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Business of the Recruitment, Organising And Campaigning Committee

UCU Congress 2014: Thursday 29 May 2014, 10:15-11:10

Section 7 of the NEC's report to Congress 2014:
UCU568.html | UCU568.rtf

Motions:

9 - Standing up for Post-16 Education
10 - Anti-Privatisation Campaign
11 - Importance of national campaigns
12 - Opposing zero-hour contracts
13 - Zero tolerance for zero-hours contacts
14 - Fair pay for fractional and hourly-paid staff
L2 - Opposing cuts and redundancies

15 - Food banks and welfare reform
16 - Defend the Right to Protest
B1 - Opposing the use of water cannons

(EP) advisory marking
denoting UCU existing policy

Towards 2015, paragraph 3.1

9 (EP) Standing up for Post-16 Education - National Executive Committee

Congress notes the continuing work undertaken by ROCC in supporting local and national disputes; developing a broad campaign to increase funding for post-16 education; increasing member participation; and highlighting recruitment.

Congress recognises this is its last meeting before the 2015 Westminster General Election and calls upon ROCC to prioritise work with the Education Committee and devolved nations to raise the profile of post-16 education as a political issue across the UK.

CARRIED

Opposing marketisation and privatisation, paragraph 4.1

10 Anti-privatisation campaign - Queen Mary University of London

Congress notes the continuing drive to privatize ever-larger aspects of higher education provision within the UK. We also note the impact of privatisation on staff morale and the wider culture of universities as places of work and study. The precarious working conditions for part-time and casualised staff is a cause for particular concern.

Congress calls on UCU to organize a national campaign with trade unions and sympathetic parties and the National Union of Students in particular to build a national campaign against the continuing privatisation of UK higher education and a return to a publicly funded and democratically accountable sector.

In particular we call for a national demonstration called with NUS in the autumn and a targeted national campaign during the May 2015 General Election focusing on marginal constituencies that have a university within them to mobilise HE trade unions and students in local campaigns focusing on privatisation.

CARRIED

Supporting members at work, paragraph 5.3

11 (EP) Importance of national campaigns - City and Islington College, Finsbury Park

Congress believes:

  1. that we need national campaigns if we are to defend post 16 education and our members conditions of service
  2. that UCU will not be able to build effective trade union organisation without national campaigns. We will not beat this government college by college or university by university.

Congress resolves:

  1. to ensure that where a dispute is regarded to be a 'local dispute of national significance' that the national union puts its full weight behind that dispute encouraging branches to invite those in dispute into their institutions to build solidarity
  2. for the UCU campaigns team to send out on a weekly basis a list of all universities and colleges that are taking action to all branch officers inviting them to send messages of support.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

11A.1 London Regional Committee

Add at end:

'The indefinite strike at Lambeth College shows members' resolve to defend conditions and fight back against aggressive and bullying management. Such strike action is the most effective way to ensure college managements do not engage in a race to the bottom on conditions or attempt to play off jobs against working conditions.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress believes:

  1. that we need national campaigns if we are to defend post 16 education and our members conditions of service
  2. that UCU will not be able to build effective trade union organisation without national campaigns. We will not beat this government college by college or university by university.

Congress resolves:

  1. to ensure that where a dispute is regarded to be a 'local dispute of national significance' that the national union puts its full weight behind that dispute encouraging branches to invite those in dispute into their institutions to build solidarity
  2. for the UCU campaigns team to send out on a weekly basis a list of all universities and colleges that are taking action to all branch officers inviting them to send messages of support.

The indefinite strike at Lambeth College shows members' resolve to defend conditions and fight back against aggressive and bullying management. Such strike action is the most effective way to ensure college managements do not engage in a race to the bottom on conditions or attempt to play off jobs against working conditions.

Rename paragraph 6: Casualised staff, after paragraph 6.1

12 (EP) Composite: Opposing zero-hour contracts - North West Regional Committee, Open University, Birmingham City University, London Metropolitan University (City Branch)

UCU Congress notes UCU research in 2013 evidencing use of 'zero-hours' contracts in over 50% of all HE and two thirds of FE institutions. Workers on these contracts have no job security, minimal access to sick or holiday pay, little opportunity for professional development and, by default, work more unpaid hours than any other worker in education.

The use of zero-hour contracts is endemic across the economy and many unions are fighting them. In 2013 workers from disparate working environments (Hovis bread makers and Edinburgh University lecturers) showed that zero-hours contracts can be defeated. More than 400 workers (members of BFAWU), at a Hovis bakery in Wigan took two weeks' strike action with mass pickets, which stopped the use of zero-hours contracts.

UCU is strongly opposed to the rapid increase in the number of zero-hour contracts, which is part of the employers' plan for a much greater number of casual contracts in FE and HE.

Congress resolves that all contracts that do not guarantee minimum hours or a minimum quantity of paid work (including for example the contracts offered to Open University Associate Lecturers) should be considered zero-hours contracts and unacceptable atypical work contracts, and included in the campaign against zero-hours contracts.

Congress deplores the increase in casual and zero-hours contracts in education, in all roles, including non-academic and outsourced employees.

Congress believes that these contracts are unfair to employees, impact negatively on family life and often fail to deliver a living wage.

Congress instructs the NEC to continue to fight against casualisation in education and support campaigns for:

  1. scrapping zero-hours contracts in education
  2. the living wage.

UCU Congress further calls on UCU NEC to:

  1. call a lobby of Parliament (with other trade unions) calling for the outlawing of zero-hours contracts
  2. raise 'zero-hours' as a campaign issue in the run up to the next election
  3. adequately fund a national campaign to kick zero-hours contracts out of education altogether
  4. work with all FE and HE unions and students and other unions against zero-hour contracts
  5. show support for union action against zero-hour and casual contracts such as the struggle at Hovis
  6. urge UCU branches to discuss what action should be taken to stop increasing casualisation in FE and HE.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

12A.1 University of Edinburgh

In the second paragraph change 'Edinburgh University lecturers' to 'Edinburgh University staff'.

CARRIED

12A.2 Academic-Related, Professional Staff Committee

In paragraph 5: delete 'non-academic' onwards and replace with 'academic staff, professional support and outsourced workers.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

UCU Congress notes UCU research in 2013 evidencing use of 'zero-hours' contracts in over 50% of all HE and two thirds of FE institutions. Workers on these contracts have no job security, minimal access to sick or holiday pay, little opportunity for professional development and, by default, work more unpaid hours than any other worker in education.

The use of zero-hour contracts is endemic across the economy and many unions are fighting them. In 2013 workers from disparate working environments (Hovis bread makers and Edinburgh University staff) showed that zero-hours contracts can be defeated. More than 400 workers (members of BFAWU), at a Hovis bakery in Wigan took two weeks' strike action with mass pickets, which stopped the use of zero-hours contracts.

UCU is strongly opposed to the rapid increase in the number of zero-hour contracts, which is part of the employers' plan for a much greater number of casual contracts in FE and HE.

Congress resolves that all contracts that do not guarantee minimum hours or a minimum quantity of paid work (including for example the contracts offered to Open University Associate Lecturers) should be considered zero-hours contracts and unacceptable atypical work contracts, and included in the campaign against zero-hours contracts.

Congress deplores the increase in casual and zero-hours contracts in education, in all roles, including academic staff, professional support and outsourced workers, and outsourced employees.

Congress believes that these contracts are unfair to employees, impact negatively on family life and often fail to deliver a living wage.

Congress instructs the NEC to continue to fight against casualisation in education and support campaigns for:

  1. scrapping zero-hours contracts in education
  2. the living wage.

UCU Congress further calls on UCU NEC to:

  1. call a lobby of parliament (with other trade unions) calling for the outlawing of zero-hours contracts
  2. raise 'zero-hours' as a campaign issue in the run up to the next election
  3. adequately fund a national campaign to kick zero-hours contracts out of education altogether
  4. work with all FE and HE unions and students and other unions against zero-hour contracts
  5. show support for union action against zero-hour and casual contracts such as the struggle at Hovis
  6. urge UCU branches to discuss what action should be taken to stop increasing casualisation in FE and HE.

13 Zero tolerance for zero-hours contacts - London regional committee

'Zero-hour contracts' have become a hot political topic this year.

Congress resolves to capitalize on this visibility by developing its support for branch officers in FE and HE to campaign and represent casualised staff.

Congress notes the wide variation in employment contracts within regions (not every invidious casual contract is 'zero-hour' or classed as employment) and the fact that branch officers have different knowledge and experience.

Congress further resolves to:

  • add to the anti-casualisation toolkit a checklist of 'easy-win' breaches and what to do about them, eg: failure to itemize holiday pay
  • add to the toolkit examples of practical strategies for fighting casualisation, including case histories, examples of information to gather, etc
  • support regions developing local training initiatives and anti-casualisation networks so that reps can share information
  • support a national lobby of parliament against zero-hour contracts.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

13A.1 Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Committee

Add at end:

'Congress instructs the NEC to approach other unions to plan a coordinated campaign to abolish zero-hours contracts in education and other sectors, including helping to initiate a national anti-zero-hours conference.

Congress agrees to donate £100 to the Fast Food Rights campaign, which is conducting an energetic campaign against such contracts in the service sector.'

Substantive motion

'Zero-hour contracts' have become a hot political topic this year.

Congress resolves to capitalize on this visibility by developing its support for branch officers in FE and HE to campaign and represent casualised staff.

Congress notes the wide variation in employment contracts within Regions (not every invidious casual contract is 'zero-hour' or classed as employment) and the fact that branch officers have different knowledge and experience.

Congress further resolves to:

  • add to the anti-casualisation toolkit a checklist of 'easy-win' breaches and what to do about them, eg: failure to itemize holiday pay
  • add to the toolkit examples of practical strategies for fighting casualization, including case histories, examples of information to gather, etc
  • support regions developing local training initiatives and anti-casualisation networks so that reps can share information
  • support a national lobby of parliament against zero-hour contracts.

Congress instructs the NEC to approach other unions to plan a coordinated campaign to abolish zero-hours contracts in education and other sectors, including helping to initiate a national anti-zero-hours conference.

Congress agrees to donate £100 to the Fast Food Rights campaign, which is conducting an energetic campaign against such contracts in the service sector.


14 (EP) Fair pay for fractional and hourly-paid staff - SOAS

Congress notes:

  • that higher education is one of the most heavily casualised sectors in the UK
  • the significance of UCU's Stamp out Casual Contracts campaign
  • that current pay arrangements for fractional and hourly-paid staff still do not reflect their actual workloads

Congress believes:

  • that it is a vital area of branch work to campaign for better pay and working conditions - and equal treatment of - teaching and research staff on fractional and hourly-paid contracts
  • that investment in all teaching staff is a vital component of improving the quality of teaching provision

Congress resolves:

  • to urge branches to launch and support campaigns such as Fractionals for Fair Play at SOAS that confront the reality of sub-minimum wage work for many academics
  • to urge branches to support any fractional or hourly-paid member of staff victimised by management for campaigning for improved contracts or better pay.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

14A.1 Disabled Members' Standing Committee

Under 'Congress notes' add a fourth bullet point:

'that disabled fractional and hourly paid staff often have requests for reasonable adjustments refused based on their contract which puts these members at a more substantial disadvantage in securing work in this casualised environment'.

Under 'Congress resolves' insert after first bullet point:

'to ensure through awareness raising and negotiation that disabled fractional and hourly paid staff have the same access to reasonable adjustments as staff on more secure contracts'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes:

  • that higher education is one of the most heavily casualised sectors in the UK
  • the significance of UCU's Stamp out Casual Contracts campaign
  • that current pay arrangements for fractional and hourly-paid staff still do not reflect their actual workloads
  • that disabled fractional and hourly paid staff often have requests for reasonable adjustments refused based on their contract which puts these members at a more substantial disadvantage in securing work in this casualised environment.

Congress believes:

  • that it is a vital area of branch work to campaign for better pay and working conditions - and equal treatment of - teaching and research staff on fractional and hourly-paid contracts
  • that investment in all teaching staff is a vital component of improving the quality of teaching provision

Congress resolves:

  • to urge branches to launch and support campaigns such as Fractionals for Fair Play at SOAS that confront the reality of sub-minimum wage work for many academics
  • to ensure through awareness raising and negotiation that disabled fractional and hourly paid staff have the same access to reasonable adjustments as staff on more secure contracts
  • to urge branches to support any fractional or hourly-paid member of staff victimised by management for campaigning for improved contracts or better pay.

L2 Opposing cuts and redundancies - Westminster Kingsway College, King's Cross

Congress notes the government's dramatic 17.5% cut in funding for adult learners which has led to management arguing for restructuring of teaching staff. At WKC these funding cuts have been cynically used to:

  • threaten the reduction of teaching staff by 6 FTE posts whilst senior-management pay remains high with additional 'perks' such as private healthcare
  • replace teaching posts with 'curriculum learning facilitators' - untrained teaching staff on lower rates of pay.

Congress urges NEC to:

  • support branches in opposing any compulsory redundancies and increased casualisation
  • launch a national campaign against the government cuts to adult education
  • investigate the impact that these cuts will have on increased casualisation and to build this into the anti-casualisation campaign.

CARRIED

New paragraph, campaign against austerity

15 (EP) Food banks and welfare reform - Southern Retired Members' Branch

Congress notes with great concern the large and rapidly increasing numbers of people who are dependent on food banks in the UK. Congress recognises that growing food and fuel poverty starkly highlight the failure by our current welfare system to meet even basic human needs. Congress rejects the simplistic and disingenuous claims by Conservative and coalition commentators that 'more people are using food banks because more of them are now available'. Rather it is clear that this is the outcome of harsh and often punitive welfare reforms in which socially and economically disadvantaged people have borne the greatest impact of government austerity measures, and then been blamed for their own plight.

Congress instructs the NEC to work collaboratively with the TUC and other organisations to campaign for a welfare system that meets basic needs, thereby obviating reliance on charitable food banks to ensure basic survival.

CARRIED

New paragraph, right to protest

16 (EP) Defend the Right to Protest - East Midlands Regional Committee

Whereas university students have staged protests against:

  • the privatisation of university services which threaten the jobs of higher education staff
  • to defend post-16 education against the government's spending cuts and increase in tuition fees, and
  • to show their solidarity with staff seeking a pay increase and to establish the living wage for all employees in the higher and further education sectors.

Whereas universities have victimised student protestors by obtaining injunctions, suspending students or using the police to break up the protests.

This congress calls on the NEC to support the right to protest by:

  • working closely with the NUS and other student groups as well with the other HE and FE staff unions to pressure universities and colleges not to take punitive action against students and staff engaging in peaceful protest
  • circulating online petitions and urging members to sign
  • mobilising members to join protest marches, rallies and picket lines.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

16A.1 South East Regional Committee

Add at end:

'This congress calls on the NEC to support the right to protest by revisiting 2012 and 2013 motions and devising a strategy to carry them forward, in particular: continuing official support from the general secretary and other UCU national officers through supporting and speaking at public events; and sending regular e-literature to branches for circulation to all members from the Defend the Right to Protest Campaign to which the UCU is affiliated.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Whereas university students have staged protests against:

  • the privatisation of university services which threaten the jobs of higher education staff
  • to defend post-16 education against the government's spending cuts and increase in tuition fees, and
  • to show their solidarity with staff seeking a pay increase and to establish the living wage for all employees in the higher and further education sectors.

Whereas universities have victimised student protestors by obtaining injunctions, suspending students or using the police to break up the protests.

This congress calls on the NEC to support the right to protest by:

  • working closely with the NUS and other student groups as well with the other HE and FE staff unions to pressure universities and colleges not to take punitive action against students and staff engaging in peaceful protest
  • circulating online petitions and urging members to sign
  • mobilising members to join protest marches, rallies and picket lines.

This congress calls on the NEC to support the right to protest by revisiting 2012 and 2013 motions and devising a strategy to carry them forward, in particular: continuing official support from the general secretary and other UCU national officers through supporting and speaking at public events; and sending regular e-literature to branches for circulation to all members from the Defend the Right to Protest Campaign to which the UCU is affiliated.


B1 Opposing the use of water cannons - London Regional Committee

Congress notes:

  • the mayor of London has written to the Home Secretary for permission to use three water cannons
  • the threat to democratic protest and physical danger that water cannons represent.

Resolves:

  • that UCU campaigns with other unions and the NUS, against the use of such dangerous, repressive weapons of control
  • UCU explores what legal challenges can be used against such use
  • UCU lobbies all political parties to commit to banning water cannon.

CARRIED

Last updated: 29 May 2014