1. Dispute Strategy
Our ACAS mediated negotiations with the University over empowering staff with a choice about face-to-face work have concluded without an agreement. The request for a ballot has been sent to UCU Head Office and the prospect of industrial action for September is very real if the University does not provide reassurances until then and the pandemic still poses a considerable public health risk, as defined by Public Health Wales.
Our motion on empowering HE staff with a choice about face-to-face work was approved by the last Higher Education Sector Conference (HESC), which means that there will now be a Wales-wide campaign to back our local dispute. As we initiate a large media campaign to pressure the University to reconsider their position, we urge members to use their social media presence for this purpose and to share Cardiff UCU’s posts widely (and create your own). Please also consider forwarding our newsletter to any colleagues who are not members of UCU but might be interested in our updates.
We created a new section in our website called Cardiff UCU in the News, where you can easily follow and share our media campaigns. We will continue to work on our website to improve engagement and accessibility and will keep you updated on those developments.
If you would like to help with our media campaigns, please contact the UCU office (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our Anti-casualisation officer, Renata Medeiros (email@example.com), who is currently coordinating this.
2. Cardiff University Test & Trace – request for more transparency
Please see here a letter that we sent to the University Executive Board (UEB) regarding the University’s Test & Trace system.
Testing is essential for containing the virus and we welcome the University’s testing service but in order for staff and students to be fully informed and able to interpret the outcomes, the University should publicly share more information on the service, as requested in our letter.
3. USS Conference
The UCU Solidarity Movement held a USS Conference on the 23rd April with over 430 members from 58 UCU branches. Below are links to two videos representing the two segments of the meetings with time at which each speaker starts for usability.
1 – https://youtu.be/qOjqfmFSQi0
Chaired by Deepa Govindarajan Driver
Vicky Blake (05:40)
Sam Marsh (12:30)
Neil Davies (18:45)
Marion Hersh (25:03)
Chaired by Peta Bulmer
Tim Wilson (01:15)
Carlo Morelli (06:08)
Sarah Joss (11:21)
Megan Povey (16:55)
Summary: Roddy Slorach: 22:49
The pensions meeting held on Wednesday with our branch pensions officer Dave Atkins and Woon Wong, branch member from Cardiff Business School and national UCU joint negotiator on pensions, was well attended. For those who could not make it, we will provide notes and links to documents next week.
4. Governance survey
The University management is undertaking a review of the governance arrangements for education and students and is asking staff for feedback on their proposals by the 21st May. Democratising the University is one of our branch’s campaigns and we believe the governance system in most HE institutions across the UK, including Cardiff, is far from democratic. Unfortunately, the new structure proposed by University management does not offer the solutions we need. For example, it still does not empower academics, who are the experts who do the teaching and assessing, with adequate decision making about the education programs and instead allows College and School E&SE committees to override decisions made by School’s Boards of Studies.
In order to fight this top-down mode of governance, we urge members to engage with this survey and to get in touch with the branch if they wish to discuss it.
5. Call for Trades Council Delegates
At our branch’s Annual General Meeting on10th March, we voted to reaffiliate to Cardiff Trades Council. The Cardiff Trades Council brings together unions to campaign around issues affecting working people in their workplaces and local communities. They have helped us link up with other Trade Unions and raise thousands of pounds in donations to our strike funds over the past few years. As part of our affiliation to Cardiff Trades Council we are entitled to eight delegates who represent our branch in the Council monthly meetings.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be a delegate. You don’t need any previous experience in trade unionism and it is a great experience to learn more about the trade union movement in Cardiff and Wales and to connect with other local activists.