Dear UCU members
Welcome back to the new academic year. Yet again we found ourselves in the middle of attacks both from the management and the Con-Dem government. Management’s proposal of no-notice observations, on-going negotiations over our contract and pay are only some of these. Each issue has an equality dimension and we must defend our hard won rights.
Please find details on equality-related events below.
1- There will be two UCU equality group meetings this month:
October 11 at 12.15 to 13.15 at E24a Westbrook
If you want to get involved in one of the following equality groups or want to be active in any way please get in touch with me and attend one of the meetings.
The equality groups are (These categories are determined by the national UCU):
Black and Ethnic Minority members
2-The first Operational Equality and Diversity meeting of this academic year will be held on Wednesday 10th October at 10.30am. If there is any equality issue you want me to raise with the committee, please let me know in advance of the meeting.
3-The UCU Equality conferences are coming up. I would encourage our members to attend these conferences and be actively involved in formulating our union’s equality policies and activities. Dates and information are below, please follow the links.
Women Members Conference – Friday 9 November 2012
Register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/women-members-12
LGBT Members – Saturday 10 November 2012
Register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LGBT2012
Deadline for registration: Friday 27 October
Black Members – Friday 16 November 2012
Register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Black-members2012
Disabled Members – Friday 23 November 2012
Register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Disabled-members2012
Date: 9th October 2012
Time: 12pm to 4pm
Venue: PCS Office, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merion Centre, Leeds LS2 8LY
5- Finally please see the attached UCU Equality News.
I hope to see you at one of the equality group meetings.
UCU Equality officer
It has been several weeks since the AGM. One of my pledges was to communicate with members regularly about issues relating to equality; this is the first newsletter and I hope it will be useful for you.
Pay and conditions:
We are under attack from both the college management and the Con-Dem government over our pay and conditions. Protecting vulnerable groups from further inequality will become increasingly important in defending our rights.
For example the college management is proposing ‘hot desking’ in the new building. Some of us will have to push a trolley to deliver equipment for our lessons. A UCU report highlights some of the problems:
- stress and distress caused by lack of a suitable base from which to work;
- IT system failures;
- lack of privacy when needed;
- constant background noise in hot-desk areas;
- no proper storage facilities for materials;
- being forced to carry large amounts of materials around (excessive manual handling);
- use of laptop or other computers in inappropriate work locations leading to risk of muscular-skeletal injury;
- concerns about security ie. risk of assault for theft of laptops.
Please see the link below for more information on hot desking: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm
These changes will be detrimental to all of us but will, in particular, impact on our members with disabilities potentially making working life at the College impossible.
The College management’s new contract proposal suggests that we don’t work enough so would have to work 100 more hours if the contract is implemented. This means tutors would not only have to teach an extra session each week and have less time to prepare for their lessons but would have to take more work home. This will have a damaging effect on work life balance. This increase in hours across the board could mean some of us will lose our jobs. Who would be the first? Possibly those most vulnerable ie. Part-time hourly paid and fractional contract staff.
We will demand that management conduct equality impact assessments in relation to their proposals. However, we must also campaign vigorously to defend all members’ jobs and conditions.
Our members have now seen the initial impact of the pension contribution increase in April’s pay packet. The average full time lecturer will lose £350 this year and all future years. Increasing the retirement age to 68 means: pay more, work longer and get less. This will have a huge impact on our already poorly paid members, particularly those who are p/t hourly paid as they have no job security and will be the most likely to struggle in paying their mortgage/rent and bills.
Against the casualisation of our workforce:
Mahmoona Shah from FE Business has been elected to the UCU national anti-casualisation committee. She has written a newsletter for that committee. I believe the campaign against the casualization of our workforce will be an important issue in the coming months and years. We must take this issue seriously as hourly-paid will be the first to go whenever there is a ‘restructure’ as they are have limited employment rights.
UCU TPS members are going to be on strike alongside PCS and UNITE over the attack on our pensions on May 10th. This brings the pension battle back on the agenda and will give confidence to other unions to organize a bigger fight back.
Please see the link below for more information.
Over my first few weeks in this role I have been in correspondence with members regarding part-time hourly paid lecturers’ Easter Holiday pay. The college was paying p/t hourly paid employees their holiday pay after Easter whilst f/t or fractional post-holders were paid before the Easter break. This was resolved by the joint efforts of p/t hourly paid members and UCU branch officers. Even though the desired outcome was not fully met, the management agreed to look at the holiday payment calendar for next year and organize it appropriately.
There were also concerns about walk-through observations which were specifically inspecting equality and diversity in lesson plans. These observations were not agreed by the union and tutors were not notified. This has been raised with management and we are still awaiting their response.
Equality group meeting:
I will be organizing the first UCU equality group meeting after Spring Bank holiday. Please contact me if you are interested in working with this group.
I include below some useful weblinks from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the UCU. These include new TUC toolkit on the impact of government cuts on women, an article on LGBT equality and incapacity benefits. Also attached are Bradford College equality and diversity documents.
Have a good read and keep in touch.
- College papers on equality:
- UCU Equality:
- Equality Act:
- Equal marriage consultation: another step towards LGBT equality: http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-20802-f0.cfm
- Incapacity benefit tests are failing disabled people, says TUC: http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-20786-f0.cfm
- TUC Women and the Cuts toolkit:
UCU Equality Officer
01274 43 3160