. We welcome this development, which has come about as a result of collective union pressure after a year of patiently waiting and management thinking that the Portfolio model could be introduced without proper negotiation and consultation.
  • Providing management honour their promise to establish a working group on workload allocation we should have this situation resolved by the end of the academic year and we assure you that UCU representatives will argue forcefully for a model that reflects the varied nature of our responsibilities.


New guides available

New guides are available on this site via the HELP page and cover

  • Taking out a grievance
  • Taking out a grievance for increased workload over 1548
  • Using this site

What’s happening at UEL???

Special joint union meeting on stress and bullying: Tuesday 8 November, 12.00-1.00pm, Room EB 1.07, Docklands*

 Jacqui Mitchell writes – When Vice Chancellor Patrick McGhee addressed staff earlier this semester he reported that UEL was in robust good health. Notwithstanding problems over cuts to Higher Education across the country the institution was fighting fit, he said.

 At meetings on both campuses the VC gave a positive account of UEL’s progress. Why then has management returned for a second round of voluntary redundancies? (more…)

UeL UCU Newsletter 3

UeL UCU newsletter number 3 published on October 31st 2011 is available on-line on the news and campaigns page. Click here to go direct to the newsletter