Higher Education Sector Conference

UCU Congress 2014: Thursday 29 May 2014, 14:00 -18:30

Section 2 of the NEC's report to Congress 2014:
UCU568.html | UCU568.rtf

See also:

Motions:

HE1 - National claim/negotiations with UCEA
HE2 - Motion of censure on HEC
HE3 - Lessons from the 2013/14 pay campaign
HE4 - Pay Strategy
HE5 - National pay negotiation time-table
HE6 - Pay campaign and multi-year settlement
HE7 - Strategy for industrial action
HE8 - Victimisation of staff
HE9 - Industrial action and the impact on members on casualised contracts
HE10 - USS
HE11 - USS and the principle of buy-cott
HE12 - Casualisation
HE13 - Build the campaign against ZHC
HE14 - Shedding light on terms and conditions of researchers in HE
HE15 - Hierarchies in pay and job titles for researchers
HE16 - Casualisation and teaching-focused contracts
HE17 - Use of 'acl' grade posts in post-92 universities
HE18 - The Research Excellence Framework (REF) and gender discrimination
HE19 - REF
HE20 - REF
HE21 - Abolish the REF!
HE22 - Private providers
HE23 - Outsourcing of email
HE24 - Pathway Centres
HE25 - Internationalisation and increased marketisation of HE
HE26 - Immigration Bill
HE27 - University monitoring of 'Tier 4' students
HE28 - Universities, discrimination and the Borders Agency
HE29 - International staff and students in higher education
HE30 - Vice-chancellors' pay
HE31 - Exposing management perks and indirect benefits
HE32 - Bullying
HE33 - Fighting de-professionalisation and down-grading
HE34 - Defend health educators
HE35 - Towards accountable and transparent governance in Higher Education
HE36 - Governance
HE37 - Combating occupational health issues in higher education
HE38 - Sale of the student loan book
HE39 - Employability agenda
HE40 - Support for student activists, right to protest
HE41 - Hastings branch
HE42 - Defending equality on international projects

(EP) advisory marking
denoting UCU existing policy

National negotiations and dispute, paragraphs 2.1 - 2.4

HE1 National claim/negotiations with UCEA - Higher Education Committee

Conference notes the report and approves the recommendations from the national negotiators contained in UCUHE219.

CARRIED


HE2 Composite: Motion of censure on HEC - Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Brighton, Grand Parade

Conference notes:

  • 2% achieved by industrial action but still a real cut
  • HEC decision delaying marking sanction, leaving little opportunity for responses to intimidation, was inconsistent with HESC policy
  • 2014-5 2% only achieved by industrial action but still a real cut for 2013-15
  • majority HEC December decision to delay marking sanction, leaving little opportunity for responses to intimidation, was inconsistent with HESC policy
  • GS/SFC decision on strike pay for a day's stoppage for 2-hour strikes, and seeking legal redress
  • HEC decision to consult members, without recommendation, on UCEA's offer
  • unprecedented publication of branch ballots.

Conference believes:

  • outgoing HEC mishandled the dispute, and overturned will of Conference
  • strike pay rather than escalating UK-wide action supporting victimised branches, encourages employers to seek to bankrupt UCU
  • HEC responsibility is always to offer members a lead via clear recommendations, and not to demobilise campaigns.

Conference resolves:

  • ballots and recommendations in national campaigns will be decided by a Special HESC, where HEC can recommend changes to policy or tactics
  • Conference remains UCU's supreme policy-making body for HE, and HEC's role is implementation of policy, not its alteration
  • ballot details are confidential and not be used for intra-union disagreements.

CARRIED


HE3 Lessons from the 2013/14 pay campaign - Yorkshire and Humberside HE Sector Committee

HE sector conference notes:

  1. the commitment of members to execute the 2013 sector conference decision on the 2013/14 pay campaign shown by the unprecedented number of days in which they took strike action within a month
  2. that the HEC overturned an accepted plan of action involving a marking boycott in January 2014. Instead, it introduced the concept of 2-hour strikes to the campaign and delayed the marking boycott until 28 April
  3. that HEC's introduction of 2-hour strikes left some members bewildered, frustrated or angry as they had not had an opportunity to discuss the tactic. It also left UCU not fully prepared for the escalation by some employers in terms of punitive pay deductions
  4. that the HEC has a role in implementing the decisions of HE sector conference; this should not include retreating on decisions voted on by the elected conference representatives.

CARRIED AS AMENDED (BY HE3A.2 and HE3A.3)

HE3A.1 Higher Education Committee

In para A.2 delete:

'overturned an accepted plan of action involving a marking boycott in January 2014. Instead, it'

and insert:

', assessing both the level of membership engagement with its agreed plan of industrial action, and the large number of institutions for whom a marking ban in January would be meaningless,'

In para 3 add at end: 'However, many members not subject to such deductions welcomed the 2-hour strike tactic as '3 for the price of 1' and as providing greater opportunities for engagement with students.'

LOST

HE3A.2 University of Derby

Add at the end:

'5. that union solidarity is key and industrial action far stronger when conducted alongside other public sector and educational unions

6. that the HEC failed to call a strike on the 26th of March alongside the NUT National Strike. we therefore call on the HEC, regions and branches/LAs to energetically lobby other unions whenever there is a campaign of industrial action and promote whatever networks of rank and file unity are conducive to successful action.'

CARRIED

CBC advice: if HE3A.3 passes, amendment HE6A.2 falls.

HE3A.3 London Metropolitan University, North

Add at end:

'That UCU is committed to call for national industrial action (comprising strike action) in the event that a local employer imposes A.1 00% pay deduction on members engaged in action short of a strike as part of a national dispute.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

HE sector conference notes:

  1. the commitment of members to execute the 2013 sector conference decision on the 2013/14 pay campaign shown by the unprecedented number of days in which they took strike action within a month
  2. that the HEC overturned an accepted plan of action involving a marking boycott in January 2014. Instead, it introduced the concept of 2-hour strikes to the campaign and delayed the marking boycott until 28 April
  3. that HEC's introduction of 2-hour strikes left some members bewildered, frustrated or angry as they had not had an opportunity to discuss the tactic. It also left UCU not fully prepared for the escalation by some employers in terms of punitive pay deductions
  4. that the HEC has a role in implementing the decisions of HE sector conference; this should not include retreating on decisions voted on by the elected conference representatives
  5. that union solidarity is key and industrial action far stronger when conducted alongside other public sector and educational unions
  6. that the HEC failed to call a strike on the 26th of March alongside the NUT National Strike. we therefore call on the HEC, regions and branches/LAs to energetically lobby other unions whenever there is a campaign of industrial action and promote whatever networks of rank and file unity are conducive to successful action
  7. that UCU is committed to call for national industrial action (comprising strike action) in the event that a local employer imposes A.1 00% pay deduction on members engaged in action short of a strike as part of a national dispute.

HE4 Pay Strategy - University of Essex

Conference is fully committed to national pay bargaining and structures, which provide pay parity across the sector.

Conference nevertheless recognises that national pay bargaining sets pay levels at the maximum that can be afforded by financially weak institutions, even though most institutions can afford to pay more.

Conference thus instructs HEC to:

  1. prepare a draft model and strategy designed to achieve minimum national pay levels to be topped up by local negotiations over additional pay, holiday allowances, bonuses and other means of rewarding all staff equally for the success of their institution
  2. consult on this draft widely with branches and individuals
  3. prepare a final version for consideration and ratification by a Special Sector Conference to take place no later than the end of February, 2015.

LOST


HE5 National pay negotiation time-table - London South Bank University

HESC notes:

  • members' 13% real pay cut over 5 years
  • UCEA's refusal to increase its initial offers during negotiations over 5 years
  • that negotiations run from March to August, after the end of the academic year.

HESC believes:

  • the negotiating timetable gravely hinders UCU's prosecution of annual pay campaigns
  • members are angry about their real-pay losses and support a plausible strategy to begin a process of catch-up
  • that industrial action during the year of claim offers the best chance of success.

HESC resolves:

  • to demand that negotiators conclude negotiations by the end of April each year, unless real progress is being made on the central aspect of any claim (ie the headline rate of increase)
  • to put UCEA's first 'final offer' to members in a ballot for industrial action.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

CBC advice: if amendment HE5A.1 is passed, amendment HE5A.2 falls.

HE5A.1 South East HE Sector Committee

Delete second bullet point in 'resolves' and substitute:

'to ballot for industrial action early, and take first action, in the autumn term, and to escalate action progressively in the spring and summer terms during negotiations'

Add new bullet point at end:

'that any decision to apply a marking sanction should be actioned in the spring term so as to maximise our capacity to respond to draconian pay stoppages.'

CARRIED

HE5A.2 Higher Education Committee

delete 'for industrial action' at the very end.

FALLS (after HE5A.1 carried)

Substantive motion

HESC notes:

  • members' 13% real pay cut over 5 years
  • UCEA's refusal to increase its initial offers during negotiations over 5 years
  • that negotiations run from March to August, after the end of the academic year.

HESC believes:

  • the negotiating timetable gravely hinders UCU's prosecution of annual pay campaigns
  • members are angry about their real-pay losses and support a plausible strategy to begin a process of catch-up
  • that industrial action during the year of claim offers the best chance of success.

HESC resolves:

  • to demand that negotiators conclude negotiations by the end of April each year, unless real progress is being made on the central aspect of any claim (ie the headline rate of increase)
  • to ballot for industrial action early, and take first action, in the autumn term, and to escalate action progressively in the spring and summer terms during negotiations
  • that any decision to apply a marking sanction should be actioned in the spring term so as to maximise our capacity to respond to draconian pay stoppages.

HE6 Pay Campaign and Multi-Year Settlement - University of Brighton, Grand Parade

HESC notes the:

  • positive response to 1-day and 2-hour strikes despite widespread scepticism over their effectiveness
  • HEC postponement of marking sanction left little opportunity for effective industrial response to stoppages
  • HESC policy was January start of assessment sanction, and two and three-day regional strikes.

HESC believes:

  • rolling the claim into 2014-15 must not be interpreted as conceding defeat in the campaign
  • the 2014-15 campaign should be for a multi-year, 'inflation plus' settlement (2013-2017) to recoup past losses in four years.

HESC resolves that the:

  • role of HEC is to implement Conference policy, not change it
  • 2013-14 campaign will continue in 2014-15 with the marking sanction in place from October
  • objective in 2014-15 will be a multi-year, 'inflation plus' settlement
  • rolling two-day and three-day strikes regionally (with other unions, if possible) will happen in autumn and spring
  • UCU response to punitive action by individual employers, will be UK-wide industrial action.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

CBC advice: if amendment HE6A.1 is passed, amendment HE6A.2 falls.

HE6A.1 Leeds Metropolitan University

Delete existing 'believes' bullet points and substitute:

'HEC's December decision deescalating action paralysed the campaign

2014-15 must be used as a preparatory year for a 4-year, 'keep up and catch up' campaign from 2015 (measuring losses from 2008).'

Delete existing 'resolves' bullet points and substitute:

'HEC will implement Conference policy, strategy and tactics, not change them

2015-16 campaign will implement action in a timely manner, with national dispute resolution dependent on restitution of all local stoppages for marking sanctions

lockouts will be met with escalating UK-wide action.'

CARRIED

HE6A.2 Higher Education Committee

In last line, change 'UCU response to punitive action by individual employers, will be UK-wide industrial action.' to 'UCU response to punitive action by individual employers, will be a national response which may be escalated to UK wide industrial action where it is strategically advantageous and legally permissible.'

FALLS (after HE3A.3 carried)

Substantive motion

HESC notes the:

  • positive response to 1-day and 2-hour strikes despite widespread scepticism over their effectiveness
  • HEC postponement of marking sanction left little opportunity for effective industrial response to stoppages
  • HESC policy was January start of assessment sanction, and two and three-day regional strikes.

HESC believes:

  • HEC's December decision deescalating action paralysed the campaign
  • 2014-15 must be used as a preparatory year for a 4-year, 'keep up and catch up' campaign from 2015 (measuring losses from 2008).

HESC resolves that the:

  • HEC will implement Conference policy, strategy and tactics, not change them
  • 2015-16 campaign will implement action in a timely manner, with national dispute resolution dependent on restitution of all local stoppages for marking sanctions
  • lockouts will be met with escalating UK-wide action.

HE7 Strategy for Industrial Action - University of Hull

Given the little momentum building up from the current strategy driving the present industrial dispute and its failure to win the sympathy of the wider public - evidenced by allusions to well-paid academics wanting more money in times of austerity- we move that UCU represent the action as a fight for 'Social Justice', foregrounding the relative low-pay of non-academic staff (alongside the increasing erosion of academic pay at the lower end of the scale) against the excessive remuneration of senior academic staff and VCs. Furthermore, we move that UCU abandon the futility of two-hour strike campaigns and to move towards all-out strikes.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

CBC advice: if amendment HE7A.1 is passed, the last section of HE7A.2 falls.

HE7A.1 Higher Education Committee

In the first sentence delete 'represent the action as' and replace with 'emphasise the social justice of our claims'

Delete final sentence and replace with 'When planning industrial action the HEC should be mindful of the advantages and limitations both of limited and of all out strikes, and seek the forms of industrial action most likely to command wide membership support, and hence to achieve our aims in a specific dispute.'

LOST

HE7A.2 South East HE Sector Committee

Add after 'relative low pay of':

'junior academic and'

Add at the end of the first sentence:

'and the importance of higher education as a social good that should not be rationed by the wealth of students' families, or extravagant expectations of earnings premia.'

Delete 'all-out strikes' at the end of the motion, and substitute:

'two-day and three-day rolling regional strikes, an early implementation of the marking boycott, and escalating sector-wide strikes in response to intimidation by employers.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Given the little momentum building up from the current strategy driving the present industrial dispute and its failure to win the sympathy of the wider public - evidenced by allusions to well-paid academics wanting more money in times of austerity - we move that UCU represent the action as a fight for 'Social Justice', foregrounding the relative low-pay of junior academic and non-academic staff (alongside the increasing erosion of academic pay at the lower end of the scale) against the excessive remuneration of senior academic staff and VCs and the importance of higher education as a social good that should not be rationed by the wealth of students' families, or extravagant expectations of earnings premia.. Furthermore, we move that UCU abandon the futility of two-hour strike campaigns and to move towards two-day and three-day rolling regional strikes, an early implementation of the marking boycott, and escalating sector-wide strikes in response to intimidation by employers.


HE8 Victimisation of staff - University of Glasgow

HEC expresses solidarity with colleagues at the University of Glasgow who have been subjected to disciplinary procedures as a direct consequence of using the template message sent out to members by the General Secretary of UCU: Sally Hunt to explain to their students the reasons for their absence on one day strike. An informal investigation has found against these members, judging that they acted improperly. This meeting condemns the use of disciplinary procedures in this context. UCU members acting in good faith on the advice of the general secretary of their union in the context of industrial action should not be targeted as individuals. This meeting also petitions the Vice Chancellor of the University of Glasgow to rescind the reported conclusions of the disciplinary investigation.


HE9 Industrial action and the impact on members on casualised contracts - Anti Casualisation Committee

HESC notes:

  1. members on casualised contracts (MCC) often report job *security* as their key concern, while supporting the HE pay action
  2. potential disproportionate impact re loss of pay and future work offers
  3. HEIs giving very low pay rates to postgraduate student staff
  4. successful action depends on MCC participation
  5. ways are needed for non-teaching researchers to participate

We call upon HEC to ensure:

  1. UCU's position on casualisation is well-publicised in HE action
    material
  2. a fund for postgraduate/ other low-paid HPLs disproportionally
    affected
  3. casualisation is a central part of future HE annual claims

    and to
  4. assess the impact of future action upon MCC, recognising different needs from those of permanent/ salaried colleagues
  5. implement ways of informing and involving researchers, HPLs and all MCC, and protecting them from victimisation
  6. provide clear guidance to branches on these issues.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE9A.1 Higher Education Committee

Delete ii and renumber accordingly (so current iii will become ii)

Insert a new iii after 'and to':

'iii look at the feasibility of establishing a fund specifically to support casualised staff and other low paid members as and when they suffer disproportionately in a dispute'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

HESC notes:

  1. members on casualised contracts (MCC) often report job *security* as their key concern, while supporting the HE pay action
  2. potential disproportionate impact re loss of pay and future work offers
  3. HEIs giving very low pay rates to postgraduate student staff
  4. successful action depends on MCC participation
  5. ways are needed for non-teaching researchers to participate

We call upon HEC to ensure:

  1. UCU's position on casualisation is well-publicised in HE action
    material
  2. casualisation is a central part of future HE annual claims

    and to:
  3. assess the impact of future action upon MCC, recognising different needs from those of permanent/ salaried colleagues
  4. look at the feasibility of establishing a fund specifically to support casualised staff and other low paid members as and when they suffer disproportionately in a dispute
  5. implement ways of informing and involving researchers, HPLs and all MCC, and protecting them from victimisation
  6. provide clear guidance to branches on these issues.

USS pension scheme, paragraph 7.1

HE10 USS - Higher Education Committee

Conference notes developments in respect of USS and approves the recommendations from the HEC's Superannuation Working Group contained in UCUHE220.

CARRIED


HE11 USS and the principle of buy-cott - University of Warwick

This conference notes:

  • USS is a pensions fund with approximately £40 billion in assets and is one of the UK's largest pension funds
  • USS 'strives to integrate environmental, social and governance issues across its asset classes and to be a leader in responsible investment'
  • the low level of activity in the UK of pensions funds using their proxy votes
  • Buy-cott, using shareholdings to change direction from within companies, is increasingly used by shareholder activists

This conference believes:

  • that ethical investment could be furthered by large funds like USS using their votes to direct companies into social and environmental responsibility
  • that USS should use its votes to buy-cott and boycott
  • UCU has a duty to pursue this type of agenda

This conference instructs:

  • UCU to use its position in USS to exercise its votes voice to develop a more sustainable future for all based around the principle of buy-cott and boycott.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE11A.1 University of Birmingham

Replace the term 'buy-cott' by 'engagement' throughout the motion including the title.

CARRIED

HE11A.2 Higher Education Committee

Add two further bullet points to end:

'UCU to write to USS auditing their ethical investment practice against the recommendations in ShareAction's 'Green Light' report

UCU to organise a meeting of interested members to discuss ethical investment in USS and invite ShareAction to the meeting.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

This conference notes:

  • USS is a pensions fund with approximately £40 billion in assets and is one of the UK's largest pension funds
  • USS 'strives to integrate environmental, social and governance issues across its asset classes and to be a leader in responsible investment'
  • the low level of activity in the UK of pensions funds using their proxy votes
  • engagement, using shareholdings to change direction from within companies, is increasingly used by shareholder activists.

This conference believes:

  • that ethical investment could be furthered by large funds like USS using their votes to direct companies into social and environmental responsibility
  • that USS should use its votes to engage and boycott
  • UCU has a duty to pursue this type of agenda.

This conference instructs:

  • UCU to use its position in USS to exercise its votes voice to develop a more sustainable future for all based around the principle of engagement and boycott
  • UCU to write to USS auditing their ethical investment practice against the recommendations in ShareAction's 'Green Light' report
  • UCU to organise a meeting of interested members to discuss ethical investment in USS and invite ShareAction to the meeting.

Casualisation/zero hours contracts, paragraphs 3.1 - 3.2

HE12 (EP) Casualisation - Higher Education Committee

Conference notes:

  • the ongoing work of HEC to address unacceptable levels of casualisation within the sector, including our research into the use of super-exploitative zero-hour contracts
  • the information circulated to branches about the disproportionate impact that industrial action can have on our members on casual contracts.

Conference calls on HEC to assist branches to:

  • assimilate HPLs to fractional contracts and/or to the agreed institutional pay spine on consolidated rate or equivalent
  • seek a commitment from employers not to use of zero-hour contracts
  • encourage casualised staff to join the UCU and to become active in organising and negotiating for improvements.

Conference calls on HEC to continue working with the Anti-casualisation committee to develop means to encourage our members on casual contracts to take industrial action in furtherance of the union's objectives and to take account of their particular circumstances when action is called.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE12A.1 LGBT Members' Standing Committee

In the section 'Conference notes', add a new bullet point at the end:

'the hidden threat to equality gains when employment is threatened by casualisation, and the particular threats to LGBT equality'

In the section 'Conference calls on HEC... add a new 4th bullet point:

'ensure anti-casualisation campaigning highlights the threats to equality.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes:

  • the ongoing work of HEC to address unacceptable levels of casualisation within the sector, including our research into the use of super-exploitative zero-hour contracts
  • the information circulated to branches about the disproportionate impact that industrial action can have on our members on casual contracts
  • the hidden threat to equality gains when employment is threatened by casualisation, and the particular threats to LGBT equality.

Conference calls on HEC to assist branches to:

  • assimilate HPLs to fractional contracts and/or to the agreed institutional pay spine on consolidated rate or equivalent
  • seek a commitment from employers not to use of zero-hour contracts
  • encourage casualised staff to join the UCU and to become active in organising and negotiating for improvements
  • ensure anti-casualisation campaigning highlights the threats to equality.

Conference calls on HEC to continue working with the Anti-casualisation committee to develop means to encourage our members on casual contracts to take industrial action in furtherance of the union's objectives and to take account of their particular circumstances when action is called.


HE13 (EP) Build the campaign against ZHC - University of Liverpool (against para 3.2)

Zero hour is contracts (ZHC) and casualisation endemic across the economy. The rise of ZHC in HE is alarming and leads to greater job insecurity and inferior terms and conditions. University of Liverpool is one of the worst offenders in the north-west with 173 teaching staff employed on zero hour contracts.

Conference notes the widespread opposition to the use of ZHC in HE and other workplaces. In 2013 workers at a Hovis bakery in Wigan stopped the use of ZHC by taking sustained strike action.

Conference agrees to:

  1. encourage branches to campaign with other HE unions and students against ZHC
  2. urge branches to discuss what mobilisations should be taken to stop this increasing casualisation in HE
  3. encourage branches to take part in wider campaigns in their area, working with unions outside of HE, trades councils and community groups also fighting ZHC.

CARRIED


HE14 Shedding light on terms and conditions of researchers in HE - Anti Casualisation Committee

Conference notes:

  • the UCU Freedom of Information request on zero hours contracts (ZHCs) was successful in drawing public and media attention to this aspect of casualistion in FE and HE
  • the significant value of obtaining such data for progressing campaign priorities
  • researchers in some HEIs are not recognised as academic staff
  • the ongoing and particular difficulties experienced by researchers on casualised contracts in HE.

Conference therefore calls on the HEC to work with the Anti-Casualisation Committee to undertake research (including an FOI request) into the terms and conditions of researchers to ascertain:

  1. numbers of staff employed as researchers in HEIs
  2. breakdown of contract types (permanent, fixed term, hourly paid) for researchers at HEIs
  3. any differences in terms of holiday entitlement, pay and pension membership:
    1. in pre- and post-92 universities
    2. between researchers and other categories of academic and academic related staff.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

CBC advice: if amendment HE14A.1 is passed, amendment HE14A.2 falls; the second and last sections of amendment 14A.3 also fall.

HE14A.1 Higher Education Committee

Delete wording and numbered points after 'Conference therefore calls on the HEC to work with the Anti-Casualisation Committee to' in second paragraph to end and replace with:

'conduct further research to expose the number of research staff employed by HEIs, their terms and conditions of employment and bring to light any differences and detriments with the aim of assisting bargaining and campaigning on this issue.'

LOST

HE14A.2 Women Members' Standing Committee

After numbered point 2, add a new point 3 and renumber:

'statistics on representation by protected characteristic'.

CARRIED

HE14A.3 University College London

Add final bullet to 'notes':

'HESA equal pay data that shows research-intensive HEIs and medical schools have the greatest gender salary differentials for academic staff (including researchers).'

Add to 2 at end: 'including which, if any, research contract types are covered by Statute protection afforded to academic staff'

Add at end:

'4 Equality impact comparative data including gender, race and disability, by type of post (research and lecturing) and grade, with distributions of staff by employment duration, length of service before promotion, and rates of redundancy for each group.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes:

  • the UCU Freedom of Information request on zero hours contracts (ZHCs) was successful in drawing public and media attention to this aspect of casualistion in FE and HE
  • the significant value of obtaining such data for progressing campaign priorities
  • researchers in some HEIs are not recognised as academic staff
  • the ongoing and particular difficulties experienced by researchers on casualised contracts in HE
  • HESA equal pay data that shows research-intensive HEIs and medical schools have the greatest gender salary differentials for academic staff (including researchers).

Conference therefore calls on the HEC to work with the Anti-Casualisation Committee to undertake research (including an FOI request) into the terms and conditions of researchers to ascertain:

  1. numbers of staff employed as researchers in HEIs
  2. breakdown of contract types (permanent, fixed term, hourly paid) for researchers at HEIs including which, if any, research contract types are covered by Statute protection afforded to academic staff
  3. statistics on representation by protected characteristic
  4. any differences in terms of holiday entitlement, pay and pension membership:
    1. in pre- and post-92 universities
    2. between researchers and other categories of academic and academic related staff
  5. equality impact comparative data including gender, race and disability, by type of post (research and lecturing) and grade, with distributions of staff by employment duration, length of service before promotion, and rates of redundancy for each group.

HE15 Hierarchies in Pay and Job Titles for Researchers - Birmingham City University

HE sector conference notes that individuals on casual contracts working as researchers potentially face a significant variation in pay depending on the job title they are given, with the job title of 'Research Consultant' in contrast to 'Research Assistant' negatively affecting salary and how the employer (university) perceives the researcher's role and degree of participation.

HE sector conference resolves to clarify the job titles of Research Consultants and Research Assistants, and to investigate whether there are significant differences in salaries and the job specifications for researchers on casual contracts when they are labelled as 'Research Consultants' or 'Research Assistants'.

CARRIED

Teaching-focussed contracts, paragraph 9.1

HE16 Composite: casualisation and teaching-focused contracts - Birmingham City University, Higher Education Committee

Conference notes the increased prominence given to teaching in the current policy environment and that a well-supported members' survey on the use of teaching-focussed contracts raised a number of issues associated with pay, progression and promotion and ongoing research requirements.

Conference welcomes the development of bargaining advice by HEC on the use of teaching-focussed contracts.

HE sector conference notes:

  • the increasing prevalence of casualised teaching-only contracts, particularly in the run-up to the REF
  • the challenges faced by casualised staff in developing publications because of workloads and job search demands, but publications are necessary for securing permanent employment
  • casualised staff must often conduct research on their own time, with limited institutional support.

HE sector conference believes:

  • casual contracts and teaching-only contracts are detrimental to research, and to the next generation of academics
  • teaching-only contracts risk polarising the workforce into teachers and researchers, with teaching perceived as inferior.

HE sector conference resolves:

  • to affirm existing Congress policy opposing casualised teaching-only contracts
  • to research the equality impact of casualisation, and in particular casualised teaching-only contracts;
  • to research the impact of such contracts on early career researchers
  • to offer guidance to branches instructing them to campaign and negotiate research support for casualised staff.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE16A.1 Higher Education Committee

Delete from first listed point under HE sector conferences notes:

'prevalence of casualised teaching only contracts' and replace with

'casualisation and mis-use of teaching-focussed contracts'

Delete final point in list after HE sector conference resolves (last paragraph) and replace with:

'to support branches in campaigning and negotiating contracts that provide continuity of employment as well as contractual time and appropriate institutional support for research, scholarly activity and development and which allow for progression through the academic grades.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes the increased prominence given to teaching in the current policy environment and that a well-supported members' survey on the use of teaching-focussed contracts raised a number of issues associated with pay, progression and promotion and ongoing research requirements.

Conference welcomes the development of bargaining advice by HEC on the use of teaching-focussed contracts.

HE sector conference notes:

  • the increasing casualisation and mis-use of teaching-focussed contracts, particularly in the run-up to the REF
  • the challenges faced by casualised staff in developing publications because of workloads and job search demands, but publications are necessary for securing permanent employment
  • casualised staff must often conduct research on their own time, with limited institutional support.

HE sector conference believes:

  • casual contracts and teaching-only contracts are detrimental to research, and to the next generation of academics
  • teaching-only contracts risk polarising the workforce into teachers and researchers, with teaching perceived as inferior.

HE sector conference resolves:

  • to affirm existing Congress policy opposing casualised teaching-only contracts
  • to research the equality impact of casualisation, and in particular casualised teaching-only contracts;
  • to research the impact of such contracts on early career researchers
  • to support branches in campaigning and negotiating contracts that provide continuity of employment as well as contractual time and appropriate institutional support for research, scholarly activity and development and which allow for progression through the academic grades.

Local Disputes, paragraph 15.1

HE17 (EP) Use of 'acl' grade posts in post-92 universities - University of Central Lancashire (against para.15.1)

In the light of UCU's national policy that grades lower than A.2 are not to be used for HE work in Post-92 universities, any UCU branch's attempts to resist the increased use of sub-A.2 grades locally for HE work will be deemed of national significance and will be supported by UCU nationally.

CARRIED

REF, paragraphs 5.1 - 5.2

HE18 The Research Excellence Framework (REF) and gender discrimination - Women Members' Standing Committee

Conference notes with extreme concern reports that in the run-up to the REF 2014:

  • women were disproportionately pressurised into moving from research-active to 'teaching-focused' contracts against their will.
  • there was an increase in 'star' academics being appointed without any advertisement of the post, especially in Russell Group institutions, in breach of equal opportunities legislation
  • women were disproportionately disadvantaged in being excluded from the REF, with damaging consequences for their future careers

Conference instructs its officers and officials to obtain accurate figures on the extent of the above and other gender-discriminatory practices in relation to the REF, to issue advice to branches and members on how to resist such practices, and to formulate proposals for eliminating them in future research assessment exercises.

CARRIED


HE19 REF - South East HE Sector Committee

HESC notes the

  1. completion of submissions to REF 2014, and HEIs' preparations for next REF;
  2. risk that these preparations will distort the research agenda;
  3. existence of groups concerned with the nature and consequences of the current funding regime for research in HEIs. The Campaign for the Public University, Boycott the Next REF, and Council for the Defence of British Universities, amongst others, have used the current funding regime for research as a way of critiquing the programme of privatisation of HE.

HESC instructs officers and officials to

  • encourage all HE branches to work with the CDBU, CPU and Students' Unions to organise regional meetings in autumn and spring to debate and refine a series of principles to govern the funding and scope of HE research;
  • hold a joint conference with other campaign groups to unify and publicise UCU's commitment to a campaign for a democratic alternative to the REF.

CARRIED


HE20 REF - University of Glasgow

HESC notes the very serious concerns expressed by members about the REF and condemns the negative impacts on research, departments and careers.

HESC instructs HEC to set up a working group on the REF to:

  1. monitor the consequences of the REF for members and departments
  2. formulate proposals to be agreed by HEC or HE officers for a swift response against institutions involved in closing department or victimising members not submitted to the REF
  3. formulate proposals for a proactive response to the next REF, which could include boycott
  4. organise a conference to discuss these proposals and those from members and formulate a motion for HESC 2015
  5. HESC believes that REF tactics have worsened the equal pay gap in universities. HESC calls on HEC to carry out a review of HEI equal pay figures and to do a comparison before and after REF, and to act accordingly.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE20A.1 Higher Education Committee

Delete wording in point 5 and replace with new point 5:

'5. HESC calls on HEC to work with the equalities department to develop and conduct an effective equality audit of the REF.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

HESC notes the very serious concerns expressed by members about the REF and condemns the negative impacts on research, departments and careers.

HESC instructs HEC to set up a working group on the REF to:

  1. monitor the consequences of the REF for members and departments
  2. formulate proposals to be agreed by HEC or HE officers for a swift response against institutions involved in closing department or victimising members not submitted to the REF
  3. formulate proposals for a proactive response to the next REF, which could include boycott
  4. organise a conference to discuss these proposals and those from members and formulate a motion for HESC 2015
  5. HESC calls on HEC to work with the equalities department to develop and conduct an effective equality audit of the REF.

HE21 (EP) Abolish the REF! - Queen Mary University of London

Conference notes that the outcome of current REF is likely to further concentrate precious funding resources in an ever-smaller group of so-called elite universities.

We also note the terrible long-term impact of the REF process on the research culture within UK higher education, relationships between colleagues and the ambitions and focus of research.

We call on UCU to launch a national campaign encouraging all research-active staff in British universities to boycott all cooperation with the next research audit and demand an alternative mechanism for distributing research funding across UK HE.

CARRIED

HE21A.1 Higher Education Committee

Delete third paragraph and replace with new third paragraph:

'We note the previous outcomes of calls to boycott the REF but call on UCU to continue consulting members on this issue and to continue campaigning for the development of an alternative to the REF which enables the allocation of funding for research through a fairer, more transparent and more democratic mechanism.'

LOST

Competition and privatisation, paragraphs 11.1 - 11.2

HE22 (EP) Private providers - Higher Education Committee (parA.1 1.2)

Conference notes the:

  • growth of for-profit private providers in the provision of higher education
  • increasing experimentation with different types of corporate form within the sector
  • establishment of arms-length companies by existing HEIs.

Conference:

  • restates its opposition to the marketisation and privatisation of higher education
  • believes that every worker within the higher education sector should have the right to be represented by a recognised trade union.

Conference instructs HEC:

  • to monitor the employment practices of such organisations
  • develop a strategic approach and bargaining guidelines to ensure that the UCU remains the recognised union for academic and academic-related staff within the sector.

CARRIED


HE23 Outsourcing of email - Goldsmiths, University of London

Conference notes:

  • the signing in May 2013 of a cloud computing deal between the Janet network and Microsoft
  • the increased use of outsourcing by universities of email facilities to private systems such as Microsoft's Office 365 and Google
  • the participation of Microsoft in NSA surveillance operations
  • the inadequate privacy provisions of private cloud data storage services.

Conference believes:

  • that university staff should have the right to exercise real choice about how they access and store data locally.

Conference resolves

  • to call on branches to urge institutions to review their contracts with Microsoft for the MS Office 365 Cloud Email and Calendar services in light of the recent NSA revelations and to seek alternative and viable provision when the contracts expire
  • to urge institutions to provide, wherever possible, a range of open access and open source software services, and appropriate email and data storage facilities.

CARRIED


HE24 Pathway Centres - Northumbria University

Conference expresses concern at the increasing number of 'pathway centres' at UK universities, whereby private providers recruit international students and prepare them for entry into university undergraduate and master's degree programmes. The staff employed by the pathway centres face temporary contracts and worse pay, pensions, terms and conditions than those of their university colleagues.

This development represents the thin end of the wedge, opening up the possibility of a two-tier academic workforce in universities, and giving the privateers a golden opportunity to demand a slice of undergraduate teaching in future. Business considerations are taking precedence over academic development more and more frequently.

Conference calls upon the HEC to develop a strategy to counter such outcomes and in particular to target recruitment at the pathway centres, in order to secure bargaining rights on behalf of those staff.

CARRIED


HE25 Internationalisation and increased marketisation of HE - LGBT Members' Standing Committee

Conference notes with alarm the indiscriminate pursuit of market opportunities in the sector. In particular, we are concerned at the threat to workplace equality, as institutions enter into lucrative international projects and abandon their commitment and duties. We note that a number of HE institutions are setting up campuses or collaborating with countries which enforce discrimination through law, and that this presents primary discrimination of staff as well as a threat to students. Conference believes that this is contrary to our understanding of education as the unfettered development of ideas, thought and critique, and calls on UCU to:

  1. publicly condemn all institutions which engage with organisations which promote discrimination
  2. provide practical guidance and national support for branches which tackle their institutions' international projects under equality legislation
  3. provide public support for members who refuse to work with overtly discriminatory organisations, whether in the UK or overseas.

CARRIED

New paragraph, immigration, discrimination, international students, after paragraph 15.1

HE26 Immigration Bill - West Midlands HE Sector Council

HE sector conference notes:

  • the recent announcement by the Immigration Minister to make it easier for institutions to lose their Highly Structured Sponsor status
  • measures within the Immigration Bill to create a 'hostile environment', including charging for healthcare and requiring landlords to check immigration status.

HE sector conference believes:

  • these measures are discriminatory; displace blame for the recession onto migrants; will have detrimental effects on staff and students; and represents the further outsourcing of immigration controls.

HE sector conference resolves:

  • to lobby Universities UK to publicly oppose these measures
  • to reaffirm previous conference motions urging noncompliance and opposing the outsourcing of immigration controls on HE staff
  • to seek reassurance that healthcare will remain free for overseas students and staff
  • to monitor the equality impact of these measures
  • to campaign with the NUS and Movement Against Xenophobia for the repeal of these measures.

CARRIED UNAMENDED

HE26A.1 Higher Education Committee

In final sentence DELETE 'the NUS and the Movement against Xenophobia' and REPLACE with 'other appropriate organisations opposing these measures.'

LOST


HE27 (EP) University Monitoring of 'Tier 4' Students - University of Warwick

Conference notes:

Universities have become preoccupied with managing accountability demanded by UK Visas and Immigration (formerly the UK Border Agency), requiring UK academics to provide information about student attendance and communication for the purpose of UKVI audits.

Such monitoring is having a detrimental impact on relationships between staff and students.

Conference declares its opposition to UK universities requiring their staff to report on 'Tier 4' students for the benefit of meeting UKVI requirements and resolves to:

  1. coordinate with the National Union of Students to launch a campaign against discriminatory monitoring of 'Tier 4' students
  2. towards that end, investigate the different types of monitoring measures currently undertaken by universities of their 'Tier 4' students
  3. call upon the government to abolish requirements that Universities provide information to UKVI about student attendance or communication with their tutors.

CARRIED


HE28 (EP) Universities, Discrimination and the Borders Agency - University of Brighton, Falmer

HESC notes

  • well-established Congress policy opposing Points-Based Immigration, and the use of educational institutions for immigration control
  • UCU policy urges members not - to become untrained extensions of the Borders Agency, comply with instructions that might be discriminatory, and might constitute a de facto alteration of contracts, or risk legal action
  • existing detailed and exemplary UCU website advice for branches and members, including responses to discriminatory management instructions
  • many universities now have patently discriminatory attendance monitoring for overseas students, and visa checking for visiting colleagues, that exceed the requirements of the Borders Agency for 'trusted status'.

HESC resolves that all:

  • HE branches will receive again robust guidance from the HE Department about responding to management processes and advising individual members
  • HE members will receive a dedicated communication explaining UCU policy on compliance, the legal danger to them individually, the moral and political consequences, and the educational detriment to HE collegiality.

CARRIED


HE29 International staff and students in higher education - Black Members' Standing Committee

Conference notes that university campuses are now highly diverse and international spaces. However, international staff and students suffer from increasingly intrusive processes monitoring their movements and immigration status. UCU deplores, in particular, the practice of fingerprinting international students by some universities.

This excessive surveillance contributes to anti-migrant racism and damages the reputation of UK education across the world. Universities should play no part in demonising, isolating and targeting migrants.

We call on the NEC:

  • to raise our concerns about the improper use of such technologies on educational institutions with UUK and UKBA
  • to send letters of concern to relevant embassies, including India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana and China
  • to collate information about misuse of biometric surveillance in the sector and to raise awareness of this issue within UCU.

CARRIED

New paragraph, Senior Staff Pay, after paragraph 2.4

HE30 (EP) Composite: Vice-chancellors' pay - Southern HE Sector Committee, Yorkshire and Humberside HE Sector Committee

This HE sector conference notes:

  1. the above inflation pay rises awarded to Vice Chancellors across the HE sector
  2. that vice-chancellors are effectively being rewarded for the achievements and hard work of all university staff.
  3. that vice-chancellors' pay awards are usually decided by committees that are not representative of the workforce.
  4. that the UCU campaign 'Fair Pay For All' is not actively supported by these vice-chancellors.

This sector conference notes with revulsion and anger the excessive pay awards enjoyed by VC's while 1% has been imposed on other employees.

Conference condemns the resulting widening gap between the pay of those responsible for delivering higher education and the fortunes bestowed on senior staff, who, far from looking after the institutions in their care, are enthusiastic defenders of their own pay cheques, happy to do the government's bidding while receiving massive annual increases, at a time when their colleagues and students face increasing hardship.

Conference also condemns the rank hypocrisy manifested by this trend, as managers claim that financial restraint is necessary for the rest of us, but not for them.

This HE sector conference calls on HEC to campaign for:

  1. pay of vice-chancellors and other senior staff to be determined by a fair and transparent process
  2. elected members of staff to have at least one seat on any committee that determines the remuneration of vice-chancellors
  3. a reduction in the pay gap between highest and lowest earners in HE.

Conference instructs HEC to:

  1. intensify its campaign for increased transparency over executive pay
  2. maximise publicity regarding the inequality of university pay
  3. work together with the NUS to expose and oppose inflated 'top' pay.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE30A.1 Higher Education Committee

In first sentence after the numbered points delete all after 'VCs' and replace with 'while making insultingly low pay offers to other HE staff.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

This HE sector conference notes:

  1. the above inflation pay rises awarded to vice-chancellors across the HE sector
  2. that vice-chancellors are effectively being rewarded for the achievements and hard work of all university staff.
  3. that vice-chancellors' pay awards are usually decided by committees that are not representative of the workforce.
  4. that the UCU campaign 'Fair Pay For All' is not actively supported by these vice-chancellors.

This sector conference notes with revulsion and anger the excessive pay awards enjoyed by VC's while making insultingly low pay offers to other HE staff.

Conference condemns the resulting widening gap between the pay of those responsible for delivering higher education and the fortunes bestowed on senior staff, who, far from looking after the institutions in their care, are enthusiastic defenders of their own pay cheques, happy to do the government's bidding while receiving massive annual increases, at a time when their colleagues and students face increasing hardship.

Conference also condemns the rank hypocrisy manifested by this trend, as managers claim that financial restraint is necessary for the rest of us, but not for them.

This HE sector conference calls on HEC to campaign for:

  1. pay of vice-chancellors and other senior staff to be determined by a fair and transparent process
  2. elected members of staff to have at least one seat on any committee that determines the remuneration of vice-chancellors
  3. a reduction in the pay gap between highest and lowest earners in HE.

Conference instructs HEC to:

  1. intensify its campaign for increased transparency over executive pay
  2. maximise publicity regarding the inequality of university pay
  3. work together with the NUS to expose and oppose inflated 'top' pay.

HE31 Exposing management perks and indirect benefits - Teesside University

We call on HEC to extend the successful strategy of publicising VCs' pay to all senior managers pay, perks and bonus packages. Public outrage over MPs' duck houses, moats and tennis courts proved far more effective in exposing greed and in some case fraud than a simple focus on salary alone.

We call on HEC to instruct twice yearly FOI requests to be sent to every HEI requesting details of pay and perks packages for all managers on £100,000 or more. This should specifically include health insurance and other indirect benefits such as accommodation or car. Copies of company credit card spending for such managers should also be requested. All information gathered should be shared with regional officials and regional executives.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE31A.1 Higher Education Committee

Delete second paragraph and replace with:

'We call on HEC to develop guidance for branches to assist them in exposing and publicising vice chancellors' and senior staff pay and perks and in building local and public pressure on this issue.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

We call on HEC to extend the successful strategy of publicising VCs' pay to all senior managers pay, perks and bonus packages. Public outrage over MPs' duck houses, moats and tennis courts proved far more effective in exposing greed and in some case fraud than a simple focus on salary alone.

We call on HEC to develop guidance for branches to assist them in exposing and publicising vice chancellors' and senior staff pay and perks and in building local and public pressure on this issue.

Performance and productivity management, paragraph 10.1

HE32 (EP) Bullying - Queen Margaret University

Conference notes with extreme concern the increased incidence in workplace bullying in Higher Education, and the use of management tools which make bullying appear acceptable. Conference calls on the UCU officers to urge management in educational institutions to recognise and eliminate all forms of bullying.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE32A.1 Women Members' Standing Committee

Add at the end, bullet points as follows:

'1 It welcomes the report by Professor Phil Taylor for the Scottish TUC which clearly outlines the realities in the workplace

2 Notes the Federation of Entertainment Union Members' report on bullying/harassment which could impact upon HE drama staff

3 Will organise a survey to produce a picture of the realities of bullying/harassment in HE

4 Agrees to campaign for bullying to be recognised as an offence in employment legislation.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes with extreme concern the increased incidence in workplace bullying in Higher Education, and the use of management tools which make bullying appear acceptable. Conference calls on the UCU officers to urge management in educational institutions to recognise and eliminate all forms of bullying:

  1. it welcomes the report by Professor Phil Taylor for the Scottish TUC which clearly outlines the realities in the workplace
  2. notes the Federation of Entertainment Union Members' report on bullying/harassment which could impact upon HE drama staff
  3. will organise a survey to produce a picture of the realities of bullying/harassment in HE
  4. agrees to campaign for bullying to be recognised as an offence in employment legislation.

Academic-related staff, paragraph 12.1

HE33 (EP) Fighting de-professionalisation and down-grading - Academic Related, Professional Staff Committee

Conference notes with sadness that staff are increasingly regarded by management as interchangeable units of production. This attack on staff members' professionalism, status and dignity represents a particular threat to academic-related staff, who are viewed as either managers or service providers, with little control over their own work. With responsibility removed, downgrading ensues. New staff are recruited into lower grades, with little prospect of advancement. Individual expertise is actively discouraged, with staff treated as a homogeneous group, able to be deployed into any role.

Conference:

  • reiterates its belief in the parity of academic-related staff with academic colleagues, and the right of all staff to be recognised as professionals working within their area of expertise
  • calls on UCU to fight attempts to downgrade and de-professionalise staff, and to support members facing such attacks
  • calls on HEC to campaign for the maintenance of a non-managerial career path for all.

CARRIED

Defend health educators, paragraph 13.1

HE34 Defend health educators - Northumbria University

Conference is alarmed at the substantial fall, since 2006-7, in the number of academic staff working in the nursing and paramedical studies cost centre in UK universities. By 2011-12, there had been an average reduction of 9.5%, and since then the total has fallen still further. Not only is this putting additional burdens on the staff who remain, but the age profile is becoming unbalanced as many experienced staff who leave are not being replaced.

Conference calls on the HEC to step up its campaigning work to protect jobs and employment conditions and the future provision of care to patients, clients and carers. Demographic data on the age profile of health educators should be monitored and pressure put on employers to replace retiring staff.

CARRIED

New paragraph, governance, after paragraph 13.1

HE35 Towards accountable and transparent governance in Higher Education - London Metropolitan University, City

Until there is reform of higher education governance, particularly in the post-92 universities, higher education will continue to be run for the benefit of vice-chancellors and their friends and to the disbenefit of everyone else. The present lack of regulation governing appointment of HE governors allows the type of self-perpetuating oligarchy that at best works as benign autocracy and at worst as self-interested 'Masonry'.

Conference requires UCU NEC to put forward a set of proposals for statutory based reform of governance in higher education for potential inclusion in national party election manifestos for 2015 based on genuine principles of transparency, accountability and local community interest.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE35A.1 Higher Education Committee

in paragraph 2, insert 'preferably' after 'Higher Education'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Until there is reform of higher education governance, particularly in the post-92 universities, higher education will continue to be run for the benefit of vice-chancellors and their friends and to the dis-benefit of everyone else. The present lack of regulation governing appointment of HE governors allows the type of self-perpetuating oligarchy that at best works as benign autocracy and at worst as self-interested 'Masonry'.

Conference requires UCU NEC to put forward a set of proposals for statutory based reform of governance in higher education preferably for potential inclusion in national party election manifestos for 2015 based on genuine principles of transparency, accountability and local community interest.


HE36 (EP) Governance - Higher Education Committee

Conference notes the increasing:

  • concentration of power in the hands of a few appointed executives on bodies such as Pre-92 university court and Post-92 board of governors
  • focus on commercial interests at the expense of educational values, academic freedom and institutional autonomy.

Conference believes:

  • university executive bodies need to be more democratic, collegiate and transparent in the way they run HE institutions
  • that all paid roles should be on the national pay spine staff to ensure pay equality and transparency at all times
  • that remuneration panels must have staff representation.

Conference resolves to campaign for:

  • all governing bodies to be more democratic and accountable
  • executive body meetings to held in open session
  • transparent and fair appointments processes, including staff representation, better gender balance, and an elected chair of the governing body
  • all universities to have a whistleblowing policy.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE36A.1 Disabled Members' Standing Committee

Under Conference believes add new second bullet point:

'Executive bodies should ensure diversity of representation including disabled staff and members and that appropriate support be given to ensure full participation'

Under 'Congress resolves to campaign for' in bullet point three after 'better gender balance' add:

'representation from disabled staff and students'.

CARRIED

HE36A.2 Black Members' Standing Committee

In the third bullet point under 'Conference resolves to campaign for:' delete the word 'gender' and add 'and in terms of gender and BME representation' (after the word 'balance')

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes the increasing:

  • concentration of power in the hands of a few appointed executives on bodies such as Pre-92 university court and Post-92 board of governors
  • focus on commercial interests at the expense of educational values, academic freedom and institutional autonomy.

Conference believes:

  • university executive bodies need to be more democratic, collegiate and transparent in the way they run HE institutions
  • executive bodies should ensure diversity of representation including disabled staff and members and that appropriate support be given to ensure full participation
  • that all paid roles should be on the national pay spine staff to ensure pay equality and transparency at all times
  • that remuneration panels must have staff representation.

Conference resolves to campaign for:

  • all governing bodies to be more democratic and accountable
  • executive body meetings to held in open session
  • transparent and fair appointments processes, including staff representation, better balance, and in terms of gender and BME representation, representation from disabled staff and students, and an elected chair of the governing body
  • all universities to have a whistleblowing policy.

New paragraph, mental health issues in higher education

HE37 Combating occupational health issues in higher education - University of Birmingham

Conference notes both the findings of the 2013 UCU report entitled 'Tackling Stress in Higher Education' and the recent focus in the media on this issue. Conference further notes the evidence of a rise in mental health problems among those who work in, and study at, universities.

Conference calls on UCU to:

  • work with Universities UK and other relevant organisations to develop a standardised occupational health survey that can be used in all higher education institutions, in order to provide comparative analyses both within the sector and over time
  • write to all higher education institutions to ask what measures are being put in place to halt and then reverse this increase in mental health problems among those who work and study at universities
  • to distribute all responses to such a request among all UCU members in the form of a report which also identifies best practice.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE37A.1 Disabled Members' Standing Committee

Add second paragraph 'Conference also notes the UCU publication 'supporting members with mental health conditions and issues' which supports reps and members in addressing problems at work arising from mental health conditions and issues'.

Under 'Conferences calls on UCU to' add new bullet point at end:

'work with the appropriate national bodies supporting higher education to develop a joint approach to supporting staff with mental health conditions and issues to ensure they can stay in the workplace'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Conference notes both the findings of the 2013 UCU report entitled 'Tackling Stress in Higher Education' and the recent focus in the media on this issue. Conference further notes the evidence of a rise in mental health problems among those who work in, and study at, universities.

Conference also notes the UCU publication 'supporting members with mental health conditions and issues' which supports reps and members in addressing problems at work arising from mental health conditions and issues

Conference calls on UCU to:

  • work with Universities UK and other relevant organisations to develop a standardised occupational health survey that can be used in all higher education institutions, in order to provide comparative analyses both within the sector and over time
  • write to all higher education institutions to ask what measures are being put in place to halt and then reverse this increase in mental health problems among those who work and study at universities
  • to distribute all responses to such a request among all UCU members in the form of a report which also identifies best practice
  • work with the appropriate national bodies supporting higher education to develop a joint approach to supporting staff with mental health conditions and issues to ensure they can stay in the workplace.

New paragraph, funding and students

HE38 (EP) Sale of the student loan book - Open University

HE sector conference notes:

  • the 40% fall in part time HE students since the introduction of higher fees and the current student loans system
  • that the proposals in the Rothschild report and sale of the student loan book will open the door to lobbying from private companies for higher interest rates on student loans
  • vulnerable sections of the population who are debt averse will be even less likely to enter HE
  • that enrolments of adult part-time students in HE may fall further, exacerbating the damage already caused by ELQ cuts and fee increases.

Conference re-affirms that Higher Education should be financed by progressive corporation tax, and resolves:

  • to make this a politically sensitive issue, and campaign with student unions and other trade unions for a fundamental reversal of the policy changes of the last decade, and return to public finance of higher education.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE38A.1 University of Bath

In the final bullet point insert after 'trade unions' the words 'for the abolition of student tuition fees and'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

HE sector conference notes:

  • the 40% fall in part time HE students since the introduction of higher fees and the current student loans system
  • that the proposals in the Rothschild report and sale of the student loan book will open the door to lobbying from private companies for higher interest rates on student loans
  • vulnerable sections of the population who are debt averse will be even less likely to enter HE
  • that enrolments of adult part-time students in HE may fall further, exacerbating the damage already caused by ELQ cuts and fee increases.

Conference re-affirms that higher education should be financed by progressive corporation tax, and resolves:

  • to make this a politically sensitive issue, and campaign with student unions and other trade unions for the abolition of student tuition fees and for a fundamental reversal of the policy changes of the last decade, and return to public finance of higher education.

HE39 Employability Agenda - Southern HE Sector Committee

This Sector Conference notes with concern that the Employability Agenda is by stealth reducing degrees to commodities; and at the expense of academic freedom, credibility, integrity and coherence.

Conference instructs the NEC to conduct a survey in conjunction with the NUS to firstly ascertain the extent and consequences of the Employability Agenda in Higher Education; and then to establish a common position, by way of a statement and strategy for action, between UCU and the NUS.

CARRIED


HE40 Composite: support for student activists, right to protest - University of Birmingham, University of Glasgow

HESC thanks NUS and other student activists for the magnificent support they have shown for the pay Campaign in HE. UCU condemns the increasingly brutal tactics being used to silence student activists.

Conference recognises the continuing and increasingly draconian approach adopted by University managers towards student activists engaging in protests against the privatisation and marketisation of education.

Conference notes that this has been especially severe at the University of Birmingham this academic year. At least 9 student activists have been subject to disciplinary procedures as a result of protest activity on campus. Five students have been suspended for a number of weeks, and two remain suspended indefinitely and without a right of appeal. None of these students have been found guilty of any crime, and nor have they yet been found by the University to have broken University rules.

UCU resolves to:

  1. actively campaign for University of Birmingham management to lift the suspensions of five students and West Midlands police to lift the draconian bail conditions imposed on them
  2. inform all branch officers of these events, and to seek the support of UCU branches for the lifting of these suspensions
  3. put pressure on UUK to recognise the right of students to protest
  4. together with NUS and other student activists draw up a charter enshrining the democratic right of students and staff to engage in peaceful protest, including occupations and public statements.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

HE40A.1 University of Birmingham

In third paragraph, replace third and fourth sentences ('Five students have... university rules') with:

'A number of students were suspended for several weeks without a right of appeal despite not having been found guilty of any crime or found by the university to have broken any rules. Although these students have now been reinstated and all police charges have been dropped, which Conference welcomes, their financial and academic situation has been adversely affected by the long suspensions.'

Under 'UCU resolves', delete points (1) and (2) and renumber accordingly.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

HESC thanks NUS and other student activists for the magnificent support they have shown for the pay Campaign in HE. UCU condemns the increasingly brutal tactics being used to silence student activists.

Conference recognises the continuing and increasingly draconian approach adopted by University managers towards student activists engaging in protests against the privatisation and marketisation of education.

Conference notes that this has been especially severe at the University of Birmingham this academic year. At least 9 student activists have been subject to disciplinary procedures as a result of protest activity on campus. A number of students were suspended for several weeks without a right of appeal despite not having been found guilty of any crime or found by the university to have broken any rules. Although these students have now been reinstated and all police charges have been dropped, which conference welcomes, their financial and academic situation has been adversely affected by the long suspensions.

UCU resolves to:

  1. put pressure on UUK to recognise the right of students to protest
  2. together with NUS and other student activists draw up a charter enshrining the democratic right of students and staff to engage in peaceful protest, including occupations and public statements.

New paragraph, new UCU branch

HE41 Composite: Hastings branch - University of Brighton (Falmer), University of Brighton (Eastbourne)

HESC notes that:

  • University of Brighton UCU members based at the Hasting campus are subsumed within the Eastbourne branch
  • the Hastings campus is up to 1 hour travelling time from the Eastbourne campus
  • neither the culture nor the facilities exist in the University for virtual meetings
  • the request from University of Brighton UCU, supported by members at the Hasting campus, for a new UCU branch at the Hastings Campus was refused in 2012 by the HEC, and a similar motion to this was not arrived at in the HESC agenda in 2013.

HESC believes that this is an unreasonable decision taken by the HEC. It deprives UCU members at the Hastings campus of access to effective representation by and in the UCU.

HESC instructs HEC to accept the request of UCU members based at the Hasting campus of the University of Brighton to form a new UCU branch.

LOST

New paragraph, international

HE42 Defending Equality on International Projects - Manchester Metropolitan University

This conference:

1. notes:

  • the collaboration between MMU and the Police Force of Qatar
  • the hypocrisy of an institution which claims to promote equality working with an organisation which enforces discrimination
  • the burden on staff working on these projects;

2. believes:

  • that universities must promote equality in all their work, in the UK and internationally
  • that all university projects, international and local, should be equally accessible to all members of eligible staff
  • that collaboration with discriminatory organisations is not acceptable;

3. demands:

  • that UCU publicly condemn all institutions which engage with organisations which promote discrimination
  • that UCU produce practical guidance on international working
  • that UCU provide national support for branches which seek to challenge international projects under the Equality Act
  • that UCU support any member who refuses to work with overtly discriminatory organisations, whether in the UK or overseas.

CARRIED

Last updated: 29 May 2014