Business of the Equality Committee 2017

UCU Congress 2017: Monday 29 May 2017, 09:00-11:00.

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 5 of the NEC's report to Congress

Motions:

46 - Defending the equality agenda
47 - Enforcing the DDA
48 - The disability pay gap
49 - Defending the right of life affirming education for all
50 - Women's value in the workplace
51 - Improving equality
52 - Dying to work
53 - Campaigning for a woman's right to choose
54 - Inclusion of non-binary facilities and sport provision
55 - Gender identity
56 - Education, sex worker safety and collective organising
57 - International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism
58 - Equality reps attending the equality conference
59 - Using the term LGBT+
60 - Racist interference in elected roles
61 - Reorganise equality campaigns: intersections of identities and pyramid of power 

(EP) advisory marking denoting UCU existing policy


New paragraph, The equality agenda


46  Defending the equality agenda - National Executive Committee

Congress condemns the rise of authoritarian populism and of politicians and parties who attack equal rights and propagate racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and discrimination against disabled and LGBT+ people.

Congress affirms UCU's commitment to defending all aspects of the equality agenda and the rights of refugees and migrants.

Congress supports the professional work of UCU members who in their teaching, research and other duties promote equality, diversity, inclusion and widening participation.

Congress congratulates all those who have protested against Trump and other hate-mongers. It calls on UCU members to participate in relevant campaigns and protests in defence of equal rights and against the politics of hate.

Congress calls on the government to cancel the proposed state visit of President Trump.

Taken in parts:
exclude 'and propagate racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and discrimination against disabled and LGBT+ people': CARRIED

CARRIED AS AMENDED

46A.1  Women Members Standing Committee

After fourth paragraph, insert new paragraph:

Congress particularly condemns the call by UKIP to ban the burka because we believe that it will lead to an increase in hate crime. Congress also condemns the racist misogynist call from UKIP to subject girls to invasive medical surveillance under the claim of reducing FGM. The French 'burkini' ban last summer showed how this demonised the Muslim community and women have the right to wear what they wish without state interference.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress condemns the rise of authoritarian populism and of politicians and parties who attack equal rights.

Congress affirms UCU's commitment to defending all aspects of the equality agenda and the rights of refugees and migrants.

Congress supports the professional work of UCU members who in their teaching, research and other duties promote equality, diversity, inclusion and widening participation.

Congress congratulates all those who have protested against Trump and other hate-mongers. It calls on UCU members to participate in relevant campaigns and protests in defence of equal rights and against the politics of hate.

Congress particularly condemns the call by UKIP to ban the burka because we believe that it will lead to an increase in hate crime. Congress also condemns the racist misogynist call from UKIP to subject girls to invasive medical surveillance under the claim of reducing FGM. The French 'burkini' ban last summer showed how this demonised the Muslim community and women have the right to wear what they wish without state interference.

Congress calls on the government to cancel the proposed state visit of President Trump.


New paragraph, Industrial campaigns


47  Enforcing the DDA - West Midlands Retired Members' Branch

Today in Britain, 22 years after the DDA, disabled people still experience humiliation on public transport, when there are no accessible toilets on trains, no announcements on buses and taxis refuse to carry them.

They feel despair as their benefits and care budgets are cut and the work assessment process is prejudiced against them.

People with sensory impairments face constant discrimination when they cannot access information, at colleges and universities, at work, in the high street.

Individuals with mental health issues or learning difficulties are demonised or handed over to the police to be dealt with.  Language is changing, the government now talks about being 'really disabled'.

Congress calls on the NEC and the Equality Unit, now that surveys, campaigns and supporting literature are in place, to focus on enforcement of the legislation, with politicians, the TUC, employers and service providers and report back at Congress 2018.

REMITTED


48  The disability pay gap - Disabled Members' Standing Committee

This congress welcomes the priority of gender pay by national UCU and the move towards local claims. The pay penalty for disabled people remains perniciously high. According to the EHRC's 'How Fair is Britain' disabled men experience a pay gap of 11% compared with non-disabled men, while the gap between disabled women and non-disabled women is double this at 22%. Disabled women experience a 31% pay penalty compared to non-disabled men.

Disabled people may also have higher living costs related to their disability. Analysis of the situation in HE and FE is challenging due to the reluctance of members to disclose a disability due to discrimination and prejudice. 

Congress calls upon UCU to:

  1. run a confidence in disclosure campaign and disseminate resources
  2. request data from employers on disabled workers pay through equal pay audits
  3. identify actions for branches to assist in the eradication of the disability pay gap.

CARRIED


49  Defending the right of life affirming education for all - Disabled Members Standing Committee

Congress believes that recent developments in FE & the split between academic and technical education enshrined in the Green Paper threaten the participation of disabled students.

GCSEs requirements & funding rules requiring progression, have encouraged many principals of merged FE colleges to weed out those who they perceive may hold down success rates & require expensive ALS.

Disabled staff are threatened by reorganisation redundancies. DSA cuts damage participation in HE. Disabled people's participation in apprenticeships is 50% of that in traditional FE

Congress reaffirms the right of disabled people to generalised FE, to HE & insists upon the right to inclusion in apprenticeship/skills training.

Congress instructs NEC to:

  1. highlight impact of Tory post-16 education policy on people with impairment
  2. work with disabled organisations & other unions in campaigning for sufficient resources for Reasonable Adjustments in apprenticeships, ALS & DSA
  3. call a national day of action in 2017.

CARRIED


50  Women's value in the workplace - Women Members Standing Committee

Women's work and contribution to society is valued less than men's. This creates pay inequality; blocked progression and aspirations; poor maternity rights, lack of affordable childcare to support work/life balance; and precarious contracts. UCU's guidance on sexual harassment and domestic abuse showed the effects of both on women at work. In the Trump era equality and value are under threat from an increasingly aggressive male extremism. For black women this is exacerbated further. We need a collective voice to say no to discrimination.

Congress calls for:

  1. a national campaign to ensure these intersecting issues are at the forefront of UCU's work
  2. UCU to campaign about the lack of access to the tribunal system
  3. UCU to publicise guidance on domestic violence and sexual harassment through branches and ensure the Istanbul convention is recognised in workplaces
  4. the Rate for the Job website to include women's career progression and casualisation.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

50A.1  Women Members Standing Committee

Add after point 4:

In particular Congress agrees to:

  1. work with other campus trade unions and NUS on the theme 'sexual harassment is a trade union issue', including meetings and high profile publicity
  2. launch regional UCU women's networks to address this and other gender equality issues
  3. ensure gender equality is a standing item on regional and branch committees.

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Women's work and contribution to society is valued less than men's. This creates pay inequality; blocked progression and aspirations; poor maternity rights, lack of affordable childcare to support work/life balance; and precarious contracts. UCU's guidance on sexual harassment and domestic abuse showed the effects of both on women at work. In the Trump era equality and value are under threat from an increasingly aggressive male extremism. For black women this is exacerbated further. We need a collective voice to say no to discrimination.

Congress calls for:

  1. a national campaign to ensure these intersecting issues are at the forefront of UCU's work
  2. UCU to campaign about the lack of access to the tribunal system
  3. UCU to publicise guidance on domestic violence and sexual harassment through branches and ensure the Istanbul convention is recognised in workplaces
  4. the Rate for the Job website to include women's career progression and casualisation.

In particular Congress agrees to:

  1. work with other campus trade unions and NUS on the theme 'sexual harassment is a trade union issue', including meetings and high profile publicity
  2. launch regional UCU women's networks to address this and other gender equality issues
  3. ensure gender equality is a standing item on regional and branch committees.

51  (EP)  Improving equality - Wales Congress

With the success of the 'leaders equality training' event in January, It is important to monitor the representation of all strands of equality within all levels of an organisation, including, operational, academic, operational management levels, and strategic management.

To help achieve this, congress requests that UCU officials request all educational establishments to supply detailed breakdown of information relating to all the different strands of equality within all the levels within their organisations.

CARRIED


52  Dying to work - University of Northampton

Congress notes:

  1. facing a terminal illness can be traumatising
  2. losing one's job can have dire consequences, such as:
    • reduced income and financial insecurity
    • a loss of 'Death in Service'  and/or Life Assurance  payments  to family member
    • undergoing a stressful HR procedure
    • a loss of dignity associated with employment
  3. that universities and colleges have a duty of care to their employees
  4. Congress agrees to support the TUC's Dying to Work Voluntary Charter which would:
    a. treat terminal illness as a 'protected characteristic' and
    b. offer terminal ill employees protection against dismissal on capability grounds.

Congress resolves to:

  1. launch a coordinated campaign with each UCU branch to seek the endorsement of the Voluntary Charter by every university and college
  2. work closely with the regional TUC secretaries on the campaign; and 
  3. promote the voluntary charter through its regular communications with members.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

52A.1  South East Regional Committee

Insert a new point 2 and renumber accordingly:

'2. the application of some institutions' sickness policies, particularly in the case of hourly paid staff, fails to recognise that being able to make a monthly pay claim to ensure sick pay is paid is impractical';

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes:

  1. facing a terminal illness can be traumatising
  2. the application of some institutions' sickness policies, particularly in the case of hourly paid staff, fails to recognise that being able to make a monthly pay claim to ensure sick pay is paid is impractical
  3. losing one's job can have dire consequences, such as:
    •  reduced income and financial insecurity
    •  a loss of 'Death in Service'  and/or Life Assurance  payments  to family member
    •  undergoing a stressful HR procedure
    •  a loss of dignity associated with employment
  4. that universities and colleges have a duty of care to their employees
  5. Congress agrees to support the TUC's Dying to Work Voluntary Charter which would:
    a.  treat terminal illness as a 'protected characteristic' and
    b. offer terminal ill employees protection against dismissal on capability grounds.

Congress resolves to:

  1. launch a coordinated campaign with each UCU branch to seek the endorsement of the Voluntary Charter by every university and college
  2. work closely with the regional TUC secretaries on the campaign; and 
  3. promote the voluntary charter through its regular communications with members.

New paragraph, Abortion rights


53 (EP)  Composite: Campaigning for a woman's right to choose - National Executive Committee, West Midlands Regional Committee

Congress notes:

  1. that worldwide, anti-choice activists want to restrict women's access to safe and legal abortions. In the USA, there are new restrictions in many American states and President Trump has already indicated wanting further restrictions including on overseas aid funding.  Poland is proposing severely restricting access and Ireland has not yet repealed the 8th amendment. About 25% of the world's population live in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws including Northern Ireland. It is the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, which in England, Wales and Scotland gives access to safe, free and legal abortion yet these women who have made difficult choices, face aggressive anti-abortionists outside clinics
  2. the impact pregnancy discrimination has in reproductive choice
  3. the global threat to women's health and agency in relation to reproductive choice
  4. the UK growth of intimidation tactics and the danger these present
  5. the role of education in defending the position of women as rational decision makers.

Congress resolves to: 

  1. stand in solidarity with women throughout the world supporting the right to choose
  2. reaffirm its policy to defend the right to free, safe, legal and accessible abortion
  3. supports the campaign to extend the 1967 Act to Northern Ireland
  4. continue to work with Abortion Rights UK
  5. campaign for all pregnancy issues to be recognised within maternity legislation and workplace maternity policies, and for paid time-off to attend appointments related to pregnancy-decision counselling and abortion procedures
  6. campaign for the recognition of women's agency in our classrooms, institutions and communities.

CARRIED


New paragraph, Non binary inclusion


54  Inclusion of non-binary facilities and sport provision - LGBT Members Standing Committee

Congress believes that post-school education institutions should include all staff and students in the life of the organisation including sports. Congress is concerned that, during construction or renovation of facilities, institutions are neglecting their duty of care by not providing gender-neutral toilets, and changing facilities that are accessible to all.

Congress calls on:

  1. branches to advise their organisations that provision of gender-neutral facilities are not at the expense of accessible facilities or single sex provision but additional to these
  2. branches to ensure UCU equality reps sit on institution planning boards/committees
  3. branches to work with student unions to adopt BUCS guidance and policies around gender identity facility provision
  4. UCU to research and provide guidance on LGBT+ inclusion in university and college sporting provision
  5. UCU to work with BUCS, Out Sport, and the EGLSF to campaign for sporting provision that is clearly inclusive of all gender identities.

CARRIED


55  Gender identity - National Executive Committee

Congress recognises that the disadvantages of gender assignment at birth, including contributing to stereotypical socialisation based on assigned gender, the gendering of employment and income, and the invisibility and marginalisation of non-binary people. 

Congress asks the Equality Committee in consultation with the Equality standing committees to:

  1. develop policy which challenges the thinking and practices which underpin gender assignment at birth
  2. develop and implement proposals for a campaign to remove the requirement and practice of gender assignment at birth. This should involve other trade unions, human rights organisations and community groups
  3. develop and carry out training on gender identity and the rights of all genders in the workplace
  4. review and propose revisions to UCU policies and procedures to avoid discrimination against non-binary members while maintaining measures to increase the representation of women.  

Taken in parts:
bullet 1: CARRIED
bullet 2: CARRIED
bullets 3 & 4: CARRIED

CARRIED


New paragraph, Sex workers and collective organising


56  Education, sex worker safety and collective organising - Halesowen College

Congress notes:

  1. as many as 1 in 20 students are involved in work in the sex industry
  2. recent NUS findings that students work in this area for primarily financial reasons
  3. the high proportion of LGBT and disabled students represented in sex work
  4. the impact of FE cuts and rising tuition fees in blocking exit from the sex industry.

Congress believes:

  1. that sex workers, like all oppressed groups, have the right to organise collectively
  2. that criminalisation of sex work prevents collective working and increases risk to sex worker safety.

Congress resolves:

  1. to work with the NUS and any other relevant group to highlight the impact cuts and fees have in trapping workers in the sex industry, and campaign for free access to education
  2. to support self-organised sex workers in their call for decriminalisation of sex work to allow collective working and improved safety for sex workers.

CARRIED


New paragraph, Anti-semitism


57  Composite: International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism - University of Leeds, Goldsmiths, University of London, University of Brighton, Grand Parade

Congress notes:

  1. UCU's exemplary anti-racist work, eg. Holocaust Memorial Day materials
  2. policy (2011) dissociating UCU from the 'EUMC working definition' of anti-semitism
  3. that government has formally adopted the IHRA definition of anti-semitism
  4. that this definition and close similarity between IHRA and EUMC definitions conflates anti-semitism with criticism of the state of Israel and has been used to intimidate academics who are engaged in activities that are critical of the policies of the Israeli government but that are not anti-semitic
  5. government-inspired attempts to ban Palestine solidarity events, naming Israel Apartheid Week.

Congress re-affirms:

  1. UCU's condemnation of all forms of racial or religious hatred or discrimination
  2. UCU's commitment to free speech and academic freedom
  3. the importance of open campus debate on Israel/Palestine.

Congress resolves that UCU dissociates itself from the IHRA definition.

Congress instructs:

  1. NEC to contact all members in a dedicated communication urging report to NEC of all repressive uses of the IHRA definition
  2. conduct research about the implications of the use of the IHRA definition
  3. general secretary to write to VCs/principals urging staff protection from malicious accusations, and freedom of political criticism
  4. president to issue, and circulate to members, a detailed press statement on UCU's criticism of the IHRA definition
  5. lobby government to seek a review of its endorsement of the IHRA definition and to replace it with one that will both protect free speech and combat anti-semitism.

CARRIED

57A.1  Queen's University Belfast

Under 'Congress notes',

Insert after point 2.:

'3.        the close similarity between the IHRA and EUMC definitions, including their conflation of antisemitism with criticism of Israel;'

Renumber subsequent points accordingly.

Delete from existing point 4:

'and close similarity between IHRA and EUMC definitions'

In existing point 5, replace 'Israel Apartheid Week' by 'Israeli Apartheid Week'.

Add new point after existing point 5:

'The legal opinion from Hugh Tomlinson QC, obtained by PSC and other groups, characterising the IHRA definition as confusing, not legally binding, and putting public bodies that use it at risk of 'unlawfully restricting legitimate expressions of political opinion'.'

Add after 'Congress resolves that UCU dissociates itself from the IHRA definition':

'and will make no use of it (eg. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)'

CARRIED

57A.2  London Retired Members Branch

Add at end:

'Recalling the experience of Fraser vs UCU, we call upon the NEC to take a position against any university management that reacts to spurious accusations of anti-semitism by banning speakers who are opposed to the policies of the state of Israel but who have not in any way expressed racism against Jewish people.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes:

  1. UCU's exemplary anti-racist work, eg. Holocaust Memorial Day materials
  2. policy (2011) dissociating UCU from the 'EUMC working definition' of anti-semitism
  3. the close similarity between the IHRA and EUMC definitions, including their conflation of antisemitism with criticism of Israel
  4. that government has formally adopted the IHRA definition of anti-semitism
  5. that this definition conflates anti-semitism with criticism of the state of Israel and has been used to intimidate academics who are engaged in activities that are critical of the policies of the Israeli government but that are not anti-semitic
  6. government-inspired attempts to ban Palestine solidarity events, naming Israeli Apartheid Week
  7. The legal opinion from Hugh Tomlinson QC, obtained by PSC and other groups, characterising the IHRA definition as confusing, not legally binding, and putting public bodies that use it at risk of 'unlawfully restricting legitimate expressions of political opinion'.

Congress re-affirms:

  1. UCU's condemnation of all forms of racial or religious hatred or discrimination
  2. UCU's commitment to free speech and academic freedom
  3. the importance of open campus debate on Israel/Palestine.

Congress resolves that UCU dissociates itself from the IHRA definition and will make no use of it (eg. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints).

Congress instructs:

  1. NEC to contact all members in a dedicated communication urging report to NEC of all repressive uses of the IHRA definition
  2. conduct research about the implications of the use of the IHRA definition
  3. general secretary to write to VCs/principals urging staff protection from malicious accusations, and freedom of political criticism
  4. president to issue, and circulate to members, a detailed press statement on UCU's criticism of the IHRA definition
  5. lobby government to seek a review of its endorsement of the IHRA definition and to replace it with one that will both protect free speech and combat anti-semitism.

Recalling the experience of Fraser vs UCU, we call upon the NEC to take a position against any university management that reacts to spurious accusations of anti-semitism by banning speakers who are opposed to the policies of the state of Israel but who have not in any way expressed racism against Jewish people.


New paragraph, Union organisation


58  Equality reps attending the equality conference - Northumbria University

Only members with protected characteristics may attend strands at the equality conference. Granting observer status to equality reps to the strands, regardless of their characteristics, will enable them to gain a wider understanding of equality issues from a member perspective. It also enables reps with protected characteristics in one area to gain understanding of another, as issues are rarely singular in nature.

It is paramount equality reps have a wider view of issues facing members. It is also important to recognise that equality reps are committed to supporting all equality strands and are sympathetic to the concerns of those attending.  There already is attendance (in practice) by observers and there is no evidence that this stifles either debate or the sharing of information.

Congress resolves to grant observer status to all branch equality reps to the equality conference.

REMITTED

58A.1  LGBT Members Standing Committee

In second sentence, delete from 'Granting' to 'their characteristics' in line 3.

Replace with:

'Ensuring key points from these conferences are reported to all equality reps through, for example, a briefing to equality reps and/or the equality reps conference'

Second paragraph, second sentence delete from 'sympathetic' to 'attending'.

Replace with:

'constantly developing their understanding and solidarity with the issues raised.'

Delete final two sentences of the motion (from 'There already is'),  and replace with new paragraph:

'Conference resolves to ensure that all equality reps are informed about all aspects of the equality conference.'

58A.2  Black Members Standing Committee

At end of the first paragraph insert: 'Congress recognises that the annual equality conferences provide a safe space for those with a shared experience of discrimination.'

Insert new paragraph after the first paragraph:'Congress also notes the success of the equality reps conference which was held in February 2017 and is open to all equality reps.'

After final paragraph add:

'Congress resolves to ensure members and staff are aware of the value and importance of safe spaces and provide appropriate training where necessary.'

WITHDRAWN


59  Using the term LGBT+  - LGBT Members Standing Committee

Congress recognises people who identify their gender identity as different to that assigned at birth, and/or their sexual identity being other than heterosexual.

Congress notes that:

  1. language and descriptors in these areas have evolved over time
  2. the term LGBT is now often seen as not being sufficiently inclusive of all who identify as above.

Currently it is not possible to identify which of the many letters that have been added by some to LGBT will become common parlance. There is also a sense of unease about representation when deciding which letter can be added. Adding a '+' is seen as a convenient way of being more inclusive, for example, the TUC does this.

Congress calls for:

  1. the use of the term LGBT+ throughout UCU; and
  2. for the NEC to bring forward changes to the relevant parts of the national rules for Congress 2018.

REMITTED


60  Racist interference in elected roles - Black Members Standing Committee

Conference condemns the threats directed at black people and other minorities holding elected office. This level of attack, which includes threats to personal safety, must be understood as a form of institutional racism creating a climate where black and other minority candidates are discouraged from standing for elected office and from taking part in public life.

In addition, conference notes the escalating role of social media in such threats and the extreme levels of threat faced by women, black, LGBT and disabled people in particular.

Conference agrees to:

  1. reiterate our support for duly elected union officers and their right to carry out their elected duties without fear for their personal safety
  2. work with equality strands to develop guidance on challenging harassment and threat via social media
  3. liaise with sister unions to campaign against media attacks on equality activists and to create a cross-union support network.

REMITTED


61  Reorganise equality campaigns: intersections of identities and pyramid of power - Birmingham City University

Congress notes:

  • UCU campaigns for equality by recognising four social identities
  • but each of us lives life at what Kimberlé Crenshaw calls a crossroads, or 'intersection', of identities
  • not all intersections are equal: different intersections are socially ranked—stacked one on top of another
  • this stack of unequal intersections forms a social pyramid: society empowers a global minority to live lives at crossroads of identities relatively more esteemed, but disempowers a global majority to live lives at crossroads of identities relatively less esteemed and more stigmatised
  • social power over persons is held by those living lives at/towards the peak of this pyramid. Because their power isn't just or sacred ('hier-') and lording ('kyri-') it over others is unjust, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza calls this pyramid not 'hierarchy', but 'kyriarchy'.

Thus, UCU's campaigns ignore the intersections of identities and pyramid of power.

Resolves: To reorganise campaigns for equality against unjust intersectional power.

WITHDRAWN

Last updated: 29 May 2017