National Workload campaign and Bradford College Contract

With a new contract here at Bradford, work load, and the accompanying increase in stress and ill health, is going to be a major issue. Just to remind you – the new contract means: the loss of a week’s holiday, an increase in annual teaching hours from 777 to 814 and then 828, and an increase in weekly teaching hours – for many of us, up to 25 per week.

We will all need to ensure our workloads are as manageable, equitable and fair as we can. If you believe that yours is unreasonable, contact your building rep or a branch officer.

UCU nationally has initiated a workload campaign – see details and link below.

An update on workloads in England FE

Whenever members are asked to name their major concerns at work – excessive and demanding workloads always feature high on their lists. Not only does an excessive workload have detrimental impacts on work life balance it also threatens the ability to consistently deliver a quality service to students. ‘Give us the time to teach’ is a common refrain.

At its worst, excessive working hours can have a detrimental effect on health. Our national stress surveys indicate year on year increases in levels of stress experienced by UCU members because of workload demands.

UCU has embarked on a nationally co-ordinated campaign to address this situation. We have been corresponding with colleges asking them to confirm that they have already or will, adopt the terms of a 3 year old national agreement which is designed to address the issue of excessive working hours.

The agreement does not prescribe a specific formula of working hours such as maximum teaching hours. It’s most important element  is for the employer to carry out risk assessments of working hours and duties to ensure they are not resulting in a negative impact on the health and safety of staff. It provides a procedure enabling UCU locally to take up issues of excessive workloads that are identified and reach agreement with the employer on how to tackle the situation.

Where colleges have confirmed that they will carry out assessments of working hours local UCU reps will now be able to pursue this to make sure it happens and then negotiate on suitable means to address as problems.

Although we have now had responses from a majority of colleges most  at present still fall short of confirming explicitly that they will undertake risk assessments on working hours. In these circumstances and where their employer has not replied to UCU branches are being encouraged to raise the issue locally and also to hold member meetings to decide on whether they wish to declare a dispute over the issue and move to a ballot on industrial action short of strike. The  intention is to coordinate any  ballots nationally.

 Follow this link for more information:

Contract Ballot Result

Dear Bradford College UCU member,

Following the e-ballot last week conducted by ACAS, these are the results:

Yes – to accept the new contract 180

No  – to reject  153

Total  = 333 votes out of a total of 462 offered the chance to vote

This equates to a 72% turnout of members voting.

This decision to accept comes after nearly two years. Two years of branch members standing together and voting overwhelmingly to defend our contract, at 8 branch meetings, and voting on two occasions to prepare to ballot for industrial action; the previous e-ballot delivered a vote of 91% to reject the then offer. The strength of this feeling from a united branch has enabled the negotiating team to achieve this present contract offer, the best that could be achieved through negotiation alone.

To ensure that the implementation of this contract does not lead to a further detriment to our terms and conditions and a worsening of quality of our provision will require us all to maintain the strength and unity we have demonstrated over the past two years.

UCU negotiators will continue to work with members and management to develop new timetables, workload allocations and to finalise the wording of the new contract. We will forward members advice and guidance on the workload agreement in the near future.

UCU believes that the issues of the guidelines related to the Workload Agreement and the threat of redundancies will be major tests.

Thank you for your support throughout.

Negotiating team

Julie Kelley, Chris Webb, Debbie, Rolls, Marie Pacchiarini, Geraint Evans

NUT Love Music Hate Racism Event ‘Call Mr Robeson’

Written and Performed by Tayo Aluko, With Michael Conliffe, Piano

Directed by Olusola Oyeleye, Designed by Phil Newman

“They say I’m meddling in the foreign affairs of the United States Government. Now, that’s too bad, ‘cause I’m going to have to continue to meddle…”

Paul Robeson is a world famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner. When over the years he gets progressively too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel.

This rollercoaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable and eventful life highlights how his radical activism caused him to be disowned and disremembered, even by the leaders and descendants of the civil rights movement. It features much fiery oratory and some of his famous songs, including a dramatic rendition of Ol’ Man River.

Tayo Aluko revives one of the 20th Century’s most impressive but overlooked figures in this powerful, compelling tour-de-force performance, which was seen at New York’s Carnegie Hall in February 2012, and makes its London West End Debut in October 2013.

“First-rate … an admirable introduction to a great pioneering performer”

4 Stars The Guardian


“A stunning piece of musical theatre…. high quality drama, first class singing”
Fringe Review, Edinburgh Fringe, 2010


Winner, Best Solo Show, Stratford-upon-Avon Fringe, June 2013


Triple Winner (Impresario Award, Best Actor, Best Original Work) London Fringe, Canada, June 2012


Age recommendation: 12+

      No violence, bad language, nudity or sexual content.

Show length: 75 minutes (no interval)


£10 and £8 (unwaged)

£5 for those attending conference





Support the disputes in our region from Lesley McGorrigan Regional Sec

Below is information on some important disputes in our region (and beyond) and details of how you can support our members taking action.  Solidarity can make a massive difference to our members and can help them win.
1. Kirklees College UCU strike against job losses and cuts to staff pay and conditions
·                Read about this dispute here:
·                Visit the picket lines if you can at the New North Road site in Huddersfield only, from  8am on Thursday 20 June.
·                Put messages of support  on the  blog:
·                Messages of support can also be sent to Sharon  Archer:
·                Take a strike fund collection.  Cheques can be made payable to Kirklees College UCU
2. Chesterfield College strike against the threat of 70 compulsory redundancies
Chesterfield UCU and NASUWT members at the college are due to take two days of strike action this week on Tuesday 18 and Thursday 20 June.
·                Attached is a collection sheet for the dispute.
·                Send a message of support to:
·                Use the attached collection sheet at branch meetings and to take around your institution to raise money.
3. Grimsby Institute vote for strike action
UCU members at Grimsby Institute have voted unanimously in support of action short of a strike and 96% of members voted for strike action in their dispute over job losses and cuts to staff pay and conditions.  There is a branch meeting on Tuesday 18 June to decide next steps.  The college is using national funding cuts as an excuse to axe one in five teaching staff, rip up workload agreements, slash staff pay and ride roughshod over employment rights.
Send messages of support to:
Best wishes
Lesley McGorrigan
Regional Secretary, Yorks & Humber UCU

Strike Action to defend jobs and conditions across Yorkshire and Humberside and Chesterfield

Members in these colleges across our region have voted for and are taking strike action to defend their jobs and their conditions. Follow the links to UCU’s home page for more details.


Strike on at Chesterfield College in jobs row

Strike action vote in jobs cut row at Grimsby Institute

Strike action vote in jobs cut row at Kirklees College