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Branch Meetings and ongoing conversations with the University

Hi all we hope you enjoy (or enjoyed, if you’re reading this later) your brief Easter Break.

This announcement is just to say thank you to everyone who came to one of our Branch Meetings this month, the one we held at St Mary’s Road on 3rd April in particular was very well attended, and thanks to Jose for chairing so well that we got through all of our Agenda items and had time for a lot of valuable input from you all. We still had very low attendance from staff based at Paragon, despite holding a branch meeting at that campus. So do let us know if you wished to attend and couldn’t for any reason – maybe we could have scheduled it at a better time for many of you? Our next Branch Meetings will take place in late June/early July, and we’ll let you know of the dates in good time.

Regarding our ongoing dispute about flexible/remote working, please remember that our position is: that professional academic staff should comply with appropriate (and polite) requests for information about their work and their whereabouts, but that they are not obliged to seek permission to work away from their desks, whether that be at other locations in the University or outside. It is not appropriate for your line managers to attempt to make you seek permission to be away from your desk, and you can cite this dispute when communicating with them. Any problems in this area, just let us know: UCU@uwl.ac.uk

We also wanted to let you know that there are a number of meetings ongoing, with appropriate management and VCE staff, regarding:

  • creating guidance on remote working, to ensure that this is managed appropriately in future
  • the appropriateness of, and implementation of, the workload model across all schools, and its links to the Academic Framework
  • the new teaching observation procedure and ADAM scheme

We’ll let you know what outcomes we achieve in due course, but until then keep letting us know of any issues that are affecting you in your roles,

thanks, Rosey

 

Collective Dispute regarding remote working

Dear Members,

yesterday we sent a letter – posted in full below – to our Head of Human Resources invoking the Collective Dispute Procedure and requesting a series of meetings to resolve the issue of staff members being unable to complete their jobs to their full ability due to restrictions placed on our working location, sometimes accompanied by bullying behaviour from their management.

If you have anything you’d like to add regarding this issue – good practice as well as bad – please email UCU@uwl.ac.uk and copy in your School Representative.

We will keep you informed of this process, and in the mean time would ask you to comply with appropriate (and polite) requests for information about your work and your whereabouts, but you do not need to ask permission to be away from your desks, nor should you feel pressured to fall into ‘presenteeism’.

thanks to everyone for their support,

Rosey (Branch Secretary), Jose (Branch Chair) and Barry (Regional Official)

 

Dear Neil,

 

We are writing to you formally in order to invoke the Collective Dispute Procedure, agreed between UCU and UWL as an appendix to the Joint Agreement on Recognition and Procedural Arrangements in 2014. In accordance with this, we request a sequence of meetings to resolve an issue which is continuing to cause problems across the University.

 

It is apparent that a range of different policies and approaches are operating across the university, which are aimed at coercing and in some cases bullying members of the academic staff to be sitting at their desks on a 9am to 5pm basis. We have seen examples of communications being sent to groups of staff which clearly seek to ‘name and shame’ individuals without any apparent respect being paid to the professional nature of the academic contract of employment, or the flexibility that staff are required to show to students and to the University. An examination of the UWL academic contract of employment, the Duties and Responsibilities Handbook for Academic Staff and the Academic Employment Framework does not assist us in identifying what right management have to insist upon this level of inflexibility. Rather, the whole basis of the express terms of all of those documents is framed around flexibility, and cannot possibly accommodate the creation of an institutional culture of mistrust.

 

UWL does not have a clear policy on working location, other than in the most general terms. It is our view, therefore, that a number of managers around the University are acting outside of their remit, and outside of the contractual rights of the University, in attempting to enforce presenteeism.

 

When we meet, we will be happy to explain in detail why this approach is both unacceptable to the Union and counter-productive for the University, but we will be explaining to our members that any blanket requirement for them to be physically at their desks to a strict working day should be resisted until we have resolved the issue through negotiation. To be clear, our position is that professional academic staff should comply with appropriate (and polite) requests for information about their work and their whereabouts, but that they are not obliged to seek permission to work away from their desks, whether that be at other locations in the University or outside.

 

Your proposals for a suitable time and date to meet would be appreciated, along with any ideas you may have for resolving the substantive dispute.

 

 

Best wishes,

 

 

Jose Abdelnour Nocera,

Branch Chair, University and College Union at University of West London

 

Rosemary Stock

Branch Secretary, University and College Union at University of West London

 

Barry Jones,

Regional Official, University and College Union

 

 

AGM – 9th January

The next Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday 9th of January, from 2 to 3pm in BY Ground Floor 010 – that’s the Savoy Conference room. In this meeting we will be electing new officers for the Branch, and discuss progress on work that we have been doing over the last few weeks on workloading and the Academic Employment Framework.

Please do come along and get involved.

Date of Next Reps Meeting

Hi all, your UCU reps have their next meeting on the 1st of November. If you have any issues which you’d like to be discussed at this meeting, please make sure you tell your rep before that date. See the UWL UCU Contacts tab for their contact details.

Of course, you can contact them with concerns or queries at any time, not just when there’s a meeting coming up. It’s very important that we are representing all of our members, so do keep in touch.

 

Welcome to UCU

Welcome to the University of West London’s UCU webpages!

UCU is the largest trade union and professional association for academics, lecturers, trainers, researchers and academic-related staff working in further and higher education throughout the UK.

This website for the UWL branch is still under construction, and we would welcome your input on what you would like to see here. Please email Rosey.Stock@uwl.ac.uk with your suggestions.

Find out more about your union at www.ucu.org.uk