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UCU Congress fringe programme

Listing of fringe events for delegates attending UCU Congress 2011.

Saturday 28 May, 08:00 - 09:00

Pre-conference briefing for HE members from pre-92 branches:
The USS dispute

Queen's Suite
room 2-3

The changes to USS mean that new entrants will face significantly poorer pensions and it is likely to be only a matter of time before existing members will also.

If you are from a pre-92 branch, attend the pre-conference briefing to hear first-hand from the negotiators.

To force the employers to the table is going to take serious action targeted to disrupt the business of the university. This could mean a combination of different forms of action, including action short of strike, but UCU members need to be aware of the potential risks so that they can make an informed decision to engage in this tactic. (A briefing will be provided.)

Saturday 28 May, 13:00-14:00

Education is not for profit:
'College Inc.'

Queen's Suite
rooms 2-3

This campaigns team fringe event will be a chance to catch up on the latest in UCU's fight against the privatisation of education. We will feature a screening of 'College Inc.', a hard-hitting US documentary illuminating the dodgy practices of the for-profit sector in the USA, led by companies currently aiming to break into the UK market. Come and learn what the future without a campaigning UCU could look like.

The Equality Act and staff on casualised contracts

Queen's Suite
rooms 7-8

The Equality Act came into force in October 2010. How much protection can it provide for those on casualised contracts and how can we use it to support casualised workers? What further challenges will the coalition Government's agenda create? Helen Carr, UCU's Head of Equality, will present the current framework and political environment as a backdrop to a discussion on using equality in an effective campaign. Also an opportunity for attendees to share best practice.

Work-life balance

Queen's Suite
room 6

In education, increasing workloads threaten work-life balance. The challenge of work-life balance is a significant struggle faced by many staff in education. For example women often experience that this issue keeps the glass ceiling intact. Simonetta Manfredi, Director of the Centre for Diversity Policy Research at Oxford Brookes University, will introduce the idea of sustainable working and the work she has done in relation to age, gender, diverse households and work-life balance.

Cut carbon not jobs

Queen's Suite
room 5

What are the alternatives to cuts and redundancies in the FHE sector? One answer is to step up the campaign for green and greener jobs. Our sector has a crucial role to play in equipping the workforce with the skills for a low carbon economy. UCU has set up a Greener Jobs Alliance to support branches who want to work with their institutions and local communities on this. Find out about:

  • National policy initiatives to support UCU green activity

  • Linking up with student organisations to obtain broad based support for campaigns

  • Latest developments in the 1 Million Climate Jobs Campaign

Trade Unions in Cuba

Queen's Suite
room 1

A meeting focusing on trade unions in Cuba and the recent changes in employment structures, and the forthcoming union study tour to Cuba

The speaker will be Professor Steve Ludlam, a UCU member and co-author of the recent Institute of Employment Rights booklet - Workers in Cuba: Unions and labour relations.

Saturday 28 May, 18:00-19:00

DAN Reception:
'Now we are five'

Queen's Suite
rooms 2-3

This year's DAN fringe revisits the union five years after its creation. Delegates will be able to reflect on the achievements of and challenges facing UCU in a fun, relaxed environment, hosted by the national campaigns team. As always, refreshments will be on offer, as will our ever-popular Congress T-shirts. And there will be a short film!

Social Event: Saturday 28 May, from 21:00

The Quiz! In association with Recourse

A fun event for all delegates. From 21:00, quiz starts 21:30.

Held in the Ripley Suite at the Holiday Inn, Kings Road (opposite the Harrogate International Centre auditorium entrance).

Sunday 29 May, 13:00-14:00

Combating stress and bullying in post- 16 education

Queen's Suite
rooms 2-3

Stress and bullying at work are major problems for staff in post-16 education, particularly in the midst of significant funding cuts. This meeting will include information about UCU's current action plan on combating these issues, and about individual help provided by Recourse for those affected by stress and bullying. What are your experiences? How are stress and bullying being tackled at your institution? Let us know at this fringe event.

The struggle for equal rights for disabled people

Queen's Suite
room 5

Equality for disabled people has been a long campaign and there is still much to be achieved. Led by UCU members, discussions will focus on what has been won in social and economic terms, illustrated by the UCU disabled members' wall chart and the legal framework in equality law. The UCU mental health toolkit for branches will also be launched and there will be an opportunity to discuss this important trade union issue.

Multiculturalism in education

Queen's Suite
rooms 7-8

Following attacks on multiculturalism and immigrants from David Cameron and others, the Education and Black Members' Standing Committees are holding a meeting to discuss the implications for trade unionists and teachers of increases in Islamaphobia and other forms of racism in the context of spending cuts. These are important issues for all members.  Come along and contribute to the debate.  Keynote speaker: Zita Holbourne, PCS executive committee member and co-founder of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC).

The back office in the front line

Queen's Suite
room 6

Academic related staff are the professional staff, administrators, IT staff and librarians without whom universities and colleges cannot operate. However, across the UK we are in the front line, the 'expendable back office' under threat from redundancy, outsourcing and the new shared services agenda. This meeting is a chance to discuss strategies to fight this onslaught on our jobs and terms and conditions, and find common cause with colleagues from across the public sector.

Vandals and vultures - the attack on the NHS

Queen's Suite
room 1

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's NHS reform plans attracted such widespread public criticism (even in the form of an ingenious rap song) that the government was forced to put its health bill on hold. However less known are the damaging impact his proposals would have on our universities; devastating the future of the education of health professionals and reaping even further havoc on university funding. This fringe meeting will discuss how these discredited NHS plans could directly threaten your job and your university.

Sunday 29 May, 18:00-19:00

Egypt: from tyranny to democracy

Queen's Suite
rooms 2-3

Solidarity with the Democratic Revolutions in North Africa -Building Independent Trade Unions

'Kifaya' (enough) was the name chosen by the democracy movement in Egypt. Enough of the police state, of rigged elections, mass arrests and torture. The revolution against Mubarak has been successful. Now there is the challenge of the transition to democracy, and of building a society that can deliver on the aspirations that fuelled the mass movement. How can the trade unions of Europe help in that struggle, and in building independent Egyptian trade unions?

Social Event: Sunday 29 May, from 19:30

Congress Dinner with drinks reception sponsored by Aviva and Endsleigh.

Held at the Harrogate International Centre - auditorium entrance, Kings Road (opposite the Holiday Inn).

Drinks will be served from 19:30, with dinner at approximately 20:30, followed by a disco.

Note: Delegates must register in advance for this event and were asked to do so as part of their registration for Congress. Please bring your dinner ticket with you.

Monday 30 May, 13:00 - 14:00

Attacks on public sector pensions

Queens Suite
rooms 7-8

This government's plan is that ordinary people pay for the financial crisis. Part of that attack is on state pensions and on public sector pensions in particular. The meeting will provide the latest information on both the shape of the attack and the developing strategies in the fight back. The government move from RPI to CPI and other changes impacting private schemes is encouraging employers to look at detrimental changes to pensions schemes including USS.

Equality under attack

Queen's Suite
room 6

The coalition government is intent on destroying any gains made to create a more just and equal society. Helen Carr, UCU's Head of Equality, will talk about how this agenda is impacting on our economic and civil rights and Laura Miles, NEC member will talk about the impact on participation in education and members' jobs. Laura will also discuss UCU's anti fascist work and how the current climate is encouraging the rise of the right.

Towards a progressive concept of professionalism

Queen's Suite
rooms 2-3

How UCU members see themselves as professionals and what kind of professionalism that UCU members want to see is an increasingly important issue. Government policies and the cuts in HE and FE are leading to attacks on UCU members' professionalism as well as leading to the dilution of their professionalism. Dan Taubman, Senior National Education Official (FE), will be presenting work and leading a discussion he has been undertaking around redefining professionalism around democratic and activist concepts.

Body mapping

Queen's Suite
room 5

Body Mapping is a powerful worker-oriented participatory research tool that safety reps can use to reveal the harm work is doing to our bodies. The collective body map can show the impact of the factors in the workplace that make us ill or injure us such as workloads, excessive hours, computers, teaching, bullying and violence, in a way that prevents individual victimisation. Body mapping outcomes can then be the start of a campaign to take action to make the workplace safer and healthier.

50 years of Amnesty International

Queen's Suite
room 1

Shane Enright, Amnesty International (UK) Trade Union Campaigns Manager and AI Global Trade Union Adviser, will lead a discussion of the work of Amnesty International and its collaboration with the trade union movement in defence of trade union and human rights and academic freedom. The discussion will cover the Amnesty's current campaigning, its strengthening of links with the Trades Union Congress, and building support at branch and local level.

Last updated: 25 May 2011