Business of the Recruitment, Organising and Campaigning Committee

UCU Congress 2018: Friday 1 June 2018, 09:30-12:00 | 13:00-14:45.

Motions have been allocated to a section of the NEC's report to Congress (UCU857). Paragraph headings refer to paragraphs within this report. CBC has added some new paragraph headings to facilitate the ordering of motions.

51 - New members and officer guidance
52 - Composite: Windrush and Home Office immigration policy
53 - Deportation charter flights to Nigeria
54 - Supporting non-UK EU nationals and their partners from third countries
55 - Defend post-16 education national demo in autumn
56 - Recruitment, organising and campaigning
57 - Social media
58 - Free speech and white supremacists
59 - British values?
60 - Turning free members into active members
61 - Supporting casualised staff taking strike action
62 - Casualised staff
63 - Campaign on pay in regions
64 - Composite: Carillion and lessons for outsourcing in FE and HE
65 - Fighting austerity in local government
66 - Climate change and the TUC
67 - Universal credit
68 - Crisis in the NHS
69 - Composite: The future of social care
70 - Defence of defined benefit pensions
B14 - Protection from inflation for USS pension payments
B23 - UCU response to trade union victimisation of members
L6 - Justice for Grenfell

(EP) advisory marking denoting UCU existing policy

Introduction, paragraphs 1.5 - 1.9

51  New members and officer guidance - Sussex Coast College Hastings

Congress states the structure of UCU can be daunting for new members: branch officers, regional officers, sector conferences and ending with congress. By laying out the roles and responsibilities clearly UCU will grow membership and engagement. Therefore, Congress resolves to:

  1. provide case studies by officers, for officers, about what their roles and responsibilities are
  2. produce an info graphic and video to explain UCU's structure to be sent to all new members
  3. provide half day training for officer roles via regional offices.

The rights of international staff in a post-Brexit world, paragraph 2.2

52  Composite: Windrush and Home Office immigration policy - City of Liverpool College (City), North West Regional Committee, National Executive Committee, London Retired Members, Croydon College

Congress notes that the people of the 'Windrush' generation have helped to build this country. They belong here.

Congress condemns the disgusting behaviour of the British government in creating a 'hostile environment' for immigration by targeting these long-standing UK residents and their families. The threat of deportation, loss of access to work and public services, to those who have, over the years, paid taxes and national insurance, is not acceptable on any level. At least one individual who worked in education lost his job when he was asked to reapply for his position. Unable to produce the documents requested he found himself in a position of no man's land.

Some 7,000 students have been accused by the Home Office of 'faking proficiency in English' and ordered to leave the UK.

It is Theresa May both as minister and as Prime Minister who is responsible for the racially discriminatory and divisive 'hostile environment' policy aimed at Commonwealth citizens and all migrant communities, a policy that hits our members and students. Citizens, our sisters and our brothers, have been treated with contempt. Those involved in imposing such practices should be held to account.

The resignation of Amber Rudd does not end the Windrush scandal. An apology from the Prime Minister is not enough and, not good enough. Nor will a 'forced' apology help to rebuild the lives shattered by separation and emotional, psychological and financial hardship. The Government needs to acknowledge the many contributions made by Windrush and put it right, right now.

Congress calls on the NEC to:

  1. call on branches to raise awareness with all members of the root cause of this policy - it is a deliberate racist policy
  2. restate our position on discriminatory practices in the workplace and society as a whole and campaign to remove all forms of racism and promote harmony
  3. actively oppose the 'hostile environment' strategy on our campuses
  4. build on its previous work defending migrants by updating its materials putting the positive reality of the role migrant workers play
  5. initiate an annual 'Windrush day' on campuses working with migrant and anti- racist organisations to promote the positive contribution of migrants
  6. continue our support for the rights of overseas students and international staff seeking guarantees from governments and employers in the light of Brexit negotiations
  7. encourage members to write to their MPs and Councillors with their objections and horror at the treatment of citizens
  8. support and encourage campaigns against deportations both at a local and national level, working where possible with other trade unions trades councils and the TUC
  9. demand the scrapping of Theresa May's 2014 racist immigration act

and support the call for:

  1. a complete amnesty for all of the long-term residents who are now threatened with deportation or the curtailment of their rights
  2. an immediate reinstatement of citizenship and the associated rights
  3. a real and actual timeline for compensation.

53  Deportation charter flights to Nigeria - National Executive Committee

Congress notes with deep concern the planned mass charter deportation flight to Nigeria in the next few days (information circulated by Movement for Justice on 4 May).

Congress opposes forced deportations and considers mass charter deportation flights particularly brutal and secretive. Congress is further concerned about the likely presence on this flight of:

  1. O, classified by home office as adult at risk level 2 and who has PTSD
  2. Windrush generation entitled to UK citizenship.

Congress calls on General Secretary, members and branches to write to:

  1. Immigration Minister and Home Secretary to stop all mass deportation flights, including pending Nigerian one
  2. Yvette Cooper to halt O's deportation.
  3. MPs, Diane Abbot, reporters to highlight the situation, call for an end to mass deportation flights and for O to be given leave to remain.

and use social media to publicise the Nigerian deportation flight and O's situation.

54  Supporting non-UK EU nationals and their partners from third countries - University of Lincoln

Congress notes that employers, landlords, mortgage lenders, etc. are dealing with uncertainties created by Brexit by discriminating against non-UK EU passport holders so as not to fall foul of real or imagined Home Office regulations. This and the Home Office's 'hostile environment' for nationals from other countries also affects UCU members, including those from third countries in relationships with non-UK EU nationals.

The Home Office has asked people to leave within two weeks or face deportation, often on dubious grounds. Branches do their best to support members but are not necessarily equipped to do so in these circumstances. A dedicated caseworker at national level would be useful not only to help members but also to collect data on the number of people affected.

Congress asks that UCU provide a specific contact at national level for members and branch officers requiring advice and support until legal certainty has been restored.

Widening support for UCU's policies on education, paragraphs 3.1 - 3.3

55  Defend post-16 education national demo in autumn - London Regional Committee

Post-16 education faces an ongoing assault headed up by the Tory government of privatisation, marketisation and casualisation.

While staff face pay freezes and attacks on their pensions, students pay record tuition fees. But VCs' and college principals' pay are at record levels.

With growing opposition to attacks on education and support from the Labour front bench for a progressive vision for our colleges and universities we want to build the biggest possible resistance.

As part of this process Congress calls on NEC to initiate a major demonstration to defend education in London in the autumn term and seek support from NUS, other campus unions and the wider movement.

55A.1  Disabled Members' Standing Committee

Add at end of motion

The demonstration to include participation of disabled members by:

  1. including disabled members in planning
  2. a well publicised accessible shortened route with stewards receiving appropriate guidance that disabled members can join if they wish
  3. signers at the rally
  4. consideration of a section that remains free of whistles and loud drumming etc.

Congress also urges all regions and branches to begin to include planning for disabled members participation in protest and strike events.

Get the Vote Out - winning disputes of national significance, paragraphs 4.1 - 4.3

56  Recruitment, organising and campaigning - National Executive Committee

Congress notes the work of ROCC in supporting members and branches to Get the Vote Out; its work for early career and international staff; the fight against marketisation; and campaigning for a fair alternative to fees and loans for students and instructs NEC to prioritise in 2018/19the generalisation of GTVO and its benefits to every branch in the union.

New paragraph, Campaigns, after paragraph 4.3

57  Social media - Chesterfield College

Congress notes that a number of institutions have cited alleged staff use of social media, including during their own time and off premises, in pursuing disciplinary procedures against members generally on the grounds of 'bringing the institution into disrepute'.

Congress resolves to task the appropriate UCU national committee to examine this situation and produce clear guidelines for members in respect of the use of social media, the boundaries and dangers to be aware of, and the policies branches should seek to negotiate with managements.

There are issues of freedom of speech as well as management infringements on the legitimate roles of union representatives involved and the union needs to support and empower staff to take all necessary action in order to prevent heavy handed, bullying and inappropriate management behaviour and management encroachment on the private lives of staff or on the roles of union reps.

58  Free speech and white supremacists - Black Members' Standing Committee

Congress notes:

  1. the use of 'freedom of speech' discourses to defend the right of white supremacists and right populists to insult and attack immigrants, Muslims and Black people without consequence (for example Berkeley Free Speech week)
  2. the framing of free speech within a Eurocentric 'clash of civilisations' narrative deeming Black, immigrant and Muslim communities in particular as incapable of free speech
  3. the silencing and discrediting of those who challenge racism and colonialism, or draw attention to the consequences of UK foreign policy (notably Lola Olufemi)
  4. the unwillingness by politicians to recognise the threat to academic freedom and freedom of speech posed by Prevent.

Congress affirms academic freedom and freedom of speech and condemns these attempts at co-option by right populists and white supremacists.

Congress resolves for guidance and campaign resources to be produced to branches to organise public events to raise awareness of these issues.

59  British values? - Sutton College

At least four major Muslim organisations and countless education professionals in schools and colleges have noted the underlying racism of this government's 'Prevent Strategy'.

The attempt by central government to peddle wider human values as being somehow particularly British values is made even more pernicious by the failure to uphold those values within its own practice.

This Congress calls on the government to reverse the obligation on schools, colleges and universities to teach British values and to promote in its place an agenda that unites rather than divides.

Congress further demands that this agenda be devised in consultation with and the agreement of those charged with delivering it, rather than simply foisting it upon them.

In the event of the government ignoring or rejecting this demand, this union will work with all education unions to organise a boycott of the Prevent agenda.

60  Turning free members into active members - Anti-casualisation Committee

Congress notes:

  1. the introduction of free UCU membership for some casualised staff has partially addressed some issues that arise when recruiting in FE and HE
  2. many casualised staff find UCU structures bewildering and resources difficult to find
  3. large numbers of postgraduate students have joined UCU, notably during the USS dispute. Many have been at the forefront of the strike, despite (usually) not 'qualifying' for the pension scheme.

Congress resolves to:

  1. consolidate and promote practical advice for branches to establish and manage strike hardship funds, including clear instructions and worked examples to support casualised workers whose contracts and working conditions vary (e.g. when demonstrating proof of income)
  2. develop and promote materials to support casualised members in understanding and engaging with UCU's internal democratic culture at all levels
  3. produce material promoting the annual meeting for staff on casualised contracts to casualised and free subscription members.

61  Supporting casualised staff taking strike action - Anti-casualisation Committee

Recent UCU industrial action highlights incredible solidarity from casualised members across sectors, despite low pay, poor working conditions, and often not qualifying for a pension. Deductions disproportionately affect casualised members; many experience difficulty obtaining proof of contracts and lost income.

To support secure work and security in retirement for everyone, Congress resolves to:

  1. publish annual breakdowns of figures for casualised members joining UCU across sectors and job roles
  2. ensure language in industrial action publicity is inclusive of all job roles (avoiding erasure inherent in shorthand like 'lecturers' union')
  3. produce guidance and targeted materials to support branches in publicising issues affecting casualised staff in diverse roles during industrial action
  4. support branches to build on national fighting fund provision through working with casualised members to ensure practical solidarity and support at branch level, e.g. through hardship funds, food parcels and ensuring vulnerable casualised members feel protected during industrial action.

61A.1   University of Bath, Keele University

Add to the end: '5. reintroduce paper membership forms to facilitate recruitment of casualised staff and others on picket lines, at recruitment stalls and elsewhere in the workplace.'

62 (EP) Casualised staff - University of Brighton (Eastbourne and Hastings)

Congress notes that an increasing number of members are casualised staff. The reality for many or most is that in both FE and HE many they are on either short term contracts, zero hours contracts or are hourly paid. Staff in both sectors are often pitted against each other.

Congress agrees that the campaigns to challenge such practices should be prioritised and increased - practices that leave highly skilled lecturers having insecure employment and the stress of having to input a lot of unpaid and unrewarded work on the vague promise of a post and vie for the said post with colleagues and comrades are completely unacceptable.

63 Campaign on pay in regions - North West Regional Committee

Congress notes:

  1. the power of collective action
  2. the role of the region in coordinating action and offering assistance
  3. pay is a central issue: our members are suffering the effects of years of pay cuts, and the media is reporting our colleagues' difficulties balancing their commitments to education and paying bills
  4. a pay campaign can be galvanising for recruitment among part-time, casualised and full-time staff
  5. pay exposes discrepancies and inequality.

Congress agrees:

  1. a national and regional effort that produces a roadshow on pay where regions are central in campaigning across branches
  2. regions to plan and facilitate regional campaigning rallies, with appropriate funding
  3. for regions to empower members and branches to come together to participate in activities on the pay issue and recruit members
  4. regions to actively support local branches to prepare and pursue Part 2 claims.

64 Composite: Carillion and lessons for outsourcing in FE and HE - Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Committee, London Regional Committee

Congress notes that:

  1. January's collapse of Carillion, the UK's largest outsourcing company, threatened 30,000 jobs directly plus thousands more in suppliers
  2. F&HE will be directly impacted due to PPI, cleaning, security and other void Carillion contracts
  3. the government ignoring profit warnings and continuing to treat Carillion as preferred bidder was gross incompetence and cronyism.

Congress believes university and college student and staff interests will be best served by bringing services in house. Carillion's failure discredits:

  1. the Tories' strategy for delivering public services through outsourcing and privatisation
  2. neoliberal privatisation as a fundamentally anti-working class economic scam
  3. capitalism.

Congress instructs the NEC to:

  1. develop, publish and promote an explicit alternative educational strategy based on universal free education from cradle to grave
  2. a national and local industrial action strategy to stop privatisation and marketisation, working with student and other unions to protect our universities and colleges as public institutions under the democratic control of staff, students and communities
  3. send a letter to all institutions demanding that they end outsourcing of student and staff services and call upon them to enter negotiations with the relevant trade unions to negotiate the bringing back of services in house.

64A.1   Women Members' Standing Committee

Add bullet point iv 'demand that institutions conduct an equality impact assessment'.

65 (EP) Fighting austerity in local government - University of Sheffield

Congress notes:

  1. that much of the Tory austerity onslaught is administered through cuts to local authority grants
  2. that Northamptonshire County Council has literally run out of money and many councils are now using reserves to meet their legal obligation to provide services
  3. that Labour Councils jointly control budgets of £75 billion (more that the state budgets of 16 EU countries) with reserves of £13.5 billion
  4. that the weak and divided Tory government does not have the political legitimacy to impose austerity on local government
  5. the success of the Sheffield 'People's Budget' campaign and other similar initiatives up and down the country.

Congress resolves:

  1. to urge all councils to refuse to carry out any further cuts to jobs and services
  2. to campaign to restore local government funding
  3. to show solidarity and support to councillors who refuse to vote for cuts.

66 (EP) Climate change and the TUC - London Retired Members

Congress recognises that the motion on Climate Change at this year's TUC makes progress towards the resolution at UCU Congress 2017. However, Congress regrets that there is no mention of opposition to fracking or airport expansion. Congress therefore calls upon the UCU NEC to continue to campaign within the trade union movement in support of all the demands raised in our 2017 resolution:

  1. energy democracy and rapid transition from fossil fuels
  2. stop airport expansion
  3. no fracking
  4. promotion of alternatives to short-haul flights, including publicly owned rail in UK and Europe
  5. a genuine commitment to reducing lethal air pollutants
  6. a just transition employment strategy to climate jobs and well-paid, skilled, sustainable employment
  7. improved links between anti-war, refugee and climate campaign movements
  8. action against trade treaties threatening climate justice
  9. a climate justice fund funded by wealthy nations and polluting companies

66A.1  South Thames College

Add at end:

Congress notes UCU support for the Just Transition Statement in Scotland adopted at the UCU Congress, 2017.

Congress calls upon the UCU:

  1. to support the adoption of a similar Just Transition statement circulated by the Greener Jobs Alliance and campaign for UK wide implementation
  2. NEC to lobby the TUC for adoption and for branches to get the endorsement of Trades Union organisations
  3. to affiliate to Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group.

66A.2  National Executive Committee

Add at end:

And to further campaign for the TUC to:

  1. encourage affiliates to affiliate to the Campaign Against Climate Change and the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group and attend demos and other events organised by them with their banners
  2. support campaigns for carbon disinvestment and ethical investment policies, including by pension funds, local councils, colleges and universities and public bodies.

67 (EP) Universal credit - East Midlands Regional Committee

Congress notes that:

  1. universal credit has been beset with IT failures and delays
  2. its implementation has resulted in cuts to the benefit bill at the expense of unemployed and low paid workers, and reduces accessibility to further and higher education for the most vulnerable members of society.

Congress believes that UC must be scrapped.

Congress resolves to campaign for an end to UC and for a properly staffed and funded social security system to include:

  1. a welfare state based on need, ensuring decent standards of living for all
  2. an end to the benefits sanctions regime
  3. an end to current work capability assessments (to be replaced with a genuinely empowering supportive system); outsourcing social security contracts to the private sector; inadequate staffing levels; benefit caps
  4. a living wage based on a nationally recognised minimum income standard
  5. full implementation of the TUC's Welfare Charter.

68 Crisis in the NHS - East Midlands Regional Committee

Congress notes:

  1. the NHS is in crisis. Many hospitals are regularly on 'black alert'
  2. the NHS desperately needs proper funding.

Congress believes:

  1. staff are experiencing severe stress because of increasing demands and falling staffing levels
  2. the Tories' sustainability transformation plans are being used to disguise a further £22 billion of cuts.

Congress welcomes Labour's 2017 manifesto pledges. However we cannot wait for a change of government. The TUC must organise solidarity with NHS workers and fight for the NHS now.

Congress resolves:

  1. to show solidarity for NHS workers fighting back
  2. to affiliate to Health Campaigns Together and support its initiatives including 7 July Health Campaigns Together national event in conjunction with the TUC, Labour and other parties and campaigns supporting the NHS
  3. to show support for national demonstrations for the NHS in its 70th year.

68A.1  Disabled Members' Standing Committee

Insert at the end of first paragraph 'Congress welcomes...'

UCU supports the social model of disability but recognises that disabled members often need support from the health service so its existence is critical to disabled members ability to live and work.

Congress applauds the immense contribution to the health of the nation provided by the hard working nurses, doctors, and ancillary staff who provide a fantastic service despite harsh budgetary conditions imposed by the Conservative government.

69 Composite: The future of social care - Yorkshire and Humberside retired members, Northern retired members

Congress notes:

  1. the ongoing crisis in social care and the prospect of a green paper consultation due in the summer
  2. UCU members often face a retirement dependent on a social care system that is underfunded, understaffed, and often unsafe
  3. working members often find themselves paying exorbitant costs of care for older relatives
  4. 80% of social care is provided by the private sector, whilst year-on-year local authority cuts undermine their profits and quality of provision.

There have been cuts of 40% in care budgets; private care homes are closing and many are criticised for poor standards; at least 30,000 homes are sold to pay for care every year; self-funders - some of whom will be UCU retired members - are unfairly subsidising those residents receiving local authority support and over 1.2 million people are not getting the care they need.

Congress believes that the distinction between health care, as a free service, and social care, subject to charging, is unjustifiable.

Congress agrees to work within the TUC and with the National Pensioners Convention and others to support:

  1. the establishment of a National Care Service funded through general taxation, publicly provided and free at the point of use
  2. UNISON's Ethical Care Charter for care staff
  3. the NPC's Dignity Code which covers the way in which older people in care should be treated
  4. a structured system of training and qualification for care staff.

Congress requests NEC to submit a motion on social care to TUC.

69A.1  National Executive Committee

Final clause, delete everything after 'Congress requests NEC to'. Replace with 'support and if possible speak to motions on social care at the TUC.'

70 (EP) Defence of defined benefit pensions - East Midlands Retired Members

Congress recognises that attack on defined benefit (DB) pensions has moved from the private sector into the public sector with the aim of shifting risk away from the employer onto the employee. Right wing think tanks such as the Centre for Policy Studies have discussed how to turn non-funded DB schemes such as the TPS into Defined Contribution schemes

Congress further recognises that a unified response from the union movement is necessary to defeat these attacks. The NEC is asked to encourage the TUC (which has been happily and legitimately involved in alliances to further collective DC schemes) to set up a campaign involving unions and other appropriate campaign bodies to defend DB schemes.

The NEC shall report back to Congress 2019 on the progress made.

B14  Protection from inflation for USS pension payments - Scottish retired members

In proposing changes to the designed benefit USS pension by the Employers (Universities UK), USS noted that 'Benefits already earned by both active and deferred members are protected by law and in the scheme rules. Benefits already being paid to retired members are not affected by this decision'. There is, however, no explicit assurance that future payments to retired members will continue to be linked to inflation indices. The current arrangement of CPI index linked to a cap of 5% in inadequate for a sustained period of increased inflation.

Congress supports the continuation of inflation linked protection of pension payments for those currently retired and those that will retire with a defined benefit pension.

B23  UCU response to trade union victimisation of members - University of Salford

Salford University Branch like other Universities have engaged in successful strike action. As a result of such action UCU activists at the University of Salford are now being targeted and now suffer retaliatory victimisation by our employer with disproportionate sanctions. 

Attacks on trade union activists, must not be tolerated by the UCU at branch, regional and national level.

Congress votes for national UCU to ensure that:

  1. full legal support up to and including court action is offered to all activists who are targeted
  2. national UCU initiates a national academic boycott of all employers engaged in trade Union victimisation of UCU members
  3. national and regional UCU officials to work with such Branches to provide campaigning funding and materials.

L6  Emergency Motion - Justice for Grenfell

The opening of the inquiry into the deaths of 71 people in the Grenfell Tower disaster has exposed the appalling failings of both the local council and the government.

Almost one year on many families still live in temporary accommodation while the government has still failed to ban the use of combustible cladding. 

Congress offers our solidarity and support to the victims, families, community and to the emergency services that dealt with the disaster.

Congress supports the events organised to mark the anniversary on 14th June and the Grenfell solidarity demo organised by Justice 4 Grenfell, Fire Brigades Union on Saturday 16th June.

Last updated: 31 May 2018