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Report by Malcolm Povey for UCU EGM 10 th March 2011

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Defend Jobs, Defend Education Compulsory redundancies - on the agenda Strike to Defend your Pensions, Pay, Jobs and Colleagues. Report by Malcolm Povey for UCU EGM 10 th March 2011. USS Ballot Result.

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Defend Jobs, Defend EducationCompulsory redundancies - on the agendaStrike to Defend your Pensions, Pay, Jobs and Colleagues

Report by Malcolm Povey for UCU EGM 10th March 2011

uss ballot result
USS Ballot Result
  • Members in more than sixty institutions have agreed to support both strike action and action short of a strike in order to defend USS pension rights. The ballot was disaggregated by institution but if the results are taken together a total of 64.55% of those who voted have supported strike action while 82.19% supported action short of a strike. Overall turnout across all the  institutions within the very short balloting period was 36.32%.The USS negotiators remain fully committed to reaching a negotiated solution if only the employers will show some willing to engage with us. The employers have refused ACAS involvement so far.
  • National Strike Days so far announced – Tuesday March 22nd and Thursday March 24th.
job security and pay national pay dispute
Job Security and Pay National Pay Dispute

Members have voted to take strike action and in favour of action short of a strike in the ballot on the 2010 annual claim. Overall 52.62% of those who voted supported strike action while 73.53% supported action short of a strike. The turnout was 34%, again during a very short balloting period.

National Strike Day over Job Security and Pay on March 24th.

local dispute
Local Dispute
  • Overall 50.6% of members at the University of Leeds who voted supported strike action while 66.9% supported action short of a strike. The turnout was 46.3%.
decision of the ucu general meeting of november 9 th 2010
Decision of the UCU General Meeting of November 9th 2010
  • “The LA notes proposals carried in Senate to restructure the Centre for Joint Honours (CJH). The paper contains no proposals for how the higher level administrative functions of the Centre are to be carried out. The obvious conclusion is that the work will simply be dumped on already overstretched staff in the Schools, while our members will be displaced from their jobs. The LA has twice requested further information from University management in the ESRG about this but the proposal to restructure was taken to Senate regardless of our concerns. The LA does not believe that there is a diminishing need for these jobs, for the most part Joint Honours programmes will continue to be delivered; current and prospective students will still need to be looked after. The LA calls on university management to redeploy our members into the relevant Schools. The LA resolves should this not happen that our members will not pick up the work of our colleagues in the CJH. Should the university management move to make our members redundant in CJH or any other part of the University, the LA will ballot for industrial action.”
november section 188 letter
November Section 188 Letter

The Notice of Redundancy was issued before the offer of MIS/PRT terms, contrary to our agrement.

We are back to where we were last year.

what does the ucu want on behalf of its members
What does the UCU want on behalf of its members?
  • The UCU has never said ‘No redundancies ever’. There is no case for redundancies in the current reviews.
  • Placement of all staff displaced during restructuring into posts at least of the same grade
  • Agreement and implementation of the School Constitutions which we agreed last March with the university and which are essential for proper consultation, collegiality and academic freedom
  • Abandonment of ‘Academic Activity Profiles’
  • Removal from the review process of Physics, Chemistry, English, Student Services, School of Modern Languages and Cultures and Humanities
  • Agreement regarding fixed-term contract staff.
is a negotiated solution possible
Is a negotiated solution possible?
  • You can be assured that UCU is engaging seriously with the university to reach a negotiated solution. Our priority is to protect members’ jobs without having to take industrial action if possible.
  • We have taken up the VCs offer of high level talks without pre-conditions.
school constitutions
School constitutions -
  • Management revising the draft model constitution and will let UCU have the next draft by the end of this week. 
  • Further meeting of the governance sub-group as soon as possible to discuss that draft.  Aim to put an agreed draft to the Senate for approval in May.
fixed term contracts
Fixed-term contracts
  • The UCU’s comments on the proposed arrangements for the management of fixed-term contract will be discussed at a meeting of the ESRG’s sub-group (a meeting which has already been arranged). 
  • The UCU side will let the University have comments in writing ahead of that meeting.
fbs and cjh
  • FBS is at Stage 4 of the organisational change process.  Both sides are agreed that, to provide clarity for the staff concerned, we need to complete that stage as soon as possible, consistent with ensuring that the process is thorough and conducted properly.   UCU concerns about the fairness of the process have been drawn to the attention of the management side, and we will arrange a meeting with you soon – we will try for next week – to explore and respond to those concerns.  I will need to confirm with you who should represent UCU in this meeting.
  • CJH is just entering Stage 4, and discussions are under way with individuals who do not have a role in the new structure.   UCU will be kept abreast of any developments.
academic activity profiles
Academic activity profiles

UCU yesterday explained its concern about the potential link between the publication of academic activity profiles and the selection of staff for redundancy.  

Management agreed to convene a meeting soon to discuss ways of addressing UCU’s concerns.  

number and prioritisation of reviews
Number and prioritisation of reviews
  • Management will come back to UCU soon, as discussed in the last JCUU, with some thoughts about the prioritisation of reviewsand will try to arrange things so that the matter can be discussed at the same time as FBS and academic activity profiles.
  • The UCU pointed out that the new RAM changed the context within which all reviews were operating and that a ‘transparent’ financial model was required.
review of the march 2010 agreement
Review of the March 2010 agreement
  • The University side will meet in London on 28 March to review the agreement reached last March.  
  • The University will write separately to Michael MacNeil’s office about the logistics and timing.
where does this leave us
Where does this leave us?
  • We now have the legal right to strike in defence of jobs at Leeds.
  • We have made more progress in negotiations in the last three weeks than in the past three months.
  • The university says it wants to ‘avoid redundancies if at all possible’, we need to keep the possibility of strike action in defence of our colleagues open, until they have all been given jobs
  • Governance sub-group’, involving Malcolm Povey, Gavin Reid, Steve Scott and Roger Gair
  • A ‘compound meeting’, with a bigger cast of characters (probably varying as we move from one topic to another) to discuss FBS, profiles and the prioritisation of reviews.  
joint statement
Joint Statement
  • The University and UCU met on 9 March to discuss the points at dispute between the two sides.   The meeting was constructive, and a series of further meetings is being scheduled to work towards a resolution of the dispute.  
recommended next steps
Recommended next steps
  • ‘All out’ National strike action in Defence of Pensions, Job Security and Pay on 22nd March and 24th March.
  • ‘Activate’ our local strike ballot by taking strike action on 24th March alongside the National Strikes, minimising disruption to students.
  • Keep ASOS in reserve ( we might want to withdraw from SRDS, the university may well threaten pay docking.)
  • National Strike Day over Pensions – March 22nd
  • National Strike Day over Pensions, Job Security and Pay – March 24th
  • TUC National Demonstration – 26th March
  • Contact for transport details.