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Business of the equality committee 2015

UCU Congress 2015: Saturday 23 May 2015, 17:45-18:00 (1-10) | Sunday 24 May, 09:00-09:45 (11-20)

Motions have been allocated to a section of the NEC's report to Congress (UCU635). Paragraph headings refer to paragraphs within this report. CBC has added some new paragraph headings to facilitate the ordering of motions.

Section 6 of the NEC's report Congress

Motions:

11 - Proportionality and fair representation
12 - Equality bargaining
13 - Composite: Resisting the politics of austerity, hate and injustice
14 - Disabled members and performance management
15 - Rights for carers
16 - Opposing further cuts to disabled people's support
17 - Challenging LGBT phobias and UKIP's impact on culture
18 - Women's access to education
19 - Negative stereotypes of old age
20 - Social sustainability at work

(EP) advisory marking
denoting UCU existing policy

Introduction, paragraph 1.1

11  Proportionality and fair representation - National Executive Committee

Congress notes that although progress has been made in ensuring diversity in activism, there is still work to be done together. It is still the case, for example, that women and black members are more likely to be equality reps than branch secretaries and that younger members from all equality groups are less likely to be active. Congress welcomes initiatives such as black member networks, CPD which attracts younger members and awareness training on LGBT issues but more joined up support needs to be developed.

Congress calls upon UCU to provide information and best practice on developing activism for all equality groups. To include

  1. case studies on initiatives which improve diversity such as networks and mentoring
  2. case studies from branches who have achieved diversity in activism
  3. how branches and regions can approach proportionality and fair representation in structures and activities
  4. getting the most from UCUs rep training and CPD programme.

CARRIED

Equality and employment rights, paragraph 2

12  Equality bargaining  -  National Executive Committee

Congress notes that with branches facing intense pressure from employers on jobs and services, equality bargaining can often fall off the agenda. Equality is central to the fight for jobs and services and all workers benefit from equality gains in the workplace. UCU has developed excellent guidance on areas of equality including reasonable adjustments, impact of points based immigration, equal pay and transitioning at work but more focus is needed on implementation. This also covers implementation of the FE national agreement on equality and the HE priority of disability leave.

To support branches in a more targeted way, Congress calls upon UCU to produce an equality bargaining pack covering existing and new polices detailing:

  1. compliance
  2. external factors
  3. UCU policy position
  4. cross sectorial issues
  5. checklists and model agreement.

The agreements to be supported by training delivered through the equality reps and reps training and branch and regional briefings.

CARRIED

Campaigning for equality, paragraph 3.3

13  Composite: Resisting the politics of austerity, hate and injustice  -  National Executive Committee, Leeds Beckett University

Congress notes:

  1. that the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections was widely welcomed by workers across Europe
  2. Syriza's policies include granting citizenship to categories of migrant workers and their children, and other socially progressive policies
  3. UCUs policy of opposition to UKIP and support for Stand Up To UKIP and other anti-racist campaigns.

Yet Congress has great concern how the impact of austerity and growing poverty in Greece has also fuelled significant support for the fascist party Golden Dawn.

Since last Congress the rise in support for UKIP and the threat it poses both by winning seats and dragging the mainstream political parties to the right has increased. In parts of the UK the growth of support for UKIP led to the established parties pandering to anti-migrant racism and Islamophobia in their General Election campaigns.  

UKIP is a party which backs anti-working class policies such as cutting tax for the rich, privatising the NHS, reducing union rights and dividing society by racist scapegoating against immigrants and Muslims.

Congress congratulates UCU for the publication of the 'Why Immigration is good for all of us pamphlet with Class.

Congress calls on UCU regions, college and university branches to organise public meetings around the pamphlet alongside other trade unions, student unions and campaigns.

Regardless of the outcome of the general election, Congress resolves that UCU step up its opposition to:

  1. the rightward political drift which is impacting severely on the rights of all equality groups by working with the TUC and appropriate organisations
  2. any attacks on equality rights by the newly elected government
  3. the anti-migrant and racist rhetoric which now pervades European society and politics.

Congress further instructs the NEC to step up campaigning activity to expose the policies of UKIP and expose the myths and lies around immigration.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

13A.1  London Retired Members Branch

Add new point 4. of 'Congress notes:

'4. a rise in open fascist activity in Kent and East London in the wake of UKIP's agitation.

Add new point d. of 'Congress resolves that UCU step up its opposition to:

'd. fascist activity

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Congress notes:

  1. that the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections was widely welcomed by workers across Europe
  2. Syriza's policies include granting citizenship to categories of migrant workers and their children, and other socially progressive policies
  3. UCUs policy of opposition to UKIP and support for Stand Up To UKIP and other anti-racist campaigns
  4. a rise in open fascist activity in Kent and East London in the wake of UKIP's agitation.

Yet Congress has great concern how the impact of austerity and growing poverty in Greece has also fuelled significant support for the fascist party Golden Dawn.

Since last Congress the rise in support for UKIP and the threat it poses both by winning seats and dragging the mainstream political parties to the right has increased. In parts of the UK the growth of support for UKIP led to the established parties pandering to anti-migrant racism and Islamophobia in their General Election campaigns.  

UKIP is a party which backs anti-working class policies such as cutting tax for the rich, privatising the NHS, reducing union rights and dividing society by racist scapegoating against immigrants and Muslims.

Congress congratulates UCU for the publication of the 'Why Immigration is good for all of us pamphlet with Class.

Congress calls on UCU regions, college and university branches to organise public meetings around the pamphlet alongside other trade unions, student unions and campaigns.

Regardless of the outcome of the general election, Congress resolves that UCU step up its opposition to:

  1. the rightward political drift which is impacting severely on the rights of all equality groups by working with the TUC and appropriate organisations
  2. any attacks on equality rights by the newly elected government
  3. the anti-migrant and racist rhetoric which now pervades European society and politics
  4. fascist activity.

Congress further instructs the NEC to step up campaigning activity to expose the policies of UKIP and expose the myths and lies around immigration.

Equality for disabled members, paragraphs 5.1-5.7

14  Disabled members and performance management  -  Disabled Members Standing Committee

The increased use of performance management and capability procedures by employers is leading to high levels of stress and anxiety amongst all of our members particularly as it is often linked to redundancy selection. Disabled members are particularly vulnerable to these procedures, due to employers not making appropriate reasonable adjustments or understanding the positive impact adjustments can make on performance. Even where such adjustments are made, disabled members are often more likely to be told that their work is not of an acceptable standard. 

UCU is concerned that diverse and inclusive workplaces are disappearing in our sectors with disabled members being targeted for redundancy. UCU has fought for equality for disabled workers and the right to work with the appropriate support.

Congress calls upon the NEC to produce guidance and advice on disability and performance management. This will support branches in challenging discriminatory practices and unfair treatment.

CARRIED


15  Rights for carers  -  Disabled Members Standing Committee

Congress notes that progress has been made in family friendly rights which are there to support parents at work. This includes support for disabled children up to 18. Rights for carers of adults are more precarious with differences in the number of days given and whether these are paid. There are rights under the right to request flexible working, and disability rights in the Equality Act. The Care Act 2015 which came in in April, sets out other entitlements. It is often difficult to navigate the various rights available for carers at work

Congress calls upon the NEC to produce a negotiating pack which includes

  1. rights of all workers in relation to caring including the Care Act 2015.
  2. rights in relation to supporting a disabled person
  3. negotiating checklist and model agreement.

CARRIED


16  Opposing further cuts to disabled people's support  -  Disabled members standing committee

On 28th March 2015 the BBC reported a leaked document suggesting further draconian changes to certain benefits affecting disabled people.  These changes are included within a proposed £12 billion cut to all benefits.  Some commentators suggest that cuts of this magnitude would return public services to the levels of support existing in the 1930s.  No political party has proposed significant changes to this agenda.

The proposals include means testing carers allowance as well as taxing Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments. This is in addition to existing cuts to benefits and Access to Work, discriminatory assessment procedures and the pernicious bedroom tax.

Congress calls upon UCU to mount a united campaign with other trade unions and disabled peoples organisations in opposition to these cuts, in recognition that further demonisation and impoverishment of disabled people will divide and weaken the fight against austerity.

CARRIED

Equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members (LGBT) members, paragraphs 6.1-6.4

17  Challenging LGBT phobias and UKIP's impact on culture  -  LGBT Members Standing Committee

Sector research reports over 20% of FHE staff lack confidence in challenging trans and bi phobia. LGB people reported the least amount of confidence. This at a time when the media is paying more attention to UKIP including people who have made outrageous homophobic comments. Congress notes repeated failures of UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, to condemn these remarks. Sometimes he has made excuses for them. Congress is deeply concerned about the pervading culture, implications for LGBT people in the sectors, and challenges discrimination.

Congress resolves to:

  1. explore various ways to promote visibility including reps training and production of a film about our struggle for LGBT rights
  2. drawing members attention to UKIP's homophobia and step up campaigning against its populist scapegoating of LGBT people and other groups such as migrants and Muslims.
  3. keep equality at the heart of every campaign and publish equality-specific guidance and information for all campaigns and activities.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

17A.1 Composite: Leeds Beckett University, LGBT Members Standing Committee

Add at end:

'Congress also:

  1. notes the growing awareness of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (through the film Pride) and acknowledges LGSMs role in promoting LGBT rights as a TU and Labour movement issue
  2. applauds the initiative of LGSM 2014 to create a large TU contingent on London Pride 2015 (27 June) in protest at the commercialisation and de-politicisation of the event
  3. resolves to publicise the event and encourage branches to join the contingent at Pride
  4. to donate £200 to LGSM 2014.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Sector research reports over 20% of FHE staff lack confidence in challenging trans and bi phobia. LGB people reported the least amount of confidence. This at a time when the media is paying more attention to UKIP including people who have made outrageous homophobic comments. Congress notes repeated failures of UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, to condemn these remarks. Sometimes he has made excuses for them. Congress is deeply concerned about the pervading culture, implications for LGBT people in the sectors, and challenges discrimination.

Congress resolves to:

  1. explore various ways to promote visibility including reps training and production of a film about our struggle for LGBT rights
  2. drawing members attention to UKIP's homophobia and step up campaigning against its populist scapegoating of LGBT people and other groups such as migrants and Muslims
  3. keep equality at the heart of every campaign and publish equality-specific guidance and information for all campaigns and activities.

Congress also:

  1. notes the growing awareness of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (through the film Pride) and acknowledges LGSMs role in promoting LGBT rights as a TU and Labour movement issue
  2. applauds the initiative of LGSM 2014 to create a large TU contingent on London Pride 2015 (27 June) in protest at the commercialisation and de-politicisation of the event
  3. resolves to publicise the event and encourage branches to join the contingent at Pride
  4. to donate £200 to LGSM 2014.

Equality for women members, paragraphs 7.1 - 7.5

18  Women's access to education  -  Women Members Standing Committee

Congress notes with increasing alarm the barriers to women accessing education from cradle to grave. Factors impacting on women's participation include: childbirth, childcare, caring responsibilities, the postcode lottery of compulsory education, family finances and employment status - loans, debt and the spiralling poverty cycle, including the cost of education, fees, resources, housing, travel, childcare as well as the disengagement and disenfranchisement resulting from these. This is in addition to the talent drain and neglect of the potential of working class women and girls in subjects such as STEM.

Congress demands:

  1. UCU lobby government for community outreach schemes to review and abolish tuition fees
  2. a review of 'widening participation as a successful endeavour and support schemes opening opportunities, such as apprenticeships in atypical industries for women, with practical support including crèche and affordable, wrap around childcare to enable access to further and higher education.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

18A.1 Women Members Standing Committee

After end of first paragraph (the sentence ending with 'STEM), insert:

Congress:

  1. condemns the 24% cut in adult education, a traditional route for women to retrain or engage in second chance educational opportunities
  2. congratulates UCU for the Access to Education campaign.

Add a third bullet point under 'Congress demands, as follows:

3. support be lent to organise against cuts after summer.

CARRIED

SUBSTANTIVE MOTION

Congress notes with increasing alarm the barriers to women accessing education from cradle to grave. Factors impacting on women's participation include: childbirth, childcare, caring responsibilities, the postcode lottery of compulsory education, family finances and employment status - loans, debt and the spiralling poverty cycle, including the cost of education, fees, resources, housing, travel, childcare as well as the disengagement and disenfranchisement resulting from these. This is in addition to the talent drain and neglect of the potential of working class women and girls in subjects such as STEM.

Congress demands:

  1. UCU lobby government for community outreach schemes to review and abolish tuition fees
  2. a review of 'widening participation as a successful endeavour and support schemes opening opportunities, such as apprenticeships in atypical industries for women, with practical support including crèche and affordable, wrap around childcare to enable access to further and higher education.

Congress:

  1. condemns the 24% cut in adult education, a traditional route for women to retrain or engage in second chance educational opportunities
  2. congratulates UCU for the Access to Education campaign
  3. support be lent to organise against cuts after summer.

Age equality, paragraph 8

19  Negative stereotypes of old age  -  Southern Retired Members Branch

Congress deplores the widespread negative stereotyping of old age as a period of ill-health, frailty, poverty, dementia and inability to cope with life.

Congress instructs the NEC to implement UCU Rule 2.5 which requires active opposition to all forms of prejudice and unfair discrimination by pursuing a deliberate policy to generate more favourable impressions by regularly presenting positive examples of older citizens and their achievements to the media.

CARRIED


20  Social sustainability at work  -  National Executive Committee

Congress welcomes advances in age equality this decade. Congress believes that employees should experience good conditions of work that enable constructive working lives, healthy working environments, and general wellbeing. Mid career reviews involving Union reps and supported by flexible employment practices that address the needs of the employee are a major contributor to these conditions. Congress demands that whilst people are not forced to retire neither should people be forced to keep working.

Congress calls on the NEC to:

  1. invite a main speaker on social sustainability at work across all ages at the 2015 Equality Conference with post conference dissemination including all equality reps
  2. research on social sustainability at work focusing on how measures have been taken up across the post school education sector including FE and HE
  3. provide training and briefings for reps
  4. engage with sector bodies to advance and develop this initiative.

CARRIED

Last updated: 24 May 2015