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Taking action in higher education

Other employment related business

UCU Congress 2012: Sunday 10 June 2012, 15:45-16:45

Chapter 4 of the NEC's report to Congress 2012:
UCU413.html | UCU413.rtf

Motions:

92 - Defending and promoting members' health and safety
93 - Workload campaigning
94 - Combating bullying and stress in the workplace
95 - Managing sickness and leave
96 - Creating jobs and skills
97 - The NHS and health education
98 - National Care Service: NPC Fair Care Campaign
99 - Education and training of carers
L8 - Emergency motion


Health and safety (report paragraph 1)

92 Composite: Defending and promoting members' health and safety - Blackburn College, North West regional committee

Congress notes:

  1. the unprecedented attack on employee health and safety which Cameron has described an 'albatross around the necks of British business'.
  2. that in order to 'kill off the health and safety culture for good' the Government has:
    • imposed cuts in the HSE budget of 35% by 2014, a cut of 11,000 pro-active enforcement visits
    • re-classified educational workplaces as low risk/ineligible for proactive inspection
    • initiated three separate investigations into sickness absence, aimed at forcing genuinely unwell employees back to work.
  3. that these attacks threaten workplace safety standards and potentially affect all UCU members.

Given this unprecedented assault, Congress believes union organisation becomes more crucial in protecting the physical and mental health of our members.

The Hazards Campaign and Conference are vital tools in resisting these attacks.

Congress therefore calls on our union to:

  1. raise membership awareness of these dangerous developments
  2. organise a sustained recruitment campaign of teams of health and safety representatives in all workplaces
  3. monitor and improve employer compliance
  4. nationally sponsor the Hazards Campaign and Conference and make a significant donation
  5. encourage branches and regions to support the Hazards Campaign and Conference.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

92A.1 National Executive Committee

Add new 'c' and renumber

Campaign for more black members, disabled members, LGBT members and women members to become health and safety reps not only to increase representation but to increase our collective knowledge of how health and safety issues impact on different groups.  To use this knowledge to inform our campaigns and take action on health and safety issues that have a particular impact on these members.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Congress notes:

  1. the unprecedented attack on employee health and safety which Cameron has described an 'albatross around the necks of British business'.
  2. that in order to 'kill off the health and safety culture for good' the Government has:
    • imposed cuts in the HSE budget of 35% by 2014, a cut of 11,000 pro-active enforcement visits
    • re-classified educational workplaces as low risk/ineligible for proactive inspection
    • initiated three separate investigations into sickness absence, aimed at forcing genuinely unwell employees back to work.
  3. that these attacks threaten workplace safety standards and potentially affect all UCU members.

Given this unprecedented assault, Congress believes union organisation becomes more crucial in protecting the physical and mental health of our members.

The Hazards Campaign and Conference are vital tools in resisting these attacks.

Congress therefore calls on our union to:

  1. raise membership awareness of these dangerous developments
  2. organise a sustained recruitment campaign of teams of health and safety representatives in all workplaces
  3. campaign for more black members, disabled members, LGBT members and women members to become health and safety reps not only to increase representation but to increase our collective knowledge of how health and safety issues impact on different groups.  To use this knowledge to inform our campaigns and take action on health and safety issues that have a particular impact on these members.
  4. monitor and improve employer compliance
  5. nationally sponsor the Hazards Campaign and Conference and make a significant donation
  6. encourage branches and regions to support the Hazards Campaign and Conference.

Health and safety (report paragraph 1.3)

93 Workload campaigning - Sheffield Hallam University

Congress notes:

  1. the growing work pressures on members in all sectors
  2. the importance of reasonable workloads for equality and for health and safety
  3. the positive effect of the work to contract in the pre-92 higher education sector on members' work/life balance
  4. the need for reasonable workloads so that members can participate in their union and be active citizens
  5. that UCU has already produced useful campaigning and negotiating material on workloads.

Congress believes:

  1. organising and campaigning around workload protection and reduction must be an important feature of union work at local and national levels
  2. that proper forward work planning and staffing needs audits should be utilised where appropriate in campaigns against redundancies.

Congress resolves:

  1. that UCU actively disseminates campaigning and organising materials around workloads
  2. that a course on workload protection be included in the UCU national training programme for local branch officers and representatives.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

93A.1 Chesterfield College

Add at end:

iii. that the work to contract campaign be extended to other sectors.
iv. that other forms of industrial action are considered by the NEC to deal with the issue across HE and FE.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Congress notes:

  1. the growing work pressures on members in all sectors
  2. the importance of reasonable workloads for equality and for health and safety
  3. the positive effect of the work to contract in the pre-92 higher education sector on members' work/life balance
  4. the need for reasonable workloads so that members can participate in their union and be active citizens
  5. that UCU has already produced useful campaigning and negotiating material on workloads.

Congress believes:

  1. organising and campaigning around workload protection and reduction must be an important feature of union work at local and national levels
  2. that proper forward work planning and staffing needs audits should be utilised where appropriate in campaigns against redundancies.

Congress resolves:

  1. that UCU actively disseminates campaigning and organising materials around workloads
  2. that a course on workload protection be included in the UCU national training programme for local branch officers and representatives
  3. that the work to contract campaign be extended to other sectors
  4. that other forms of industrial action are considered by the NEC to deal with the issue across HE and FE.

Stress and bullying (report paragraph 2.1)

94 Composite: Combating bullying and stress in the workplace - National Executive Committee

Congress congratulates branches and local associations on the success of their events in support of UCU's first Anti-Stress and Bullying Week, in November 2011. Following publication of the results of the 2010 Stress Survey, the week raised awareness of the problems of stress and bullying in many colleges and universities in the UK. A number of branches/LAs carried out surveys of stress and workload; some branches investigated levels of sickness absence; and some branches/LAs raised the issue with local management.

Congress instructs the union to organise an Anti-Stress and Bullying Week in 2012, building on the results of UCU's 2012 Stress Survey, to campaign and negotiate locally to reduce occupational stress and bullying, and seek to implement good employment practice where it may be found; and instructs the NEC to continue to support the work of its Stress and Bullying Working Group.

UCU will only thrive if it addresses key issues that face members and potential members. Workloads, stress and bullying are demonstrably among these key concerns, yet the resourcing of Health and Safety within the union, where these issues are responded to on both a collective and an individual basis, is modest.

Notwithstanding the excellent support UCU staff have provided to the stress and bullying working group, Congress agrees that there is a significant need within UCU to consider increasing staffing on Health and Safety, including stress and bullying, and occupational health and to ensure that this is given a higher priority than at present. Congress therefore calls on the General Secretary to work with the strategy and finance committee and the NEC to give serious consideration to such changes and to report back to Congress in 2013.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

94A.1 National Executive Committee

Add at end:

Congress congratulates UCU in organising the most successful UCU Stress Survey ever, attracting nearly 24,000 member respondents.

Regrettably 39% agreed and 35% strongly agreed with the statement: "I find my job stressful".

Worse still, 16% said they were sometimes subject to bullying at work, 6% said this was often the case, and 2% said it was always the case.

Congress considers that these factors support the call for a review of UCU's staffing and support of Health & Safety and in particular stress and bullying and calls on the NEC to prioritise this issue in campaigns and in support to branches.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Congress congratulates branches and local associations on the success of their events in support of UCU's first Anti-Stress and Bullying Week, in November 2011. Following publication of the results of the 2010 Stress Survey, the week raised awareness of the problems of stress and bullying in many colleges and universities in the UK. A number of branches/LAs carried out surveys of stress and workload; some branches investigated levels of sickness absence; and some branches/LAs raised the issue with local management.

Congress instructs the union to organise an Anti-Stress and Bullying Week in 2012, building on the results of UCU's 2012 Stress Survey, to campaign and negotiate locally to reduce occupational stress and bullying, and seek to implement good employment practice where it may be found; and instructs the NEC to continue to support the work of its Stress and Bullying Working Group.

UCU will only thrive if it addresses key issues that face members and potential members. Workloads, stress and bullying are demonstrably among these key concerns, yet the resourcing of Health and Safety within the union, where these issues are responded to on both a collective and an individual basis, is modest.

Notwithstanding the excellent support UCU staff have provided to the stress and bullying working group, Congress agrees that there is a significant need within UCU to consider increasing staffing on Health and Safety, including stress and bullying, and occupational health and to ensure that this is given a higher priority than at present. Congress therefore calls on the General Secretary to work with the strategy and finance committee and the NEC to give serious consideration to such changes and to report back to Congress in 2013.

Congress congratulates UCU in organising the most successful UCU Stress Survey ever, attracting nearly 24,000 member respondents.

Regrettably 39% agreed and 35% strongly agreed with the statement: "I find my job stressful".

Worse still, 16% said they were sometimes subject to bullying at work, 6% said this was often the case, and 2% said it was always the case.

Congress considers that these factors support the call for a review of UCU's staffing and support of Health & Safety and in particular stress and bullying and calls on the NEC to prioritise this issue in campaigns and in support to branches.

Stress and bullying (after report paragraph 2.2)

95 Managing sickness and leave - National Executive Committee

Ill-informed attacks in the media on the levels of sickness absence and pressure to save money in the short-term is increasing the calls for a "harder" approach to managing sickness absence.  The use of inflexible formulas to trigger disciplinary procedures, e.g. the "Bradford factor", reduction of sick pay schemes and harassment of workers absent through illness are exacerbating the issue. There is also a lack of understanding from employers on the nature of our work and the pressures to stay working during illness and some workplace policies are poorly applied by 'bullying' managers.

Congress calls on the NEC to:

  1. develop a clear statement against punitive sickness policies
  2. adopt a zero tolerance towards any detrimental moves
  3. promote best practice
  4. organise further training for health and safety officers, branch reps and equality officers
  5. campaign for 100% adoption of non-discriminatory leave systems related to disability and gender reassignment.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

95A.1 Academic-related staff committee

Add at end:

6. to develop strategies to combat the likely disproportionate effect of Bradford factor policies on academic-related staff whose job generally involves specific duties in supervised spaces during set hours.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Ill-informed attacks in the media on the levels of sickness absence and pressure to save money in the short-term is increasing the calls for a "harder" approach to managing sickness absence.  The use of inflexible formulas to trigger disciplinary procedures, e.g. the "Bradford factor", reduction of sick pay schemes and harassment of workers absent through illness are exacerbating the issue. There is also a lack of understanding from employers on the nature of our work and the pressures to stay working during illness and some workplace policies are poorly applied by 'bullying' managers.

Congress calls on the NEC to:

  1. develop a clear statement against punitive sickness policies
  2. adopt a zero tolerance towards any detrimental moves
  3. promote best practice
  4. organise further training for health and safety officers, branch reps and equality officers
  5. campaign for 100% adoption of non-discriminatory leave systems related to disability and gender reassignment
  6. to develop strategies to combat the likely disproportionate effect of Bradford factor policies on academic-related staff whose job generally involves specific duties in supervised spaces during set hours.

Environmental work (report paragraph 3)

96 Creating jobs and skills - South Thames College

Congress believes that the move to a low carbon economy represents the best way to solve the economic crisis. It is our view that one of the biggest obstacles to achieving such an economy is the chronic shortage of sustainability skills.

Cutting FHE budgets will only serve to increase this green skills gap. The campaign against education cuts must be linked to an alternative jobs strategy. Organisations inside and outside the sector must move beyond the rhetoric of environmentalism and make sustainable development a central part of their operations. In particular UCU branches and FHE institutions should:

  1. appoint and recognise the role of Environment Reps
  2. endorse the Greener Jobs Alliance 2012 Green Skills Manifesto
  3. support the strengthening of capacity within all sector bodies to deliver meaningful sustainability practice
  4. develop an engagement strategy with their local communities which promotes green skills and jobs.

CARRIED

New section 4, Health and care

97 The NHS and Health Education - National Executive Committee

Congress notes the:

  1. concerns from professional groups and the public on the deleterious impact of the Health and Social Care Act
  2. Bill was not included in the manifesto of either parties
  3. continued low ratio of professionally qualified health care staff to patients and the association of this to poor standards of care and mortality rates
  4. uncertainty about the future of health care education and training now this Act is passed.
  5. concern over the growth of private education providers in the continuing professional development education sector.

Congress resolves to:

  1. continue to campaign for post 16 education to remain in the public sector for professionally qualified health care staff
  2. campaign against the de-regulation of education providers
  3. continue the work of the Health Educators Advisory Group and develop links with the British Medical Association and sister Trade Unions
  4. continue affiliation with Health Emergency.

CARRIED


98 Composite: National Care Service: NPC Fair Care Campaign - Yorkshire and Humberside retired members, Northern retired members branch

Congress believes that UCU members have a direct interest, as citizens, often as carers, and as actual or potential users, in radically improved care services.

Congress expresses its concern at the number of recent reports highlighting the unacceptable state of social care for older people in Britain. The current system is riddled with rationing, poor standards, low pay and poor conditions, lack of proper regulation and unfair means-testing. The fundamental problem is an artificial divide between medical care which is provided free by the NHS and social care that is means-tested and delivered out in the community, largely by private companies.

Congress therefore supports the National Pensioners Convention Fair Care Campaign, calling for:

  1. the creation of a National Care Service alongside the NHS, funded through general taxation and based on medical and care needs rather than ability to pay
  2. assessment of needs to be made by professionals in consultation with the individual
  3. the introduction of a UK-wide Dignity Code
  4. improved standards of care through better monitoring and regulation and enhanced training and staff conditions
  5. greater protection from elder abuse
  6. a return of the majority of social care provision to the public sector.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

98A.1  West Midlands Retired members branch

Replace point 2 with:

2.    assessment of needs, both physical and psychological, to be made by appropriately qualified professionals, in consultation with the individual.

Point 3, after 'the introduction of a UK-wide Dignity code',  add 'which recognises that equality rights do not cease on retirement.'

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Congress believes that UCU members have a direct interest, as citizens, often as carers, and as actual or potential users, in radically improved care services.

Congress expresses its concern at the number of recent reports highlighting the unacceptable state of social care for older people in Britain. The current system is riddled with rationing, poor standards, low pay and poor conditions, lack of proper regulation and unfair means-testing. The fundamental problem is an artificial divide between medical care which is provided free by the NHS and social care that is means-tested and delivered out in the community, largely by private companies.

Congress therefore supports the National Pensioners Convention Fair Care Campaign, calling for:

  1. the creation of a National Care Service alongside the NHS, funded through general taxation and based on medical and care needs rather than ability to pay
  2. assessment of needs, both physical and psychological, to be made by appropriately qualified professionals, in consultation with the individual
  3. the introduction of a UK-wide Dignity Code which recognises that equality rights do not cease on retirement
  4. improved standards of care through better monitoring and regulation and enhanced training and staff conditions
  5. greater protection from elder abuse
  6. a return of the majority of social care provision to the public sector.

99 Education and training of carers - Eastern and Home Counties retired members

As a result of people living longer there is a corresponding rise in numbers of people needing care either in their own or residential homes. The quality of this care varies widely.

Congress calls on the NEC to initiate a campaign, along with other interested bodies, for a nationally regulated standard of education and training leading to a required qualification for those working as carers.

CARRIED


L8 Emergency motion

Congress deplores the latest attack on older people posed by the report by Iain Duncan-Smith, supported by George Osbourne, to introduce means testing for the winter fuel allowance, medical prescriptions and other universal benefits for pensioners, and commits itself to campaign within the TUC and with others to oppose these plans which threaten the well-being of current and future pensioners.

CARRIED

Last updated: 29 October 2019