Statement of support for RMT

We wish RMT members on Merseyside and all the other regions taking strike action on 21, 23 and 25 June success in their justified industrial action campaign over pay, working conditions and job security. When our UCU branch fought to defend jobs in 2021 we had fantastic solidarity from the wider trade union movement, and we understand the importance of trade unions supporting each other in their different fights. We are also totally opposed to any attempt by the Tory government to restrict the right to strike with minimum service requirements, and see this as an attack on all unions. We will support your picket lines and RMT speakers will be very welcome at our members meetings. Solidarity to the RMT!

Peta Bulmer, President, University of Liverpool UCU, and Branch Committee

How are the USS pensions and Four Fights disputes interlinked?

We’re at Breaking Point during ‘feel good February’ – support the Four Fights strikes

If you care about USS pensions, you need to support the Four Fights campaign, because:

– casualisation means many members of staff do not earn enough to qualify for a pension, or don’t think it is worth paying into because they are only employed on brief contracts, but if we successfully win the campaign on casualisation, more members will join USS, and the pension fund will be bigger and stronger

– the pay inequalities that affect women, disabled staff and black staff mean that these groups earn less money, and therefore pay less into the pension scheme, but if we successfully win the campaign on equal pay, they will earn more, and the pension fund will be bigger and stronger

– escalating workloads mean that most staff are doing more than a fair day’s work for the pay we recieve, but if we successfully win the campaign on workloads, the universities will have to recruit more staff to do the same amount of work, and that means more people will join the pension fund, and it will be bigger and stronger

– our pay has not kept up with inflation, and we now earn 20% less than we did a decade ago in real terms, but if we successfully win the campaign on pay, we will all earn more money, and all pay more into our pensions, and the pension fund will be bigger and stronger

We treat the USS pensions and Four Fights campaigns as separate disputes, but in fact the issues are inextricably linked, and we need to win both battles if we are to achieve job security, fair pay, reasonable workloads, a pay rise, and a pension worth having.

Demand a Green New Deal at the University of Liverpool

Demand a Green New Deal at the University of Liverpool

Campus unions and the students Guild are calling on the University of Liverpool to adopt a ‘Green New Deal Bargaining’ approach to tackle the Climate and Ecological Emergency and ensure a Just Transition to a sustainable future.
What does this mean?
Green New Deal bargaining is a grassroots approach to climate and environmental action. Governments, corporations, and civic organizations have failed to tackle the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Promises have not been kept and the pace of change has been slow. Whilst the University of Liverpool has made some initial progress, the sustainability strategy lacks ambition, transparency, democratic accountability, and clear commitments on resourcing.
The university is signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals but is failing to implement them within its own institutional practices. To create institutional accountability, shift the pace of change, and combat greenwashing we need strong mechanisms for collective staff and student voice. We need a Green New Deal to drive democratic change across all areas of the University’s practices and environmental impacts.
As a matter of URGENCY we are calling on the university to:

  • Declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency. Expand the 2035 Net Zero commitment to all scope 3 emissions including outsourced emissions generated from home working.
  • Recognise that measures to mitigate climate and environmental impacts are matters for joint consultation and negotiation with the campus unions and the Guild of students. Establish a new standing committee on Net Zero and environmental impacts with student, union and Senior Leadership Team participation.
  • Decarbonise and Decolonise the curriculum to support climate justice. Develop negotiated policies to achieve this with the trades unions and the Guild, addressing workload, training, and resourcing issues
  • Commit to bringing its research agenda into line with principles of sustainable development. Support a worker led transition away from funding streams tied to environmentally harmful activities.
  • Bring the university’s employment practices in line with the Sustainable Development Goals: decasualise employment practices, end race and gender pay gaps, and reduce inequality through the adoption of pay ratios.
  • Reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of its investment portfolio to net zero. Review the exclusions in the Ethical Investment Policy in consultation with unions and students and develop stronger oversight mechanisms for governing investment decisions

What can I do?
Staff: Join a union! Get involved with the building support for the Green New Deal claim. For more information contact UCU Green rep Ben Crawford: b.crawford@liv.ac.uk
Students: Contact the Guild to say you support the Green New Deal: guildweb@liv.ac.uk

Strike Rallies 6th and 9th August

UoL UCU says NO compulsory redundancies

Solidarity for UCU University of Liverpool

Part of the UCU banner with the slogan "You'll never march alone"

Solidarity!

A large number of UCU members and branches have sent our branch messages of solidarity in our fight to stop the job cuts in HLS. We have also received messages from other unions and organisations, along with donations to our local strike fund.

Check out our Solidarity webpage here: ulivucunews.org.uk/previous-actions/project-shape-redundancies/solidarity/

To read about our campaign against the redundancies, visit: www.hls47.co.uk

Please send messages of solidarity and invitations for speakers to your meetings to laut@liverpool.ac.uk

Please make donations to our strike fund here: www.ulivucunews.org.uk/hardship-fund

Thank you to everyone who has contacted the branch with messages of solidarity and donations to our strike fund. It makes all the difference.

Anti-Casualisation Claim

UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL

UCU, UNISON AND UNITE

ANTI-CASUALISATION CLAIM

  1. Formal Heads of Claim

The persistent and structural use of insecure contracts in higher education has become a pressing issue of contention between employers and employees over the last five years. March 2020 leaked minutes from a meeting of the Russell Group suggested that member institutions, including the University of Liverpool, ‘show leadership’ on the issue of casualisation in order to ‘avoid reputational damage’.(1)

HESA data for the most most recent publicly available academic year, 2019/20, shows that 37% of all academic staff employed at the University of Liverpool have a fixed-term contract.(2) For those of us with direct experience of insecure contracts in Higher Education, the detrimental impact of precarious employment is an ever present feature of our work. Research has shown how short-term teaching contracts mean that research and teaching staff work unpaid over periods of unemployment during the summer months. UCU has found that on average hourly paid and part-time teachers are doing 45% of their work without pay.(3)

Precariously employed lecturers have to take up positions at short notice, have little time to prepare for courses assigned to them, and are given no extra time or remuneration for their preparation and office hours workloads. The mobility and insecurity of workplace precarity has a disproportionate impact upon those academics, overwhelmingly women, who have caring responsibilities, threatening to lock them into the least recognised, remunerated and most insecure, teaching-only roles within the University.(4)

Frequent breaks in contract and changes in location disproportionately impact staff with caring responsibilities, disability or migrant workers from ‘third countries’ not granted the ‘right to remain’.

Such conditions not only have an immediate, detrimental impact upon the quality of teaching, but produce broader discontinuities in course offerings, syllabi, and one-on-one mentoring that negatively affect the student experience.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on an employment model at the University that allows fixed term contracts, particularly of teaching staff to expire during the summer with no guarantee of renewal. While a substantial number of fixed term contracts that expired in summer 2020 were renewed for 2020/21 this yearly churn is not a sustainable business model and all too often exploits the most precarious. Those staff whose contracts are up for renewal all too often carry out huge quantities of unpaid labour out of fear of not being rehired for the following year. A system that recruits teaching staff based on yearly undergraduate recruitment numbers entrenches workplace insecurity, casualisation and inequality while undermining students’ quality of learning.

Early and mid-career researchers have reported the damaging effect of short-term contracts upon their capacity to deliver ‘research excellence’. The demands of short term employment, and the requirement to move cities, institutions, or even countries at short notice has a detrimental impact on researchers’ mental health and wellbeing, as it puts in jeopardy their ability to plan their future.

One Wellcome Trust report found that 36% of surveyed researchers were considering leaving the sector within three years, fuelling worries of a ‘loss of talent’ due to ‘increased pressures, instability and inflexibility within current career pathways and promotion criteria’.(5)

Despite the fact of bringing considerable revenue to the university, researchers are forced to juggle the publication of research findings with job applications and funding proposals, a situation that affects the quality of both.(6) Often this work takes place unpaid and between contracts. The University’s own Research in an Inclusive and Sustainable Environment (RISE) listening phase recently found that, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is ‘a real appetite, particularly from early career researchers, for significant, structural changes to the research environment to facilitate more sustainable and inclusive working practices’.(7)

The situation over the last year has been demoralising, particularly as the University is aware of it, and has the power to change it.

It is in the interests of the University to review its employment practices particularly in relation to fixed term contracts for staff across all roles and grades. The University is the second largest employer in the Liverpool City Region and should act as a model for fair employment, particularly given its civic responsibility and the role it plays in underpinning the local economy.

Working with trade unions to address casualisation would send a strong message to staff, students and the local community that the University’s claim that it ‘supports all staff and students in maximising their potential to succeed’ is genuine.

  1. Statement of Intent

Our claim is for the University to commit to the following in a written public statement:

2.1. A joint review of the hourly paid and fixed-term contracts at the University

2.2. A joint review of supplier agreements issued by the University and by third parties engaged with the University

2.3. Time-limited discussions regarding the issue of casualisation

2.4. A review of agreed role profiles for hourly paid and fixed-term employees across the University

2.5. The University to provide sufficient resources (people and funds) to achieve this objective in a timely and consistent way

  1. Ending the Unjustified Use of Fixed Term Contracts

In addition, the university should agree steps, including:

3.1. A commitment to indefinite contracts as the general form of employment at the University, with clearly defined conversion targets and timetable;

3.1.1. The joint trade unions will work with management on the process of implementation.

3.2. The transferral of all hourly paid and fixed term employees onto indefinite (and/or fractional) contracts with the exception of the following specific circumstances in which fixed term contracts are permitted:

3.2.1. Cover for a temporary absence, such as maternity/adoption/paternity/shared parental leave, sickness absence, bereavement and care leave, secondment, academic research and education leave;

3.2.2. Recognised, time-limited training programmes (e.g. Graduate Teaching Assistantships);

3.2.3. Cover for unexpected, temporary, one-off peaks in demand where the contract will end when the demand returns to normal levels. It is not permitted that such cover is repeated year-on-year as is currently the case, as predictable increases in activity and recruitment should require indefinite contractual arrangements;

3.2.4. Where individuals specifically request to be placed onto, or remain on, a fixed term contract;

3.2.5. Following Ball vs University of Aberdeen (2008), time limited external funding is not in itself a sufficient ground to refuse a permanent contract.(8)

3.3. Minimum length of 12 months to be introduced for all temporary contracts.

3.4. The elimination of the use of zero hours contracts at the university. All staff employed on zero hours contracts will be transferred onto indefinite fractional arrangements with the exceptions of the circumstances outlined in 3.2.1. – 3.2.5.

  1. Ending the Use of Supplier Agreements

This claim aims to prevent the use of supplier agreements for academic, academic support and professional service work at the university. The joint trade unions are aware that the University has issued supplier agreements to staff undertaking doctoral supervision for the online PhD in Education. At a time when such employment practices are being regularly denounced and in light of the recent Uber ruling,(9) this is a particularly retrograde step from the University and should be revoked immediately. The University should agree steps to ensure:

4.1. An end to the contracting of academic, academic support and professional service work through supplier agreements and other ‘freelance’ arrangements at the university;

4.1.1. All those who conduct such work are granted employee status at the university;

4.1.2. A review of supplier agreements issued both directly by the University and by third parties the University engages.

  1. Regularising the Permanency Process

It is our intention that this agreement address the significant workload faced by HR employees and joint trade union representatives when dealing with outstanding claims to permanency. To this end, the University should agree steps to ensure:

5.1. All full or part time fixed-term positions to be reviewed after two years, and the contracts to be made permanent at this point, unless their role meets the criteria set out in section 3.2.;

5.2. The automatic conversion to indefinite contracts for all those who have been working at the university for four years on a continuous basis.

  1. Tackling Researcher Insecurity

Our claim is to ensure security and career progression for all Research Associates and Assistants at the university, regardless of whether they are externally or internally funded. The university should agree to the following steps:

6.1. Full time employment to be the general and default form of contract for all Research Associate and Assistant positions.

6.2. Part-time contracts should be optional for those who wish to choose them

6.3. Bridge funding of up to a year to be made available to Research Associates and Assistants at the conclusion of their employment(10)

6.3.1. This funding will be provided for the purpose of completing publications, writing follow up funding applications, and seeking new employment within or outside the University

6.3.2. This funding will be provided by the university directly or by funding bodies (as part of the initial project proposal)

6.4. The prospect of permanency should be discussed between funders, PIs and HEIs at both an early stage and the conclusion of the funding period

6.5. A minimum employment period of 2 years for all research associate/assistant contracts

6.5.1. External funding will not be deemed a sufficient reason for contracts of less than two years in length

6.5.2. Bridge funding can be used to extend contracts where external funding has ended

6.6. Commit to a clear plan for the allocation of workload between PI, Co-Is, and Research Associates and Assistants

6.7. PIs should not be the only line managers and decision-makers. A good structure of support with at least two line managers and a mentor are to be offered to each researcher. Research Associates and Assistants must be fully integrated into the University’s HR processes.

6.8. Commit to a citation ethics model to ensure early career researchers are credited for their work

6.8.1. A clear plan for the fair allocation of single and collectively authored work to be agreed upon at the project planning stage.

6.9. In all Research Associate and Assistant contracts allocate as standard, and in accordance with the Research Concordat, a minimum of 10 working days per year for postdoctoral researchers to develop their independent research profiles, of at least 0.1FTE, to be taken either on a weekly basis or in larger blocks.

6.10. Ensure that all Research Associates and Assistants are HERA scored.

6.11. Ensure that the university covers relocation costs for all Research Associate and Assistant Positions

  1. Ending the Unequal Treatment of Hourly Paid Teaching and Research Staff

Of those hourly paid roles that remain as part of the agreement, the university should agree steps, including:

7.1. Ensuring agreement with UCU representatives on all job roles and specifications across the University that are outside of the 2004 Framework Agreement Role Profiles;

7.2. Ensuring that all Postgraduate Teaching Assistants, Demonstrators, Hourly Paid Lecturers, and University Teachers are paid equally, and in accordance to pay grade, for the same activities across all Schools, Departments, and Services;

7.3. Ensuring equal access to incremental progression for all staff on different forms of contract;

7.4. Reviewing the grades paid across schools, departments, and services to ensure compliance with other agreements;

7.5. Ensure equal access to paid time for professional development opportunities.

  1. Tackling Graduate Teaching Assistant and Postgraduate Demonstrator Insecurity

The university should agree steps, including:

8.1. Employee status for all Graduate Teaching Assistants

8.2. Guaranteed minimum and maximum working hours across all University departments for all students employed on GTA or Demonstrator contracts;

8.3. Postgraduates employed on GTA or Demonstrator contracts to be paid for a minimum of 2 office hours/tutorial time per week;

8.4. All postgraduates employed on GTA or Demonstrator contracts to be paid for any lectures they attend that are connected to the courses they teach;

8.5. Standardise pay grades, including marking tariffs, across departments at the university for all GTAs and Postgraduate Demonstrator positions;

8.6. Guaranteed paid preparation time for all GTA and Demonstrator contracts;

8.7. Guaranteed access to the relevant teaching qualification, free of charge (e.g. Postgraduate Certificate for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education or the Advanced HE Programme).

  1. Ensure Adequate Facilities Time

9.1. Joint trade union representatives, particularly those on casualised contracts, will have to dedicate significant time in order to undertake trade union duties to develop, negotiate and implement this claim. Our claim includes a call for agreement on additional facilities time for the joint trade unions to negotiate and implement this claim. Agreement to this would serve to demonstrate the University’s commitment to addressing casualisation.

  1. Negotiating Forum

10.1. The joint trade unions submit this claim as a matter for collective bargaining under Section 178 (2) (a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 ‘terms and conditions of employment, or the physical conditions in which any workers are required to work’ and 4.3 of the University Recognition and Facilities Agreement. (11) Negotiations should therefore be held between representatives of the joint trade unions and University management alone. It is essential that these negotiations take place in a timely and transparent fashion and that the objective should be to reach agreement by the end of the Summer Term 2021, with implementation beginning in Autumn 2021 at the earliest and January 2022 at the very latest. Agreement will be conditional upon the establishment of a clear and fair timeline of implementation.

References

  1. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/tackling-use-fixed-term-contracts-priority-russell-grouphttps://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10760/RG_casualisation_meeting_minutes_March_2020/pdf/RGcasuali[1]sationmeetingminutesmarch2020
  2. https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/staff/employment-conditions
  3. https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10336/Counting-the-costs-of-casualisation-in-higher-education-Jun-19/pdf/
    ucu_casualisation_in_HE_survey_report_Jun19.pdf . p.4.
  4. See Theresa O’Keefe and Aline Courtois. ‘“Not One of the Family”: Gender and Precarious Work in the Neoliberal University’. Gender, Work & Organization 26, no. 4 (2019), pp.463–79.
  5. https://wellcome.org/reports/what-researchers-think-about-research-culture
  6. The Precarious Postdoc: Interdisciplinary Research and Casualised Labour in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  7. University of Liverpool, Research in an Inclusive and Sustainable Environment, report of the listening Phase(2020), https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/intranet/media/intranet/humanresources/academy/research/
  8. Fixed term contracts and UCU sponsored employment tribunal case RISE_Report_Final.pdf, p.3.
  9. Uber BV and others (Appellants) v Aslam and others (Respondents) – Press Summary
  10. At the University of Leeds and Birkbeck, University of London, Institutional Strategic Support Funding (ISSF) from Wellcome Trust has been used to create bridge funding for postdoctoral researchers in the Medical Humanities. See https://wellcome.org/what-we-do/our-work/institutional-strategic-support-fund
  11. Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992

TOP TRUMPS’ SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN AGAINST UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL REDUNDANCIES: AN EXPLAINER

Senior management at the University of Liverpool intend to make
47 academic staff members in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
redundant by the end of May 2021 as part of a restructure titled ‘Project
SHAPE’. The 47 academic staff members have been selected using
the following selection criteria:

1. A calculation of average research income as a comparison with elite Universities.
2. The use of a citation measure knowns as the Field Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) score which is calculated using Elsevier’s SciVal database.

They have been sacked because they are told they don’t earn enough in research grant income, and perform badly according to the FWCI. None of the staff selected for redundancy were made aware of the metrics, or how those metrics were applied. The University has ignored its redundancy and capability procedures.

We have never seen metrics used to ‘rank and yank’ the workforce in a UK university in this way before and we are worried that this is being treated as a test case. This practice is deliberately aimed at rendering permanent contracts worthless. If staff can simply be disposed of en masse, for reasons they have never previously been made aware of, then this opens the floodgates to a universal casualisation of the sector.
The University has faced calls from a number of the leading organisations who promote the responsible use of research ethics, along with thousands of academics around the world.

They have ignored those calls, leaving us with no option but to ballot for for strike action
to defend them. The University of Liverpool used an FWCI score of 2 as the red line that puts our colleagues at risk of redundancy.

In order to expose how crass this is, we have launched a publicity campaign called ‘Elsevier SciVal Top Trumps’. The campaign is based on the fact that many, if not most, of the worlds best known academics have a score of below 2.

• More than half of the 127 government SAGE advisers who are affiliated to universities have 2015-2020 SciVal scores below 2.
• 40% of all Nobel Prize Winners between 2018 and 2020 (10 out of a total of 25) have
2015-2020 SciVal scores of below 2.

If you are an academic and feature in ‘Elsevier SciVal Top Trumps’, please don’t worry since the scientists who administer FWCI have told us it is meaningless when applied to individuals.

Our campaign is certainly not aimed at Elsevier. We are launching this to expose the
University of Liverpool’s meaningless use of FWCI.
We hope you enjoy playing ‘Elsevier SciVal Top Trumps.’

University of Liverpool UCU Branch, March 2021

Liverpool Voluntary Severance Scheme, TEF, REF and “Performance Management” Members’ Survey

https://surveyhero.com/c/9654ed00

Also see this flyer/ leaflet explaining the VSS and the UCU UoL position: VSS Flyer

The aim of the survey is to establish the facts and the effects of the Voluntary Severance Scheme announced by the University of Liverpool.
The Branch’s advice in relation to the scheme is that:
No one should go to a meeting in relation to the scheme or discuss the VSS if they do not wish to do so.
No one should be coerced in applying for the scheme
Coercion includes the use of any performance indicators as arguments that may “persuade” members of staff to take voluntary severance
The Branch does not accept that such “indicators” are legitimate
This survey is anonymous but If you wish to request personal advice and information please contact the local UCU Office at: lucu@liverpool.ac.uk or 0151795 3246

#LivUniStrike on Twitter

Link


Launch of the local Stress Code of Practice

Dear colleague,

Today is National Stress Awareness Day and we are pleased to say we can now we have been working with management for some time to develop.

We know how many of our members are affected by stress in the workplace and we’re pleased that the University have engaged with us in taking steps to address this.

We are fully aware that this isn’t a resolution to all of our workplace stressors, but communicating this Code of Practice to all staff, at every level, is a step forward in acknowledging workplace stress is an issue as well as providing useful information on how we can support our colleagues through a difficult time.

There is an article on the University of Liverpool/UCU Stress Code of Practice and a link to the document here.

A lot of work went into this locally and UCU’s National Health & Safety Official presented our Code of Practice to HESH, the National employers forum on H&S who asked if they could share it with all parties in the HE Sector as an example of best practice.

Our intention now is to ensure this very well received document is fully implemented locally and works to support colleagues already suffering from work related stress and to limit more colleagues from having to go through what can be a very debilitating illness.

Please feel free to share this with colleagues and managers. Everyone needs to know this Code of Practice exists in order for it to be fully effective.

Best wishes.

 

Jo.

Stand up for Equalities. Step up for Dawn.

Today we exercise our democratic right to elect a new government. However, the 8 June is also significant in the history of the struggle for the vote for women. On this day in 1913, the suffragette Emily Davison died of her injuries four days after falling under the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby.

At lunch-time today the University of Liverpool UCU branch stepped up for sacked Equalities Officer Dawn Holdman. UCU members gathered to demand Dawn’s reinstatement following her victimisation for trade union activity.

Dawn’s campaign has the full support of the national UCU.

Also see our Dawn Holdman Statement.

STEP UP FOR DAWN

8-june-2017-2-resampled

UCU branch Motion carried for Free Movement Of Labour In Higher Education

The following motion was carried at a mass joint union meeting attended by approximately 200 members on October 20th 2016.

FREE MOVEMENT OF LABOUR IN HIGHER EDUCATION

University of Liverpool UCU, Unite and Unison branches condemn in the strongest possible terms the proposal by home secretary Amber Rudd to restrict the entry of international students to ‘top’ universities and to introduce labour market tests aimed at reducing the numbers of international staff. We note this will impact on all post 16 educational institutions.

UK universities and all post 16 educational institutions depend on international students and staff not just in economic terms but in their very mission: to serve as spaces that are open to all people regardless of nationality and background. As such, the home secretary’s proposals are both nonsensical and racist.

The linking of student immigration rules to the government’s determination to further stratify higher education is especially pernicious. It is designed to maximise competition between HE providers and to blame ‘foreigners’ for the underinvestment and cuts for which they are not responsible.

These proposals come in the light of the recent vote to leave the EU that has endangered the existing free movement of labour within the European Economic Area (EEA). If this is ended, EEA staff will be drawn under the Points-Based Immigration Scheme, meaning that they will be subject to the same continual visa restrictions, employer-sponsorship arrangements, etc., that our international colleagues face. Similar barriers will likely be placed on UK nationals living in or moving to the EEA.

University of Liverpool UCU, Unite and Unison branches believe that ending freedom of movement of labour would represent a significant worsening of the conditions of present and future EEA staff in the UK. Any restrictions on freedom of movement of labour, and our right to work without discrimination based on nationality, will put increasing competitive pressure on EEA staff, and thus affect staff as a whole and weaken our union.

University of Liverpool UCU, Unite and Unison branches resolve urgently to campaign for the following:

  • No upper limits on the numbers of international students who wish to come to the UK and to study at universities or post 16 educational institutions of their choice
  • The immediate removal of international students from net migration targets
  • The free movement of labour and opposition to the Points-Based Immigration Scheme
  • An up-front guarantee for existing EU/EEA citizens in the UK to stay here
  • Protection for EU research funding and EU students
  • Full recognition of workers’ rights throughout EU withdrawal negotiations

University of Liverpool UCU, Unite and Unison branches further resolve

  • To publicise the fact that this motion has been passed and encourage other UCU, Unite and Unison branches to do likewise
  • To submit this motion, when passed, to the NEC of UCU, Unite and Unison.
  • To liaise with other branches regarding submitting a version of this motion to their respective National Conferences in 2017

Vote Jo McNeill for UCU General Secretary

Vote Jo McNeill for UCU General Secretary

Dear member,

The voting period for the position of UCU General Secretary begins on 1 February 2017 and lasts until the 1 March 2017. The election of this crucial national role takes place every five years, and the outcome will be important for the future direction of the union.

This year there are just two candidates: Sally Hunt (the sitting General Secretary); and Jo McNeill (President, University of Liverpool UCU).

As the University of Liverpool UCU branch committee, we are giving total and enthusiastic support to our President, Jo McNeill.

Jo has proved her commitment to UCU members on countless occasions at the local, regional and national levels. We know that she believes in fighting to prevent the ongoing slide in pay and the value of our pensions, along with the deterioration of terms and conditions across the HE sector. She has argued consistently for a strategy that is clear, accountable and transparent to members. As Jo has said repeatedly: “We can’t keep repeating the same mistakes. It’s time for change”.

For more information about Jo’s campaign go to: https://jo4ucugensec.wordpress.com/

This election is also a vital part of the democracy of the union and we urge all members to use their vote, whatever their preference. (In the last election for the position of General Secretary, the turnout was just 12%.)

In the coming weeks the campaign material of both candidates will be made available to members. The branch is also organising a hustings for as near to the start of the voting period as possible. Both candidates have been invited. The date will be confirmed shortly.

For more information about the elections of the General Secretary and other National Executive Committee positions go to:

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/7228/UCU-elections-2016-17

Mark O’Brien

Vice-president, University of Liverpool UCU

Motion for Joint Union Meeting (UCU, Unite, Unison) on Restructure of the Academic Secretary’s Office

20 October 2016

This meeting notes:

  • the current review and proposed restructuring of the Academic Secretary’s Office and within this, the Centre for Lifelong Learning;
  • that under the proposal a range of activities for academic support and educational development will be line managed under a new Leadership Academy;
  • specifically, that this change will mean that accredited academic support programmes (CPS, PG. Cert., Dip, MA, ULTRA) will come under the Human Resources line management structure;
  • that the proposed structure means the end of the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

This meeting is concerned that:

  • the academic integrity of the accredited programmes will be compromised by this change;
    • that this move of accredited programmes would have ‘implications for academic activity’ and so must be approved through the academic governance structure (faculty committees and Senate);
    • that the loss of the Centre for Lifelong Learning is harmful to the civic identity of the University.

This meeting recognises the need for branch representatives to engage in consultation in order to protect staff jobs and grades.

This meeting instructs its respective union branch officers to campaign over these issues, beginning with an open letter to the Vice-chancellor calling upon the University to:

  • keep all accredited programmes and general academic and educational development activity within a centre that has a clear educational identity and out of the Human Resources line management structure;
  • maintain an explicit commitment to lifelong learning;
  • retain a Centre for Lifelong Learning as a central component of the University’s contribution to the life of the City of Liverpool.

FREE MOVEMENT OF LABOUR IN HIGHER EDUCATION

University of Liverpool UCU, Unite and Unison branches condemn in the strongest possible terms the proposal by home secretary Amber Rudd to restrict the entry of international students to ‘top’ universities and to introduce labour market tests aimed at reducing the numbers of international staff. We note this will impact on all post 16 educational institutions.

UK universities and all post 16 educational institutions depend on international students and staff not just in economic terms but in their very mission: to serve as spaces that are open to all people regardless of nationality and background. As such, the home secretary’s proposals are both nonsensical and racist.

The linking of student immigration rules to the government’s determination to further stratify higher education is especially pernicious. It is designed to maximise competition between HE providers and to blame ‘foreigners’ for the underinvestment and cuts for which they are not responsible.

These proposals come in the light of the recent vote to leave the EU that has endangered the existing free movement of labour within the European Economic Area (EEA). If this is ended, EEA staff will be drawn under the Points-Based Immigration Scheme, meaning that they will be subject to the same continual visa restrictions, employer-sponsorship arrangements, etc., that our international colleagues face. Similar barriers will likely be placed on UK nationals living in or moving to the EEA.

University of Liverpool UCU, Unite and Unison branches believe that ending freedom of movement of labour would represent a significant worsening of the conditions of present and future EEA staff in the UK. Any restrictions on freedom of movement of labour, and our right to work without discrimination based on nationality, will put increasing competitive pressure on EEA staff, and thus affect staff as a whole and weaken our union.

University of Liverpool UCU, Unite and Unison branches resolve urgently to campaign for the following:

– No upper limits on the numbers of international students who wish to come to the UK and to study at universities or post 16 educational institutions of their choice

– the immediate removal of international students from net migration targets

– the free movement of labour and opposition to the Points-Based Immigration Scheme

– an up-front guarantee for existing EU/EEA citizens in the UK to stay here

– protection for EU research funding and EU students

– full recognition of workers’ rights throughout EU withdrawal negotiations

University of Liverpool UCU, Unite and Unison branches further resolve

– to publicise the fact that this motion has been passed and encourage other UCU, Unite and Unison branches to do likewise

– to submit this motion, when passed, to the NEC of UCU, Unite and Unison.

-to liaise with other branches regarding submitting a version of this motion to their respective National Conferences in 2017

 

 

Walk for the Liverpool Women’s Hospital

Bring the family, bring your friends. Make your own placard to say why you care about the hospital.

What are we marching for?

Full public funding – enough to allow Liverpool Women’s Hospital to thrive, for all our sisters, mothers, daughters and babies.

No privatisation or cuts.

No loss of beds.

Better funding for midwives and an improved maternity tariff.

Keep the focus on women and babies.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital is a 20-year-old world class hospital on a good site. It’s the largest maternity hospital in Europe and cares for more than 50,000 patients a year. Last year it provided antenatal care to 9,926 women, delivered 8,648 babies, cared for 1,091 babies in the neonatal unit, provided postnatal care to 8,221 women, fertility treatment to 2,247 couples and abortion care for the city and beyond. Its future is under threat because of inadequate maternity funding, lack of investment, funding problems for all the NHS and the rampant privatisation and market focus in the NHS.

Please see the flyer: SLWH leaflet for the march

UCU open letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool regarding the EU Referendum result July 2016

Dear Professor Beer,
I am writing following the EU referendum result. As we know you are aware, the result places University of Liverpool staff who are current EU citizens but who do not currently have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK in a specifically vulnerable position.
Some staff have told us they have begun looking for work elsewhere in the EU. Others may find themselves having to apply for the right to continue working while in University of Liverpool employment. We risk a brain drain institutionally while the city faces a capital flight.

….see the PDF below for the full document –

Save ‘Graduate to Merseyside’

This service, part of the Careers and Employability Service, every year finds employment placements in local organisations and companies. These lead to high quality jobs for hundreds of graduates of the University of Liverpool.
Now, the University has decided to scrap it!

But Graduate to Merseyside is crucial to:

 The civic role of the University
 Connections to the City of Liverpool
 Local retention of graduates
 The economic relevance of the University
 Relationships with local business
 Local partnerships
 Student recruitment

UCU general meeting

(open to non-members)

1pm., Wednesday, 18 June 2015

Rendall Building, Seminar Room 11 (Room 121)

UCU calls upon the University of Liverpool to core fund this vital service!

Graduate to Merseyside (PDF)

Northern Ireland public sector strike 13/03/15

Public sector unions are today striking over the Stormont regional assembly’s austerity drive to remove 20,000 public sector jobs. Rallies are taking place at Belfast, Londonderry, Newry, Strabane, Omagh, Enniskillen, Coleraine, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Dungannon and Craigavon. NHS, education, criminal justice and other public sector workers are taking part in the strike across Northern Ireland. UCU Liverpool offers support and solidarity to staff striking to preserve public sector services in Northern Ireland at this crucial time where welfare spending and public services are under severe threat following the Stormont House spending cuts agreement of 2014.

NEC elections

Dear UoL UCU members,

The University of Liverpool branch committee voted yesterday to support the NEC election campaigns of our Branch President Jo McNeill and our branch Vice President Eleni Michalopoulou. The branch committee also voted to support the election campaigns of Northwest Regional Secretary Pura Ariza and the Northwest Regional Chair Chris Sheehy who are also standing in these elections.

The branch officers and committee recommend that you vote accordingly:

Geographically-elected members of the National Executive Committee – North West HE (2 seats)
– Jo McNeill 1

– Chris Sheehy 2

Representatives of LGBT members
– Pura Ariza 1

UK Elected Members HE
– Eleni Michalopoulou 1

As a branch we work closely with all four UCU reps and we believe they are strong negotiators who have an excellent reputation as dedicated, hard working reps within their branches and in the Northwest Region. We would like to see these candidates elected to our National Executive as we feel they would effectively represent our members views at a national level.

If you are unhappy with the decisions UCU made recently at a national level then please use your vote.

Please remember, this is a branch committee recommendation only and we do advise you to read the election addresses of all delegates before voting.

Best wishes,

UCU branch committee
University of Liverpool

UCU Petition – Defend academic freedom against Counter-terrorism Bill duties

Please see the following national UCU petition against new anti–terror laws that require FE and HE institutions to identify those at risk of radicalization or those who hold extreme views to the authorities (note there no definition of what is meant by extreme).

Part 5 of the bill seeks to place a new duty on specified authorities (including universities, colleges, school and prisons) to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

Behaviours suggested for lecturers to identify include students disagreeing with mainstream political and social values. The bill could arguably profile those studying in Higher Education and represents an affront to personal and academic freedom. Please sign the petition below:

https://campaign.goingtowork.org.uk/petitions/defend-academic-freedom

Library campaign says thanks and invites all to lobby Town Hall 16 December

Liverpool Against the Cuts and Old Swan Against the Cuts would like to thank the UCU and all members who supported our fight to keep open eleven libraries in Liverpool.

On 16 December we will be organising a rally outside the Town Hall in Dale Street at 4pm. At 5pm we will be presenting 5,000 signatures (making more than 20,000 in all!) to the Culture Committee. Everyone is welcome.

On 10 November Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and council leader announced all libraries would stay open. This was a victory for the residents of Liverpool and all library users.

However, the buildings maybe secure but the service, as a public service, is still in danger. With this in mind, we hope that you can spare the time to email Mayor Anderson (http://liverpool.gov.uk/contact-us/contact-the-mayor) and impress upon him the need for a publicly run library service that is staffed with librarians and trained library assistants.

We have the continuing support of many writers, academics, journalists etc. In particular Alan Gibbons and Cathy Cassidy have helped us a great deal.

We are again writing to all schools in Liverpool for their support, as well as calling trade unions, students, community and social organisations, workers and youth to join our campaign.
This is the link to SpeakupforLibraries http://speakupforlibraries.org/ of which Alan is a member and he would welcome your thoughts.

For any further information please contact Martin Ralph, mralph@talktalk.net.

UCU University of Liverpool statement on FBU firefighters strike

The UCU branch of University of Liverpool offers support and solidarity to the striking firefighters in their 24 hour action today. This strike is part of an ongoing industrial dispute following UK Government proposals to force firefighters to retire later, pay more into pensions and retire with a smaller pension. These highly questionable proposals would see firefighters of 60 years of age forced to operate on the frontline of firefighting services, posing serious questions for the safety of firefighters and the public.

 

Petition to UUK over a fair USS

National petition to the Universities UK board at the USS institutions meeting on Thursday 4 December in London.

Petition to UUK over a fair USS

‘We the undersigned believe that the USS pension scheme is an important benefit to university staff as well as a significant factor in the recruitment and retention of high quality staff for member institutions.

‘We note that the employers’ initial proposals would have meant a reduction in annual pension income of up to 27% for staff. We call upon the USS Board to agree a fair method of valuation which reflects the underlying strength of the USS fund. We call upon university managements to support such an approach and to work with UCU to develop a pension scheme which ensures all eligible existing and future staff, including casualised staff, benefit from a decent guaranteed pension income.’

Sign the Petition here

THE article: University of Liverpool UCU vote to strike over pay threat

Please see the following THE article discussing the ballot of UCU Liverpool members to strike over threat to withhold pay for staff engaged in an assessment boycott. This boycott is due to the recent threat to USS Higher Education pensions.

“Action follows management decision to withhold pay from academics taking part in marking boycott.

“Union members at the University of Liverpool have voted to strike in response to the management’s decision to dock 100 per cent of the salary of employees participating in a marking boycott.”

“The strike, which would continue until the decision is rescinded, is the latest escalation of the dispute between institutions and staff which centres on proposed pension reforms.

“At least eight institutions across the UK have now announced plans to deduct full pay from lecturers taking part in the boycott, which began on November 6.

“A spokeswoman for the Liverpool branch of the University and College Union accused management of announcing their decision on pay in an “aggressively worded” email which “included threats to discipline members and make them personally liable for any damages awarded in claims made against the institution in relation to the industrial action”.

“”This hard-line stance has caused real anger across the university,” the spokeswoman told Times Higher Education. “Not only is this an insult to staff here in Liverpool but it is a threat to the national union’s ability to use ASOS [action short of a strike] in the future. We also know that, if the University of Liverpool is allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour, that it will become a norm across the sector.”

“The branch spokeswoman said the result of the vote was “overwhelming”, with no votes against and only one abstention.”

Please see the full article on the Times Higher Education.

A Discussion with Martyn Lowe on Local and International Green issues

A Discussion with Martyn Lowe on Local and International Green issues  

Discussing the Threat of Nuclear Waste in Merseyside, Impact of Nuclear Industry on local Workers, The Fukushima Disaster

The University of Liverpool
Harold Cohen Library, Ashton Street, Liverpool
(431 on Campus Map http://www.liv.ac.uk/maps)

Wolfson Meeting Room
Tuesday 11th February
12-1pm

Martyn Lowe is a radical Librarian, peace activist, veteran Green issues campaigner, member of Kick Nuclear, former Greenpeace (London) activist, and spent 28 years as a volunteer with the War Resisters International.

Martyn will discuss local nuclear waste processing occurring in the Merseyside area and developments at the Capenhurst uranium enrichment plant. Martyn has undertaken recent research into the movement of nuclear waste materials around the North West and Merseyside areas and will provide an overview of operational, safety and environmental issues arising for the region and local workforce. Martyn will also discuss wider nuclear developments including the continuing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster in Japan, representing the most severe nuclear incident in recent decades.  Martyn will offer insights into the ongoing issues surrounding Fukushima, including long term destabilisation of the plant’s infrastructure, the difficulties of the cleanup operation, dissemination of nuclear waste across the coastal region & surrounding ocean environment and impact on marine life as far as Alaska and California.

To confirm your attendance, please email Paul Catherall p.catherall@liv.ac.uk

Suggested Links for further information on the topics covered by this talk:

Lecture – The Uses of the University: Public Higher Education and Democracy

 

The Uses of the University: Public Higher Education and Democracy

John Holmwood

This talk will address the implications of recent reforms to higher education in England (and elsewhere) that align the university with a global knowledge economy. It will suggest that the reforms are a response to the emergence of mass higher education, but involve a shift away from understanding education as a social right and the expression of an inclusive public interest to an understanding of it as an investment in human capital and the expression of a private interest of individuals. This involves giving priority to the marketisation of the functions of a university and the displacement of those functions that cannot be marketised, including its functions for democracy.

John Holmwood is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham. He is the current president of the British Sociological Association. He is also the co-founder of the Campaign for the Public University.

 Wednesday, 12 February (4pm.)

Venue: 1st Floor Lecture Theatre, Room 1.13, 126 Mount Pleasant (CLL)

To book for this lecture go to: uculecture1@ulivucu.org.uk

ALL WELCOME

Recent coverage of the Pay Disupte in the Liverpool Echo

Please see the following recent Liverpool Echo articles on the Pay Disupte:

Mayor Anderson wades into pay row at University of Liverpool

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/mayor-anderson-wades-pay-row-6177552

Staff at Merseyside universities go on strike in on-going row over pay

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/classes-cancelled-merseyside-universities-academic-6259769

Universities described as ‘ghost ships’ as staff walk out over pay row

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-universities-described-ghost-ships-6261647

Joint-Union Strike Announced for 31st Oct

It has been announced that national UCU HE officers have agreed to call a day of joint strike action with Unison and Unite on Thursday 31st October. This will be the first all-union action on HE pay since 1996. UCU members will also be asked to work-to-contract with effect from Friday 1st November.

Further information is available in this branch circular and press release.

Strike 31/10/13 Poster materials

Stike 31/10/13 Poster materials

Please display the posters and distribute all the leaflets you receive – to members, non-members, members of other unions, members of none – as far throughout your building as they will go. We can supply more materials and will be organising door-knocking – please contact Pam at lucu@liv.ac.uk to request more leaflets, to volunteer to cover a building other than your own etc.

Unions promise to bring universities to “standstill” over pay (Times Higher article)

Universities have dismissed union claims that next week’s one-day strike will bring them to a “standstill”, saying that they expect a “low-level impact on students”.

Members of higher education’s three largest trade unions – the University and College Union, Unison and Unite – will take part in a national walkout on 31 October over employers’ “measly” 1 per cent pay offer.

This will represent the first time that the three unions have taken strike action together and will also be the first countrywide walkout over pay in the academy since March 2006, when lecturers also began an assessment boycott.

Read more

UCU Lecture Series October 2013

toplogo

The Place of the University in Society: Directions in Education

The programme

What is ‘The Great University Gamble’?

Wednesday, 2 October (5.30pm.)
Andrew McGettigan (author of The Great University Gamble: Money Markets and the Future of Higher Education, Pluto 2013)

Venue: Rendall LT.6

To book for this lecture go to: uculecture1@ulivucu.org.uk

****************************************************
Universities: the neo-liberal agenda

Thursday, 10 October (5.30pm.)
Professor Bob Brecher (University of Brighton)

To book for this lecture go to: uculecture2@ulivucu.org.uk

Venue: Rendall LT.6

****************************************************
The corporatisation of the university (live broadcast)
Tuesday, 22 October (4.45pm.)
Professor Noam Chomsky (MIT)

To book for this lecture go to: uculecture3@ulivucu.org.uk

Venue: Central Teaching Labs LT.B

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Defending education: what are the unions for?
Thursday, 31 October (5.30pm.)
Liz Lawrence (UCU, national vice-president); Professor John Holmwood (University of Nottingham) (founder of the Campaign for the Public University)

Venue: Rendall LT.6

To book for this lecture go to: uculecture4@ulivucu.org.uk

Liverpool Echo: University staff who face sacking have voted in favour of strike action

University of Liverpool staff who face the sack unless they accept revised terms and conditions have voted in favour of strike action.

But today union chiefs stressed that despite the endorsement for industrial action they were hopeful that a resolution could be found without the need to strike.

In June, 2,803 workers, whose jobs include librarians, computer technicians, clerical posts and groundsmen were put in the firing line due to the university’s controversial move to bring “equity across the institution” by standardising employees’ terms and conditions.

The university has warned staff who refuse to move over to new contracts they face “three months’ notice of dismissal” – albeit with the carrot of being immediately offered their jobs back under the new terms.

Read full article…

Liverpool Pride

This year the UCU had a contingent in the Liverpool Pride Event which was held on 3rd August. The entry was organised by the UCU Equality Officer at the University of Liverpool Branch and support was shown by the regional office as Janet Newsham also attended. The event was a great success and we hope to advertise more widely next year and look into the possibility of having a stall.