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Congress 2024: Business of the recruitment, organising and campaigning committee

21 May 2024

UCU Congress 2024: 29 May - 10:15-11:30

Motions have been allocated to a section of the NEC's report to Congress (UCU2119). Paragraph headings refer to paragraphs within this report. CBC may have added some new paragraph headings to facilitate the ordering of motions.

Section 1: Business of the recruitment, organising and campaigning committee

Section 1.2: Priority areas

1  Recruitment, organising and campaigning - National executive committee

Congress notes the progress made by ROCC in implementing the policies set by Congress, notably:

  1. support for national disputes in all sectors
  2. support for branches, including with GTVO and disputes
  3. strengthening recruitment to build greater union density in all our sectors
  4. developing training and education for activists
  5. providing support for priority, national industrial campaigns.

Congress supports continued focus on these areas working:

  1. to actively support recruitment, campaigning and organising activities nationally, regionally, and locally
  2. to engage and involve our diverse groups of members
  3. to ensure issues of climate justice and sustainability are integral to our work
  4. with other unions to oppose the Strike (Minimum Service Levels) Act
  5. actively campaign against attacks on the rights of refugees and asylum seekers and other migrants.


1A.1  Anti-casualisation Committee

Add at end new f:

  1. actively campaign against the increasing casualisation of work in Higher Education, Further Education, Prison Education, Adult and Community Education and support branches in holding meetings with casualised members and submitting anti-casualisation claims.


Section 1.4: Union organising

2  Toolkit for Winning Recognition - Anti-casualisation committee

Congress notes:

  1. the proliferation of workplaces in post-16 education with no recognised
  2. these workplaces are increasingly common because of the deregulation and marketisation of education
  3. UCU has traditionally focused on workplaces with existing recognition agreements
  4. UCU has won recognition recently at University of Cambridge and Sussex ISC (Study Group)
  5. multiple campaigns to win recognition in a variety of workplaces in HE are.

Congress believes the worst examples of low pay and casualisation are found in workplaces with no collective bargaining and that the trend of unorganised workplaces represents an existential threat to working conditions in the sector.

Congress resolves to create a toolkit in consultation with ACC providing legal and organising guidance to support UCU members to build successful recognition campaigns, covering both the legal processes and the need to recruit and branch build in workplaces where UCU is not recognised.


3  Supporting discussion and democratic debate among UCU branches and activists - Yorkshire and Humberside regional committee

Congress recognises the value of discussion among branches, regions and union activists in developing union policies, collective learning and sharing of experiences. Such discussions may relate to areas such as education policy, industrial relations strategy, equality and international issues, and approaches to union organising.

Congress affirms that discussion and communication between branches and members is essential to building a strong UK-wide union and that preventing discussion and communication disempowers our membership.

Congress calls for the immediate re-instatement of the UCU Activists' List as a discussion forum for UCU members, with provision for appropriate moderating arrangements.

Congress instructs NEC to explore ways in which both digital communication platforms and in-person or hybrid events can be organised and resourced to build up a supporting framework and culture of civil and collegial debate, which enhances union democracy and supports UCU's effectiveness as a trade union.


4  Mergers on the dancefloor - City University

Congress notes:

  1. merger between City, University of London and St George's, University of London - due 1 August 2024
  2. negotiations were between Councils of both institutions, with limited communications/ updates to staff
  3. HESA reported 55% of 267 Higher Education institutions recorded deficit in 2021-22.

Congress believes:

  1. we need to prepare for further mergers of institutions
  2. involvement of trade unions should be prioritised, including openness and transparency in mergers/proceedings
  3. there are recruitment opportunities in being prepared and supporting staff through mergers and building an even stronger union.

Congress calls on:

  1. UCU to prepare guidance and resources for reps on supporting TUPE processes, with case studies
  2. UCU to provide briefings for members on TUPE proceedings
  3. Regional training to be organised for affected branches for reps and UCU members
  4. UCU to argue for increased transparency and union involvement in mergers to avoid future situations experienced by City and St George's.


New section, campaigns

5  Composite: International and political influencing on climate and ecological emergency (CEE) - Eastern and Home Counties regional committee, University of Exeter, Aberystwyth University

Congress believes the tertiary educational sector is under-developed in narratives or framings in parliamentary and international discussions around the climate and ecological emergency.

Congress notes UCU's successes in local and national bargaining and organising on the CEE.

Congress resolves:

UCU develop parliamentary and international campaigns for education's centrality to the green skills agenda and a Just Transition, including: 

  1. influencing of the UK, Scottish, and Welsh parliaments and Northern Ireland Assembly, including publications and events, supported by appropriate all-party parliamentary groups
  2. frame-setting media campaign through UCU, targeting national print and broadcast media
  3. template materials for regions & branches to localise and approach local media and government
  4. collaboration with supportive trade unions and aligned groups, especially PCS and Greener Jobs Alliance
  5. act to influence, and amplify via, international trade union networks such as Education International, ETUCE, Greening Education Partnership, and at COPs, including supporting member attendance.


6  Action on Climate Change - UCU Scotland

Congress reaffirms its commitment to combatting climate change.

Congress notes:

  1. the importance of education
  2. the high impacts of transport and food emissions
  3. the potential of health and safety approaches.

Congress agrees to:

  1. campaign for abolition of 'company' cars, particularly in institutions, and for free and improved public transport and better provision for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists
  2. donate £300 to the Campaign for Better Transport (launched as Transport 2000 by National Union of Railwaymen and others), publicise their actions and encourage branches to participate with banners
  3. support branches to get a green rep, this rep to sit on institution environment/sustainability committees and to have recognition as H&S rep
  4. encourage significantly more members to attend UCU CPD: introduction to sustainability, decarbonise and decolonise, embedding climate education, and timetable more courses
  5. donate £200 to People and Planet and encourage members to support local actions.


7  Fighting tax injustice for those on low incomes - Southern regional committee

Congress notes in 2021 the Government froze personal income tax thresholds which hitherto, had typically been increase by CPI each year. The freeze has now been extended until 2028. This policy stands in direct contradiction to Conservative 2019 election manifesto pledges.

Congress notes that, as a consequence, increasing numbers of low-paid workers and pensioners have been drawn into the tax net. This adversely affects part-time and hourly-paid staff in post-sixteen education and pensioners who have retired from this field, for example. Those struggling on low incomes in a cost-of-living crisis have been further impoverished.

Congress instructs the NEC to work with the National Pensioners Convention to campaign for the reversal of this damaging policy and, further, to include this objective in UCU's lobbying strategy ahead of the forthcoming general election.


7A.1  Disabled Members Standing Committee

After 'low paid worker' (paragraph 2, line 2), insert 'disabled workers'

After 'National Pensioners Convention' (paragraph 3, line 1), insert 'and DDPOs (Deaf and Disabled Persons Organisations)'


8  Support NPC Campaign for an Older Persons Commissioner - Eastern and Home Counties retired members

Congress instructs the UCU to support the National Pensioners Convention campaign for an older person's commissioner for England.


9  The use of subsidiary companies by HEIs to circumvent TPS - Southern regional committee

Congress notes:

  1. that many post-1992 HEIs 'parent' wholly or majority-owned subsidiary companies (incorporated under UK company law) to operate non-charitable and commercial activities to avoid compromising the charitable objects of the HEI
  2. and condemns the shameful employment practice of using a subsidiary company to employ new staff (academic and professional services) at the Universities of Falmouth, Staffordshire, and Solent for the purpose of circumventing the commitment to Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS).

Congress instructs the NEC to:

  1. establish a working group to specifically to defend TPS
  2. organise a high profile campaign for the abolition of the shameful employment practice of using a subsidiary company for the purposes of employing new staff and to circumvent TPS
  3. provide support and resources to post-92 branches.


9A.1  Academic-related, professional services staff committee

Add 'and LGPS (Local Government Pension Scheme)' at end of point b.


9A.2  London Metropolitan University

To be added to Congress instructs, after c:

  1. call for equal funding of post 92-TPS from the government
  2. campaign to end the outsourcing in HEIs so that staff (this disproportionately affects equality strands and casualised workers) are not pressured into inferior pension schemes in subsidiary employment or in traditional HEIs
  3. a renewed campaign and focus on pension justice in TPS for women on all contracts.


Last updated: 29 May 2024