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Congress business section 5: International and European work

16 May 2007

Timetabled: Wednesday 30 May, 15:45-17:45

International greylisting and boycott policy

28 - Policy on international greylisting and boycott (Transitional Arrangements Committee)

Congress endorses the policy on international greylisting and boycott in UCU/16.


29 - Academic freedom (Canterbury Christ Church University)

Recognising the unique importance of Academic Freedom to colleges and universities, Congress determines that:

  1. any motion passed at this, or a future congress, that restricts academic freedom in any way, that motion will be put to a ballot of all members with a brief statement of arguments for and against before becoming, if supported, UCU policy;
  2. any motion passed at this, or a future congress , that calls for an academic boycott of one or more colleges or universities outside of the UK, when such a boycott has not been requested by properly constituted and quorate branches of academic unions at those colleges or universities, that motion will be put to a ballot of all members with a brief statement of arguments for and against before becoming, if supported, UCU policy.


29A.1 - University of Brighton Grand Parade

Delete words of item 1 and substitute:'motions to Congress that might restrict academic freedom should only be submitted where intended to preserve a higher purpose;'Insert new clauses 2 and 3:'racist, sexist, homophobic and fascist views are incompatible with academic freedom;Congress reaffirms its role as the supreme policy-making body of the UCU;'In original clause 2, renumber as clause 4, and for 'passed at this or a future' substitute:'submitted to'In original clause 2, delete all after second 'universities', and insert: 'will only be considered after extensive debate in branches and associations has been organised and concluded. The NEC will facilitate speakers for such meetings on a regional and sub-regional basis.'


Middle East

30 - Composite: Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions (University of Brighton, Grand Parade; University of East London, Docklands)

Congress notes that Israel's 40-year occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement.

Congress deplores the denial of educational rights for Palestinians by invasions, closures, checkpoints, curfews, and shootings and arrests of teachers, lecturers and students.

Congress condemns the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation, which has provoked a call from Palestinian trade unions for a comprehensive and consistent international boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.

Congress believes that in these circumstances passivity or neutrality is unacceptable and criticism of Israel cannot be construed as anti-semitic.

Congress instructs the NEC to

  • circulate the full text of the Palestinian boycott call to all branches/LAs for information and discussion;
  • encourage members to consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions;
  • organise a UK-wide campus tour for Palestinian academic/educational trade unionists;
  • issue guidance to members on appropriate forms of action.


30A.1 - Community Education Lewisham

Delete third paragraph.

Fourth paragraph, after 'Congress believes that', insert 'while much criticism of Israel is anti-semitic'; after 'criticism of', replace 'Israel' with 'Israeli state policy', and after 'cannot', insert 'necessarily'.

Final paragraph, after 'Congress instructs the NEC to', delete first two bullet points

In third bullet point, after 'Palestinian', add 'and Israeli'

At end of fourth bullet point, add 'in line with Policy on International Greylisting and Boycotts, and EI policy'

Add new bullet point: 'Support direct links between education workers and UCU bodies in the UK, and Israeli and Palestinian trade union organisations.'


30A.2 - De Montfort University

In 3rd para between 'of' and 'Israeli', insert 'some elements of'.

In 3rd para between 'from' and 'Palestinian', insert 'some'.

In 3rd para delete the word 'all'.


30A.3 - College of North East London

At the end, add the following last bullet point, 'actively encourage and support branches to create direct links with Palestinian educational institutions and to help set up nationally sponsored programmes for teacher exchanges, sabbatical placements, and research'


31 - European Union and Israel (University of Birmingham)

Congress notes:

  1. That since the Palestinian elections in January 2006 the Israeli government has suspended revenue payments to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the EU and US have suspended aid, leaving public-sector salaries unpaid and earning the condemnation of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions;
  2. That Israel is seeking to upgrade its relations with the EU to the same level as Norway and Switzerland, permitting free passage of goods, people and capital, while denying these freedoms to Palestinians.

Congress resolves to campaign for:

  1. The restoration of all international aid to the PA and all revenues rightfully belonging to it;
  2. No upgrade of Israel's EU status until it ends the occupation of Palestinian land and fully complies with EU Human Rights law.


31A.1 - University of Birmingham

Under 'Congress resolves to campaign for:', add new clause 3 at end:

'3. A moratorium on research and cultural collaborations with Israel via EU and European Science Foundation funding until Israel abides by UN resolutions.'


31A.2 - University of Brighton Eastbourne

Add new clause at end:

'Congress instructs the NEC to encourage Branches/ associations to

  1. raise these campaigns in their Institutions and
  2. investigate the possibilities of twinning their Institution with a Palestinian University or College.'


32 - Solidarity with Iraqi workers and women (Community Education Lewisham)

  1. Congress welcomes and supports the new independent unions and women's organisations that have emerged since the fall of Saddam's brutal regime.
    These groups are central to any prospect of a democratic, secular Iraq.
  2. The various so-called resistance forces have regularly killed trade union, women's and LGBT activists. The 'resistance' groups - various types of Ba'athist-fascist and Islamist organisation - are unremittingly hostile to the new labour movement. 
  3. The Occupation forces/the Iraqi gvt. pursue anti-working-class policies. For example, they have retained Saddam's anti-union laws; the oil industry has been privatised; the US and Iraqi government have harassed the trade union movement (for example, the General Federation of Iraqi Workers offices were raided twice in February 2007).
  4. We support the TUC's Iraq Unions appeal and instruct the UCU's national officers to facilitate active solidarity between British education workers and UCU branches, and our Iraqi counterparts.


32A.1 - Composite (London Metropolitan University, Calcutta House; University of Dundee)

Replace paragraph 2 with:The ability of these organisations to emerge, despite the collapse of civil society as a result of the illegal occupation of Iraq and, reliably estimated, 655,000 deaths following the US and British-led invasion in 1993, is a remarkable achievement.


32A.2 - University College London

Delete paragraph 2 and replace with: '2. The 650,000+ excess civilian deaths in Iraq since 2003 and the destruction of civil society, including the attacks on trade unionists, women and LGBT people, derive directly from the presence of occupying US and UK forces - practically, morally and legally under the Geneva Conventions.'


32A.3 - University of Glasgow

Add: '5. Congress notes the disastrous consequences of the proposed Iraqi Hydrocarbon law. Congress resolves to:a. Affiliate or make a donation as appropriate to Hands off Iraqi Oil and Iraq Union Solidarityb. To write to the UK PM and Foreign Secretary and the Iraqi PM and Labour Minister to express our strong concerns.c. To organise solidarity action in support of Iraqi unions opposition to plans to sell out the oil industry.'


32A.4 - London Metropolitan University, Calcutta House

Paragraph 3, insert 'and some other groups' after 'Iraqi government'. Delete brackets.

Add new paragraph 5:Congress resolves to campaign against the repeat of this disaster through the threats to bomb or invade Iran.


33 - Composite: Stop the War (Barnsley College; University of Portsmouth; City and Islington College, Camden Road; Tower Hamlets College)

Annual congress notes:

  1. that millions, possibly billions, of pounds that could fund education are spent daily by Blair's government on bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; as well as their plan to spend at least £50 million on the Trident replacement programme
  2. that an estimated 655,000 Iraqis, 3,000 US and 130 UK troops have died since 2003, as well as millions injured or driven into exile;
  3. the lack of democracy by Parliament in response to these atrocities and the Middle East crisis.
  4. the 100,000 strong Stop the War Coalition demonstration in February.
  5. that Bush and Blair's unpopularity, and the partial withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, attests to the strength of the anti-war movement;
  6. that such a movement remains essential because of the disastrous failure in Iraq, the rise in Islamophobia, the fact that the US is escalating its troops in Iraq and is also threatening to launch a war against Iran.

Congress congratulates both former constituent unions of UCU for their support and affiliation to the Stop The War Coalition.

Congress resolves:

  1. to reaffiliate to the Stop The War Coalition;
  2. to encourage branches and Las to organise teach-ins on the war on terror in cooperation with students and other campus unions.

33A.1 - Transitional Arrangements Committee

Delete point numbered 3.

33A.2 - Manchester Metropolitan University

Add: Congress notes

7. the war on Iraq is threatened with spreading into a war on Iran, as the latest western imperialist venture.

Add: Congress resolves

3. to oppose any military attacks on Iran by US, British or their proxy forces.


34 - Affiliation agreements with unions in other countries (Transitional Arrangements Committee)

Congress recognises that the increasing movement of academic colleagues to posts in other countries is both beneficial to UCU members and to the purposes of spreading knowledge and understanding. Maintaining membership of the relevant trade union when undertaking this kind of mobility on a temporary basis is however extremely important for the individual. Congress therefore agrees that reciprocal membership agreements should be established with equivalent unions in other countries to which UCU members are likely to move on a temporary basis and vice versa. Such members will be called Affiliate members under rule 14 and will be entitled to membership rights as agreed between the trade unions which become party to the reciprocal membership agreements. Congress also urges that representations be made to Education International to ask that consideration is given to ways of making membership of its affiliated unions more easily accessible.

Migration of academic workers

35 - Globalisation and commodification of education, and global staff mobility (Transitional Arrangements Committee)

Congress notes the growing globalisation and commodification of higher education, and the scale and complexity of patterns of student and staff mobility at the European and global levels. Congress asserts the need to protect the staff and students concerned from exploitation and from all forms of xenophobia or negative discrimination. It also notes that these trends also have a bearing on further education as far as student mobility is concerned.

Congress calls on the NEC to work with Education International and other partner organisations to develop policies to protect staff and students, and to promote mobility and the quality of the experience of staff and students in post-school education. This should be done in ways which ensure that it is a positive benefit to the staff, students and institutions concerned, and also to ensure that positive opportunities for mobility are available as far as possible to those staff and students.

Other international support

36 - Solidarity with trade unions and students in Zimbabwe (Transitional Arrangements Committee)

Congress condemns the growing government attacks on the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zimbabwe National Students Union, including the invasion of the ZCTU offices on 13 March 2007 and the abduction of Raymond Majongwe, the secretary general of the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) on 4 April 2007.

Congress supports the campaign by Zimbabwean academics to form a national trade union and secure a proper living wage. Congress deplores the recent decision by the University of Zimbabwe to suspend the local AUT leadership and demands their immediate reinstatement.

Congress upholds the right of Zimbabwean unions and students to protest without fear of violence against declining living standards and the lack of human rights in the country.

Congress resolves to:

  • re-affiliate to Action on Southern Africa (ACTSA)
  • support the TUC's Zimbabwe Appeal
  • strengthen links with the Zimbabwe AUT
  • work with Education International to raise awareness.

37 - Colombia (Liverpool Community College, Duke St)

This first Congress is proud of its predecessors' work in supporting our terrorized trade union sisters and brothers in Colombia and proud of their support for 'Justice for Colombia'.

Colombia remains the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist, teaching remains the most vulnerable profession, in Colombia in 2006 a teacher was murdered every week.

Congress instructs the NEC to:

  • affiliate to 'JFC'
  • encourage local associations/branches to affiliate
  • call for an immediate halt to UK military assistance to Colombia
  • work with the TUC to put pressure on the Colombian government to end its human rights violations.


Last updated: 30 May 2007