All out for USS

Academic-related meeting, 5 March 2008: motions

Motions carried or referred at the academic-related annual meeting held 5 March 2008

Motion 1: Manifesto for academic-related staff (academic-related committee)

This annual meeting endorses the revisions to the UCU manifesto for academic-related staff.

This meeting instructs the academic-related staff committee to organise a high profile re-launch of the manifesto and to use it to raise the profile of academic-related members.

The committee is instructed to liaise with the Recruitment, Organising and Campaigns Committee to ensure the manifesto is used as a national campaigning and recruitment tool. It is also instructed to provide advice to local associations and branches on how to take forward recruitment and campaigning work with academic-related staff.

This meeting believes the manifesto should be distributed widely through the UC magazine and, if possible, through other publications. Regional committees should be asked to discuss how to use the manifesto in their campaigning and organising work.

This meeting further instructs the committee to seek endorsement of the manifesto at UCU Congress (attached).


To add to preamble of manifesto:

"We ... build library collections in both traditional printed and electronic format to support teaching and research; advise students and researchers on their information needs; provide work space for study with access to library and computer facilities."

Amendment carried

Motion carried as amended

Motion 2: Attendance at UCU Congress (Academic related committee)

This annual meeting calls upon the National Executive Committee to bring an appropriate rule change to Congress to enable the Academic Related Staff Committee to send observers to UCU Congress and HE Sector Conference.

Motion carried

Motion 3: Framework agreement implementation and academic-related staff (Academic-related committee)

This meeting commends the efforts of full time officials in extrapolating results from the survey of pre-1992 institutions. The figures produced demonstrate that AR staff have suffered a disproportionate number of red circles when compared to other staff categories.

In many cases successful local campaigns have been fought with national support to overturn a large number of these. However the number of red circles indicates:

  • A lack of understanding of the complexity of AR roles
  • A refusal to recognise the professional contribution of AR staff
  • A willingness to cut costs by targeting a perceived soft target.

This meeting calls upon the NEC to invest suitable resource to further analyse the survey returns, compare AR role profiles across the sector, asses the impact of role profiles on the AR career path and identify worst and best practice.

Motion carried

Motion 4. Framework Agreement (Hull)

This meeting calls on the UCU National Executive Committee to gather detailed information about the impact on academic-related staff of the pay framework implementation and report to the membership in time for Congress.

Motion carried

Motion 5: Bias in Job Evaluation Schemes (Liverpool)

There is growing evidence that the introduction of job evaluation has had the effect of increasing the barriers to promotion for academic-related staff.

HERA in particular appears to be open to a form of local bias in which the higher-scoring responses for some of the HERA questions are only interpreted in terms appropriate to academic roles.

This meeting calls upon HEC to conduct an investigation into failings in the objectivity and fairness of HERA (and any other job evaluation schemes which may be open to the same abuse) and then to issue detailed advice to LAs/branches on how to challenge such failings.

Motion carried

Motion 6: Job Evaluation (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

The JE process has under-evaluated and/or downgraded disproportionate numbers of IT staff. Variation between institutions in the outcomes for IT staff should be investigated.

  • Role descriptions may involve technical terminology not well understood, scored by non-specialist scorers.
  • Knowledge acquisition systems for IT roles differ, making them harder to evaluate.
  • Less formal systems of management, organisation, and working make it harder to evaluate these roles.
  • Experience in assessing/weighting administrative and academic factors does not necessarily imply experience or skill in assessing technical roles or service delivery.

Other technical, specialist or unusual jobs have fared badly for similar reasons.

UCU resolves to investigate differences in scoring and implementation procedures at institutions where any other group of academic/other-related staff has fared badly compared with formerly shared-grade roles.

Best practice guidelines and advice should be drawn up to help branches to improve the outcomes for these groups of staff.

Motion carried

Motion 7: Outsourcing and privatisation (academic-related committee)

This meeting welcomes the action that UCU has taken in campaigning against privatisation within the HE sector. Academic-related staff are especially vulnerable to the threat of outsourcing as senior management frequently fail to recognise the importance of AR staff within institutions. Experience and professionalism combined with local knowledge and dedication to a service ethos may not feature on a balance sheet but clearly provide a "value-add" that cannot be matched by a private company motivated only by the bottom line.

This meeting calls on local associations and branches to report threats of outsourcing and privatisation to Higher Education Committee, including those cases where no staff positions appear to be threatened. Further, HEC must continue to campaign against creeping privatisation and strive to highlight the positive contribution AR staff make across institutions.

Motion carried

Motion 8: Maintaining the links between Academic-Related and Academic Staff (Aberdeen)

This meeting urges that whatever the outcome arising from the UCU ballot on the proposed reform of national higher education negotiating structure, that UCU strive to ensure that the links of academic-related staff pay and conditions to those of academic staff are maintained such that academic-related staff do not suffer any detriment.

Motion carried

Motion 9: ELQ (Birkbeck)

This meeting notes that

  1. In September, the Secretary of State for the Department of Universities, Innovation and Skills, John Denham, instructed the Higher Education Funding Council for England to withdraw institutional funding for ELQ students - those studying for an equivalent or lower level qualification.
  2. The impact of these institutional funding changes has a disproportionate effect on the part-time sector, with institutions like Birkbeck and the Open University worst hit.

This meeting believes that

  1. These changes are contrary to the agenda of lifelong learning and could have a negative impact on the economy if adults cannot retrain to update their skills or change career direction.
  2. These funding cuts will inevitably lead to courses closing and job losses.

This meeting asks UCU

  1. To prioritise campaigning to reverse the ELQ funding change policy.
  2. To anticipate and assess the impact that the funding cuts will have on academic-related staff.

Motion carried

Motion 10: University Statutes (Hull)

This meeting instructs UCU academic-related staff committee and executive to:

  1. investigate the threat to the identity of academic -related staff across the HE sector
  2. to campaign actively to preserve the identity and status of academic-related staff in Statutes and
  3. to report back to congress and to the membership on the progress made in this campaign.

Motion carried

Motion 11: Open-Plan Accommodation (Liverpool)

This meeting notes with concern moves in many institutions to house academic-related staff (and in some cases academic staff) in unsuitable accommodation. As campuses are modernised in many cases office environments are becoming open plan and as a result there is a marked reduction in floor area per member of staff. This meeting is concerned that unsuitable accommodation in any form is extremely detrimental to the health and happiness of the staff affected and calls upon HEC to issue appropriate advice to LAs/branches.

Referred to committee

Motion 12: Immigration Controls and Access to Education

Considering that:

  1. It is UCU policy to campaign against immigration controls, racism and barriers to access to education.
  2. That academic-related staff are directly affected by Immigration legislation

This meeting calls upon the NEC to:

  1. Campaign against the legislation which allows students to be seized and deported or refused entry back into the UK.
  2. Campaign on the motions passed at the 2007 UCU Congress against discrimination against overseas students

Support the National Conference Against Immigration Controls called by the RMT for 29th March.

Motion carried

Motion 13: Promotion (Leeds)

This meeting notes with concern the very high failure rate in applications for promotion from Academic Related staff at certain institutions and the resulting suspicions that this reflects institutional discrimination against this staff group. This meeting calls on UCU Executive to gather statistics from HEIs nationally to ascertain how prevalent this block on career progression is and to produce comparisons with the success rates for equivalent Academic promotions.

Motion carried

Message of support for NUT & UCU FE agreed at the local UCU AR staff meeting at Bristol 12 February (for discussion)

Support for teachers and FE lecturers in their fight over pay

We are writing to offer our warmest/heartfelt support for your challenge to Gordon Brown's public sector pay freeze. Given that the Government has just found £50 billion to bail out the hedge funds and speculators of Northern Rock, it demonstrates where their priorities lie.

We have other priorities. We believe that teachers and lecturers play a crucial role in shaping the society around us, and that the continued attacks on education in the form privatisations, dumbing down of courses, and cuts in pay, will result in a poorer education for young people and a consequent impact on the society in which we live.

We look forward to visiting your picket lines on 24th April.

Referred to committee

Last updated: 23 January 2015