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L14 Casework management system

Congress calls for an immediate moratorium on all further contractual commitment and expenditure by UCU on the casework management system (CRM).

Congress calls for the establishment of a working party to include NEC members, branch casework officers and local activists with IT expertise, with the aim of defining a workable system which will meet the needs of branch officers and reps.

REMITTED

Health and safety

90 Job losses and conditions of service - London Metropolitan University (North Branch)

Congress notes the harmful impact of job losses on the working conditions of remaining staff in universities and colleges.

Congress believes that existing staff shouldn't be expected to work harder or work unrecognised and unpaid overtime to make up the work left following redundancies.

Congress resolves to:

  • call on all members to be vigilant in defending their conditions of service and reasonable workloads;
  • call on branches and LAs to campaign vigorously around protecting reasonable workloads and reducing excessive workloads;
  • call for workload impact assessments of all proposals to reduce staffing.

CARRIED


91 Universities and colleges ombudsman service - University of Birmingham

Congress notes with alarm the high rate of reported cases of bullying and harassment of members and of reports of unethical and improper practices by managers. Congress deplores the climate of fear which now exists widely among staff in colleges and universities and which leads to a reluctance to bring grievances against managers alleged to be involved in such practices.

Congress calls on the NEC to campaign vigorously for a universities and colleges ombudsman service, with powers of investigation and compensation, which would be independent of management and funded by central government, in order to provide a confidential service and helpline for whistle-blowers, victims of bullying and harassment and other vulnerable members of staff on our campuses.

CARRIED


92 Attendance at work during inclement weather and travel disruptions - Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee

Congress condemns those employers who require employees to attend for work when inclement weather and associated travel disruption make travel hazardous or unreasonably lengthy or who threaten employees with loss of pay when they cannot get into work in such conditions.

Congress recognises the duty to attend where reasonably possible for those work activities which require attendance and calls upon employers to develop a positive approach to adverse weather and travel disruption in partnership with recognised trade unions. This could include:

  • better support for home working;
  • rescheduling of activities;
  • gritting of university and college premises;
  • early closing to give staff time to travel home;
  • provision of transport;
  • free overnight accommodation for staff who cannot travel home safely.

Such provisions must have regard to equality considerations.

Congress encourages branches to negotiate policies around attendance at work during inclement weather and travel disruption in local joint negotiating committees (JNCs).

CARRIED AS AMENDED

92A.1 - Academic-related committee

first paragraph - after 'loss of pay' insert  'loss of annual leave, or any other detriment'

At end of first paragraph add 'and in other exceptional circumstances making it impossible for employees to attend work, such as the recent stranding of people overseas following the volcanic ash flight suspension'.

Second paragraph, insert 'and other exceptional circumstances as noted above' after 'travel disruption'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress condemns those employers who require employees to attend for work when inclement weather and associated travel disruption make travel hazardous or unreasonably lengthy or who threaten employees with loss of pay, loss of annual leave, or any other detriment when they cannot get into work in such conditions and in other exceptional circumstances making it impossible for employees to attend work, such as the recent stranding of people overseas following the volcanic ash flight suspension.

Congress recognises the duty to attend where reasonably possible for those work activities which require attendance and calls upon employers to develop a positive approach to adverse weather and travel disruption and other exceptional circumstances as noted above in partnership with recognised trade unions. This could include:

  • better support for home working;
  • rescheduling of activities;
  • gritting of university and college premises;
  • early closing to give staff time to travel home;
  • provision of transport;
  • free overnight accommodation for staff who cannot travel home safely.

Such provisions must have regard to equality considerations.

Congress encourages branches to negotiate policies around attendance at work during inclement weather and travel disruption in local joint negotiating committees (JNCs).


93 This conference resolves to campaign against unfair sickness policies - City College Birmingham

This conference resolves to Campaign:

  1. Against sickness policies which target our members on an unfair basis.
  2. For sickness absence procedures to be simple, fair and transparent and designed to support workers who are sick.
  3. To ensure employers provide a good work environment, which would entail good induction training, ongoing efforts to improve job satisfaction, properly trained and supportive management, worker-friendly workplace practices and supportive practices for people with children and dependants.
  4. To recruit more members in becoming union reps, so that their members can have local representatives organising and representing them around this issue.

CARRIED


94 Congress notes with concern the introduction of 'Wellbeing' policies - University of Essex

Congress notes with concern the introduction, encouraged by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), of "Wellbeing" policies. These policies may appear attractive, but usually contain "Absence Monitoring" measures to facilitate the bullying back to work of ill colleagues or their dismissal. Such policies typically place the onus for stress management onto individuals, rather than recognising that excessive workloads are the primary cause of workplace stress, and advance measures which trespass into employees' private lives.

Congress instructs the NEC to ensure that employers acknowledge that the primary sources of workplace stress are excessive workloads and poor conditions, and to support branches in:

  • resisting the introduction of such policies containing elements detrimental to our members' interests;
  • securing improvements to such policies so that our members are not discouraged from taking necessary sick-leave, bullied back to work, dismissed, or forced to resign;
  • limiting incursions into our members' private lives.

CARRIED


95 Ethical practice in recruiting students from overseas security forces - Teesside University

Overseas police and security force personnel form an increasing group of students being offered education and training in UK higher and further education. This may include training in policing, forensic or criminal investigation. We applaud the positive efforts made by UK academics delivering this education to raise international human rights standards for policing. However significant ethical and safety concerns occur when security force personnel from countries with current human rights violations are recruited as students. We call on UCU nationally and all applicable local branches to request institutional managements to carry out a transparent ethical and health and safety audit of overseas police and security organisations providing students to their institution to ensure that they are an appropriate partner for an institution and could not bring the institution into disrepute or place the safety of staff or students including students fleeing persecution and their families at risk.

CARRIED


96 Disciplinary procedures - Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

Congress notes an increasing use of formal disciplinary procedures as measures to deal with staff discipline that in the past might well have been resolved informally. This escalation has a negative impact on the culture of an educational institution. In addition, there is a growing tendency for management to order suspension of the individual while cases are investigated. Suspension makes a return to work more difficult.

Congress resolves that UCU branches should seek local agreements which follow national guidelines including those from ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) which make it clear that suspensions should be the exception rather than the rule and should be for specific reasons, for example, gross misconduct or where relationships have broken down.

In addition, it should be the case that 'any suspensions that do take place should only take place after careful consideration and be reviewed to ensure that it is not unnecessarily protracted' (ACAS).

CARRIED



Environment Campaigns

97 Environment Campaigns - South Thames College

Congress is concerned about the lack of progress made at the Copenhagen climate summit. This is compounded by the impact of the recession, public spending cuts and the influence of 'climate scepticism'. Significant investment needs to be made in:

  • wind, wave, tide and solar rather than nuclear power
  • renovation and insulation of homes and buildings
  • a network of cheap buses and trains.

UCU must play a key role in the campaign for green jobs and skills. In a period of cuts in the FHE sector it represents significant job creation opportunities. 'Greening the curriculum' includes:

  • Adapting existing course programmes
  • Introducing new programme areas to meet future skills demands
  • Adoption in continuous professional development schemes

Branches and regions need to build membership awareness by:

  • Setting up Climate Action Groups
  • Joint initiatives with the NUS and People and Planet
  • Campaigning beyond the workplace

CARRIED AS AMENDED

97A.1 - Coleg Gwent (Newport branch)

Add to motion after last bullet point:

  • Recruiting branch and regional environmental reps
  • Organising training courses for environmental reps
  • Developing close working relationships with other public sector unions in their workplace e.g. Unison on environmental matters

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress is concerned about the lack of progress made at the Copenhagen climate summit. This is compounded by the impact of the recession, public spending cuts and the influence of 'climate scepticism'. Significant investment needs to be made in:

  • wind, wave, tide and solar rather than nuclear power
  • renovation and insulation of homes and buildings
  • a network of cheap buses and trains.

UCU must play a key role in the campaign for green jobs and skills. In a period of cuts in the FHE sector it represents significant job creation opportunities. 'Greening the curriculum' includes:

  • Adapting existing course programmes
  • Introducing new programme areas to meet future skills demands
  • Adoption in continuous professional development schemes

Branches and regions need to build membership awareness by:

  • Setting up Climate Action Groups
  • Joint initiatives with the NUS and People and Planet
  • Campaigning beyond the workplace
  • Recruiting branch and regional environmental reps
  • Organising training courses for environmental reps
  • Developing close working relationships with other public sector unions in their workplace e.g. Unison on environmental matters

98 Composite - Defend pensions Nelson and Colne College, East Midlands regional committee

Congress recognises:

  1. the growing threat to lecturer's pension entitlements for example in constant divisive comparisons being made in the media and by employers about the 'unsustainable' future costs of final salary schemes and the 'feather bedding' of the public sector in comparison with the private sector;
  2. the well reported proposals by leading politicians and commentators to introduce reforms of public sector pensions.

Congress notes:

  1. the upcoming revaluation of the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) potentially increasing members' contributions;
  2. existing proposals to change the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) scheme which threaten the final salary nature of the scheme.

Congress believes that:

  1. pensions are deferred earnings and that an attack on pensions represents a fundamental attack on our earnings;
  2. the battle to defend our pensions will become one of the key strategic areas for our union in the months and years ahead.

Congress resolves to:

  1. increase members' awareness of the attacks on pension provision;
  2. continue to campaign alongside public and private sector unions to defend the pension rights of workers;
  3. immediately respond with a national campaign of defence of our pension entitlements, including industrial action, as soon as any proposals emerge to end the final salary scheme, re-define benefits, or detrimentally alter the pensionable age.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

98A.1 - University of Leeds

Under Congress notes, add two further bullet points:

  • the vicious attack by the employers on the USS pension scheme.
  • that if this attack successful, attention will turn to other pensions schemes in the sector such as the Teachers Pension Scheme.

Under Congress resolves to, add final bullet point:

  • give all possible support to the campaign to defend USS, up to and including an all-out national strike of all UCU members.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress recognises:

  1. the growing threat to lecturer's pension entitlements for example in constant divisive comparisons being made in the media and by employers about the 'unsustainable' future costs of final salary schemes and the 'feather bedding' of the public sector in comparison with the private sector;
  2. the well reported proposals by leading politicians and commentators to introduce reforms of public sector pensions.

Congress notes:

  1. the upcoming revaluation of the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) potentially increasing members' contributions;
  2. existing proposals to change the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) scheme which threaten the final salary nature of the scheme.
  3. the vicious attack by the employers on the USS pension scheme.
  4. that if this attack successful, attention will turn to other pensions schemes in the sector such as the Teachers Pension Scheme.

Congress believes that:

  1. pensions are deferred earnings and that an attack on pensions represents a fundamental attack on our earnings;
  2. the battle to defend our pensions will become one of the key strategic areas for our union in the months and years ahead.

Congress resolves to:

  1. increase members' awareness of the attacks on pension provision;
  2. continue to campaign alongside public and private sector unions to defend the pension rights of workers;
  3. immediately respond with a national campaign of defence of our pension entitlements, including industrial action, as soon as any proposals emerge to end the final salary scheme, re-define benefits, or detrimentally alter the pensionable age.
  4. give all possible support to the campaign to defend USS, up to and including an all-out national strike of all UCU members.
Last updated: 29 July 2016