Fighting fund banner


Business of the strategy and finance committee (open session)

18 May 2023

UCU Congress 2023: Saturday 27 May 2023, 10:45-12:30

Motions have been allocated to a section of the NEC's report to Congress (UCU2068). Paragraph headings refer to paragraphs within this report. CBC has added some new paragraph headings to facilitate the ordering of motions.

Section 2: Business of the strategy and finance committee to be taken in open session

(EP) advisory marking denoting UCU existing policy

European and international work

4 (EP) International solidarity and cooperation - National executive committee

Congress recognises the benefits of a strong international dimension to UCU's work and the value of working in conjunction with Education International, TUC and the solidarity organisations with which we affiliate.

Congress welcomes international activities and campaigns to defend workers and students at risk in countries such as Palestine, Colombia, Turkey and Iran as well as new global and European trade union campaigns to increase funding for public education and to raise the status of education workers.  

Congress recognises the value of mutual learning from international union partners in areas like collective bargaining, education policy and equality and believes that the climate and cost-of-living crises strengthen the case for international cooperation and solidarity between trade unions.  

Congress calls on NEC to continue to engage members, branches and regions in practical international work, including the use of webinars, e-actions and solidarity actions and visits.  


5  Composite: Stop the war in Ukraine - peace now - City and Islington College Camden Road, University of Brighton, Grand Parade

Congress notes:

  1. one year after the brutal invasion, Ukraine has become a battleground for Russian and US imperialism
  2. it is estimated that 150,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians and 200,000 Russian soldiers have died since invasion
  3. Putin has threatened the use of nuclear weapons and unleashed war crimes
  4. the 2022 NATO summit committed to a US military base in Poland, a brigade in Romania, air missile systems in Italy and Germany and two additional F-35 squadrons in Britain
  5. Volodymyr Zelensky says he wants Ukraine to become a 'big Israel'—an armed, illiberal outpost of US imperialism.

Congress believes:

  1. wars are fought by the poor and unemployed of one country killing and maiming the poor and unemployed of another
  2. we should say, 'Russian troops out, no to NATO escalation and expansion'
  3. we should stand in solidarity with ordinary Ukrainians and demand an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops
  4. NATO is not a progressive force: escalation risks widening war in the region
  5. only through a peaceful resolution can lives be saved.


  1. UCU to call upon Russian to withdraw its troops and for government to stop arming Ukraine
  2. UCU to call for a peaceful resolution to the war
  3. Congress resolves to support protests called by Stop The War, CND and other anti-war organisations.


5A.1 University of Leeds

Delete point 5 under Congress notes.

In 'b' add, after 'Russian troops out', 'self-determination for Ukraine'.

In 'c' delete 'ordinary'.

In 'e' add, after 'a peaceful resolution', 'based on freedom and independence for Ukraine'.

In 'i' delete 'and for government to stop arming Ukraine'.

In 'ii' add at end 'acceptable to the Ukrainian people'.

Delete bullet point iii


6  Solidarity with Ukraine: supporting education and humanitarian work - National executive committee 


  1. condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine 
  2. recognises Ukraine's right to self determination  
  3. notes courageous work of Russian anti-war activists and journalists despite state oppression and personal risk  
  4. condemns all manifestations of imperialism 
  5. reaffirms UCU's commitments to international solidarity; protecting human rights, workers' rights, education for all; defending and promoting rights of all displaced people, all fleeing conflict.

Congress resolves to:  

Campaign for:  

  1. the UK government to waive visa restrictions and provide safe routes for all refugees and asylum seekers 
  2. full college / university scholarships for all refugees and asylum seekers 
  3. cancellation of Ukraine's national debt.

Task the International Working Group to: 

  1. develop, and widely publicise programmes of practical solidarity work based on this motion and UCU's humanitarian and education policies, including online meetings inviting Ukrainian trade unionists and feminists  
  2. foster links to support international labour movement activists, educators, and students  
  3. support Russian workers, educators, students and activists who oppose war. 


7  (EP) Solidarity with Palestine - UCU Scotland executive committee

This year commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes by Zionist militia in the establishment of the State of Israel. For 75 years, Israel has denied refugees the right of return, in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 194.

UCU notes with concern the continuing escalation of violence and repression against the Palestinians during this year.

UCU reaffirms its commitment to policies in support of the Palestinian struggle against settler colonisation, including supporting the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, and against the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.


7A.1 Bangor University


'of the Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes by Zionist militia in the establishment of the State of Israel. For 75 years, Israel has denied refugees the right of return, in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 194'

Replace with:

'of the 1948 Palestine War, which resulted in 750,000 Palestinians and 260,000 Jews being forced from their homes. For 75 years, Israel and its neighbours have denied refugees the right of return'


'the continuing escalation of violence and repression against the Palestinians during this year'

Replace with:

'the continuing escalation of violence against both Palestinians and Israelis, the continuing repression of the Palestinians, and the global upsurge in antisemitism'


8  Israeli oppression and the right to boycott - University of Brighton Moulsecoomb, London regional committee

Congress notes:

  1. intensifying and murderous pressure to drive Palestinians from Jerusalem and the West Bank, further colonising Palestine, and the continuing blockade of Gaza
  2. plans to annex the illegally occupied territories
  3. conditions of Palestinians caused Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B'Tselm and the UN to declare the situation a form of apartheid
  4. UK Government's introduction of an anti-BDS Bill, pursuing its Israel alliance, proscribing boycott unless sanctioned by Government policy. 

Congress believes that:

  1. civil society boycotts have an honourable tradition from anti-slavery campaigns through boycotts of Nazi trade to isolation of Apartheid South Africa
  2. the anti-BDS Bill, together with bans on environmental protest and anti-union laws, is an attempt to suppress civil solidarity and resistance. 

Congress resolves to:

  1. fully support the Right to Boycott campaign. 


9  (EP) Palestinian solidarity and the threat to critical opinion - Black members standing committee

Congress notes 

  1. the Tuck report in which the NUS is accused of antisemitism through its pro-Palestine stances
  2. the conflation of support with Palestinians or critique of Israeli policies being described as antisemitism
  3. the current Israeli government's designation of Palestinian human rights organisations designated as 'terrorist' and the attempts in the UK to close down critique of Israel through Prevent, IHRA and rendering BDS unlawful.

Congress believes this compounds

  1. systematic discrimination against Palestinians in Palestine and critical academics and students in particular in the UK
  2. the isolation of Palestinian universities and undermining higher education.

Congress resolves:

  1. for the NEC to report on the moral and political consequences of Israeli policies with regards to the attack on academic freedom.
  2. authorise all appropriate action from branches to protect students and staff who find themselves under attack for supporting the cause of the Palestinian people
  3. reaffirm UCU policy on BDS.


9A.1  London retired members' branch

Add to Congress notes:

  1. the importance of campaigns like the Big Ride for Palestine both in building Palestinian solidarity and raising funds for children's sports activities in Palestine.

Add to Congress resolves:

  1. to support, and encourage UCU members to join or support, the Big Ride for Palestine's South Wales ride in August 2023.


10  Stop the war in Sudan - refugees welcome - National executive committee

Congress notes the devastation caused by war in Sudan. Civilians are paying the price for the military struggle to control the country's government and resources. 

Congress believes foreign powers, including the British government, contributed to this conflict by pressing Sudanese democratic forces to negotiate power-sharing agreements with the warring military and militia generals. Regional states allied to Britain, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Israel have fuelled the crisis through support to the combatants. 

Congress further believes that Britain has an obligation to provide safe, legal routes for Sudanese citizens to seek asylum in Britain. Many British citizens of Sudanese origin have faced the agony of seeing family members trapped by this conflict. 

Congress resolves to support NEC, BMSC and branches in working with MENA Solidarity, other trade unions and Sudanese organisations to:

  1. host an emergency solidarity event 
  2. lobby parliamentarians 
  3. publicise solidarity actions to members.


Industrial overview

11  Fighting punitive ASOS deductions - Queen Mary, University of London 

Congress notes: 

  1. employer threats to make punitive deductions for ASOS
  2. the need to respond robustly through industrial, political, and legal means
  3. the important campaigning and legal work carried out by branches in challenging deductions
  4. the decision by many members to decline to declare their participation in industrial action when faced with such threats
  5. the support shown by the union to Queen Mary members through the fighting fund following the implementation of deductions. 

Congress resolves: 

  1. to develop a legal strategy to challenge deductions which extends beyond breach of contract to incorporate arguments about human rights, trade union detriment, and blacklisting
  2. to commit to provide strike pay to members in branches who receive 100% ASOS deductions, on a comparable scale to that provided to Queen Mary members in 2022. 


11A.1  University of Winchester

Add to Congress resolves:

  1. to work with the TUC and other trade unions to campaign for a change to the law to prevent such deductions, including lobbying government and opposition parties.


11A.2  Anti-casualisation committee

Add new point at end of Congress notes:

That the punitive ASOS deductions will have a disproportionate impact on all UCU members employed on casualised contracts.

Add new point at end of Congress resolves:

To give the maximum financial support possible to UCU members on casualised contracts during their participation in ASOS.


12  Industrial action and legal guidance for migrant members - Migrant members standing committee 

Congress notes: 

  1. since 2019, UCU has published legal guidance on migrant workers taking industrial action, which is updated as the law changes
  2. some updates happened just before, or during, industrial action. 

Congress believes: 

  1. no member should be asked to take industrial action that could jeopardise their immigration status
  2. last minute changes to guidance risk confusion regarding migrant members' ability to participate in industrial action and increases the risk of receiving incorrect advice. 

Congress resolves: 

  1. UCU guidance for migrant members must be refreshed on a quarterly basis to address changes in law, and updates emailed to members
  2. proposals for forms or patterns of industrial action, which would be new to UCU, should by default include an equality impact assessment inclusive of migration status. An updated version of the Migrant IA guidance should be provided to the relevant NEC subcommittee to inform calling action.


13  End to discrimination and victimisation - University of Hull

UCU members are subject to discrimination and victimisation in the workplace - line managers manipulate facts to use against them in process of career development. They often destroy evidence that proves contributions made by honestly, impartially and professionally working UCU members. They are victimised or blamed for no reason and buried in excessive workloads. There are no effective channels to check for errors of judgement.  These demoralise the true spirit of academic carrier and harass the process of professional development activities.

This is not good for the quality of  education, equality of opportunities and development of the higher education sector in general. It is detrimental to the productivity and the economy. Therefore this motion is for an end to these kinds of discriminations and victimisations in our workplaces.


13A.1  City of Liverpool College (City)

Line 2 add 'the' before 'process'

Line 4 change 'honestly', 'impartially', and 'professionally' to 'honest', 'impartial' and 'professional'

Line 5 Change 'buried' to 'swamped'

Line 7 Change carrier to 'career'

Line 10 add 'further and' before 'higher'. Change 'sector' to 'sectors'

Add at end: 'Note the Mercer case 2021

Employers strategically use a "chilling effect" to scare members by creating a climate of fear, intimidating and victimising reps. UCU needs to respond more than just legally to individual cases of TU victimisation- they should maintain a visible continuous campaign highlighting employers tactics to "chill" activities of UCU in branches and demonstrate support of the individual reps involved.

Working with other unions and political overview

14  Defend democratic rights and the right to strike - Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee

Congress condemns the attacks on democratic rights by the Conservative Government, including:

  1. further restrictions on the right to strike, such as legal requirements for minimum service levels
  2. the potential victimisation and dismissal of trade union activists if selected by employers to work on strike days
  3. restrictions on the right to protest
  4. the introduction of voter ID, which could lead to voter suppression.

Police and councils have started acting in line with these restrictions, for example, Leeds University UCU faced significant obstacles in organising a march and rally in the city centre during the recent HE strikes, a process which had previously been straightforward.

UCU will work with other trade unions, the TUC and campaign groups to defend democratic and trade union rights, including the right to strike.


15  Single employment status - City of Bristol College, Anti-casualisation committee

This Congress wishes to express its regret that Lord John Hendy's Status of Workers Bill did not become law. 

This Congress notes that:

  1. 1 in 9 workers are in insecure work - a total of 3.7 million workers
  2. 67% of those in insecure work do not receive sick pay

Congress further notes that:

  1. 6% of caring, leisure and service workers;
  2. 4% of workers in roles, such as security guards, taxi drivers and shop assistants
  3. 5% of those in the skilled trades
  4. 2% of process, plant and machine operatives are in insecure work. 

Congress calls on the UCU to:

  1. work with other trade unions through the TUC to campaign for a change in the law to introduce Single Employment Status
  2. support any future legislation in UK Parliament to introduce Single Employment Status
  3. submit a motion to the TUC Congress calling for the TUC to Campaign for Single Employment Status.


15A.1  Disabled members standing committee

Add new 3 - This Congress notes that:

  1. according to the TUC report, 'Covid-19 and Insecure Work', disabled workers are 22.5% more likely to be in precarious work than their non-disabled peers

Add new iv. - Congress calls on the UCU to:

  1. ensure that any Single Employment Status legislation and/or campaign enshrines the right to equity and to be equal of vulnerable groups such as, disabled, Black, Migrants, LGBT+ and Women

16  No to increase in military spending - welfare not warfare - National executive committee 


  1.    the cost-of-living crisis impacting millions of workers
  2.    the GMB motion passed at TUC calling for more government funds to be spent on defence
  3.    government aims to increase arms spending by 3%.


  1. an increase in arms spending negatively impacts workers' wages and welfare
  2. it is estimated increasing arms spending to 3% would lead to 5% increase in income tax or VAT, or equivalent cuts in other public spending
  3. state funds should be used to create new skilled green jobs
  4. the trade union movement at its core must be internationalist. Support for more arms spending will only divide worker against worker.  


  1. UCU to table a motion to TUC calling on the government not to increase arms spending and call to invest in welfare not warfare and into creating green jobs.


17  Composite: Long term Covid safety and mitigations - University of Leeds, National executive committee

Congress notes:

  1. ongoing and long-term health and social impacts of Covid19 and Long Covid
  2. our responsibilities to protect and promote healthier accessible working, studying, and union environments
  3. excellent work of UCU Health and Safety staff and reps, Hazards Campaign , Independent SAGE
  4. SARS-CoV-2, causing COVID-19, remains a significant threat to public health
  5. Long Covid pathophysiology is not understood; reliable effective treatments remain elusive
  6. lack of COVID-19 mitigations, including further boosters not being widely available.

Congress believes :

  1. that tertiary education providers are putting staff and students at unacceptable risk from Covid-19 and Long Covid, with particular ramifications for those identifying with one or more of UCU's recognized equality groups 
  2. that the fact that the government has removed Covid protections does not absolve providers of health and safety responsibilities toward staff and students 
  3. that the current situation is discriminatory and ableist
  4. mitigations must include ventilation and mechanical air filtration, which does not need to be prohibitively expensive and significantly improves indoor air quality.

Congress resolves UCU must: 

  1. actively campaign as a Covid Safety Pledge signatory, and for recognition of Covid19 as an occupational disease
  2. lead by example: UCU events and spaces must be made as safe as possible, with mitigations in place to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, not limited to government guidance
  3. call on employers and commit as a trade union to ensure structural mitigations are in place in workplaces and organising spaces, including:
  • minimum requirements for clean air, including ventilation, mechanical filtration, CO2 monitoring as a proxy measurement of air quality according to space usage
  • normalisation of hybrid events to ensure accessibility
  • ensuring UCU leads the way as an employer by employing best practice in its own workplaces and in events that it organises.
  1. undertake specific research into impact of Long Covid on our members and students
  2. support ongoing development of bargaining guidance and training for members on Covid19 / Long Covid
  3. to enshrine the recommendations of the Hazards Campaign and Doctors In Unite authored guide, in our practice (
  4. to campaign to make vaccination available to all age groups for which the vaccine is authorised by the MHRA.
  5. collaborate with AoC, UCEA and UUK to as far as possible to pressure the UK government to improve Covid mitigations 
  6. demand full sick pay for workers on all contract types suffering ill health through Covid, without disadvantage or discrimination.


17A.1  Disabled members standing committee

Add new 7 and 8 - Congress notes:

  1. figures from the TUC show that 6 out of 10 work related deaths from COVID-19 and 62% of redundancies rates were disabled workers
  2. that during the first year of the Pandemic the number of work related deaths increased by 28% whilst the number of cases prosecuted by the HSE fell by 42%

Add new j - Congress resolves UCU must:

  1. campaign for the reversal to the cuts in HSE funding totalling over £100 million since 2010

18  (EP) Defending and improving state and occupational pensions - Retired members' committee 

Congress notes: 

  1. since at least 2010 there have been attacks on state and occupational pensions in respect of qualifying age, level of benefits, and increases in contributions
  2. actions by employers to move groups of staff out of TPS, USS and other schemes onto inferior pension schemes through the use of subsidiary companies
  3. use of less favourable cost of living indices
  4. some staff opting out of occupational pension schemes. 

In view of the forthcoming UK General Election, Congress calls on the NEC to defend and seek to improve state and occupational pension schemes by: 

  1. continued campaigning
  2. working with other unions, the TUC, and the National Pensioners Convention
  3. raising awareness among members
  4. lobbying political parties
  5. seeking commitments from potential future governments. 


18A.1  Women members' standing committee

  1. After the word "staff" in point 2, add "on all contracts".
  2. Add f. For all of the above, casualised staff need to be included, their particular situations with regards to the above points researched and taken account of. This is particularly important in regard to lobbying, seeking commitments to the government and raising awareness.

19  Unify resistance and demand a better deal for working people - Yorkshire and Humberside retired members' branch 

Congress congratulates workers who have taken action to protest against the cost-of-living scandal, modestly called crisis, and to oppose further anti-union laws. 

Congress notes that many workers are dependent on food banks and payday loans and that wages for many workers are too low to live decently. Furthermore, low wages and excessive workloads are leading to a recruitment and retention crisis in many sectors of the economy, including education, health and social care. 

Congress believes that a fundamental shift of power and wealth in the interests of working people is necessary to remedy these injustices. On the basis of the current wave of strikes unions need to build a mass social movement for better public services, socially useful work, affordable housing, and protection of the environment. 

Congress welcomes actions by Trades Union Councils, TUC, trade unions, student unions and local communities to unify struggles for a fairer and greener society. 


20  Crisis in the NHS and social care - Retired members' committee 

Congress notes: 

  1. the crises in both the NHS and social care throughout the UK
  2. that better services for health and care service users depends on better pay and conditions, and better education provision, training and career development, for health and care workers
  3. the expertise and experience of UCU members in health and social care education, research and provision, which represents a valuable resource. 

Congress therefore recommends that the NEC organises a conference to bring together diverse strands within and outside the union to advocate and organise for improved provision of health and social care. The conference should involve people and organisations with professional and policy interests within health and social care. 


Last updated: 31 May 2023