Joint branch meeting with UNISON Monday 31 October 12-1:30PM, C511 (Curzon 5th floor)

We’re organising a branch meeting on Monday 31 October 12-1:30 in C511 (Curzon). Please try to attend and encourage your colleagues to do so. We will be debating motions for the annual Equality Conference. We will also be debating a motion about how we as a union respond to the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union (below). If there are items you’d like to discuss at the meeting please get in touch.
The meeting will also be held jointly with UNISON, who are seeking to establish a branch for those Professional Services staff at BCU who do not fall within UCU’s remit.  We are supporting their efforts. If you are working with colleagues who are potential UNISON members, please encourage them to attend.

We will also be debating the following motion:

The Negative Effects of Brexit
BCU UCU is aware of the concerns university staff and students have faced and will be facing as a consequence of the outcome of the referendum held on the UK membership to the European Union.  Among those concerns are: increased incidents of racism and xenophobia, employment security, status of students, tuition fee increases, as well as the status of European research funding, and Erasmus programmes.

BCU UCU believes that this undermines the security and wellbeing of our colleagues and students and threatens the very principle of UK Higher Education as outward-facing, and open to the exchange of ideas and people.

BCU UCU affirms our opposition to discrimination and to the anti-foreigner rhetoric in the media and from politicians following the Brexit vote.

BCU UCU commits to the following action points:

•       Set up a support network for all those directly affected by Brexit to share information and advice
•       Organise a public event (working together with NUS if they agree) along the theme of “What does Brexit mean for the BCU academic community”?
•       Publicise the fact that we have passed this motion
•       Liaise with other branches where similar concerns have been raised
•       Submit motions along these principles to UCU Congress 2017

AGM, Weds 28 Sept 2-3:30PM (on all 3 campuses)

BCU UCU’s AGM will take place on Wednesday 28 Sept 2-3:30PM on all 3 campuses (P233 at City Centre, 0/006 Seacole West at City South, City North TBC). So please put the date in your diaries. If you can’t make the entire meeting, then please prioritise 2-3PM. We will send out an agenda closer to the date; if there are items you’d like to add please get in touch.

We are seeking nominations for the following branch committee roles for 2016-2017.

Committee roles

Branch Chair
Branch Secretary
Membership Secretary
Treasurer
Health and Safety Rep
Equality Rep
Learning Rep
Environmental Rep
Anticasualisation Rep
Academic Related/Professional Services Staff Rep
Women’s Rep
Black Members’ Rep
LGBT Rep
Disabled Rep
Pensions Rep

If you are interested in standing for any of these roles please email Gary Hazeldine, who will act as returning officer (Gary.Hazeldine@bcu.ac.uk) by Wednesday 31 August. You’ll need 2 current BCU UCU members to nominate you. If you’d like to chat about any of the roles or have questions please email bcuucu@gmail.com.

 

EU Referendum Result

In the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union, we want to express our solidarity with international UCU members at BCU, as well as our international colleagues and students, and that we welcome you and value your contribution in making BCU an outward-looking, diverse academic community. We also wanted to affirm our opposition to any discrimination you will face on the basis of race, nationality, or country of origin.

UCU’s National Executive Committtee has also produced a statement on the aftermath of the EU Referendum including the following text:

The UCU rejects any attempt to use the ‘Leave’ vote to impose further austerity measures.

Post-16 education is already under attack, we will fight any attempt at further cuts as a result of the referendum.

We will determinedly oppose any attempt by politicians to use the vote to restrict the rights of migrant workers and refugees and reaffirm our Congress commitment to supporting EU students and staff in UK institutions.

UC petition on protecting employment rights

We would also like to share a petition from the TUC about ensuring no cuts to workers’ rights derived from EU law or limitation of who can be protected by them, in the formulation of UK employment law after leaving the EU. We encourage you to sign and share, and also to share with your MP.

Finally we would encourage you to ask your colleagues to join the union if they are not already members. Given all the uncertainties facing higher education and UK society in general, it is all the more important that we support each other and have the confidence to act collectively. The more of us are members, the stronger we will be.

Colleagues can join at https://join.ucu.org.uk/ or by phone at 0333 207 0719.

Branch meeting on 21 April 1-2:30PM

We will discuss recruitment at our upcoming branch meetings which will take place simultaneously at all 3 campuses on Thursday 21 April at 1-2:30PM. We will also feedback on our involvement in the Employee Forum and The Academic Workload Planning Forum (AWPF), which is to advise the development and implementation of the new academic workload planning framework for 2016-2017. We will also elect a delegate for UCU Congress.

MP492, Millennium Point (City Centre)
A030, Attwood (City North)
City South TBC

Response to Staff Engagement Survey results

By now you’ve all seen the results of the Staff Engagement Survey, and are discussing them in your Schools and Faculties. We should point out that these results come as no surprise to us, as these issues are familiar from discussions we’ve had with colleagues in our capacity as reps and which we’ve raised with HR.

We feel the changes from the previous 2012 survey are particularly revealing, as the comparison between 2012 and 2015 figures show below. They reflect an organisation where people have good relationships with their colleagues in their immediate teams and work areas (where 75% of staff had a positive response) but where decisions made at the top seem top-down, and handed down on high as a fait accompli rather than meaningfully listening to staff and responding to concerns. This is reflected in the fact that 10% fewer staff say that the University Executive Group (UEG) manages and leads the university well compared to last year, and that 7% fewer staff say that the UEG listens and responds to staff views.

The survey results also reflect the degree of change which has taken place (such as Project Sapphire, the Faculty merger and other restructures), in which decisions which often have serious implications for staff livelihoods and careers are made in a top-down manner and are often communicated poorly (such as through emails at 5PM on a Friday) – reflected in the fact that 33% believe change is managed well (down from 48%) and that 7% fewer communication is effective than in 2012.

14% fewer staff than in 2012 feel that BCU is committed to equality of opportunity of all staff, which raises questions about the fairness and transparency of decision-making, and how much equal work for equal pay at equal value is taken into consideration.

7% fewer staff than in 2012 feel that BCU supports them in balancing work and personal commitments, which we feel reflects the issues we have flagged up around reluctance to agree flexible working arrangements for staff with caring responsibilities, young children, etc.

Finally, the survey results also reflect concerns about the university’s commitment to developing staff careers – as many people feel they are “stuck” in their current roles, and do not have enough support to develop their careers or improve their job prospects (reflected in the drops of 4-5% in staff feeling valued, that the University is acting fairly in relation to career progression, as well as that 12% fewer staff than in 2012 have had a performance review in the past year).

In response, we feel that it is important that strategic decisions – especially those around organisational change – be made in a way that is genuinely consultative, fair and transparent, and that staff views are meaningfully taken into consideration, and that the wellbeing and careers of BCU staff are supported, and that there be a meaningful commitment to equality/diversity. These are crucial if the University is to take the survey results seriously – and we also note that BCU ranked 43rd out of 45 Higher Education Institutions in relation to being a good place to work – so there is much work to be done. However, it is also important that we have a stronger collective voice, which is why we encourage you to ask your colleagues to join the union if they are not already members, as well as to get actively involved.

Update on 2016 pay negotiations and WAM working group

Thanks for all who participated in the survey on the 2016 pay offer.

Members voted overwhelmingly accept the pay offer.

UCU has made it clear our opposition to performance related pay however HR insist that it remains as an element of pay though progression up the incremental scale which will henceforth be connected to the IPR process and the introduction of discretionary payments for those at the top of their incremental scale.

The proposed discretionary payments at the top of the incremental scale will be further discussed as part of the 2017 pay negotiations before they start being awarded.

Once these new performance related elements are implemented UCU will be involved in monitoring the process of conferring discretionary  and incremental payments  to ensure that the principles of fairness, parity across the University and with the sector, and equal pay for equal work of equal value are followed; we have also requested that equality and diversity statistics in BCU be shared with us on a regular basis.

In addition UCU and HR  have agreed to discuss the following issues over the coming months:

-Clarification and negotiation about professorial pay rates and progression  (BCU remains behind the rest of the sector,  as the attached document shows.  We will also be discussing the need for greater clarity about both appointment and progression for professors at BCU.
-Pay grades and conditions of services for Visiting Lecturers
-Gender pay equality issues will be reviewed in relation to Athena SWAN.

WAM working group
The University is developing a new Workload Allocation Model (WAM) now called the  Academic  Workload Planning Framework, in which all duties carried out by staff will be recorded using an online system run by a company called Simitive, which will replace the various  models currently in use.  UCU is represented on the operations group, through the involvement of Amanda French (UCU Branch Chair).   So far it is has been a very useful exercise and should result in greater cross-university parity and transparency for workload planning. If you have any questions about this please get in touch.

 

LGBT+ Staff Network launch on 22 February, 4:30-7PM in C003 (Curzon)

To mark LGBT History Month, the union is supporting the launch of the new LGBT+ Staff Network at BCU on 22 February, 4:30-7PM in C003, Curzon.

The LGBT+ staff network is open to all support, professional and academic staff who self-define as: Lesbian, Gay, Homosexual, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Intersex and has been established to:

  • provide information and support to BCU LGBT+ staff;
  • lead or support the co-ordination of social and educational events for LGBT+ staff and/or a wider audience;
  • provide a safe and open forum for discussing LGBT+ and general diversity issues at work;
  • promote LGBT+ awareness raising initiatives e.g. campaigning for zero tolerance against homophobic and transphobic bullying and harassment; and
  • provide networking opportunities.

The launch event on Monday 22 February will feature a talk, ‘Enhancing the Staff and Student Experience’ from guest speaker, Meriel Box; Head of Staff Development at Liverpool John Moores University; a Fellow of the LFHE (Leadership Forum for Higher Education);  joint Chair of the UK Organisation Development in HE Group; and a member of the British Psychological Society.

The LGBT+ staff network launch event is open to all staff and students.

Book your place now on Eventbrite>>

For more information about the LGBT+ staff network and the launch event please join the Twitter discussion @BCULGBTstaff, email Kwabena.osayande@bcu.ac.uk, the Equality and Diversity Policy Advisor or call on extension 6705.