Business of the Strategy and Finance Committee 2017 (closed session)

UCU Congress 2017: Saturday 27 May 2017, 14:15-15:45.

Motions have been allocated to a section of the NEC's report to Congress (UCU785). Paragraph headings refer to paragraphs within this report. CBC has added some new paragraph headings to facilitate the ordering of motions.

Section 2 of the NEC's report to Congress

Motions:

21 - Appointment of auditors
22 - Audited financial statements to 31 August 2016
23 - Budget 2017-18
24 - Subscription rates
25 - Subscriptions, recruitment, and student membership
26 - Subscription rates and low ARPS membership density
27 - Union merger
28 - Trade union victimisation
29 - TU victimisation and loss of membership 
30 - UCU legal support for race equality cases

Section 3 of the NEC's report to Congress: rule changes

Motions:

31 - Embedding equalities Congress motions
32 - Local branch/association rules
33 - Qualifying period
34 - New political fund Rules

(EP) advisory marking denoting UCU existing policy


Finance, paragraph 2


21  Appointment of auditors - National Executive Committee

Congress approves the appointment of Knox Cropper as the union's auditors for the year ending 31 August 2017.

CARRIED


22  Audited financial statements to 31 August 2016 - National Executive Committee

Congress receives the union's audited financial statements for the 12-month period ending 31 August 2016 as set out in UCU/787.

CARRIED


23  Budget 2017-18 - National Executive Committee

Congress endorses the budget for September 2017 - August 2018 as set out in UCU/788.

CARRIED


24  Subscription rates - National Executive Committee

Congress endorses the subscription rates from 1 September 2017 set out in UCU/788.

CARRIED


25  Composite: Subscriptions, recruitment, and student membership - Anti-Casualisation Committee, Bradford College

Congress notes:

  1. greater variance between UCU subscriptions at the bottom of the scale than at the top; fees essentially double when earnings increase from <£9,999 to £10,000+
  2. afair membership subscription scale is an important recruitment tool for those at the lower end of the salary scales, especially those on minimum wages
  3. those at the lower end of the scales are often of a younger demographic, quite often harder to reach yet represent the future of UCU
  4. free 'student membership' is a useful recruitment tool for PGR students (potential future 'full' UCU members)
  5. confusion among students who teach and are eligible to join as paying members, and over voting rights ('student members' cannot currently vote in union elections).

Congress recognises:

  1. subscription fees are a major income stream for UCU and its operations
  2. the importance of balancing income with recruitment, especially earlier career members who are typically paid less
  3. the reality of precarious work and difficulties recruiting younger staff, those on lower salaries and casualised staff.

Congress resolves to:

  1. add further gradations of subscription levels for lower income brackets to ensure membership is genuinely affordable for all, and that subs are proportionate to income
  2. replace 'Student Membership' with 'Student/Not Currently Employed' membership allowing such members to vote in union elections but NOT in ballots on industrial action.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

25A.1  National Executive Committee

Point i.: delete 'Add further gradations of' and replace with 'Examine further our'; between 'for' and 'lower' insert 'those in'.

Delete point ii. and replace with:

'ii. Instruct the NEC and SFC to work on these issues as matters of urgency in their consideration of membership and subscription matters and introduce changes at the earliest opportunity within rule.'

CARRIED

Congress Business Committee note: unamended, 'resolves' point i. of motion 25 falls if motion 24 is passed; and 'resolves' point ii. falls as a rule change would be required to implement it.

Substantive motion

Congress notes:

  1. greater variance between UCU subscriptions at the bottom of the scale than at the top; fees essentially double when earnings increase from <£9,999 to £10,000+
  2. afair membership subscription scale is an important recruitment tool for those at the lower end of the salary scales, especially those on minimum wages
  3. those at the lower end of the scales are often of a younger demographic, quite often harder to reach yet represent the future of UCU
  4. free 'student membership' is a useful recruitment tool for PGR students (potential future 'full' UCU members)
  5. confusion among students who teach and are eligible to join as paying members, and over voting rights ('student members' cannot currently vote in union elections).

Congress recognises:

  1. subscription fees are a major income stream for UCU and its operations
  2. the importance of balancing income with recruitment, especially earlier career members who are typically paid less
  3. the reality of precarious work and difficulties recruiting younger staff, those on lower salaries and casualised staff.

Congress resolves to:

  1. examine further our of subscription levels for those in lower income brackets to ensure membership is genuinely affordable for all, and that subs are proportionate to income
  2. instruct the NEC and SFC to work on these issues as matters of urgency in their consideration of membership and subscription matters and introduce changes at the earliest opportunity within rule.

26  Subscription rates and low ARPS membership density - Academic Related, Professional Staff Committee

Congress notes:

  1. the ever-increasing cost of living
  2. the real-terms pay cuts ARPS members are facing year on year
  3. the lack of career progression opportunities and absence of a promotion process
  4. that the current subscription rates discourage some new ARP staff from joining UCU, which might explain low membership numbers of academic related, professional staff in some branches.

Congress calls on the NEC to:

  1. collate information about ARPS membership density in all branches
  2. collate information about ARPS pay
  3. investigate new subscription rate structures, for example a discounted rate for the first year of membership
  4. choose a model that is believed to encourage new ARPS to join UCU
  5. bring proposals for the new subscription rate structure to Congress 2018 for discussion and ratification.

CARRIED


New paragraph, Single education union


27  Union Merger - South East Regional Committee

Congress is watching with interest the proposed merger of our sister unions the NUT and ATL. Their message of one strong union for all education is a strong one, and with continued pressure on workload and the further marketisation of education within the HE and research bill and stranglehold on trade unions in the TU act, this Congress calls on the general secretary and NEC to explore the possibility of a further merger with the proposed new union to create one strong, and united voice for workers in the UK education profession.

CARRIED


New paragraph, Trade union victimisation


28  Trade union victimisation - North West Regional Committee

The University of Salford UCU Branch raised the issue of trade union victimisation at National Congress in 2016 and Congress were almost unanimous in their support for the motion which called for greater protection of trade union safety reps, activists etc.

We call upon the NEC to engage in a vigorous and effective national campaign centred on the number of trade union reps who are currently discriminated against, harassed, made redundant etc.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

28A.1  London Regional Committee 

Add at end: 'That the victimisation of reps such as Mark Campbell and David Hardman at LMU weakens the position of all our activists. That UCU must defend its reps with all the means at the unions disposal especially against the backdrop of new anti-union laws.'

CARRIED

28A.2  Anti-Casualisation Committee

Add at the end:

'Congress notes that victimisation of UCU members and reps on casualised contracts often goes unrecorded, taking the form of non-renewal of an FTC or not allocating hours to HPLs or ZHC staff.

Congress asks the NEC and branches to ensure that cases of victimisation are reported, including those involving members on casualised contracts, and include the latter in campaigns against victimisation and in anti-casualisation campaigns.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

The University of Salford UCU Branch raised the issue of trade union victimisation at National Congress in 2016 and Congress were almost unanimous in their support for the motion which called for greater protection of trade union safety reps, activists etc.

We call upon the NEC to engage in a vigorous and effective national campaign centred on the number of trade union reps who are currently discriminated against, harassed, made redundant etc.

That the victimisation of reps such as Mark Campbell and David Hardman at LMU weakens the position of all our activists. That UCU must defend its reps with all the means at the unions disposal especially against the backdrop of new anti-union laws.

Congress notes that victimisation of UCU members and reps on casualised contracts often goes unrecorded, taking the form of non-renewal of an FTC or not allocating hours to HPLs or ZHC staff.

Congress asks the NEC and branches to ensure that cases of victimisation are reported, including those involving members on casualised contracts, and include the latter in campaigns against victimisation and in anti-casualisation campaigns.


29  TU victimisation and loss of membership - City of Liverpool College, City Branch

The victimisation of a UCU rep has a deleterious effect on branches and membership.

Reps are encouraging members to fight injustices yet when reps are targeted the arguments are obfuscated by the impression that UCU legal does not fight on behalf of its reps.

When members realise that UCU legal cannot support the rep because of perceived weak employment law the members vote with their feet. 

If UCU legal is unable to support the case, over perceived weaknesses in evidence, members may lose trust.

Congress resolves:

  1. for UCU to make provision for a sustained and targeted publicity campaign against colleges and universities on their TU victimisation
  2. for UCU to fund a test case on trade union victimisation.

For UCU Legal to accept all cases of trade union victimisation by any legal avenue available.

CARRIED AS AMENDED BY 29A.2

29A.1  National Executive Committee

Insert after fourth paragraph:

'Congress notes that the elected Legal Services Panel have delegated authority from NEC on decisions on whether to support individual members.'

Delete:

Point 2. and final paragraph and replace with:

'2.      For the NEC to instruct the Panel to have due regard to the importance of victimisation claims and ensure all possible legal avenues are explored and followed.'

LOST

29A.2  University of Surrey

Add point 3.:

'3.  For UCU to review its legal support threshold, put members' welfare above financial caution and invest in effective legal representation in all cases affecting members' employment status.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

 

The victimisation of a UCU rep has a deleterious effect on branches and membership.

Reps are encouraging members to fight injustices yet when reps are targeted the arguments are obfuscated by the impression that UCU legal does not fight on behalf of its reps.

When members realise that UCU legal cannot support the rep because of perceived weak employment law the members vote with their feet. 

If UCU legal is unable to support the case, over perceived weaknesses in evidence, members may lose trust.

Congress resolves:

  1. for UCU to make provision for a sustained and targeted publicity campaign against colleges and universities on their TU victimisation

  2. for UCU to fund a test case on trade union victimisation

  3. for UCU to review its legal support threshold, put members' welfare above financial caution and invest in effective legal representation in all cases affecting members' employment status.

For UCU Legal to accept all cases of trade union victimisation by any legal avenue available.


RULE CHANGES


30  UCU legal support for race equality cases - University of Manchester

  1. Congress welcomes the recent UCU efforts to progress the race equality agenda in our workplaces, particularly, the Day of Action against Workplace Racism.  However, more needs to be done in practical terms to challenge racism in the form of legal support for Black members facing discrimination.
  2. It is becoming apparent that employers in the sector are using in-house legal teams to thwart grievances and disciplinary cases relating to alleged race discrimination.
  3. Congress notes that since UCU inception, UCU Legal has not supported any race discrimination cases, purportedly because race discrimination is difficult to prove and, hence, expensive to challenge.
  4. Congress believes that universities are exploiting the fact that UCU is clearly reluctant to challenge such incidents because of the financial implications arising from unsuccessful litigation.
  5. Congress calls on UCU to review its legal support threshold, put members' welfare above financial caution and invest in effective legal representation in race equality cases.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

30A.1  National Executive Committee

Point 3.:  delete all after 'notes' and replace with:

'the fact that UCU has not supported some race discrimination cases because race discrimination cases can be difficult to prove, and hence expensive to challenge.'

Point 4.:

after 'exploiting' insert 'this'; delete from 'the fact' to 'incidents'; after 'implications' insert 'to claimants and UCU'.  (Point 4 to read: 'Congress believes that universities are exploiting this because of the financial implications to claimants and UCU arising from unsuccessful litigation.')     

Point 5.: delete from 'put members' to 'invest in'; before 'effective' insert 'and ensure'.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

  1. Congress welcomes the recent UCU efforts to progress the race equality agenda in our workplaces, particularly, the Day of Action against Workplace Racism.  However, more needs to be done in practical terms to challenge racism in the form of legal support for Black members facing discrimination.
  2. It is becoming apparent that employers in the sector are using in-house legal teams to thwart grievances and disciplinary cases relating to alleged race discrimination.
  3. Congress notes the fact that UCU has not supported some race discrimination cases because race discrimination cases can be difficult to prove, and hence expensive to challenge.
  4. Congress believes that universities are exploiting this because of the financial implications to claimants and UCU arising from unsuccessful litigation.
  5. Congress calls on UCU to review its legal support threshold, and ensure effective legal representation in race equality cases.

31  Embedding equalities Congress motions - South West Regional Committee

Amend standing order 49 in list following 'Congress Business Committee shall determine its recommendations on:' to add:

'ix the addition of an amendment to include all appropriate protected characteristics in the categories covered by a motion.'

CARRIED

Purpose: The purpose of the change is to ensure that all motions are scrutinized consistently to ensure that they cover the full range of anti-discrimination measures to which the union is committed. It is placed in the hands of CBC to (a) ensure that a single body has responsibility for this scrutiny and for carrying it out consistently; (b) to introduce required changes to motions in the form of an amendment so that the decision on policy remains in the hands of Congress or Conference. This method also has the advantage of standardizing the wording of references to protected characteristics, so that Congress or Conference can be certain that there is proper coverage and of not requiring the proposers of motions to include phrases which would eat into the word count on a motion.


32  Local branch/association rules - National Executive Committee

In Rule 12.6, delete final sentence and replace with:

'Branches/local associations shall by 1 December 2017 adopt their own rules which shall be consistent with the Model Local Rules agreed by Congress 2016.  Thereafter the rules in Schedule D will be deemed to have been adopted by all remaining branches/local associations as their local rules.'

Schedule D can be found as appendix 1 (page 86).

CARRIED AS AMENDED

Purpose: to ensure that all branches/local associations are eventually subject to the terms of the model rules adopted by Congress 2016 by incorporating the model rules into the national rules, while allowing for a transitional period during which the current arrangements will continue to apply.

32A.1  Composite: London Regional Committee, Southern Regional Committee

In the first sentence of the new 12.6, add at the end 'or varied by rules motions to subsequent congresses.'

In the second sentence, replace the words 'the rules in Schedule D' with 'these Model Local Rules'.

Delete final sentence referring to Schedule D.

CARRIED

Purpose: To retain necessary flexibility at local and national level over local branch rules, while ensuring that all branches/local associations have rules in place to satisfy the Certification Officer.

Substantive motion

In Rule 12.6, delete final sentence and replace with:

'Branches/local associations shall by 1 December 2017 adopt their own rules which shall be consistent with the Model Local Rules agreed by Congress 2016.  Thereafter these Model Local Rules will be deemed to have been adopted by all remaining branches/local associations as their local rules or varied by rules motions to subsequent congresses..'

Schedule D can be found as appendix 1 (page 86).


33  Qualifying period - National Executive Committee

In rule 4.1, delete '12 months' and substitute '6 months'.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

Purpose: to bring rule 4.1 more in line with its purpose of ensuring that members occupying these offices of the union (NEC and National Negotiator) should have reasonably recent and relevant experience in the workplace.

33A.1  Anti-Casualisation Committee

After '6 months', replace full stop with comma, and add at end:

'unless a pattern of casualised work in the post-16 education sector can be proven within the preceding 24 months.'

CARRIED

Purpose: to facilitate the possibility of full participation in the union's democratic structures by staff on casualised contracts; to avoid the exclusion of casualised members from seeking election to office in the NEC or negotiator roles. This would also bring the qualifying period for casualised staff into line with the Anti-Casualisation Committee's standing orders.


34  New Political Fund Rules - National Executive Committee

Delete Rule 2.6 and replace with:

'To pursue political objects in accordance with the relevant legislation as set out in Schedule C to these rules.'

Delete Rule 38 and replace with new Schedule C which can be found as appendix 2 in the Congress agenda.

CARRIED

Purpose: to bring the political fund rules of the union into compliance with the Trade Union Act 2016 (the use of 'his/her' in the new rules is inherited from the legislation and is not the UCU's preferred non-binary language).

Schedule C can be found as appendix 2 (page 100).

Last updated: 29 May 2017