Branch News & Updates
1. No Unsafe Return – Cardiff University Dispute
We have now received permission from head office to ballot our members for industrial action over our request that management commits to give workers a choice whether to work face-to-face on campus. We hope that university management makes this commitment for the next academic year or that such commitment is no longer necessary if the pandemic no longer poses a significant public health risk. However, as agreed at our emergency General Meeting last month, if necessary we will run the ballot in September to protect members who already suffered severe anxiety during this academic year and should not have to go through that again.
You can read about our dispute in the national UCU current campaigns webpage and learn how you can support other campaigns across the UK.
2. USS Pensions Campaign & Resources
Both UCU and UUK agree (as do their actuaries) that the latest valuation of the USS pension scheme is deeply flawed. However, under the deeply flawed assessment, there is an apparent deficit that USS wishes to fill. UUK has proposed a series of changes to your pension scheme to address this “phantom deficit” (see link below for a video on this) that would seriously degrade your pension in the future (the Cardiff University response to the proposal was outlined in the latest Blas). A more detailed presentation on the UUK proposed cuts to your pension is available here.
UCU head office has created a modelling tool that would show how much less per year your pension might be as a result of these proposed changes, you can access the modeller here.
If you are concerned by the potential loss of retirement income and savings, whether you are a union member or not, please fill out this short survey to indicate your attitude towards the proposed changes. It is up to you and your colleagues together to defend your pension and the more engagement there is, the more likely our interests will be properly considered.
Make sure to share this information with your colleagues and encourage them to complete the survey. It affects all staff, and not just UCU members, since UCU negotiates for your USS pension as a representative of all employees. UCU wants to hear all voices on this subject regardless of your union membership so that it can represent all participants in the USS pension scheme.
Phantom deficit – Quick and easy explanation of the phantom deficit by an expert Cardiff member of staff (Dr, Woon Wong, Reader in Financial Economics, Cardiff Business School) who has been involved in an extensive and in-depth critical analysis of the USS valuation.
3. Joint Consultative and Negotiating Forum (JCNF) Update
The JCNF meets every 3 months and it’s the main forum of consultation and negotiation between the three recognized campus unions, Unison, Unite and UCU, and the University Executive Board (UEB). The last JCNF meeting was on Tuesday (8th June). UCU members were represented by our branch president Lucy Riglin, our officers Chris Graves and Colin Berry, and our co-vice-president Renata Medeiros for the item on casualisation only.
We presented the following items and papers:
We were pleased that university management agreed to review the use of “relevant factors” on open-ended contracts and we will update members of the outcomes of these in more detail at the next General Meeting on June 16, 1:10 pm – 2:10 pm via Teams.
We also raised concerns regarding proposed changes to University Research Institutes from January 2022, which put members’ jobs at risk. UCU has serious concerns about the lack of meaningful consultation regarding these changes and the resulting redundancies. If you are affected by this, you can contact our office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get support and help us challenge these changes.
We raised further concerns regarding meaningful consultation on Recast Transforming Services and Better Ways of Working (BWoW), which are the latest proposals from university management to changes and restructures aiming to reduce expenditure on staff. To date there have been no specific union consultation meetings on what is proposed and how changes should best be implemented. We were assured that an avenue for meaningful consultation with the unions would be established soon.
4. Cardiff University Test & Trace – request for more transparency
We are still awaiting a reply from the University Executive Board (UEB) to the letter we sent on the 6th May requesting more transparency regarding the University’s Covid-19 Test & Trace system. You can read our letter here and we will keep members informed when hear from UEB.