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UCU Congress 2013: Friday 31 May 2013, 12:00-12:30

Chapter 4 of the NEC's report to Congress 2013:
UCU491.html | UCU491.rtf


58 - Space for rest breaks
B4 - Defending members' health and safety Blackburn College
59 - Better choices for a better future
60 - Performance related pay
61 - Detrimental legislative changes: collective consultation on redundancy at end of FTC
62 - Deskilling and Professionalisation of staff
63 - Management of change  

58 Space for rest breaks - University of Bath

Congress notes the duty under the Working Time Regulations for each workplace to provide space for staff to have an uninterrupted break from work. This should be in the form of a staff only space to ensure that rest breaks are not disturbed by students.

Congress calls on NEC to raise this issue with employers in all appropriate fora.


B4 Defending members' health and safety Blackburn College

Congress notes:

  1. the unprecedented attacks on employee health and safety launched by the Con-Dem administration continue apace.
  2. in order to 'kill off the health and safety culture' they are promulgating:
    • continual cuts in the HSE budget
    • further cuts in enforcement action of all kinds,
    • re-classification of our workplaces as not requiring HSE inspection
    • destruction of key elements of protective legislation
    • driving down sickness absence by forcing genuinely sick employees back to work

Congress believes:

  1. these attacks are already impacting on our members' physical and mental health.
  2. the Hazards Campaign/Conference are crucial in resisting these attacks
    Congress therefore calls on our union to:
    1. encourage teams of workplace safety reps and the growth of regional networks
    2. sponsor a delegation to the Hazards Conference and make a significant donation
    3. encourage branches and regions to support the Hazards Campaign and Conference.


Environmental work, paragraph 2.3

59 Better choices for a better future - South Thames College

This branch believes that sustainable development should be a core organising principal for the FHE and skills sector. This means moving away from treating environmentalism as a token issue or as a bolt-on to other activities. It means moving towards choices that integrate sustainability into business practice. In particular:

  1. using the focus on employability to embed education for sustainable development across the curriculum
  2. building divestment campaigns from high carbon portfolios. The average pension fund has 55% of its assets invested in high-carbon sectors
  3. promoting international, national and community based campaigns that address fuel poverty and the de-carbonisation of energy supply.

Congress calls upon the NEC to develop a coalition of unions and students that will contribute to delivering these objectives.

Congress calls upon sector employers to recognise the trade union role and establish procedures that promote embedding sustainable development.


New paragraph, Industrial issues, after paragraph 2.8

60 Performance related pay - East Midlands regional committee

Congress notes:

  1. the growing evidence that employers in the HE and FE sectors are attempting to introduce performance related pay outside the parameters of national pay agreements
  2. linking pay with appraisal will undermine lecturers' confidence in staff appraisal, which purportedly aims to improve staff performance and to promote professional development
  3. performance related pay is misconceived because the fulfilment of performance objectives hinges on the effort of teams and not individuals
  4. research shows that performance related pay does not improve performance
  5. decisions on performance pay are fraught with subjectivity and could lead to favouritism, unfairness and resentment.

Congress calls on the NEC to:

  1. monitor the attempts by HEIs and FE colleges to introduce performance related pay
  2. initiate a national campaign against performance related pay
  3. work closely with branches and local associations as well as regional offices to resist the introduction of performance related pay.


61 Composite: Detrimental legislative changes: collective consultation on redundancy at end of FTC - University of Liverpool, Open University

Congress condemns the government's proposed legislative changes to redundancy consultation periods and the decision to remove the requirement on employers to consult collectively on redundancies resulting from the ending of fixed-term contracts.

The removal of the obligation to consult when a fixed term contract finishes is likely to:

  1. give unscrupulous employers an incentive to increase the use of fixed term contracts
  2. remove employment rights not only from staff in HE/FE, but from some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society, who work in industries such as catering, tourism and construction
  3. mitigate against the principle of giving employees and their trade unions a chance to propose alternatives when faced with mass redundancies
  4. prevent or not allow long enough for a meaningful attempt at redeployment.

Congress instructs the NEC to follow up all possible avenues of opposition to the proposed legislative changes, including

  1. obtaining legal advice on whether this change puts UK legislation in breach of the EU Directive on Fixed-Term Work or any other European regulation or directive, with a view to mounting a legal challenge, working through the TUC in conjunction with other trades unions as appropriate
  2. joint campaigns with other unions
  3. action against any attempt to renege on current procedures.


62 Deskilling and deprofessionalisation of staff - Academic-related staff committee

Congress calls upon the NEC to actively oppose the outsourcing, de-skilling and de-professionalisation of all staff in the education sector. The rampant growth of such policies disproportionately affects casualised, part-time, academic related and professional staff, eroding our specialisms and our ability to perform our roles directly working with colleagues, supporting students and working in a collegiate manner. Across the sector, outsourcing, restructuring, use of consultants, privatisation, shared services and the scaling down of provision for staff and students is on the rise and this directly undermines the work of all UCU members.

Congress calls on the NEC to investigate the extent of the problem, to campaign vigorously against managerialist policies, and to provide advice to local branches engaged in fighting these threats.


63 Management of change - Academic-related staff committee

Congress notes:

  1. the stress caused to staff by change and the effect this has on morale
  2. failure to meaningfully involve unions in restructuring
  3. the enthusiasm with which institutions rush to make redundancies
  4. lack of training for staff who survive restructuring
  5. commercial management consultants do not understand the education sector.

Congress calls the NEC to develop a national model change management agreement including:

  1. union involvement from the very start of the process
  2. a transparent process revealing the full costs
  3. meaningful job descriptions so colleagues current and new are not set up to fail
  4. a redeployment procedure that works
  5. ensuring consultants consider the character of the institution before making recommendations.


Last updated: 7 March 2019