Interested in UCU democracy? Opportunities for you to get involved


The pensions strike in spring 2018 generated urgent questions about how members can influence union strategy during disputes and, more broadly, what democratic structures UCU should have.

If you would like to represent your branch in these debates, take a look at the following opportunity.

UCU Democracy Commission 

Following motions passed at Congress 2018 (motions B19 and L9), the national executive committee (NEC) has agreed arrangements for the election of the membership of the commission.

The details and timetable for the election are available by clicking here.

The deadline for receipt of nominations is 10 August at 5pm.



Open letter to the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Operations): bringing outsourced workers back in-house


Dear Pro-Vice Chancellor (Operations),

As the recognised unions at the University of London, although heartened by management’s reiterated position to remove all use of zero hour contracts, we would like to express our disappointment with the most recent statement issued by the University of London regarding the ongoing project to bring our valued colleagues back ‘in-house’.

We reaffirm our belief that all who call the University of London their regular place of work, should be directly employed and, therefore, entitled to the same protection and benefits available to them as UoL employees.

We believe this latest statement did little to address the concerns raised following both the email sent on 25 May 2018 and SharePoint update on 06 June 2018 and again fails to address the very real concerns of members of staff over who, when and how our colleagues will be brought back in house. We remind you that in a previous statement from management, we were told that “in practical terms, these initiatives will be progressed over the next 12-18 months with some services being brought in house in 2018/19”.

We request that Senior Management address the following issues;

  1. Use of language
    We note that the statement issued did not include one instance of words or terms such as ‘worker’, ‘people’, ‘in-house’ or ‘bringing people in house’. This is unsettling given that some of these terms have been used within the previous communication and given that this issue is primarily about how people are employed. When communicating regarding this issue, these phrases should be used to avoid confusion and to provide clarity over who and what is being discussed.
  2. Timetable
    We also note that we have yet to receive a timetable of who will be brought in house and when. The only recent reference made to a timeframe related to a possible customer service model and student residential life programme being presented to the Board of Trustees in the autumn. We request that a more detailed timetable be provided, to demonstrate the current stage of planning. Whilst we appreciate that such plans may be in a draft form, it is important that colleagues have sight of provisional plans as these also provide reassurance that the University remains committed to this issue. This should include reference to our cleaning colleagues as they were not directly addressed within the most recent statement.
  3. Implementation group
    It has been suggested by senior management that an ‘in-housing implementation group’ is established. We request that the unions have full consultation on the Terms of Reference for and membership of this group.
  4. Security review
    That the unions also have full consultation on the upcoming security review including agreeing the Terms of Reference, which security and technology experts are selected, and input into the methodology used for the review. Union involvement in this process is paramount, particularly now it has been communicated to staff. This is a health and safety issue and there will be many questions. Additionally, particularly in light of recent media coverage, reference should be made to the recent expenditure of University funds on enhanced security and what this has achieved over the last few weeks.
  5. Zero hours contracts
    Clarification over which service providers are currently reviewing their zero hours contracts. We are aware Aramark are reviewing their zero-hours contracts but the statement suggests that all contracted out service providers are doing this and perhaps the University itself ‘across our estate’.
  6. Residential Student Life programme
    The link between the Residential Student Life programme and the FM review is unclear. This needs to be unpacked and explained. If the University remains committed to seeking outcomes that are mutually agreeable to employer and employees, then clear, transparent and suitably detailed information must be offered as a key part in achieving this.

We look forward to receiving a response that addresses each of these issues in turn.


UNISON & UCU Senate House branches

Have you voted yet in the pay and equality consultation?


Vote now in the pay and equality e-ballot – see link in your email! Closes 27 June.

UCU HQ recommends that you vote to reject the offer for the following reasons:

  • 2% is well below the current rate of inflation which, as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI), is currently 3.4%
  • 2% does nothing to restore ground lost against inflation since 2010 which UCU estimates to be 21% when pay settlements are cumulatively compared to rises in RPI
  • 2% reflects a continuing de-prioritisation of staff pay; while the proportion of university expenditure spent on staff has fallen to just 54.7%, reserves held by institutions have increased by 259% and capital expenditure by 34.9%.

At our branch meeting in May 2018, we discussed the pay offer of 2%. Members present recognised that the offer is beneath inflation but there was limited appetite for prolonged strike action over the issue at the moment, especially in light of the possibility of further strikes over USS and the local campaign to bring outsourced workers back in-house. However, this meeting was not quorate and therefore the branch does not have a firm mandate from members on the issue.

The choice is yours and we would at the very least encourage you to take part in the e-ballot, which will be used to determine whether we are balloted formally on strike action over pay for later in 2018.

Questions about the in-housing announcement? We do!

We are collating questions about last Friday’s in-housing announcement prior to our next meeting with management.








Let us know by:

  • Talking to us at our weekly drop-in clinic (12.30 – 1.30, next and every Monday) in SB25 (to find the room, get to the reception desk of the lower ground floor in Senate House, turn right and go through the double doors  – the room signage is on order!)
  • Popping over to see us at the joint Q&A point we’re holding with UNISON in the LG floor reception, Senate House (just outside Deller Hall) on Thursday 7 June between 12.30pm and 1.30pm
  • Emailing a member of the committee