Business of the Recruitment, Organising and Campaigning Committee Committee 2017

UCU Congress 2017: Monday 29 May 2017, 11:00-12:00 & 13:00-14:45

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 5 of the NEC's report to Congress

Motions:

L9 - A commission: making it democratic
62 - Key issues in 2017/18
63 - Staff subsidising employers
64 - Bilingualism of documentation for use in Wales
65 - Union learning and training
66 - Support for newly joined members
67 - Developing the national anti-casualisation campaign
68 - Back door zero-hours contracts
69 - The future of trade union education
L3  - Tolpuddle Martyrs Correspondence
70 - Electronic meetings and tele- and video-conferencing
71 - Recruiting health & safety reps and right to time off
72 - Work-related stress
73 - Retired members
74 - Excessive pay and remuneration for FE and HE leaders
75 - Government withdrawal of bursaries for nurse training
76 - Early retirement on a decent pension
77 - Protection of public open space
78 - General election

(EP) advisory marking denoting UCU existing policy


New paragraph, Key issues in 2017/18


L9  A commission: making it democratic

Congress notes:

  1. the general secretary's announcement that she wishes to launch a commission into industrial action and bargaining strategies.

Congress resolves:

  1. that the membership of that commission must be elected by and from this annual Congress and must be made up of lay members from all the devolved nations and regions
  2. regional committees, devolved nations and branches must be strongly encouraged to organise specific meetings to discuss the issues that are to be discussed by the commission
  3. the commission to draw up recommendations to put to a one day special Congress to discuss industrial bargaining and action strategies
  4. the Congress should be made up of cross sector and sector sessions.

CARRIED


62  Key issues in 2017/18 - National Executive Committee

Congress notes progress made in 2016/17 with the following priority campaigns: in support of EU nationals and international colleagues; working with NUS on Prevent, boycott of NSS, refugee issues and the successful national demonstration; highlighting the transformative impact of FE, opposing the disastrous HE Bill; standing up for fair pay and transparency; working alongside the ACC and BMSC against casualisation and workplace racism; and supporting branches in dispute.

Congress welcomes the high profile of UCU in standing up for education and those who work in it and instructs the Committee to continue to focus its energy and resources on these key issues in 2017/18.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

62A.1  National Executive Committee

At the end of the motion, add

'In furtherance of these objectives after the general election, Congress resolves to propose a National Demonstration in Defence of Education, inviting other education unions, NUS, and campaign groups such as Action for ESOL and the HE Convention, to participate.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress notes progress made in 2016/17 with the following priority campaigns: in support of EU nationals and international colleagues; working with NUS on Prevent, boycott of NSS, refugee issues and the successful national demonstration; highlighting the transformative impact of FE, opposing the disastrous HE Bill; standing up for fair pay and transparency; working alongside the ACC and BMSC against casualisation and workplace racism; and supporting branches in dispute.

Congress welcomes the high profile of UCU in standing up for education and those who work in it and instructs the Committee to continue to focus its energy and resources on these key issues in 2017/18.

In furtherance of these objectives after the general election, Congress resolves to propose a National Demonstration in Defence of Education, inviting other education unions, NUS, and campaign groups such as Action for ESOL and the HE Convention, to participate.


New paragraph, Recruitment, reps and branch organisation


63  Staff subsidising employers - Open University

Congress notes that:

  1. there have been complaints from members who have had difficulty claiming legitimate expenses from their employers and have ended up out of pocket in some cases
  2. that some institutions do not provide clear information to staff about expense rates, how to claim, or about maximum amounts that can be claimed for certain things (eg. overnight accommodation)
  3. that some members have ended up paying for equipment that they have been assessed as needing as a reasonable adjustment.

Congress asks the NEC to contact branches with guidance on employers' obligations, negotiating advice, and asks branches to press employers to provide clear, up to date, and easy to access information on institution web sites including expense rates, how to claim, and maximum amounts.

CARRIED


64  Bilingualism of documentation for use in Wales - Wales Congress

The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011, gave the Welsh Language official status in Wales. The Welsh language's official status has a legal effect, which means that Welsh should be treated no less favourably than the English language in Wales.

Public bodies in Wales, which include FE and HE institutions, must comply with the standards set out in the measure and as such the use of English language only posters and leaflets on their premises is no longer acceptable.

The union must be able to use appropriate materials to recruit, inform and publicise the union to both members and non-members.

Congress calls on UCU head office to recognise this requirement and to produce all written materials bilingually for distribution in Wales.

CARRIED


65  Union learning and training - University of Glasgow

This meeting recognises the importance of union learning and properly trained reps, but notes that current learning and training opportunities could be more flexible and support members who learn best in different ways.

This meeting requests that UCU NEC:

  1. step up the recruitment of union learning reps, with a particular focus on women, disabled, black and LGBT+ members
  2. investigate and implement more flexible ways of providing union learning and training, including online, as well as face to face
  3. investigate and implement ways of providing accreditation for experience as well as training, particularly in the case of established activists who have gained experience at a time when little training was on offer.

Taken in parts
Bullet 2 ', including online, as well as face to face': REMITTED

CARRIED AS AMENDED

65A.1 Anti-Casualisation Committee

In first paragraph: after 'more flexible', add 'and accessible,'; after 'different ways,' add 'or who face additional difficulty in accessing training (e.g. obtaining paid time for training, accessing training venues).'

Point 1, add at end: 'recognising that discrimination is often on multiple, intersecting fronts.'

Add new point 4: 'Ensure all training recognises that casualisation is both a factor in and tool of discrimination and includes practical approaches for activists and branches to build the fight against this.'

Add new point 5: 'Provide tangible, practical help for staff on casualised contracts to obtain paid time for union learning and training.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

This meeting recognises the importance of union learning and properly trained reps, but notes that current learning and training opportunities could be more flexible and accessible, and support members who learn best in different ways or who face additional difficulty in accessing training (e.g. obtaining paid time for training, accessing training venues).

This meeting requests that UCU NEC:

  1. step up the recruitment of union learning reps, with a particular focus on women, disabled, black and LGBT+ members recognising that discrimination is often on multiple, intersecting fronts
  2. investigate and implement more flexible ways of providing union learning and training
  3. investigate and implement ways of providing accreditation for experience as well as training, particularly in the case of established activists who have gained experience at a time when little training was on offer
  4. ensure all training recognises that casualisation is both a factor in and tool of discrimination and includes practical approaches for activists and branches to build the fight against this
  5. provide tangible, practical help for staff on casualised contracts to obtain paid time for union learning and training.

66  Support for newly joined members - University of Bath

Congress instructs NEC to develop proposals for a consistent set of rules covering newly-joined members who approach the union for support, in particular after the start of disciplinary or other management process. At present, there is no framework for branch officers to decide on whether, to support such members. The only rule covering support for members with reference to length of membership is the rule on qualifying period for access to legal scheme.

Any proposed framework should consider:

  1. whether the member has been in the union for a short period because they are in their first job in the sector
  2. whether they have joined only after management action against them
  3. any previous membership in another trade union before entering the sector
  4. whether they are lapsed members of UCU.

Guidance should be issued in the form of a policy which branch officers can apply to new personal cases.

CARRIED


67  Developing the national anti-casualisation campaign - Anti-Casualisation Committee

Congress recognises the importance of the national anti-casualisation campaign and celebrates its successes. Congress also notes that the campaign needs to reach out to more branches in supporting them to fight the use of casual contracts in their work places.

This meeting welcomes the promise of £1 million to support the campaign from the General Secretary and hopes the money can be put to good use as quickly as possible.

Congress requests that relevant officers:

  1. begin plans for an anti-casualisation road show that will visit as many areas of the country as possible
  2. support the development and roll-out of the anti-casualisation branch pledge which branches can publicly sign up to, committing to improving contracts for casually employed staff
  3. ensure that anti-casualisation is at the heart of all our union's activities.

CARRIED


68  (EP) Back door zero-hours contracts - London Metropolitan University, City Branch

Congress congratulates all those activists who have campaigned over years to expose the unfairness of zero-hour contracts. It welcomes UCU's negotiating efforts to end these contracts and replace them with contracts with guaranteed hours.

Congress notes that some employers, while ostensibly moving away from zero-hours contracts, are trying to bring in zero-hours contracts through the back door by creating new contracts which still do not provide guaranteed hours or pay.

  1. Congress calls on branches to be vigilant about the danger of back door zero-hours contracts.
  2. It resolves that these contracts do not merit ratification and should be energetically resisted in negotiations and campaigns.

CARRIED


69  The future of trade union education - Shrewsbury Colleges Group

Congress notes that trade union education faces the twin threats of funding cuts and the decline of classroom based training due to the TUC's move to online learning. Congress agrees that trade union education should be fully funded and multi union and where possible classroom based.

Therefore the UCU is instructed:

  1. to research and prepare a report on the advantages of classroom based training over online training. The final report should be submitted to the appropriate TUC bodies to ensure TUC policy supports the principle of classroom based learning
  2. to set up a working group to explore the options for the future funding of trade union education. Including the option of being fully funded by the unions. The working group should involve trade union studies tutors. The agreed final report should be submitted to the TUC for adoption and implementation.

CARRIED


L3  Tolpuddle Martyrs Correspondence - South West Regional Committee

The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum has recently (18 May) requested support from trade unions for the purchase of letters written by the then Vicar of Tolpuddle concerning the case of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. The vicar betrayed the Martyrs by falsely denying the existence of an agreement on pay, an act for which the vicarage windows suffered just retribution, so he is a central figure in the Martyrs' story.

In the words of the museum 'These letters will add considerably to the discussion around the Martyrs, trade unionism, justice and democracy.' It is estimated that the cost of acquiring the correspondence, and of appropriate security and environmental conditions, will be £5000.

Therefore, Congress resolves to donate £200 to the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum to support the purchase of the Vicar of Tolpuddle's correspondence.

Paragraph 3 REMITTED

CARRIED AS AMENDED

Substantive motion

The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum has recently (18 May) requested support from trade unions for the purchase of letters written by the then Vicar of Tolpuddle concerning the case of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. The vicar betrayed the Martyrs by falsely denying the existence of an agreement on pay, an act for which the vicarage windows suffered just retribution, so he is a central figure in the Martyrs' story.

In the words of the museum 'These letters will add considerably to the discussion around the Martyrs, trade unionism, justice and democracy.' It is estimated that the cost of acquiring the correspondence, and of appropriate security and environmental conditions, will be £5000.


70  Electronic meetings and tele- and video-conferencing - South West Regional Committee

Electronic means of conducting meetings are becoming more common, and are especially valuable for regions and nations with widely-scattered branches and poor transport links, and for branches with multiple sites. Given the increasing use of video-conferencing facilities, it is probable that important decisions will be taken at meetings where not all of those present are physically in attendance.

Congress therefore instructs NEC to draw up guidance for the electronic conduct of meetings. This guidance should include, but would not be limited to:

  1. the definition of a quorum
  2. advice for chairs on ensuring full participation, with equitable speaking rights for those physically and virtually present
  3. amendments to standing orders, including rules for voting where necessary.

Guidance should not be excessively prescriptive but is intended to establish a framework for electronic meetings and avoid the risk of a decision being contested because procedures were not clear.

CARRIED


71  (EP) Composite: Recruiting health & safety reps and right to time off - Coleg Gwent, Newport, Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Committee

Health, safety and welfare, including stress, are major and serious issues across the education sector. With expected attacks on our members conditions, rights and safeguards it is imperative that UCU responds and actively develops H&S reps in each branch with reasonable time off from duties.

Congress supports and actively encourages UCU branches using the Safety Reps and Safety Committee Regulation 1977 to recruit and establish H&S reps in all branches with 'reasonable' remission from duties.

Congress notes that health & safety reps have the right to time off 'as is necessary' to carry out their functions. This is clear under the SRSC regulations 1977.

Congress believes that this time should be in addition to any local facility arrangement. This should be organised so that no undue burden is placed on the UCU health & safety rep which may hinder them in undertaking inspections, attending meetings and communicating with members.

Congress requests that all branches:

  1. look to their own arrangements in order to secure the full rights to time off for their health & safety rep
  2. ensure the UCU health & safety rep has sufficient facilities to undertake inspections of all premises
  3. wherever possible, have at least one UCU health & safety rep per campus
  4. ensure all UCU health & safety reps attend training to enable them to carry out their functions.

CARRIED


72  Work-related stress - UCU Scotland Executive Committee

UCU recognises the work and commitment of members who have campaigned to ensure university workplaces and practices are not detrimental to physical or mental health. Health and safety is rightly a key priority for our union.

Numerous factors across the sector, including workload, performance management, managerialism, and precarious employment have contributed to growing numbers of colleagues being medically unfit for work due to work-related stress.  However, many employers have been slow to tackle work related mental health issues or to identify steps to support safer working.

Congress urges HESA to introduce an annual sector wide survey of all University staff, to include the HSE Management Standards Indicator questionnaire, and that HEIs be required to collect data on work-related stress absences as part of their HESA return.  By collectivising the issue UCU can highlight poor practices, support members, and tackle the underlying causes of work-related stress.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

72A.1  South East Regional Committee

Add at end:

'Congress also notes statements made regarding workload in FE and HE such as "26% of further and higher education staff work in excess of 50 hours a week during term time; 75% describe their job as stressful; and 46% say their work involves unrealistic time pressures".'

Congress agrees it is now time for a concerted effort to reduce this pressure and calls on UCU to bring a national campaign on workload to a head.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

UCU recognises the work and commitment of members who have campaigned to ensure university workplaces and practices are not detrimental to physical or mental health. Health and safety is rightly a key priority for our union.

Numerous factors across the sector, including workload, performance management, managerialism, and precarious employment have contributed to growing numbers of colleagues being medically unfit for work due to work-related stress.  However, many employers have been slow to tackle work related mental health issues or to identify steps to support safer working.

Congress urges HESA to introduce an annual sector wide survey of all University staff, to include the HSE Management Standards Indicator questionnaire, and that HEIs be required to collect data on work-related stress absences as part of their HESA return.  By collectivising the issue UCU can highlight poor practices, support members, and tackle the underlying causes of work-related stress.

Congress also notes statements made regarding workload in FE and HE such as '26% of further and higher education staff work in excess of 50 hours a week during term time; 75% describe their job as stressful; and 46% say their work involves unrealistic time pressures'.

Congress agrees it is now time for a concerted effort to reduce this pressure and calls on UCU to bring a national campaign on workload to a head.


73  Retired members - National Executive Committee

Congress recognises the importance of encouraging all UCU members to continue in membership on retirement, their rights to participate in the work of the union and the valuable contribution that they make to UCU. Congress notes that the current arrangements for the participation and support of retired members have not been reviewed since the formation of UCU and still reflect the traditions of the predecessor unions, eg, half of UCU retired members are in retired member branches with concomitant rights under rule and half are attached to ordinary branches.

In light of this, and the call for a review agreed by Congress 2016 (motion 56), Congress instructs the NEC to carry out a review of the arrangements for the organisation, rights and support of retired members and to bring any proposals to Congress 2018. The review to include consultation with retired member branches, retired members, other branches and regional committees.

CARRIED


New paragraph, Public accountability of employers


74  (EP)  Excessive pay and remuneration for FE and HE leaders - Southern Regional Committee

Congress notes the excessive increases in pay and remuneration within senior leadership teams in both FE and HE sectors, at a time when real pay for the vast majority of employees has continued to be severely eroded.

Noting the excellent work done by UCU in producing the 'Transparency at the Top?' report, we instruct the NEC to coordinate with other trade unions to mount a sustained campaign to challenge the endemic inequity in pay in every sector of the economy.

CARRIED


New paragraph, Health education


75  Government withdrawal of bursaries for nurse training - Southern Regional Committee

Congress recognises that the crisis facing the NHS is underpinned by a variety of factors, prominent amongst which is the growing shortfall in trained staff. This shortfall compromises patient safety, creates workplace stress and low morale for existing staff and has led to increased spending on expensive agency staff. Recruitment of NHS health workers from the EU has been badly affected by uncertainties resulting from the government's approach to Brexit.

In such challenging circumstances it makes no sense at all to withdraw training bursaries provided to those undertaking nurse training. Congress considers that this ill-conceived policy will inevitably lead to fewer applications for nurse training and the shortfall of trained nurses in the NHS becoming much greater.

Congress calls on the NEC to make common cause with the Royal College of Nursing and other health unions in demanding the reinstatement of training bursaries for student nurses in England.

CARRIED AS AMENDED

75A.1          Teesside University

Delete: 'nurse training' in first sentence of second paragraph and replace with 'professional health care training'.  Delete second sentence of second paragraph.

Third paragraph, delete text after 'Congress calls on the NEC' and replace with:

'to work with sister unions through the HEJLC and campaign for the re-introduction of bursaries for professional health care training and to produce an impact assessment report investigating the dangers to health education provision and the diminishing applications as a result of the removal of bursaries and to organise a special conference for health educators and health professionals, to discuss and develop strategy for campaigning for its restoration.'

CARRIED

Substantive motion

Congress recognises that the crisis facing the NHS is underpinned by a variety of factors, prominent amongst which is the growing shortfall in trained staff. This shortfall compromises patient safety, creates workplace stress and low morale for existing staff and has led to increased spending on expensive agency staff. Recruitment of NHS health workers from the EU has been badly affected by uncertainties resulting from the government's approach to Brexit.

In such challenging circumstances it makes no sense at all to withdraw training bursaries provided to those undertaking professional health care training. Congress considers that this ill-conceived policy will inevitably lead to fewer applications for nurse training and the shortfall of trained nurses in the NHS becoming much greater.

Congress calls on the NEC to work with sister unions through the HEJLC and campaign for the re-introduction of bursaries for professional health care training and to produce an impact assessment report investigating the dangers to health education provision and the diminishing applications as a result of the removal of bursaries and to organise a special conference for health educators and health professionals, to discuss and develop strategy for campaigning for its restoration.


New paragraph, Wider social campaigns


76  Early retirement on a decent pension - East Midlands Retired Members Branch

Congress notes the pressure to accelerate the rise in state pension age and consequently the normal pension age of both USS and TPS pensions which is an easy way to cut the cost of pensions. The government intends that people spend only a third of their life on state pension. However, the Centre for Policy Studies, influential with the government, advocates putting the state pension into 'run-off' and introducing a 'senior citizens' pension', payable from the age of 80.  The ONS has shown that whereas life expectancy in UK rises so do years spent in bad health and inability to work.

Congress calls on the UCU in conjunction with other unions, especially in the educational sector, to organise a campaign to lessen the impact of actuarial reduction on pension entitlement and make it easier to achieve retirement with enhancement on the basis of bad health.

CARRIED


77  Protection of public open space - South East Retired Members Branch

UCU recognises that the standard of living of its members depends not only on salaries and pensions but on a wide range of publicly provided and financed services.  Many of these make use of public open space. Congress condemns widespread private incursions into public open space, including the selling off of schools/college playing fields. Congress calls on UCU to lobby for the protection and adequate resourcing of these vital, environmentally friendly public assets so beneficial to its members.

CARRIED


78  General election - London Regional Committee

Congress believes:

a Tory win in the 8 June general election will be a disaster for workers and public services.

Congress resolves:

  1. to campaign with a message of defend education, defend workers' rights, no to austerity, racism and war
  2. to engage our members around this message through all possible means and to take part in campaigning activities on such themes, particularly with Stand Up To Racism
  3. to encourage branches to hold hustings meetings for candidates (except fascists), if possible alongside other unions and student organisations
  4. to take part in marches and protests that highlight our areas of concern during the election period—such as marches against the school funding cuts
  5. while recognising that our union is not affiliated to any political party, to call in this election for a vote for Labour.

Motion taken in parts:
bullets 1-4: CARRIED
bullet 5:  CARRIED

CARRIED

Last updated: 29 May 2017