Sexual harassment is no laughing matter

Sisters and Brothers

This is a reminder of the meeting today at 12.30pm to 1.30pm in the Montague Room Senate House Room G26, sandwich lunch and refreshments provided.

The first part of the meeting will include a discussion about sexual harassment in the workplace led by Helen Carr followed by the AGM and election of Officers and Committee.

Helen is the UCU National Head of Equality and Participation and has led UCU’s work on this and was also involved in the TUC project Still just a bit of banter?

Earlier this year, the TUC commissioned polling to provide a snapshot of women’s experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace, the polling showed us that sexual harassment of varying degrees and severity is alive and well in the modern workplace and that over half of women in work had experienced some form of sexual harassment.

This should be of interest to all of us as trade unionists, because we believe that we should be at the forefront of preventing and combatting all forms of discrimination, harassment and violence in the workplace – the onus to challenge harassment should not all be on individuals to take grievances.

I look forward to seeing you later.


Vote YES on Monday

voteyes-portfolioLeaflet (PDF)

All members of UoL staff will be asked whether they wish to accept the proposals that the University is proposing following our negotiations. Your ICE reps worked hard to pull together proposals and put forward arguments that meant we got the best deal for UOL staff. UCU and UNISON recommends that you support the proposal by voting YES.

We will be able to act as a conduit for all members of staff who wish to be a part of the information and consultation process. Would you like to know more about the University’s financial situation? Would you like to see changes to the flexible working policy? There will be regular open meetings as well as and an online forum where all staff can submit questions and receive a response. We are looking forward to our new role as an opportunity to continue to hold the University to account and ensure that everyone can be involved in the process.

UCU and UNISON welcome the opportunity to enhance our ability to represent all staff and are delighted that the University has agreed to our proposals to set up an online forum and hold regular open meetings with all staff.

If you are a union member it obviously makes sense to vote YES, but if you are not, here’s what UCU and UNSION has already done for you on your behalf recently.

  • Increasing in London Weighting, which will be fully implemented by 2018 at £3,500
  • Increasing in leave for L01-L06 from 25 and 27 days, with a further push to make it equal for all staff in the future.
  • Locally representing staff on the following general issues
    • Health and Safety
    • Information and Consultation, which we already undertake
    • Restructuring and redundancy
    • Staff policies (e.g. compassionate leave policy, leave carry over policy)
  • Negotiating nationally on pay and pension issues. This is a purely national issue. We do not negotiate the annual uplift locally
  • Supporting HEE employees on UoL contracts during a major department restructure, negotiating successfully with senior managers to avoid compulsory redundancies

Our work on the above issues have benefitted you, whether or not you are a member of the union. It is true that members of the union do get more enhanced support from the unions in the form of trained representatives, such as Angela, Sam and myself – and get a say of the decision making process within the unions locally, regionally and nationally.

However that does not detract from the fact that we treat all members of staff equally when discussing collective matters with the University. The new arrangements simply formalise and facilitate our existing role.

So, we ask you to support us and vote YES on Monday 17th.

Jon Bitmead, Angela Ireland, Sam Ferman

PS The vote closes on Friday 28th, but do vote early if you can.

University of London offer on annual leave for grades 1-6.

Dear colleague

UCU and UNISON have received the following offer from the University of London in the campaign to equalise leave arrangements. It is not everything members would have wanted but it does represent progress in the correct direction.

We would like to receive informal feedback from you on whether you support these changes. The Senate House UCU committee will consider your response inform on whether we accept the offer from the University.

  1. to increase leave to levels 1 – 6 by two days to 27 days for full-time staff (pro-rata for part-time) for all current staff in these grades and all future joiners. The implementation date will depend on the date of agreement following the unions’ consultation with their membership but could be from 1 February 2016 if agreement is reached before the end of July;
  1. existing staff will be offered the choice of moving to the new leave allowance or, if they wish, remaining on the old terms on a personal basis;
  1. a review of the current TOIL arrangements in partnership with the recognised unions. We will discuss the terms of reference of such a review separately;
  1. as a condition of making this increase, the current arrangements for starters and leavers in all grades will be changed so that the leave allowance for the months of starting and leaving is calculated pro-rata to the number of days actually worked, rounded up to the nearest half-day. I enclose a chart which indicates how this would work in practice.

On item 2: This is a reference to the fact that part-time staff (all grades) who normally do not work on Mondays receive less annual leave on the whole than those who do work on Mondays, due to Bank Holidays usually falling on a Monday. This will be ended if you request it, but if you benefit by usually working on Mondays you do not have to move over.

On item 3: UCU will take up this issue separately and we recognise this is an issue for staff graded Level 07 and above.

On item 4: This is potentally a detrimental change affecting all members of staff. There is a practice when a member of staff’s final day of work is part way through a month, their final leave calculation is rounded to the nearest month. (i.e. up to 2.5 days leave for one extra day’s work).


EU Employment status

Hello all

Many of us seem to have been reflecting on the vote to leave the EU. As someone who is very much pro-EU, I do wonder if I could have done more during the campaign, rather than sitting back and watching the debate unfold.

The University has communicated the following to staff (you need to log in to view content).

Today I have written to the University with the following  communication suggestions

  1. That the University values the contributions that EU citizens make to the University, both academically and professionally.
  2. That the University will undertake to support to the maximum extent possible current staff who are EU citizens, continuing their employment with the University.
  3. That the University recognises this is potentially a stressful situation for EU citizens, and requests that members of staff note this and refrain from comments regarding EU migration and speculating on their colleagues future employment and residency status. Even if such comments are light-hearted, they may still cause offense or upset.


CoSector Business Plan

Members in CoSector (ULCC/Careers/Housing) will have seen the CoSector business plan. (you need to be signed in see it)

We remain concerned that whilst there are no redundancies immanent, that this calm only preceeds further cut backs later, although we genuinely hope this does not happen.

We continue to in contact with CoSector leadership over developments and we’d welcome feedback from members on the business plan.

Please get in touch if you would like to talk to us.


Strike next Wednesday (22nd) @ Senate House

You may have seen this article outlining the UCU’s plans for Strike Action this week/month.

As you can see there will be a series of rolling strikes across all branches of UCU and our date will be 22nd June, which is next Wednesday, and the same day as SOAS next door.

It’s really important that we all continue this action if we want to see an increased pay offer this year (and tactically in the years to come). All we expect that all UCU members at Senate House to not attend work on 22nd June and subsequently declare when asked that you were on strike.

Those keen to help their union a bit more, we need volunteers to run the picket from 8am on the day. The more the merrier really, but please do let me know if you are interested, so I can keep you in the loop.

More reminders will be sent in the coming week.

Please encourage your colleagues to join UCU.

Very best