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Equality motions

20 May 2022

Equality motions to UCU Congress 2022: Friday 3 June.

Motions allocated to section 4 of the NEC's report to Congress (UCU/2040). See also the supplemental report (UCU/2040B).

Section 4: Business of the equality committee

32  Promoting equality in post-school education - National executive committee

Congress notes the work of the Equality Committee on:

  1. intersectional approaches to discrimination and violence in our sectors
  2. equalities issues exacerbated by the pandemic
  3. working with NEC and equality reps, and members in our branches, regions and nations

It urges the committee to continue its work to:

  1. progress the recommendations of the UCU report on Eradicating Sexual Violence in intersectional ways, addressing issues of disability, race, class, precarity, gender and sexuality
  2. continue to explore and address structural inequalities highlighted by the pandemic
  3. embed equality issues in all UCU campaigns, activities and legal work, consulting standing committees
  4. recognise the intersections between the work of our standing committees and the needs of casualised members, ensuring committees are briefed on casualisation impacts
  5. enhance links with national, regional and local reps and members, including through CPD and equality training, to strengthen confidence and understanding and enable them to take up equality issues effectively.


33  Eradicating sexual violence in post-16 education - UCU Scotland executive

The UCU sexual violence task group reports that in the past five years 1 in 10 university and college staff have directly experienced workplace sexual violence.

Congress notes in post-16 education:

  1. 52% of those who experienced sexual violence did not report it to their employer
  2. 70% experienced sexual violence as an ongoing pattern of behaviour
  3. insecurely employed workers were 1.3 times as likely to experience sexual violence than permanently employed
  4. workers on insecure contracts, disabled workers, LGBTQ workers, and black workers are all at greater risk of sexual violence.

Congress demands UCU:

  1. continues to pressure government and employers to work with trade unions and sexual violence prevention workers to address gender-based violence, including by enforcing policies, allocating resources to prevention and counselling, and replacing nondisclosure agreements with transparent procedures
  2. continues to pressure government and employers to provide decent, secure jobs, given casualisation and structural inequalities exacerbate sexual violence.


33A.1 Disabled members standing committee

Add new 4c and 4d

  1. continues to pressure the government to bring about meaningful change which can only be made if the government shows their commitment for challenging and eradicating inequality by implementing into UK law the UNCRPD (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) with and also to ratify the Istanbul Convention
  2. pressures the government to reinstate Section 40 of the Equality Act 2010 - repealed in 2013 - which placed a duty on employers to protect employees from third party harassment.


34  Gender and ethnicity pay gap - Black members standing committee

Congress notes:

  1. according to the HESA data, 2017/2018, Black staff suffer the most pay gap (20.3%) and (14%) for black academics, compared to their white colleagues
  2. although the gender pay gap is 15%, the gender pay gap of black women remains unknown
  3. Female black academics fare even worse, with an ethnicity pay gap on top of the gender pay gap
  4. Bridging the ethnic pay gap will assist in reducing the pay inequalities between black and white men and women.

Congress resolves to collaborate with parliament, political parties and other bodies to promote the issue with government and commissions a review into gender and ethnicity pay gap as evidence for progression and campaign for:

  1. a mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for all further, higher and adult education institutions
  2. a different framework for reporting the ethnic pay gap
  3. reporting for gender ethnicity pay gap for black women.


34A.1 London regional committee

Add new notes 5:

  1. The success in engaging and involving members of the Four Fights campaign.

Add new resolves d:

  1. To encourage members to continue to resist the race pay gap through industrial action and the Four Fights dispute.


34A.2 Disabled members standing committee

Add new point 5

  1. that according to TUC research the disability pay gap is 20% and that any ethnicity pay gap reporting also needs to recognise any further detrimental impact faced by black disabled workers


35  Flexible working - Disabled members standing committee

Congress notes the TUC report 'Disabled Workers' access to flexible working as a reasonable adjustment' which highlighted the impact of the pandemic for disabled workers.

Congress believes:

  1. disabled workers who worked from home during the pandemic should be able to continue to do so
  2. disabled workers should not be penalised for accessing flexible working as a reasonable adjustment because flexible working should become the default
  3. all workers should have a day one right to request flexible working, with the criteria for rejection mirroring the exceptional circumstances set out in the TUC Report.

Congress resolves to campaign:

  1. for changes in the law to offer flexible working as a reasonable adjustment for all disabled workers as a day one right
  2. to encourage all UCU branches to place this on the local negotiating agenda to persuade employers to make this part of their employment policies.


36  Disability Employment Charter - Disabled members standing committee

Congress notes and welcomes the fact that the UCU supports the Disability Employment Charter.

Congress believes that the UCU should:

  1. encourage all of its branches to adopt motions supporting the Disability Employment Charter
  2. strive to have a membership that is as diverse as possible and as part of that should encourage and support disabled people to become UCU representatives.

Congress resolves to:

  1. provide a model motion which UCU branches can amend and adopt
  2. encourage branches to place the Disability Employment Charter on their negotiating agendas to encourage all employers to adopt its provisions
  3. incorporate how to negotiate and campaign on the Disability Employment Charter into UCU Education and Training courses as far as possible.


37  Fair pay for parents University of Sheffield

Congress notes:

  1. that employers across further and higher education offer differential access to additional maternity and other parental leave and pay, including the length of time of qualifying employment required
  2. that this causes unequal treatment for people who give birth, depending on their place of work
  3. the ongoing work of UCU with groups such as Maternity Action to achieve progress on these issues.

Congress resolves:

  1. to call on all education employers to provide equal access to additional maternity pay and other parental leave and pay at sector leading levels from the commencement of employment
  2. to develop a public campaign that highlights inequalities across employers
  3. to develop guidance around best practice for additional maternity pay and other parental leave and pay to assist branch campaigns.


38  Defend trans and non-binary people's rights - North West regional committee

Congress notes:

  1. Government hostility towards Stonewall for its support for trans rights, including disaffiliations by the BBC and government bodies
  2. Government's refusal to implement Self-ID in the Gender Recognition Act
  3. Government's failure to recognise non-binary as a legitimate identity
  4. the EHRC's attempts to delay anti-conversion therapy legislation for trans people and undermine the Scottish government introducing Self-ID
  5. the Tories' anti-conversion therapy Bill that dangerously presents equivalence between oppressive anti-trans conversion therapy and pro-trans affirmative intervention.


  1. welcomes the founding of the Feminist Gender Equality Network, committed to opposing transphobia on campuses and more broadly.


38A.1 Liverpool John Moores University

Point 1:

after 'government' add 'and political'

Point 4:

Delete: 'attempts to delay anti-conversion therapy legislation for trans people and' replace with: 'interventions excluding trans and gender-nonconforming people from single sex spaces and attempts to '

Point 5:

Add to end: 'and refusal to ban trans conversion therapy'

Add point 6:

  1. the HE (Freedom of Speech) Bill that threatens the safety of gender diverse people and others on and off campus and misappropriation of 'academic freedom'.

Add points b and c:

  1. resolves to continue building internal union campaigns and resources and campaign publicly for LGBT+ liberation for all LGBT+ people; and
  2. develop guidance and webinar around academic freedom.


39  Fighting political attacks on LGBT+ people - LGBT+ members standing committee

Congress notes political attacks on LGBT+ people, e.g:

  1. Boris Johnson (6/4/22) attacking Gillick competence
  2. Sajid Javid (April 2022) attacking gender-affirming care and comparing it to child sexual abuse cases in Rotherham
  3. Nadim Zawahi (20/4/22) suggesting teachers should 'out' trans children to parents
  4. Nadine Dorries (21/4/22) stating trans women should be excluded from women's sport
  5. EHRC's guidance (4/4/22) which undermines Equality Act (2010) protections for trans people using single sex spaces, such as toilets.

Congress believes the comments above:

  1. use LGBT+ people as a wedge to stoke division, undermine and further marginalise LGBT+ people
  2. aim not to protect but to pathologise trans people and present LGBT+ people as untrustworthy and undeserving of autonomy
  3. seek to 'protect' trans people from themselves.

Congress resolves UCU will counter these political attacks on LGBT+ people using all tools at its disposal including branch organising and media visibility.


40  Conversion therapy - LGBT+ Members' Standing Committee

Congress notes:

  1. government decisions to abandon comprehensive ban on conversion therapy
  2. gender-affirming therapy is not conversion therapy
  3. BCAP memorandum of understanding on conversion therapy, government LGBT+ Survey and Coventry University research findings including that trans, Black LGBT+, and asexual people are more vulnerable to conversion therapy
  4. publications and events around 'gender-critical' perspectives supporting some conversion therapy
  5. potential involvement of post-school education institutions in policy-making on conversion therapy, and potential harm caused by conversion therapy to UCU members.

Congress resolves to:

  1. support TUC position on conversion therapy and take action, including the general secretary writing to relevant bodies
  2. work with Coventry University research team to produce a summary of their report for members, this to be linked to the LGBT+ Charter and microsites
  3. develop further resources and events raising awareness to support members and branches, including those raising issues related to conversion therapy.


41  Mental Health - LGBT+ members standing committee

Congress notes:

  1. mental health of LGBT+ people is seriously affected by marginalisation, denial of rights, and lack of respect
  2. the exacerbation of these issues by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns
  3. the rise in anti-trans voices across media
  4. Further delays in securing trans and non-binary rights
  5. anti-LGBT+ violence has increased in recent years.

Congress believes:

  1. trans and non-binary inclusion is important throughout society
  2. the identity a person had before any transition (social or otherwise) should be secret unless the person chooses otherwise
  3. many data collection systems are outdated and don't support trans and non-binary people adequately e.g., deadnaming.

Congress calls for:

  1. UCU to conduct research investigating issues around deadnaming and other such issues faced by trans and non-binary people
  2. UCU to equip branches with guidance and resources to challenge outdated systems across post-school education that lead to dead-naming
  3. LGBT+ issues to be specifically addressed in all UCU work on mental health.


42  LGBT+ inclusion in education - LGBT+ members standing committee

Congress believes in the value of education for the whole person, realising ambitions and developing critical thinking.

Within FE this should take the form of genuine consultation with LGBT+ staff and students to develop a relevant curriculum as part of both the tutorial and vocational offers.

Within HE this should include support for courses that promote visibility and inclusion of LGBT+ lives.

Systems used to measure the success of educational programmes inhibit teachers' and lecturers' ability to raise and discuss equality issues in the classroom.

It is very difficult to genuinely Stretch and Challenge students when locked into the demands of the OFSTED cycle and the vocational syllabus in FE, and the Teaching Excellence Framework and National Student Survey in HE.

Congress supports and calls for more:

  1. approaches across all curricula that challenge normative assumptions about sexuality and gender
  2. further exploration of LGBT+ voices, lives and issues across post-school education.


43  The Hostile Environment and Migrant Workers Toolkit - Anti-casualisation committee

Congress notes:

  1. post-16 education institutions are an integral part of the xenophobic hostile environment, through monitoring of migrant workers and students and through PREVENT.
  2. UCU offers legal advice to migrant members, but that branch reps often feel underequipped to provide assistance to migrant members.

Congress believes:

  1. education establishments are not outposts of the hostile environment, and education workers are not border guards.
  2. insecure immigration status intersects with casualisation to render migrant members more precarious.

Congress resolves:

  1. to bring together ACC with MMSC, BMSC and other equalities committees to work with Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) and other organisations to ascertain the needs of precarious migrant members through surveying members and drawing on URBC's research.
  2. to use the information from this survey to develop a toolkit and training to support migrant members, and empower all members to resist the Hostile Environment in post-16 education.


44  Treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, The Rwanda Plan and the Nationality and Borders Act - Composite: Anti casualisation committee, Liverpool John Moores University, London regional committee, University College London, North West regional committee, West Midlands retired members branch

Congress notes:

  1. the deplorable policy change of the Tory government in its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers with the announcement of further anti-migrant measures including a deal to remove asylum seekers, military operations against refugee boats, and a new UK detention centre to imprison refugees
  2. the 'Rwanda Plan' for offshoring asylum seekers and the passing into law of the Nationality & Borders Act (April 2022) that effectively ends the right to claim legal asylum in Britain and threatens the citizenship rights of 6 million people, marking a huge escalation of the government's racist 'hostile environment'
  3. that 10 months ago Britain publicly criticized Rwanda's failure to properly investigate human rights abuses and to protect and assist victims of human trafficking.
  4. that in Rwanda changing gender is illegal, adoption by LGBT+ couples is illegal, marriage of LGBT+ individuals is not recognised
  5. although threats of obstruction by civil service unions and PCS support for a legal challenge, the government has abandoned plans for pushbacks targeting boats at sea, deportations and fundamental attacks on the rights of refugees must be opposed
  6. the Ukraine war and the Afghan crisis have exposed once again the government's failure to respond adequately to humanitarian crisis.

Congress believes:

  1. visa restrictions should be waived for all those fleeing war, whatever their nationality
  2. it is incompatible with human rights to send LGBT+ asylum seekers who are seeking asylum in Britain to a country without basic rights for LGBT+ people
  3. the attempt by the UK to outsource asylum processing strengthens cultural xenophobia and impacts all migrants living and working in the UK.
  4. refugees are welcome in the UK

Congress resolves:

  1. to work with refugee solidarity and antiracist organisations to campaign for the immediate withdrawal of the offshoring of refugees and the implementation of the Nationality and Borders Act
  2. to campaign against the compulsory removal of all 'illegally' arriving people and their deportation to Rwanda, in defiance of the Human Rights legislation and the UK's international obligations
  3. to campaign for intersectional equality issues to be fundamental considerations of the asylum process
  4. co-ordinate a public letter and meeting with other unions, condemning anti-migrant plans
  5. call on the GS to write to MPs calling them to publicly condemn anti-migrant measures, and to support rolling-back existing legislation
  6. support FDA and PCS members resisting the plan
  7. advertise demonstrations on these issues and encourage branches to send delegations
  8. establish links with unions and human rights defenders in Rwanda resisting offshoring
  9. to campaign to say 'All Refugees welcome here'
  10. to work with the TUC and other trade unions to inform our students and the public about the racist impact of such a policy and the serious harm this will cause in migrant communities.


45  Defend Abortion Rights - National executive committee

UCU join our affiliate Abortion Rights in standing in solidarity with all facing escalating attacks on abortion rights in the US and worldwide. We condemn the leaked SCOTUS draf position on reversing Roe V Wade. We applaud the achievements of mass movements including in South America, Poland and the RoI and support those mobilising now in defence of the right to bodily autonomy and healthcare.

UCU support the right to safe, legal abortion and note that this is something we continue to strive for in the UK.

We resolve to:

  1. send solidarity to sibling unions and activist groups mobilising in defence of choice
  2. support national and local solidarity demonstrations in support of abortion rights world wide
  3. organise regional and branch meetings to campaign on reproductive rights and build solidarity with global movements fighting for these.


Last updated: 16 June 2022