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Business of the recruitment, organising and campaigning committee

UCU Congress 2013: Thursday 30 May 2013, 10:45-12:00

Chapter 7 of the NEC's report to Congress 2013:
UCU491.html | UCU491.rtf

Motions:

8 - Building the union
9 - Building on our success - organising and recruitment of casualised staff
10 - Justice for Alfie Meadows
L2 - Supporting the University of London Union against closure - St Andrews University

11 - The Restoration of the NHS
12 - Support for People's Assembly
13 - Bedroom tax
14 - Impact of benefit cuts on recruitment to FE and HE
15 - Resisting austerity
16 - The privatisation of the welfare services
B8 - Halesowen College - West Midlands regional committee

17 - Recruitment campaign
18 - Young members
19 - Recruiting and organising among Welsh speakers in HE and FE
20 - Equality of representation  


Introduction, paragraph 1.1

8 Building the union - National Executive Committee

Congress notes the work undertaken by ROCC since 2007 in developing the national organising plan and endorses the committee's current focus on supporting local and national disputes; developing a broad campaign to increase funding for post-16 education; increasing member participation; and highlighting recruitment. Congress recognises that the union's future depends upon persuading members to get more involved; take up active roles; and help build the union and asks every branch to prioritise these issues in line with the ROCC recommendations.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

8A.1 Southern regional committee

Add at end:

Congress is bemused to learn that the names of its delegates are kept secret.

This conflicts with normal conference practice with the trade union principle of building a united membership to fight common causes and build the union.

Congress instructs the NEC that:

a list of delegates shall be provided to all delegates
a list of registered delegates shall be made available to any UCU member who requests it prior to Congress

CARRIED

8A.2 Women members standing committee

Add at the end

Congress also notes that women form 50% of the membership and as such developing women's activism has transformative potential in building the union. Congress asks every branch to prioritise women's issues and involvement as key to achieving a strong union for all its members.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes the work undertaken by ROCC since 2007 in developing the national organising plan and endorses the committee's current focus on supporting local and national disputes; developing a broad campaign to increase funding for post-16 education; increasing member participation; and highlighting recruitment. Congress recognises that the union's future depends upon persuading members to get more involved; take up active roles; and help build the union and asks every branch to prioritise these issues in line with the ROCC recommendations.

Congress is bemused to learn that the names of its delegates are kept secret.

This conflicts with normal conference practice with the trade union principle of building a united membership to fight common causes and build the union.

Congress instructs the NEC that:

  • a list of delegates shall be provided to all delegates
  • a list of registered delegates shall be made available to any UCU member who requests it prior to Congress.

Congress also notes that women form 50% of the membership and as such developing women's activism has transformative potential in building the union. Congress asks every branch to prioritise women's issues and involvement as key to achieving a strong union for all its members.


Campaigning, paragraphs 2.1-2.2

9 Composite: Building on our success - organising and recruitment of casualised staff - Anti-casualisation committee, Southern regional committee

Congress notes:

  1. the increasing use of casualised contracts alongside the worsening impact of cuts and marketisation in post-16 education.
  2. the widespread positive responses to the relaunched Stamp Out Casual Contracts campaign, the UCU National Day of Action on Casualisation (6 March 2013) and subsequent associated national and regional activities on recruitment and campaigning.

Congress is fully aware that this morally offensive and destructive trend for the continued casualisation of academic staff in FHE has been exacerbated by government policy, and:

  1. is exploitative of and damaging to the vast majority of staff affected
  2. is causing acute instability and insecurity across FHE
  3. has a corrosive impact on the quality of educational provision.

Congress believes increasing UCU membership density among casualised staff is crucial to the strength and future of our union.

Congress instructs the NEC to work closely with ACC to anticipate and meet strategic challenges by:

  1. exploring more effective ways of attracting casualised colleagues into UCU membership
  2. establishing the Anti Casualisation Day of Action and Training Workshop as annual events
  3. promoting and sustaining publicity on the linkages between marketisation and casualisation
  4. regularly auditing staff on casual contracts regarding duties, responsibilities, age, career stage, subject area, gender, ethnic group and overall incidence of casualisation across FHE
  5. working creatively in conjunction with other unions to develop wider awareness of casualisation and the campaign for an end to zero hours and insecure contracts and the growing use of agency staff
  6. sending a motion to TUC addressing the implementation of the fixed term directive in the UK.

CARRIED


10 Justice for Alfie Meadows - University of Brighton Moulsecoomb

Congress notes:

  1. students Alfie Meadows and Zak King are cleared of violent disorder after three trials, over more than two years. The jury verdict was unanimous.
  2. Meadows suffered a baton blow to the head which required brain surgery; the police have so far escaped any form of accountability for their actions.
  3. the trial enabled scrutiny of evidence: kettled protesters were charged at with horses and subjected to indiscriminate baton use.
  4. Meadows has called on the IPCC to reopen its investigation.
  5. 2012 Conference instructed NEC to 'approach Kenney-QC, Mansfield-QC, Corbyn-MP, Amnesty, for a joint demand for a public enquiry into arrests, police violence, disproportionate charges.'

Congress resolves to:

  1. revisit 2012 motion and revise a strategy to carry it forward
  2. take active steps alongside DTRTP in campaigning to hold to account the IPCC, the police and get justice for Alfie.

CARRIED


L2 Supporting the University of London Union against closure - St Andrews University

Congress notes:

  1. The University of London has voted to close its students union, ULU, and replace it with a management-run student services centre.
  2. ULU represents 120,000 University of London students.
  3. ULU has a long tradition of being at the forefront of student movements, from supporting the Stop the War movement to the fights against tuition fees and welfare cuts.

Congress recognises:

  1. The University's actions are a fundamentally anti-democratic attack on unions and student representation.
  2. The University's actions are a politically motivated attempt to curb student activism.
  3. This decision will have a major negative impact on student life and representation in London.

Congress resolves:

  1. To send an official and public message of solidarity to ULU.
  2. To support action that ULU takes to try to reverse this decision.
  3. To encourage its members in the University of London to actively campaign against university management on this issue.

CARRIED


11 The Restoration of the NHS  - National Executive Committee

The passage of the NHS and Social Care Bill and the supporting secondary legislation will open the flood gates to the private sector in both the commissioning process and service delivery, including education.

Congress notes that people need an NHS that is:

  1. free from the dominant business model that lead to catastrophes such as what happened at the Mid Staffordshire Hospitals
  2. focused on ethical patient care not budgetary targets
  3. funded through general taxation, and
  4. includes more not fewer professionally qualified health and social care workers who complete a public sector education commensurate with the responsibilities of caring for some of the most vulnerable in society

Congress supports:

  1. the restoration of the NHS
  2. the opposition of closures to local services, and
  3. urges members and branches to get involved with local campaign groups such as Keep Our NHS Public and Health Emergency.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

11A.1 London retired members branch

Add at end:

Congress calls upon the TUC to organise a National Day of Action to Defend the NHS, composed of regional demonstrations.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

The passage of the NHS and Social Care Bill and the supporting secondary legislation will open the flood gates to the private sector in both the commissioning process and service delivery, including education.

Congress notes that people need an NHS that is:

  1. free from the dominant business model that lead to catastrophes such as what happened at the Mid Staffordshire Hospitals
  2. focused on ethical patient care not budgetary targets
  3. funded through general taxation, and
  4. includes more not fewer professionally qualified health and social care workers who complete a public sector education commensurate with the responsibilities of caring for some of the most vulnerable in society

Congress supports:

  1. the restoration of the NHS
  2. the opposition of closures to local services, and
  3. urges members and branches to get involved with local campaign groups such as Keep Our NHS Public and Health Emergency.

Congress calls upon the TUC to organise a National Day of Action to Defend the NHS, composed of regional demonstrations.


Campaigning, after paragraph 2.2

12 Composite: Support for People's Assembly - Northumbria University, Goldsmiths University of London, Queen Mary University of London

Congress welcomes the People's Assembly Against Austerity and considers that it can play a vital role in combating the argument that austerity is necessary.

Government policies - attacking pay and pensions, privatising public services, undermining trade unions, taking from the most vulnerable and ripping the heart out of local communities - are simply the self-enrichment of the few at the expense of the many. The government has introduced the most far-reaching programme of cuts and austerity for 90 years. We have seen pay cuts across the public sector, the marketisation of the NHS and swingeing cuts in welfare, public services and housing including, most recently, the 'bedroom tax' - all of which will hit the poorest section of the population the hardest.

The coming together of trade unions, anti-cuts groups, radical campaigns and community organisations provides the basis for building a nationwide movement of resistance and projecting the sort of radical alternative projected by the People's Charter for Change - for a people's Britain, not a bankers' Britain.

In opposition to the government's austerity programme, a number of unions and anti-cuts organisations have supported the call for a People's Assembly against Austerity that aspires to build a movement for social justice and develop a strategy for resistance to the cuts. The assembly will provide a national forum to develop links between unions, community-based campaigns and anti-cuts groups to build the confidence and organisation of all those opposed to austerity.

Congress calls upon the NEC to

  1. publicise, join and officially support the People's Assembly at Central Hall Westminster on Saturday 22 June 2013 and work with other trade unions and community groups to build a democratic alternative to the government's policies of austerity
  2. encourage branches/LAs to take forward the experiences of the People's Assembly into building that movement in their own workplaces and localities.

CARRIED


13 Bedroom tax - LSE

Congress deplores the mean-minded imposition of the bedroom tax. Congress notes that students and their families are among the groups most affected by this unfair charge.

Congress believes that the level of expenditure on housing benefit is the result of high levels of unemployment, low wages and a non-functioning housing market and the Bedroom tax is an example of 'blaming the victim'.

Congress instructs the NEC to support campaigns for:

  1. scrapping the bedroom tax
  2. the living wage
  3. requiring all councils to build more social housing at affordable rents which are affordable
  4. security of tenure for tenants

CARRIED AS AMENDED

13A.1 Croydon College

Taken in parts

Part 1

In 3. delete 'which are affordable'

LOST

Part 2

After 'Congress instructs the NEC to' (final paragraph) insert 'affiliate to the Benefit Justice Campaign and support and publicise among members the next benefit justice summit and'

CARRIED

13A.2 Disabled members standing committee

Insert new point 3 - 'councils and social landlords to cancel debts due to the bedroom tax or the 1% benefits cap'

Insert new point 4 - 'urging all social landlords to redesignate bedrooms as box rooms'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress deplores the mean-minded imposition of the bedroom tax. Congress notes that students and their families are among the groups most affected by this unfair charge.

Congress believes that the level of expenditure on housing benefit is the result of high levels of unemployment, low wages and a non-functioning housing market and the Bedroom tax is an example of 'blaming the victim'.

Congress instructs the NEC to affiliate to the Benefit Justice Campaign and support and publicise among members the next benefit justice summit and support campaigns for:

  1. scrapping the bedroom tax
  2. the living wage
  3. councils and social landlords to cancel debts due to the bedroom tax or the 1% benefits cap
  4. urging all social landlords to redesignate bedrooms as box rooms
  5. requiring all councils to build more social housing at affordable rents which are affordable
  6. security of tenure for tenants

14 Impact of benefit cuts on recruitment to FE and HE - Lewisham College

Congress notes and condemns the impact that cuts to universal benefits, housing benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Education Maintenance Allowance etc, plus the introduction of FE loans and the 'bedroom tax' will have on many people's incomes and living standards, including eviction and relocation, unless local councils refuse to implement them.

These savage cuts will inevitably hit many of our members and our students and will impact on people's opportunities to access FE and HE. Such measures can only exacerbate recruitment problems.

Congress further condemns the cut in the top rate of income tax from 50% to 45% for the wealthy.

Congress applauds initiatives such as the Campaign for Benefit Justice and Boycott Workfare.

Congress urges local councillors to collectively refuse the implementation of such cuts and to appeal to other workers, claimants and service users for solidarity through networks of activists such as Unite the Resistance.

CARRIED


15 Resisting austerity Leeds - Metropolitan University

Congress regrets the failure of trade union leaders to build on the strike action by the public sector pensions campaign of 2011, particularly November 30th. Further strike action would have been the best way to block the coalition's assault on workers' pay, pensions, benefits and services. Instead this opportunity was let slip.

Congress notes that Osborne's autumn and March budgets intensified the attacks on benefits and services, despite the clear failure of the coalition's strategy, the loss of the UK's AAA credit rating, and the likelihood of a triple dip recession.

UCU welcomes the resolution passed at last September's TUC to explore the practicalities of a general strike and, believing the case for a general strike is stronger than ever, calls on the TUC to lay urgent concrete plans for a general strike against Tory austerity.

Congress resolves to support a demonstration at the Tory Party conference in September.

CARRIED


16 The privatisation of welfare services - Southern region retired members

Congress notes with great concern the government's policy of further extending privatisation in all sectors of public welfare provision. This reflects both a flawed approach to the 'modernisation' of services and the extent to which coalition policies are increasingly driven by neo-liberal dogma. Congress believes that privatisation does not produce better welfare services for users and recognises that, for employees, fair wages and conditions of service will often be jeopardised. In particular trades union recognition, membership and representation will be permanently weakened. Congress instructs the NEC to join other trades unions in vigorously opposing the privatisation of welfare services.

CARRIED


B8 Halesowen College - West Midlands regional committee

Congress notes with concern:

  1. the decision of Halesowen College to dismiss 4 members of the maths teaching team, including the branch secretary, Dave Muritu
  2. there were no issues relating to competence and none of them had any conduct issues cited in their dismissal letters
  3. no individual classroom capability issues were identified for their dismissals
  4. that Halesowen College systematically failed to properly resource and support the maths team.

Congress believes at a time when colleges and universities are piling the pressure through increasing workloads and performance management coupled with Michael Gove's enthusiasm for blaming and scapegoating teachers, the arbitrary and improper dismissal of teaching staff for 'failing to realise the students full potential and their expected levels of attainment' sets a dangerous precedent.

Congress resolves to:

  1. provide maximum support for branches faced with a similar scenario
  2. to continue with full support for Halesowen branch including full legal support for any tribunal hearings
  3. campaign for changes to employment law to ensure such action by employers is deemed unlawful.

CARRIED


Recruitment, paragraph 4.2

17 Recruitment campaign - South East regional committee

Congress recognises that there is room for recruitment and growth in all institutions, but particularly in those with low membership density. There are many FE institutions and some HE institutions in this situation.

Congress instructs its officers/officials to provide the necessary institution by institution figures and forward them to appropriate branch and regional officers and staff for them to quickly determine a targeted recruitment plan coordinated through regional offices and executive committees.

Not taken: out of time - remitted to NEC for consideration


18 Young members - Westminster Kingsway College

Congress notes that UCU density among young members (under 35) is still very low, around 10% of those eligible to join are UCU members. Recruitment of young members is crucial in order for the union to build and create new Union activists. Many trade unions, such as the NUT, have successful young members structures which have created the opportunity to develop support networks in order to recruit, organise and train more young members. A successful UCU Young Members Conference was held in 2010 and there have been successful Early Careers CPD training events.

Congress instructs NEC to ensure there is an annual UCU Young Members Summit (for members 35 and under) in October to bring young members together to organise and campaign to increase recruitment within this critical area.

Not taken: out of time - remitted to NEC for consideration


Recruitment, after paragraph 4.3

19 Recruiting and organising among Welsh speakers in HE and FE - Cardiff University

UCU has a low membership density among Welsh speakers. For people to whom Welsh language is an important part of their identity, joining a union which makes little effort to make materials available in Welsh means compromising their commitment to the Welsh language.

No worker should have to feel that the price of workplace representation is sacrificing something important to their identity.

Congress calls for a joint-membership agreement with UCAC. This will allow Welsh speakers to become UCU members without feeling they have to choose between a Welsh-language union and UCU, and will significantly increase UCU membership in Wales.

Congress recognises that language identity is an important equality issue in Wales, and should come under the remit of UCU's equality committee.

Congress believes that when equality issues are seen purely as resource issues, there is a risk of alienating demographic groups which are already under-represented in the Union.

Not taken: out of time - remitted to NEC for consideration


Participation in the union, after paragraph 5.3

20 Equality of representation - Women members standing committee

Congress notes existing policy that women should comprise 50% of external UCU delegations and (ideally) 50% of speakers at Congress. 

However, Congress notes that women remain woefully under-represented on internal UCU committees with the exceptions of WMSC and the Equality Committee.

A recent survey revealed that lack of gender balance is particularly noticeable on committees such as SFC and ROCC.

Therefore, Congress instructs the NEC to:

  1. take appropriate steps to ensure equality of representation across its structures
  2. monitor its implementation; and
  3. present a progress report to next year's Congress.

Not taken: out of time - remitted to NEC for consideration

Last updated: 4 June 2013