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Business of the equality committee

Equality Bill

54 Equality Act - Disabled members standing committee

Congress notes developments in equality legislation, especially the new Equality Act.  It welcomes any measures which improve the enforcement of equal rights.  However, Congress notes with deep concern aspects of the Act which represent a regression from the Disability Discrimination Act and rights for disabled people.

Congress instructs the NEC to:

Campaign and work alongside the TUC and other unions to ensure the Equality Act, including the new specific public sector duties, build and improve upon the Disability Discrimination Act and the Disability Equality Duty.

CARRIED


55 Cuts and the equality agenda - LGBT members standing committee

Congress is concerned that in a period of retrenchment oppressed groups are even more vulnerable. Institutions may fail to implement necessary and appropriate policies and procedures, staff training and awareness of the requirements to combat oppression and promote equality across all seven equality strands.

Congress notes that work across all strands is essential to combat oppression and tackle the rise of the right and encourages branches to affiliate locally to Unite Against Fascism and work with local youth and NUS LGBT groups to promote Love Music Hate Homophobia events.

Congress calls upon the equality committee to organise a national conference in early autumn 2010 with all four UCU members' equality standing committees to discuss the impact of the Equality Act, Equality Impact Assessments, the promotion of equality and liberation from oppression, and organise to ensure that equality is embedded within the union's industrial relations strategy.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

55A.1 - Cardiff University

Second paragraph: delete 'the right'; insert 'the far right'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress is concerned that in a period of retrenchment oppressed groups are even more vulnerable. Institutions may fail to implement necessary and appropriate policies and procedures, staff training and awareness of the requirements to combat oppression and promote equality across all seven equality strands.

Congress notes that work across all strands is essential to combat oppression and tackle the rise of the far right and encourages branches to affiliate locally to Unite Against Fascism and work with local youth and NUS LGBT groups to promote Love Music Hate Homophobia events.

Congress calls upon the equality committee to organise a national conference in early autumn 2010 with all four UCU members' equality standing committees to discuss the impact of the Equality Act, Equality Impact Assessments, the promotion of equality and liberation from oppression, and organise to ensure that equality is embedded within the union's industrial relations strategy.



Public sector duties

56 Equality Impact Assessments - National executive committee

Congress recognises that:

  1. Public sector employers have a statutory duty to conduct Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs)
  2. EIAs have the potential to identify potential discriminatory effects of an employer's policies, procedures and practices; and
  3. Many higher education institutions and further education colleges have not rigorously carried out EIAs.

Congress calls upon the NEC to:

  1. raise awareness among the membership of the importance of EIAs.
  2. Provide support for branches to gain official recognition of the role of Equality Officer.
  3. To organise a campaign through the regional officers to pressure universities and colleges to conduct comprehensive and effective EIAs.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

56A.1 - National executive committee

Add after point 3 a new point:

'4 Congress further recognises the weakness of the Equality Act and the lack of any detail on the new Equality duties.'

Add after point C a new point:

'd To place a motion before TUC 2010 calling on it to mount a vigorous all-union campaign to remedy the equality deficit in trade union collective bargaining.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress recognises that:

  1. Public sector employers have a statutory duty to conduct Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs)
  2. EIAs have the potential to identify potential discriminatory effects of an employer's policies, procedures and practices; and
  3. Many higher education institutions and further education colleges have not rigorously carried out EIAs.
  4. Congress further recognises the weakness of the Equality Act and the lack of any detail on the new Equality duties.

Congress calls upon the NEC to:

  1. raise awareness among the membership of the importance of EIAs.
  2. Provide support for branches to gain official recognition of the role of Equality Officer.
  3. To organise a campaign through the regional officers to pressure universities and colleges to conduct comprehensive and effective EIAs.
  4. To place a motion before TUC 2010 calling on it to mount a vigorous all-union campaign to remedy the equality deficit in trade union collective bargaining.

57 The equality impact of redundancies - National executive committee

Congress notes the alarming number of colleges and universities proposing redundancies, job losses and restructuring exercises. Congress further notes that in many cases these proposals are not subject to adequate equality impact assessment despite evidence of potential disproportionate impact on women, black staff and students or disabled staff and students.

Congress reiterates UCU's position that EIAs must be carried out at the outset of any decision making process, and at every subsequent stage of the redundancy consultation exercise, with the involvement of the trade unions.

Congress calls on UCU to press for urgent institutional compliance in relation to EIAs, particularly in the context of the increased threat of financial insecurity and associated redundancies. Congress further calls for comprehensive briefing and training materials to be available for branches and regions.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

57A.1 - National executive committee

In the second sentence of the first paragraph after 'black', delete 'staff and students', insert comma and then 'LGBT'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes the alarming number of colleges and universities proposing redundancies, job losses and restructuring exercises. Congress further notes that in many cases these proposals are not subject to adequate equality impact assessment despite evidence of potential disproportionate impact on women, black, LGBT  or disabled staff and students.

Congress reiterates UCU's position that EIAs must be carried out at the outset of any decision making process, and at every subsequent stage of the redundancy consultation exercise, with the involvement of the trade unions.

Congress calls on UCU to press for urgent institutional compliance in relation to EIAs, particularly in the context of the increased threat of financial insecurity and associated redundancies. Congress further calls for comprehensive briefing and training materials to be available for branches and regions.


58 Equality schemes, trade unions and collective bargaining - National executive committee

Congress condemns the practice of some institutions of seeking to exclude trade unions from the development of equality schemes and policies or marginalise them in the process. Congress notes this practice fails to meet the legal obligations under the gender equality duty to consult trade unions and under the disability equality duty to involve disabled people. Congress affirms that the development of equality policies is a matter for collective agreement and that aspects of equality schemes and policies which affect pay and terms and conditions of service should come within the appropriate local and national collective bargaining arrangements.

Congress instructs the UCU Equality Unit to work with regional offices and committees to support branches where institutions are failing to meet these legal duties.

CARRIED



Strategic legal cases

59 Strategic legal cases - National executive committee

Congress notes:

  • The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) gender pay gap for FE teaching professionals for 2009 was 10.3%, and for HE teaching professionals was 15%.
  • Despite national agreements covering the FE and HE sectors, very few colleges and universities have carried out comprehensive equal pay audits in conjunction with UCU.
  • Women and black members regularly report their experience of discrimination in promotion and progression procedures.

Congress resolves to continue to work with branches to identify potential strategic legal cases to challenge unfair and unequal pay practices which discriminate against women and black staff.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

59A.1 Composite - Queen's University Belfast, National executive committee

In the third bullet point, after 'Women', replace 'and' with a comma; after 'black', insert comma and then 'LGBT and disabled'.

In the last sentence, after 'Congress resolves', delete 'continue to'; after 'women' replace 'and' with comma; after 'black' insert a comma and then 'LGBT, disabled, fixed term and hourly paid'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes:

  • The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) gender pay gap for FE teaching professionals for 2009 was 10.3%, and for HE teaching professionals was 15%.
  • Despite national agreements covering the FE and HE sectors, very few colleges and universities have carried out comprehensive equal pay audits in conjunction with UCU.
  • Women, black, LGBT and disabled members regularly report their experience of discrimination in promotion and progression procedures.

Congress resolves to work with branches to identify potential strategic legal cases to challenge unfair and unequal pay practices which discriminate against women, and black, LGBT, disabled, fixed term and hourly paid staff.



Campaigning for equality

60 Challenge the Immigration Points System - University of Aberdeen

Congress condemns the highly discriminatory nature of the Immigration Point
System (IPS) and its corrosive impact upon academic freedoms and equality and diversity with the university sector.

In light of HEC motions 30-31, passed at Congress 2009, which instruct local branches to adopt a policy of non-compliance, there is an urgent need to challenge the IPS policy in an effective and direct way.

Non-compliance need not prevent UCU adopting an active role in seeking to protect non-EEA students and colleagues. The National Executive is instructed to:

  1. lobby on this issue with the TUC, NUS and employers;
  2. develop a policy of co-operation with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) on lobbying government for the reversal of the IPS;
  3. mount legal challenges to the legislation at both the national level and, if necessary, via the European Court of Human Rights.

CARRIED


61 Opposition to Points Based Immigration rules - Goldsmiths, University of London

Congress notes that:

  • Systems for monitoring the attendance of international students have
    been rolled out by academic institutions as a response to the Points Based Immigration (PBI) rules;
  • The past few months have seen the suspension of student visa applications from Northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal;
  • There have been calls to monitor campuses for signs of 'extremism';
  • Post-16 funding cuts and tightening immigration rules place international students and staff in a precarious position.

Congress resolves to:

  • Instruct the NEC to launch a high profile campaign opposing further restrictions to student and employment visas and highlighting the contribution made to UK society by international students and staff;
  • Circulate information to ensure that international staff are aware of their employment rights;
  • Monitor and oppose the use of PBI as a tool to turn education providers into agents of the UK Border Agency.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

61A.1 - Goldsmiths, University of London

In first bullet point after 'Congress resolves to', delete 'further', before 'restrictions'.

CARRIED

61A.2 - Academic related committee

First part of motion (Congress notes that...): add final bullet point: 'the increased workload placed on staff due to the implementation of these rules and the pressure placed on staff to act in a manner contrary to their personal ethics and in a way that creates suspicion between staff and students';

Second part of motion (Congress resolves to...): add to third bullet point 'and to ensure that members asked to implement these rules have clear guidance on how to respond to such requests in an ethical manner and remain in accordance with agreed union policy'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes that:

  • Systems for monitoring the attendance of international students have been rolled out by academic institutions as a response to the Points Based Immigration (PBI) rules
  • The past few months have seen the suspension of student visa applications from Northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal
  • There have been calls to monitor campuses for signs of 'extremism'
  • Post-16 funding cuts and tightening immigration rules place international students and staff in a precarious position
  • The increased workload placed on staff due to the implementation of these rules and the pressure placed on staff to act in a manner contrary to their personal ethics and in a way that creates suspicion between staff and students.

Congress resolves to:

  • Instruct the NEC to launch a high profile campaign opposing restrictions to student and employment visas and highlighting the contribution made to UK society by international students and staff
  • Circulate information to ensure that international staff are aware of their employment rights
  • Monitor and oppose the use of PBI as a tool to turn education providers into agents of the UK Border Agency and to ensure that members asked to implement these rules have clear guidance on how to respond to such requests in an ethical manner and remain in accordance with agreed union policy.


Campaigning for equality

62 Composite: Stop the Nazis - combating racism and fascism - North West regional committee, London regional committee, East Midlands regional committee

Congress notes with grave concern:

  1. the growth of support for the British National Party (BNP);
  2. the election of two BNP MEPs in the Euro elections;
  3. the opportunities for growth of racist/fascist ideologies afforded by the economic crisis;
  4. the aggressive islamaphobic and racist mobilisations by the English Defence League (EDL) and its Welsh and Scottish derivatives in a number of cities and the broad counter protests organised by Unite Against Fascism and local anti-fascist organisations;
  5. that schools and colleges are obvious targets for the BNP and EDL.

Congress recognises that;

  1. Our members can play a prominent role in encouraging rounded knowledge, critical awareness and hope among young people who might otherwise be vulnerable to fascist ideology and in combating institutional racism;
  2. BNP growth can be prevented through well-resourced, well-organised, sustained campaigning;

Congress resolves that UCU should;

  1. continue to play a prominent role in the struggle against the BNP and its attempts to undermine independent trade unionism;
  2. encourage our branches to work closely with other unions, the NUS, TU councils and anti-fascist organisations such as Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism in colleges, universities and local communities;
  3. encourage the growth of a united anti-fascist movement throughout Britain.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

62A.1 - City and Islington College (Camden Road) and Manchester Metropolitan University

In the section 'Congress notes with grave concern:', add new point at end:

'that Weyman Bennett, long-time anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigner and Joint National Secretary of Unite Against Fascism, was arrested on charges of 'conspiracy to cause public disorder', which can carry a 5 year jail sentence, at the Bolton anti-EDL protest on March 20th.'

In the section 'Congress resolves that UCU should;' add at end:

'support the Weyman Bennett Defence Campaign and to support calls for a public inquiry into the violent behaviour of the police towards anti-EDL protestors in Bolton.'

CARRIED

62A.2 - National executive committee

Under 'Congress notes with grave concern', add a new point at end:

'the government's decision not to prohibit BNP members from teaching in schools.'

Under 'Congress recognises that', at the end of point 1, after institutional racism, insert 'and other forms of discrimination and oppression'.

Under 'Congress resolves that UCU should', at end of point 1, after 'independent trade unionism', add 'for example by circulating the Unite Against Fascism petition Keep Our Schools Nazi Free'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes with grave concern:

  1. the growth of support for the British National Party (BNP);
  2. the election of two BNP MEPs in the Euro elections;
  3. the opportunities for growth of racist/fascist ideologies afforded by the economic crisis;
  4. the aggressive islamaphobic and racist mobilisations by the English Defence League (EDL) and its Welsh and Scottish derivatives in a number of cities and the broad counter protests organised by Unite Against Fascism and local anti-fascist organisations;
  5. that schools and colleges are obvious targets for the BNP and EDL
  6. that Weyman Bennett, long-time anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigner and Joint National Secretary of Unite Against Fascism, was arrested on charges of 'conspiracy to cause public disorder', which can carry a 5 year jail sentence, at the Bolton anti-EDL protest on March 20th
  7. the government's decision not to prohibit BNP members from teaching in schools.

Congress recognises that;

  1. Our members can play a prominent role in encouraging rounded knowledge, critical awareness and hope among young people who might otherwise be vulnerable to fascist ideology and in combating institutional racism and other forms of discrimination and oppression
  2. BNP growth can be prevented through well-resourced, well-organised, sustained campaigning.

Congress resolves that UCU should;

  1. continue to play a prominent role in the struggle against the BNP and its attempts to undermine independent trade unionism for example by circulating the Unite Against Fascism petition Keep Our Schools Nazi Free
  2. encourage our branches to work closely with other unions, the NUS, TU councils and anti-fascist organisations such as Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism in colleges, universities and local communities
  3. encourage the growth of a united anti-fascist movement throughout Britain
  4. support the Weyman Bennett Defence Campaign and to support calls for a public inquiry into the violent behaviour of the police towards anti-EDL protestors in Bolton.

63 Combating Islamaphobia - Black members standing committee

Congress notes with alarm the rise in attacks against black people, in particular those of a Muslim heritage as witnessed by the activities of the English Defence League. It is also noted that this type of activity is merely the 'front line' of racist activity which sees its ideological roots in the Government led 'Prevent' strategy which seeks to cast Muslims as 'outside the mainstream'.

It is felt that no ethnic or religious grouping should be singled out in such a discriminatory fashion and we must appropriately resource a national campaign.

Congress resolves to campaign vigorously against such discrimination and host a national seminar in the coming year to challenge the prevailing ideology, produce leaflets in support of such a campaign and plan future activity on an annual basis.

CARRIED


64 Violent extremism - National executive committee

Congress is concerned that recent reporting around the increased "liberalisation" of attitudes in Britain in relation to equality and tolerance and masks the increased rise in actual incidents of violence linked to homophobia, racism and sexism.

This coincides with the rise of the BNP.

Congress calls on the NEC to:

  • Raise awareness with members of incidents of hate crimes, particularly when members or students are involved.
  • Work with other unions and local groups to campaign against such incidents.
  • Respond with strong press statements to combat any minimising of these real concerns.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

64A.1 - Black members standing committee

In the first sentence:  after 'racism' insert a comma and delete 'and'; after sexism add 'and Islamophobia'.

In the sentence starting with 'This coincides': after 'BNP' insert, '/EDL'.

Under 'Congress calls': add a new bullet point after the existing three bullet points:

'Continue to support the work of Unite Against Fascism.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress is concerned that recent reporting around the increased "liberalisation" of attitudes in Britain in relation to equality and tolerance and masks the increased rise in actual incidents of violence linked to homophobia, racism, sexism and Islamophobia.

This coincides with the rise of the BNP/EDL.

Congress calls on the NEC to:

  • Raise awareness with members of incidents of hate crimes, particularly when members or students are involved.
  • Work with other unions and local groups to campaign against such incidents.
  • Respond with strong press statements to combat any minimising of these real concerns.
  • Continue to support the work of Unite Against Fascism.

65 Resistance and solidarity against the rise of the right across Europe - LGBT members standing committee

The rise of the right throughout Europe has been accompanied by an increase in reports of homophobic and transphobic attacks including Ian Bayham's murder in Trafalgar Square. Congress commends the united vigils and demonstrations against such attacks. Congress calls upon UCU to produce leaflets, guidance and posters to combat prejudice against LGBT peoples and promote positive images. Congress instructs that there must be significant LGBT input and focus into all work and campaigns against fascism, all branches should be encouraged to support these initiatives and have presence at Prides wherever possible. Congress mandates UCU to send a delegation to Europride in Warsaw and the accompanying Trade Union conferences as called by TUC and EI in solidarity with other LGBT Unionists across Europe. Congress confirms commitment to international solidarity and calls upon the equality committee to organise effective action supporting LGBT people through consistent participation at international LGBT meetings.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

65A.1 - London South Bank University and Oxford and Cherwell Valley College

In last sentence, after 'LGBT people' delete 'through consistent' and replace with ', including'.

CARRIED


Substantive motion

The rise of the right throughout Europe has been accompanied by an increase in reports of homophobic and transphobic attacks including Ian Bayham's murder in Trafalgar Square. Congress commends the united vigils and demonstrations against such attacks. Congress calls upon UCU to produce leaflets, guidance and posters to combat prejudice against LGBT peoples and promote positive images. Congress instructs that there must be significant LGBT input and focus into all work and campaigns against fascism, all branches should be encouraged to support these initiatives and have presence at Prides wherever possible. Congress mandates UCU to send a delegation to Europride in Warsaw and the accompanying Trade Union conferences as called by TUC and EI in solidarity with other LGBT Unionists across Europe. Congress confirms commitment to international solidarity and calls upon the equality committee to organise effective action supporting LGBT people, including participation at international LGBT meetings.


66 - Hate Crime Disabled members standing committee

Congress asserts that the deaths of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter were a direct consequence of the family's repeated subjection to disability hate crimes. Congress notes that although truly appalling the case is by no means exceptional. Recent reports have highlighted the cases of eighteen disabled people whose murders should have been, but were not, classified as disability hate crimes. Congress is appalled that the Government and media have focused solely on the "anti-social behaviour" aspects of this case. Congress further notes the lack of official monitoring information on disability hate crime.

Congress resolves to:

  • Set up an online petition demanding that the Government establish a public enquiry into the police attitudes to and handling of disability hate crime similar to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
  • Pressure the Government to ensure the recently announced EHRC Inquiry into disability related harassment covers all aspects of disability hate crime.

CARRIED



Campaigning for equality

67 Anti-semitism - National executive committee

Congress notes the success of the events organised for Holocaust Memorial Day this year.

Congress resolves to:

  • Continue to campaign against anti-Semitism
  • Organise a seminar on Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 (27 January) to commemorate the Holocaust. The theme of the event should broadly reflect that of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

CARRIED



UCU equality scheme

68 UCU Equality Scheme - National executive committee

Congress recognises the importance of ensuring that equality is central to everything the union does.

Congress notes previous Congress policy to develop and implement a UCU Equality Scheme. Congress notes the considerable work that has been undertaken to develop a scheme including drawing up action plans for all UCU regions and organisational functions.

Congress believes the scheme will provide a systematic way to measure and celebrate our success in achieving equality in all aspects of UCU's activities and will identify areas for improvement. The action plan is the key tool to embed equality within our bargaining, campaigning and organising work.

Congress endorses the UCU Equality Scheme for 2010-13 set out in (UCU/256).

Congress instructs the NEC to:

  • Maintain a national steering group to oversee the implementation of the scheme.
  • Review progress against the Scheme's action plans, and report back annually to Congress.

PASSED WITH ACCLAMATION



Equality for women members

69 The Charter for Women - Women members standing committee

Congress notes that the A charter for women [82kb] was launched in 2003 to raise awareness and campaign for women's equality in society, in the labour movement and in the workplace. Despite the common misconception that women have made great progress in the struggle for equality, we know that for the vast majority of women this is not the case especially when we note the scandalously wide gender pay gap.

In this year when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, Congress calls upon UCU

  • to re-affirm its commitment to the Charter
  • to utilise the Charter at every level of the union such as ensuring equal representation and culture change throughout
  • to ensure that the women members standing committee (WMSC) receives regular reports on progress.

CARRIED


New paragraph

70 Improve maternity, paternity, carers rights and flexible working uptake - Women members standing committee

During times of recession, hard won improvements in maternity, paternity, caring and flexible working rights may be targeted.  We not only need to keep a close eye, nationally, on any attempts to discriminate against staff who are pregnant, newly returning to work, or have caring responsibilities, but review best practice and improve these rights to the best possible in the public sector.

According to a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, fathers are just as uneasy with their work-life balance as mothers.  62% of fathers thought that, in general, they should spend more time with their children.  Balancing time at work with family commitments is just as relevant to fathers as it is for mothers.

Congress calls on UCU to review best practice and that all branches and LAs improve maternity/paternity/carer's rights policies to well above the statutory minimum and to provide positive support to fathers regarding flexible working.

CARRIED



Equality for black members

71 Waddington survey of black members - Black members standing committee

Congress notes with concern the indicative findings of the Waddington survey of black members. The survey was conducted by Jeremy Waddington and distributed to 3,764 members on the UCU database who are defined as black. A total of 592 responses were received.

The results produce shocking findings about the level of racism experienced by UCU members working in colleges and universities and that UCU black members tend to work considerably longer than their contractual hours.

Almost half of black members have experienced racism or racial discrimination at their place of work and, of these members, 65 per cent experienced racism in the 12 months prior to the conduct of the survey.

It is the view of congress that the situation highlighted by the research is unacceptable and needs to be challenged at all levels of the union's structures.

Congress resolves to ensure these issues are addressed via appropriate targeted training.

CARRIED



Age equality

72 Default retirement age - National executive committee

Congress welcomes UCU's submission to the government review of the default retirement age.

Congress reasserts its opposition to a default retirement age and support for the right to retire with dignity and a decent pension. Congress believes that default retirement is discriminatory and results in a waste of the experience and talent of those staff who are able and willing to work past the default retirement age.

Congress notes with concern that some employers are becoming more inflexible over enforced retirement.

Congress urges all branches to campaign to remove the default retirement age and instructs the Equality Unit to support campaigns on this issue.

CARRIED

Last updated: 1 August 2016