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Higher education sector conference

09:30, Thursday 28 May 2009

To be taken in private session until conclusion of motion 3.

Paragraph 4, Pay and national negotiations

HE1  Higher Education Committee

In the procedure for electing negotiators:

  1. delete paragraph F and renumber accordingly
  2. add at the end a new paragraph:

'In the event that at the first HEC after congress one or more of the elected negotiators becomes a vice-chair of HEC, the next electable candidate(s) from the original ballot, taking account of the conditions in Paragraph E, will be substituted.'

AMENDED - delete paragraph 2

CARRIED AS AMENDED


L8  Emergency motion - supported by delegate from 10 branches

Conference is concerned at the recent debacle surrounding the calling of a ballot on industrial action. In particular, conference is concerned about the lack of consultation with local associations/branches and the apparent lack of democratic mandate for the ballot. Conference notes that consultation with local associations/branches took place after the ballot was called and supports the HEC in its decision to suspend the ballot. Conference instructs the HEC to:

  1. establish a sub-committee of HEC, at the first available opportunity, to investigate how this situation occurred
  2. draw up recommendations in this sub-committee to prevent this situation occurring again
  3. report back to local associations/branches with their findings and recommendations.

LOST


L6  National Negotiations on 19 May 2009 - Higher Education Committee

HESC

  • demands employers take meaningful steps to promote job security
  • rejects the pay offer of 0.4%
  • condemns the failure of UCEA to negotiate seriously
  • welcomes the good working relationships with other trade unions in New JNCHES
  • instructs its negotiators to work with other unions for a credible offer on pay and job security
  • supports joint campaigning with other trade unions for these objectives
  • supports joint work with NUS and others in defence of jobs and education
  • instructs HEC to consult thoroughly with branches and regions on future action
  • authorises HEC to take appropriate action in the autumn, which may include balloting for industrial action, if there is no progress in national negotiations.

CARRIED


HE2  Bargaining arrangements - Northern Ireland HE Committee

Conference recognises that, in the current economic climate, it will be difficult to achieve a substantial catch-up pay settlement.

Conference believes, therefore, that our primary objective must be to assert and defend our right to negotiate effectively on behalf of our members. This means UCU must continue to insist on

  1. a distinct and separate bargaining table to negotiate on all matters particular to academic and academic-related staff including pay and pay structures
  2. a negotiating table which does not frustrate our right and ability to take appropriate forms of industrial action should this prove necessary.

Conference instructs HEC and the HE negotiating team to give absolute priority to these objectives.

(REMITTANCE MOVED: LOST)

LOST

HE2A.1  - Open University

Delete third sentence two bullet points and replace by

'Conference therefore re-asserts UCU's demand for a permanent, standing sub-committee to negotiate on all matters particular to academic and academic related staff including pay and pay structures as determined by an overwhelming majority voting in a membership ballot.'

Delete last two words and replace by 'this objective'.

LOST


HE3  Hourly paid and national HE negotiations - Northern Region Committee

HESC welcomes the call in the 2009 pay claim for the assimilation of hourly-paid staff across the HE sector under the Framework Agreement, pro-rata permanent contracts, and a minimum hourly rate in the interim. The inclusion of hourly-paid in pre-1992 universities is a considerable leap forward.

Given the current situation with JNCHES, we call upon the HEC to work vigorously to achieve these aims in national negotiation, and if this cannot be achieved:

  1. to find other ways to move forward in 2009-10, for example, by concentrating extra resources to support individual LAs/branches in making distinctive progress on these points which can be used as models of best practice elsewhere. This could include campaigning support, negotiating support, support for legal cases and support for industrial action
  2. to work for these policies for hourly paid staff to remain on the national agenda until they are achieved.

CARRIED


Paragraph 6, Framework Agreement

HE4  Pay for research - University of the West of England

Conference notes that only at level 4 of the national academic role profiles is a member of staff 'Required to be [an] externally recognised scholar or teacher.'

The high number of level 3 staff who were part of RAE submissions shows the extent to which AC3 staff are working beyond their pay grades.

Conference therefore calls on HEIs to:

  1. use appropriate pay grades to acknowledge the work for which the HEI seeks to claim credit; or,
  2. acknowledge that their RAE submission was disingenuous and exploitative because it included work that was not contractually required by the HEI.

CARRIED


HE5  Administrative and other professorships - Canterbury Christ Church University

Conference believes that outstanding academic achievement should be the principal criterion for conferring the title 'professor' in universities and colleges. The practice of awarding professorships to administrative post holders who do not fulfil the academic criteria is misleading and should be discontinued.

Conference also believes the arbitrary use of 'associate' or other professorship titles by new and old universities is also misleading and it is better that all permanent members of university faculties should hold the title 'professor' on the American model.

LOST

HE5A.1  - Canterbury Christ Church University

Final sentence, add between 'that' and 'all' - 'we move towards a position where'

Final sentence, add between permanent and members - the word 'academic'

Final sentence, after 'university faculties', delete 'should'

CARRIED


L10  Zero hours contracts and hourly paid staff - emergency motion supported by delegates from 10 branches

This conference notes with great concern that, as has become clear during congress, an increasing number of university managements are seeking to assimilate hourly paid staff under the Framework Agreement via permanent zero hours contracts or similar (staff development only), sometimes called 'bank' contracts.

We call on the HEC to:

  1. set up, as a matter of urgency, a signing-off procedure for agreements on hourly paid staff
  2. make it known that contract are unacceptable where:
    • hours are reducible to zero with no access to statutory redundancy rights
    • hours are variable downwards by any percentage with no agreement on a standard redundancy procedure
    • there is non-employee status
  3. provide support to LAs/branches faced with these proposals
  4. produce guidelines with good models
  5. name and shame employers who continue to seek to impose such contracts.

CARRIED


Paragraph 9, Workload

HE6  Overworked and under-valued - Northumbria University

Conference is alarmed at the staff surveys undertaken in various HEIs recently that are revealing, amongst other things, the amount of unpaid work academic staff are undertaking. In a recent survey carried out by Capita, on behalf of Northumbria University, it was found that 63% of academic staff 'do not have time to carry out all (their) work' and 60% are not 'able to take regular breaks on most days'. Management are using these surveys to as an exercise to align themselves to other HEIs and as long as the results are not too dissimilar, they could continue to ignore the growing trend of work overload.

Conference notes the TUC's 'Work your Proper Hours Day' and calls upon UCU to investigate the extent of overwork amongst its members and to campaign for an acceptable workload in both the pre- and post 92 sectors.

CARRIED


HE7  Campaigning on workload protection in HE - Higher Education Committee

HESC notes that for some time now management have been steadily increasing UCU members' workloads using a variety of tactics. In particular members are subject to an increasing pace of change, the pressure to carry out 'internationally competitive' research, and increasing student numbers.

These pressures are likely to increase as recession bites.

Workload is an equality and a health and safety issue, threatening health and reducing quality of life. Additionally, increasing workload is an attack on academic freedom, curbing as it does the time available for free study time and scholarship. HESC urges ROCC to make workload a campaigning priority for the union and recommends to ROCC the HESC working group paper as a basis for the campaign.

CARRIED


HE8  Workload protection - negotiating guidance for HE branches/local associations - Higher Education Committee

HESC resolves to adopt the workload working group paper as the basis of its strategy to curb the growing workload of members, indeed to reduce it, and to improve conditions of service. HESC notes that the paper was produced in response to a motion to HESC for a workload template and welcomes the approach adopted by the working group in proposing the template as a set of national principles which branches/LAs can use in a practical way to negotiate locally.

CARRIED


HE9  Workload Protection - University of Glasgow

Conference welcomes the UCU local negotiating guide for workload protection from HEC while noting that workload models in universities are becoming increasingly common. Conference notes that any staff engaged in teaching, research or related work has to some extent become aware of workloads increasing while resources of time allocated to perform well, and preserve an effective work-life balance, diminish. This meeting encourages HEC to support branches/LAs to negotiate with management to make workload protection a priority.

CARRIED


Paragraph 10, Redundancy

HE10  Compulsory redundancies - University of Dundee

Conference calls for condemnation of any threat of compulsory redundancies in the HE sector arising out of restructuring of schools, faculties, departments, or units.

Conference calls for the strengthening of efforts to counter attacks on members' jobs and working conditions , especially in view of the increasing financial pressure on the higher education sector.

CARRIED


Paragraph 11, Governance

HE11  Governance, democracy and business influence  - University of East London

Conference notes:

  • increasing business influence/decreasing staff and student involvement in governing bodies
  • the role of such bodies in disseminating ideas about education as a commodity and universities as corporate entities under managerial control
  • government's wish to reduce the size of governing bodies and further limit involvement of employee and student representatives.

Conference asserts:

  • the intrinsic value of education and of independent, critical thought
  • the importance of good governance based upon adequate representation of internal and external constituencies
  • the key role of transparent procedures in relation to governing bodies.

Conference resolves to:

  • introduce issues of governance into UCU's Alternative Vision for Higher Education
  • prepare a statement of principles for good practice in establishing and running governing bodies consistent with UNESCO guidelines on Self Governance and Principles of Collegiality
  • make the union's views known to DIUS, HEFCE and other relevant bodies.

CARRIED


HE12  Leeds Met - bullying and governance - Yorkshire and Humberside Region HE Committee

HESC notes:

  1. the removal of the VC of Leeds Met under a cloud of accusations that involve issues of bullying of managers
  2. the UCU survey of 2007 showed a widespread culture of bullying throughout Leeds Met which was denied by management and ignored by the governing body.

HESC welcomes the statements from the chief executive of Leeds Met to move towards a more collegiate model of working.

HESC believes that the culture of bullying must be recognised at all levels and must be dealt with using procedures agreed with recognised trade unions.

HESC calls for:

  1. a public inquiry into the governance of Leeds Met and the decision to remove the VC
  2. a culture change to a more open, democratic and collegiate management of universities
  3. HEC to establish a working party on collegiality and democratic governance and UCU training for staff governors.

CARRIED


HE13  Call for independent body for dispute resolution - University of Southampton

This congress notes that since the Higher Education Act of 2004 came into force, student disputes that escalate beyond internal procedures can be referred to an independent body, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

However, by abolishing the visitor system the act took away remedies for employee and employee/student disputes, leaving those involved in such complex issues with no recourse but to the courts.

This congress notes the negative impact of this development on dispute resolution within universities and colleges, and calls for the establishment of an independent body equivalent to the OIA to which such disputes can be referred.

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)

HE13A.1  - London Region HE sector

Add as final paragraph:

This conference, noting numerous reported instances of poor grievance procedures and processes in HE, also instructs HEC to commission an audit of grievances procedures and processes in all HE institutions to report by next congress.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

This congress notes that since the Higher Education Act of 2004 came into force, student disputes that escalate beyond internal procedures can be referred to an independent body, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

However, by abolishing the visitor system the act took away remedies for employee and employee/student disputes, leaving those involved in such complex issues with no recourse but to the courts.

This congress notes the negative impact of this development on dispute resolution within universities and colleges, and calls for the establishment of an independent body equivalent to the OIA to which such disputes can be referred.

This conference, noting numerous reported instances of poor grievance procedures and processes in HE, also instructs HEC to commission an audit of grievances procedures and processes in all HE institutions to report by next congress.


Paragraph 12, Equal treatment and pay

HE14  Equal pay audits - Women's Standing Committee

Higher Education Conference urges branches to press institutions to carry out pay audits and to propose remedial action where problems are identified. In particular, HE conference notes that existing pay audits have identified starting salaries for academic and related staff and professorial promotion schemes as problem areas. HE conference instructs the HEC committee to identify best practice in these areas and to make the adoption of good practice a priority for branches.

CARRIED


Paragraphs 13 - 15, Anti-casualisation

HE15  Hourly paid, assimilation and national HE negotiations - Anti-Casualisation Committee

HESC welcomes the call in the HE pay claim for the assimilation of hourly paid across the sector to the pay and grading structures and a commitment to pro-rata permanent contracts. We welcome local successes, but complex issues can place a heavy burden on branch officers.

We call on the HEC to:

  1. work vigorously to achieve the above aims for hourly paid in national negotiations in 2009-10
  2. work for these policies for hourly paid to remain on the national agenda until achieved;
  3. produce a model assimilation procedure for branches, to include advice on negotiating grading, calculating fractional contracts to include all work done, legislation, monitoring and appeals, EPEV, employee status and examples of good practice
  4. seek opportunities to achieve particular successes with LAs/branches to constitute useful models, by providing resources such as campaigning support, negotiating support, support for legal cases and support for industrial action.

CARRIED


HE16  Fractional staff workload calculations - Open University

Conference believes that in many institutions the fraction on which the proportion of pay is based for fractional academic or academic related posts needs to be re-examined to ensure that notional hours include time necessary for preparation of study materials, liaison with colleagues and senior academics to ensure high quality teaching and assessment, scholarship, additional reading time in the first year of a course and the additional student support that widening participation has entailed.

Conference asks the HEC to conduct a survey of branches and members on fractional contracts in order to ascertain the extent of the problem, and to prepare relevant negotiating guidelines for branches.

CARRIED


HE17  Hourly paid staff - University of Glasgow

Conference notes that some progress in some areas has been made in moving hourly paid staff onto appropriate spinal points, but that considerable further work is still required. This meeting encourages branches/LAs to step up negotiations with management to achieve a fair payment system for all hourly paid staff. This can be supported by activities such as information stalls and recruitment drives amongst appropriate staff.

CARRIED


HE18  Sustainable careers for researchers - Anti-Casualisation Committee

Researchers and other fixed-term staff are still being unlawfully and/or automatically dismissed on the termination of their contracts, in spite of the fixed-term regulations, hampering career trajectories. Conference calls on the NEC to work with individual universities, Universities UK, the funding councils and other appropriate bodies to promote improved career structures for research staff in Universities, and to:

  1. press universities to develop objective and transparent promotion processes for research staff
  2. press universities to ensure that research staff have access to the same opportunities for development and remuneration as other academic staff
  3. oppose unlawful dismissal on the termination of contracts by engaging with the employers, bringing suitable tribunal cases and providing resources and advice to members and LAs/branches
  4. press research councils to find ways to enable researchers to pursue sustainable careers, and
  5. publicise best practice relating to career development and encourage its dissemination and adoption.

CARRIED


HE19  Less favourable treatment - early career research staff - University of Manchester

This conference notes that the role of Principal Investigator is a critical opportunity for career advancement, and that the current handling of contract wording (especially fixed-term contracts) is knocking many early-career researchers out of the career path. We note that the leadership role is usually identified with the first-named Principal Investigator. Early-career researchers cannot compete on equal footing with the permanent staff if some people's contracts specify an ending date. The use of ending dates in contracts is to be avoided as it is irrelevant to the contract terms and conditions. This conference resolves to explore ways to ensure that permanent contracts are given to all researchers, who have had 1 contract before and who have 4+ years of experience, rather than fishy limited-term contracts which breach the Fixed-Term Contract Regulations (2002).

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)

HE19A.1  - University of Manchester

The fifth sentence, replace:

'fishy limited term contracts which breach the fixed-term contract regulations'

with

'highly dubious limited term contracts that almost certainly breach the Fixed Term Employees Regulations (2002) and/or the EU Fixed Term Directive of 1999 on which they are based'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion:

This conference notes that the role of Principal Investigator is a critical opportunity for career advancement, and that the current handling of contract wording (especially fixed-term contracts) is knocking many early-career researchers out of the career path. We note that the leadership role is usually identified with the first-named Principal Investigator. Early-career researchers cannot compete on equal footing with the permanent staff if some people's contracts specify an ending date. The use of ending dates in contracts is to be avoided as it is irrelevant to the contract terms and conditions. This conference resolves to explore ways to ensure that permanent contracts are given to all researchers, who have had 1 contract before and who have 4+ years of experience, rather than highly dubious limited term contracts that almost certainly breach the Fixed Term Employees Regulations (2002) and/or the EU Fixed Term Directive of 1999 on which they are based.


HE20  FTC Staff and serial redundancy - University of Manchester

This conference calls on the UCU National Executive Committee to engage in national level discussions with the research councils, HEFCE and UCEA, to urgently address the inadequate responses of many universities to the Ball and Bigott rulings. Confusion reigns in the sector because so many contracts with ending-dates have been issued. The research is continuing at the University level so it is wrong to pick out certain contract researchers and dismiss them with a 'redundancy pool of one'. This union resolves to address the uncertainties facing thousands of FTC staff. This union seeks to negotiate with UCEA, the employers, to reach a revised model for funding university research which does not rely on serial redundancy.

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)

HE20A.1  - University of Manchester

Second sentence 'Confusion reigns in the sector because of so many contracts with ending dates have been issued.'

To be replaced with:

'Confusion reigns in the sector because of so many alleged open-ended contracts with reference to end dates/funding have been issued'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion:

This conference calls on the UCU National Executive Committee to engage in national level discussions with the research councils, HEFCE and UCEA, to urgently address the inadequate responses of many universities to the Ball and Bigott rulings. Confusion reigns in the sector because of so many alleged open-ended contracts with reference to end dates/funding have been issued. The research is continuing at the University level so it is wrong to pick out certain contract researchers and dismiss them with a 'redundancy pool of one'. This union resolves to address the uncertainties facing thousands of FTC staff. This union seeks to negotiate with UCEA, the employers, to reach a revised model for funding university research which does not rely on serial redundancy.


HE21  Contracts for services/as and when - Composite (Open University, University College London)

Conference notes the important legal distinctions between 'employees' and 'workers' under EU and UK law, and that some HE employers use 'contracts for services' or 'as and when' contracts to define staff as workers rather than employees. This is used to deny rights to redundancy consultation and pay, to maintain a casualised workforce, and to attempt to justify other inequalities; eg. in pension provision.

Conference calls on HEC to:

  • oppose the use of contracts for services for academic and related staff 
  • seek equal treatment and contracts of employment for members on contracts for services seek assimilation for hourly paid staff on contracts for services under the Framework Agreement
  • oppose attempts by employers to refuse assimilation under the Framework Agreement (or even continued work when others are assimilated) on the basis of having issued contracts for services.

CARRIED (UNAMENDED)

HE21A.1  - Compositing amendment (University College London):

  1. Add to end of first bullet point 'who do not want them'.
  2. Add to end of second bullet point ', unless the members do not want contracts of employment'.

WITHDRAWN


Paragraph 16, Structure and funding of higher education

HE22  HEFCE funded undergraduates - West Midlands Region HE Committee

HE sector conference calls for the Government-imposed cap on HEFCE-funded undergraduate numbers to be lifted, not only in the interests of extending opportunities to all who can benefit, but also to meet the needs of potential students in a period of recession.

We welcome the proposal to hold a UCU conference on fighting all cuts and redundancies including those arising from this cap.

We call on the HEC to run a campaign for the lifting of the cap on HEFCE-funded student numbers.

(REMITTANCE MOVED: LOST)

CARRIED


HE23  Course fees and equality of access - Northumbria University

Conference calls upon the UCU to keep up the pressure on the government to resist the removal of the cap on student top up fees, with a long term aim of abolishing top up fees altogether. Already universities are positioning themselves as market leaders, ready to charge the upmost possible. We know the distortions that markets create. Universities have a responsibility to serve the local population as well. The North East has the lowest levels of the population entering higher education in England and many of the post '92 sector HEIs cater for students from predominately BME backgrounds. The impact of raising course fees will impact upon the wider community and must be resisted.

CARRIED


HE24  Forthcoming government review of variable tuition fees - Higher Education Committee

Conference believes:

  • the primary aims of higher education are the provision of advanced learning and the pursuit of knowledge
  • higher education produces social as well as economic benefits for individuals and society
  • higher education should be based on a student's ability to benefit from their studies not on their ability to pay
  • tuition fees have undermined the widening participation agenda and led to the further marketisation of our sector.

Conference restates its principled opposition to tuition fees and will vigorously oppose any attempt to raise the fee cap.

Conference also calls for:

  • increased resources for higher education to be funded though progressive taxation
  • improved maintenance grants, including a national bursary scheme
  • equal treatment for part-time students and the re-establishment of public funding for all ELQ places
  • a proper independent review of funding, covering teaching, research and student support.

CARRIED


HE25  Investing in higher education - University of Brighton, Falmer

HESC

  • notes the harmful consequences to individuals, families and communities of unemployment
  • believes that universities have an important part to play in economic and social regeneration, and in the development of a more just and inclusive society
  • calls for the doors of learning to be opened to the unemployed through the dramatic expansion of the Access system, and for state funding preparatory education to be made available so that unemployed people can return to education, either full-time or part-time, without loss of benefits.

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)

HE25A.1  - Manchester Metropolitan University

Add following point to end of motion:

Demands that national government massively increases the funding of HE as part of an economic crisis strategy that puts people before profit.

CARRIED

Substantive motion:

HESC

  • notes the harmful consequences to individuals, families and communities of unemployment
  • believes that universities have an important part to play in economic and social regeneration, and in the development of a more just and inclusive society
  • calls for the doors of learning to be opened to the unemployed through the dramatic expansion of the Access system, and for state funding preparatory education to be made available so that unemployed people can return to education, either full-time or part-time, without loss of benefits
  • demands that national government massively increases the funding of HE as part of an economic crisis strategy that puts people before profit.

L7    Engineering and Physics Research Council (EPSRC) Funding Applications  - University of Leeds

HESC condemns the decision of the Engineering and Physics Research Council (EPSRC) to make it more difficult to apply for research funding by rejecting uninvited resubmissions of proposals and excluding repeatedly unsuccessful applicants from submitting proposals to EPSRC for 12 months and asking them to take part in a mentoring programme.

HESC believes that this will be discriminatory and makes unfounded assumptions that lack of success in research applications is based (solely) on poor quality of research rather than other factors.

Shamefully, a member of EPSRC council (Head of UCEA Wakeham) made the following totally inappropriate comment 'It is the chemists who are mostly complaining, and it is the chemists who produce most of the applications that fail'.

Consequently, we call for Bill Wakeham's removal from EPSRC council and from UCEA.

HESC agrees to put pressure on EPSRC to change its policy and remove barriers to submission of research grants.

AMENDMENT MOVED: remove 'and from UCEA' from the penultimate paragraph

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)

Substantive motion:

HESC condemns the decision of the Engineering and Physics Research Council (EPSRC) to make it more difficult to apply for research funding by rejecting uninvited resubmissions of proposals and excluding repeatedly unsuccessful applicants from submitting proposals to EPSRC for 12 months and asking them to take part in a mentoring programme.

HESC believes that this will be discriminatory and makes unfounded assumptions that lack of success in research applications is based (solely) on poor quality of research rather than other factors.

Shamefully, a member of EPSRC council (Head of UCEA Wakeham) made the following totally inappropriate comment 'It is the chemists who are mostly complaining, and it is the chemists who produce most of the applications that fail'.

Consequently, we call for Bill Wakeham's removal from EPSRC council.

HESC agrees to put pressure on EPSRC to change its policy and remove barriers to submission of research grants.


HE26 Government capping on student recruitment - Composite: Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Committee, Northern Region Higher Education Committee, East Midlands Regional Committee

HE sector conference notes:

  1. predictions of a huge surge in youth unemployment as a result of the economic crisis
  2. UCAS applications up 8.8% this year
  3. predictions that up to 30,000 university applicants could fail to find university places next academic year due to the cap on recruitment
  4. the failure in the Government's budget to address the current funding crises in HE.

HE sector conference recognises that post-16 education is a crucial means of education, training and re-training in the economic recession.

HE sector conference demands that:

  1. the ELQ funding regulations be immediately scrapped
  2. the cap on HE student places be immediately removed and appropriate funding for increased numbers of students be put in place, under a managed national plan for expansion
  3. that the government makes available sufficient funding to halt the madness of departmental and course closures and prevent mass redundancies of staff in HE.

CARRIED


HE27  Defending the international character of the university workforce - Yorkshire and Humberside Region HE Committee

HESC notes:

  1. the dependence of UK HE on academics from overseas
  2. the importance to the vitality of UK HE of freedom of movement of academics internationally
  3. current international job losses and subsequent mass resistance
  4. government bailouts for bankers contrasting with refusal to protect jobs
  5. strike action against contractors exploiting European legislation to undermine pay and conditions.

HESC:

  1. reiterates support for: equal pay (at the higher rate where workers from different countries are involved); binding national agreements negotiated by TUs; equal legal status for all regardless of nationality; workers' right to work abroad; academic freedom; and free interchange worldwide
  2. condemns 'contracting out' and privatisation
  3. applauds action to defend jobs but believes the slogan 'British jobs for British workers' only divides, undermines and even destroys academia, advantages the bosses, the BNP fascists and all those hostile to the trade union movement.

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)

HE27A.1  - Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Committee

At end of resolution add new point 4:

'notes the divisive and damaging effects of the PBSI (points based system of immigration) on the international movement of academics'.

CARRIED

HE27A.2  - University of Dundee

Add at end:

Condemns the requirements to monitor attendance of international students and staff as racist, an example of attempts to witch-hunt and is an attack on academic freedom of expression

Commits UCU to campaign against monitoring of staff and students in higher education.

CARRIED

Substantive motion:

HESC notes:

  1. the dependence of UK HE on academics from overseas
  2. the importance to the vitality of UK HE of freedom of movement of academics internationally
  3. current international job losses and subsequent mass resistance
  4. government bailouts for bankers contrasting with refusal to protect jobs
  5. strike action against contractors exploiting European legislation to undermine pay and conditions

HESC:

  1. reiterates support for: equal pay (at the higher rate where workers from different countries are involved); binding national agreements negotiated by TUs; equal legal status for all regardless of nationality; workers' right to work abroad; academic freedom; and free interchange worldwide
  2. condemns 'contracting out' and privatisation
  3. applauds action to defend jobs but believes the slogan 'British jobs for British workers' only divides, undermines and even destroys academia, advantages the bosses, the BNP fascists and all those hostile to the trade union movement
  4. notes the divisive and damaging effects of the PBSI (points based system of immigration) on the international movement of academics
  5. condemns the requirements to monitor attendance of international students and staff as racist, an example of attempts to witch-hunt and is an attack on academic freedom of expression
  6. commits UCU to campaign against monitoring of staff and students in higher education.


After paragraph 19, as part of professional issues

HE28  Points-based system for immigration - Higher Education Committee

HESC strongly condemns the Points Based System for immigration (PBS). It is against our core values of academic freedom and equality and we believe this legislation should be repealed. HESC notes with concern the implications on the contractual terms of academic and related staff, on working conditions, on staff/student relations, and the risk of members being exposed to legal sanctions for non-compliance.

HESC notes the existing campaigning activity within UCU on the legislation and instructs HEC to:

  • work with the Equality Committee and the equalities unit, ROCC and the campaigns team, colleagues in FE and others within UCU to monitor the effects of this legislation on our members in HE and to formulate advice and guidance for branches
  • highlight the contractual and workloads issues that will arise for our members in HE
  • campaign with other appropriate organisations against the negative consequences of the legislation.

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)

HE28A.1  - University of Edinburgh

Add at the end:

Further, conference calls upon members, wherever there is sufficient unity and determination, to seek union support to refuse to change their working practices in ways which would facilitate the operation of the new law, and which would compromise our educational role by our becoming an extension of the immigration system.

CARRIED

Substantive motion:

HESC strongly condemns the Points Based System for immigration (PBS). It is against our core values of academic freedom and equality and we believe this legislation should be repealed. HESC notes with concern the implications on the contractual terms of academic and related staff, on working conditions, on staff/student relations, and the risk of members being exposed to legal sanctions for non-compliance.

HESC notes the existing campaigning activity within UCU on the legislation and instructs HEC to:

  • work with the Equality Committee and the equalities unit, ROCC and the campaigns team, colleagues in FE and others within UCU to monitor the effects of this legislation on our members in HE and to formulate advice and guidance for branches
  • highlight the contractual and workloads issues that will arise for our members in HE
  • campaign with other appropriate organisations against the negative consequences of the legislation.

Further, conference calls upon members, wherever there is sufficient unity and determination, to seek union support to refuse to change their working practices in ways which would facilitate the operation of the new law, and which would compromise our educational role by our becoming an extension of the immigration system.


HE29  Probation - Queen's University Belfast

Conference notes the intensification of demands being placed on academic staff on probation and instructs the HEC to:

  • carry out a survey of existing practice in pre- and post- 92 institutions with a view to identifying good practice in terms of support given to staff on probation and profiles to be achieved in different disciplines for confirmation in post
  • work to establish a national agreement on probation which ensures that demands being placed on probationary staff can reasonably be achieved within the current timescales and are not contrary to agreed role profiles
  • initiate a campaign that highlights the increasing workload being placed on early career academics and provide support for branches in pursuing these campaigns.

CARRIED


HE30  Vision for higher education - Higher Education Committee

Conference deplores the creeping erosion of the ideals of education, free thought and autonomy that underpin higher education. UCU will continue to assert the ideals that are a central component of our professional identity and rights as workers.

Further conference notes the DIUS 'debate' on the future of higher education in England. Conference is concerned about the lack of staff involvement in the process and the endorsement of an instrumentalist, business-dominated 'framework for higher education'.

Conference calls on the HEC:

  • to campaign for 'real universities' based on the principles of academic freedom, collegiality and institutional autonomy, independent scholarship and research, and equality and internationalism
  • to develop policy papers based on those principles which will be to frame UCU responses to future government reviews
  • to work with ROCC to produce campaigning materials for different audiences
  • to feed into the development of UCU's alternative vision for post-school education.

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)

HE30A.1  - Canterbury Christ Church University

Add an extra bullet point after the first of the four:

  • to promote and support the declaration of the 20th May as an annual International Academic Freedom Day

CARRIED

Substantive motion:

Conference deplores the creeping erosion of the ideals of education, free thought and autonomy that underpin higher education. UCU will continue to assert the ideals that are a central component of our professional identity and rights as workers.

Further conference notes the DIUS 'debate' on the future of higher education in England. Conference is concerned about the lack of staff involvement in the process and the endorsement of an instrumentalist, business-dominated 'framework for higher education'.

Conference calls on the HEC:

  • to campaign for 'real universities' based on the principles of academic freedom, collegiality and institutional autonomy, independent scholarship and research, and equality and internationalism
  • to develop policy papers based on those principles which will be to frame UCU responses to future government reviews
  • to work with ROCC to produce campaigning materials for different audiences
  • to feed into the development of UCU's alternative vision for post-school education
  • to promote and support the declaration of the 20th May as an annual International Academic Freedom Day.

Paragraph 20, Academic-related

HE31  Academic-related career progression - Academic-related Staff Committee

Conference states that academic-related staff make an essential professional contribution to our institutions. Job evaluation methodologies do not adequately recognise the value of this contribution. The employer's reliance on re-grading based on job evaluation rather than promotion following professional development is to the detriment of those following an academic-related career path.

Conference instructs HEC, with the support of the Academic-related Committee, to produce campaigning materials relating to academic-related staff in support of equality of opportunity for progression, development and career progression alongside academic colleagues. This should include access to training, professional development and progression through the relevant academic related grades.

CARRIED


Paragraph 28, Privatisation

HE32  Oppose IT restructuring and outsourcing - London Region HE Sector Committee

Conference notes that:

  • IT systems ranging from email to bespoke research computing services are critical to the function of modern universities,
  • in the pre-92 HE sector these are often managed by UCU members
  • in the credit crunch large IT suppliers are leading 'charm offensives' to encourage outsourcing of many services and the shift towards proprietary knowledge and cloud computing. At the same time universities are facing financial pressures and 'managerial initiatives' to become 'more efficient'.

Conference believes the presence of on-site trained, supported, accountable IT staff are essential in a modern university.

Conference resolves that UCU should:

  • derive model guidance including agreements to ensure that reviews or potential restructuring of IT services include early, extensive consultation with the staff providing the services
  • monitor the sector for instigation of any such initiatives, publicise them, and treat them as seriously as it has attempts to privatise teaching.

CARRIED


HE33  Outsourcing - Academic-related Staff Committee

IT professionals on campus aim to provide a level of service that is tailored specifically to the exacting requirements of students and staff. IT services play a key role in supporting learning, teaching and research across our institutions. It is testimony to the dedication and expertise of these AR staff that a high level of service has been maintained through a period of increased demands coupled with reduced staffing levels and an ever-diminishing budget.

Conference believes that the moves of institutions to outsource some core IT services, including email, is a damaging step which has serious implications for data protection, data integrity and audit control.

Conference reaffirms its opposition to privatisation and instructs HEC to collect data from institutions where this has already occurred and to produce campaign material to defend IT services and calling for appropriate funding levels.

CARRIED


HE34  Privatisation and marketisation in HE - Manchester Metropolitan University

Sector conference congratulates those branches and associations like Essex University, Goldsmiths College and Manchester Metropolitan University, which successfully resisted privatisation attempts.

Sector conference recognises:

  1. that despite economic crisis the threat of privatisation in higher education has not diminished
  2. that the ideological bankruptcy of neo-liberalism has not deterred Labour from pressing on with disastrous attempts to commodify HE
  3. that privatisation may appear an attractive option to institutions claiming to be in financial crisis
  4. the consistent and effective support from UCU's campaigns team to branches resisting threats of privatisation.

Sector conference encourages local organisations to draw on available best practice in resisting privatisation and marketisation, to seek joint action with other campus unions, and to use all means of resistance including strike action in the knowledge that by doing so they are fighting to protect members' pay and conditions, educational quality and academic freedom.

CARRIED


HE35  Campaign against privatisation in higher education - Composite (North West Region HE Committee; University of Brighton, Eastbourne)

Conference notes:

  1. the continuing attempts by private providers like INTO University Partnerships, Kaplan and Navitas to secure contracts in HE institutions to offer academic and support services
  2. the successful campaigns at Essex University, Goldsmiths, University of London and Manchester Metropolitan University resulting in the scrapping of plans for joint venture partnerships.

Conference believes that:

  1. university managements are likely to consider privatisation strategies to cope with financial insecurity
  2. higher education is not a commodity to be delivered by 'business-facing' universities
  3. universities have a responsibility to explore and implement in-house options for the delivery of services.

Conference calls on the NEC:

  1. to continue its campaign against the marketisation of HE
  2. to organize a high-profile public campaign amongst staff and students against further privatisation of the university sector and for increased public funding as a necessary response to the recession.

CARRIED (AS AMENDED)


HE35A.1  - University of Liverpool

Add to section 'Conference calls on the NEC:' after points 1 and 2

3. to inform the membership of the threat of privatisation to intellectual property rights of academics, the autonomy and development of public sector postgraduate and undergraduate degrees, the identity of HE institutions, the rigorousness of quality assurance on degrees and institutions

4. to highlight the dangers of the private business model in relation economic and political conditions.

CARRIED

Substantive motion:

Conference notes:

  1. the continuing attempts by private providers like INTO University Partnerships, Kaplan and Navitas to secure contracts in HE institutions to offer academic and support services
  2. the successful campaigns at Essex University, Goldsmiths, University of London and Manchester Metropolitan University resulting in the scrapping of plans for joint venture partnerships.

Conference believes that:

  1. university managements are likely to consider privatisation strategies to cope with financial insecurity
  2. higher education is not a commodity to be delivered by 'business-facing' universities
  3. universities have a responsibility to explore and implement in-house options for the delivery of services.

Conference calls on the NEC:

  1. to continue its campaign against the marketisation of HE
  2. to organise a high-profile public campaign amongst staff and students against further privatisation of the university sector and for increased public funding as a necessary response to the recession
  3. to inform the membership of the threat of privatisation to intellectual property rights of academics, the autonomy and development of public sector postgraduate and undergraduate degrees, the identity of HE institutions, the rigorousness of quality assurance on degrees and institutions
  4. to highlight the dangers of the private business model in relation economic and political conditions.


HE36  Partial privatisation of undergraduate provision - West Midlands Region HE Committee

We note with concern the discussions between Keele University and Study Group International which may lead to a partial privatisation of undergraduate provision.

Conference pledges its support to colleagues at Keele University fighting this initiative, confirms its opposition to the transfer of Higher Education provision to the private sector and mandates the HEC to:

  1. collect information about any similar proposals elsewhere
  2. support all UCU members fighting privatisation
  3. update the campaign pack against privatisation; and
  4. continue to lobby government to recognise the dangers of privatisation and the benefits of publicly-funded higher education.

CARRIED


Paragraph 29, Stress and bullying

HE37  Unacceptable student feedback - North West Region HE Committee

Conference notes the concern regarding evidence, particularly in North West Region, of unsolicited, inappropriate and often anonymous criticism by students of academic staff via text messages, social networking sites and pigeon-hole post-cards.

Conference believes that this is a form of bullying which cannot be tolerated.

Whilst conference supports and encourages legitimate student feedback, conference believes that this needs to arise from negotiated and agreed processes in order to be fair and effective.

Conference resolves:

  1. to instruct HEC to liaise with NUS and other appropriate organisations with a view to ending this illegitimate and disparaging practice before it becomes an embedded norm
  2. to instruct HEC to publicise this practice to the wider membership and advise members to report institutions where this occurs
  3. to offer support to members who have suffered as a consequence.

REMITTANCE MOVED: LOST

CARRIED


Paragraph 32, Local disputes

HE38  Departmental closures at Liverpool - University of Liverpool

This conference condemns the proposal which has gone before senate at the University of Liverpool calling for the closure of the Departments of Philosophy and Politics & Communication Studies and the Statistics and Operational Research division of the Department of Mathematics and threatening the closure of a further five departments. Conference pledges support for members at Liverpool.

Conference reasserts that research is an integral part of the role of an academic and instructs HEC to oppose both the proposed closures of departments and courses and any move to force staff currently on full academic contracts onto teaching-only contracts.

WITHDRAWN (REPLACED BY L9 BELOW)

HE38A.1  - Manchester Metropolitan University

Add following paragraphs to end of motion:

Congress congratulates the magnificent, angry demonstration by over a thousand staff, students and residents against the cuts in March.

Congress resolves to provide all necessary industrial, political and financial support to future demonstrations, campaigns and industrial action in opposition to job losses, course and departmental closures in HE.

CARRIED

L9  Threat to close departments at the University of Liverpool  - University of Liverpool

Conference welcomes the progress which has been made at the University of Liverpool, where proposals to close up to eight departments on the basis of RAE2008 have been replaced by the development of recovery plans and a commitment that no existing staff will be forced into accepting teaching-only contracts, and thanks both UCU staff for the high level of support given to the branch and students for their campaign.

However, a number of concerns remain:

  1. the proposal that Liverpool will only support 3*/4* research remains
  2. micromanagement and tight direction of research affecting academic freedom
  3. abandonment of research in areas of value to the local community if not capable of producing 3*/4* output
  4. application of unacceptable capability criteria.

Conference instructs HEC to provide advice and support to branches which are fighting these and other detrimental effects of institutions' attempts to improve their research ratings.

CARRIED (AS AMENDED BY HE38A.1)

Substantive motion:

Conference welcomes the progress which has been made at the University of Liverpool, where proposals to close up to eight departments on the basis of RAE2008 have been replaced by the development of recovery plans and a commitment that no existing staff will be forced into accepting teaching-only contracts, and thanks both UCU staff for the high level of support given to the branch and students for their campaign.

However, a number of concerns remain:

  1. the proposal that Liverpool will only support 3*/4* research remains
  2. micromanagement and tight direction of research affecting academic freedom
  3. abandonment of research in areas of value to the local community if not capable of producing 3*/4* output
  4. application of unacceptable capability criteria.

Conference instructs HEC to provide advice and support to branches which are fighting these and other detrimental effects of institutions' attempts to improve their research ratings.

Congress congratulates the magnificent, angry demonstration by over a thousand staff, students and residents against the cuts in March.

Congress resolves to provide all necessary industrial, political and financial support to future demonstrations, campaigns and industrial action in opposition to job losses, course and departmental closures in HE.


After paragraph 36, new paragraph, Other issues

HE39  The recession and HE funding - Northern Region HE Committee

Conference calls upon the government to make a formal pledge that it will not impose cuts in real terms on higher education funding in the course of the on-going recession.

The universities are essential to the future of the knowledge based economy. Therefore, we call upon the government to increase spending on the nation's universities as an investment in future economic success and social well being, and to expand the funding for the creation of new and additional full time academic positions throughout the system. Such increases in funding for higher education are compatible with a strategically well targeted fiscal stimulus in the context of the current economic recession.

CARRIED


HE40  Investing in higher education - widening participation - University College London

Conference notes

  1. the harmful consequences of unemployment to individuals, families and communities
  2. that, faced with an economic crisis, President Obama is arguing to widen participation in the US HE sector, whereas Prime Minister Brown is calling for cuts in places.

Conference believes that universities have an important part to play in economic and social regeneration and the development of a more just, democratic and inclusive society.

Conference resolves

  1. to call for a major expansion of UK state funding for higher education as part of the government's response to the economic crisis
  2. to demand the government fully funds places to allow unemployed people to return to education with entry on the basis of merit, without loss of benefits.

CARRIED


HE41  Ratification of local collective agreements - Higher Education Committee

HESC calls upon HEC to develop policies and procedures regarding the ratification of local collective agreements where these have regional and/or national implications.

REMITTANCE MOVED: LOST

CARRIED


HE42  Ratification of agreements - South East Region HE Sector Committee, University of Brighton (Grand Parade and Moulsecoomb)

Recognising that all local collective agreements will have regional and national implications, HESC calls upon HEC to develop a policy and procedures for the oversight and national ratification of local collective agreements.

HESC urges all branches and local associations to ensure participation in the mapping of regional patterns of salaries and conditions, and in the framing of regional strategies for the achievement of the generalisation of the best terms and conditions across the region.

REMITTANCE MOVED: LOST

CARRIED

Last updated: 28 May 2009