November 2023 Newsletter

As you will have seen, UCU did not make it over the required 50% threshold in the latest UK-wide aggregated ballot for industrial action nationally. Thanks to everyone who spoke to colleagues about the vote  – we know that many of you are committed to the democracy of your union, but that we are working against laws created to hinder and undermine trade union action.  

We are also aware that for many the last year has been difficult, frustrating and exhausting, and that some members have become disillusioned with union leadership. It is inevitable that there will be differences in what members think the best approach is or should be, but it is important that we can come together to discuss these differences.

With that in mind, we would like to devote some time at the next General Meeting on 16 November to discuss what we can do in terms of a local strategy. As always, the branch has continued to work on local issues throughout the industrial action and the section below will share details and updates from some of our strands of work, including upcoming campaigns that we need all members and colleagues to get involved in.

In the wider current context, many of our members are involved in organising and supporting events and actions in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Information on some events which are taking place in the coming days are at the end of this email.

Our participation in Y Sgwrs Fawr – The Big Conversation

The branch requested to be consulted as part of the Vice Chancellor’s listening exercise. We have now been invited to speak with her along with other campus unions. Negotiators expect to meet with her in the coming weeks. In order to guide discussion, branch officers have written this document. It  sets out our position based closely on UCU policy and our established local priorities. It is not meant as the totality of what we wish to say as part of Y Sgwrs Fawr, but sets down the basic principles. We welcome feedback from members on the document and there will be a chance to discuss and feed in additional points for us to make in the next General Meeting.  

Help us tackle precarity – Members meeting on ‘relevant factors’ – 1pm Tue 21 Nov  

Please join a members meeting on the University’s use of ‘relevant factors’ at 1:00pm on Tuesday 21 November.

Register on zoom here

The University uses what it calls ‘relevant factors’ to circumvent its duties around job security – see more details below and on the Cardiff UCU Website. Cardiff UCU is currently negotiating with the University to end its use of this kind of casualised employment.

Our negotiations have progressed and we now wish to consult members on our way forwards.

We particularly encourage less securely employed members to attend, including:

  • Staff employed on ‘open-ended contracts with relevant factors’
  • Staff employed on fixed-term contracts
  • Postgraduate researchers (whether teaching or not)
  • Staff employed on variable-hours contracts

More securely employed staff are also welcome to join the meeting and discussion, though will be asked not to vote.  

Workload and wellbeing

The university continues to bury its head in the sand when it comes to excessive workloads and their impact on staff health and wellbeing. A recent article in BLAS stated that “when it comes to workplace wellbeing, Cardiff University is in a strong position”. But their own staff survey shows that around half of staff based in the three colleges are not able to agree, either strongly or mildly, with the three statements that together are taken as an indicator for staff wellbeing in the University (see table below).

(Aggregated percentages from the most recent Staff Survey by area of the University where staff work. AHSS is the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, BLS is the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences, PSE is the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, and PS is centrally-located Professional Services.) 

We are training more members as Workload Reps and will be starting workplace stress inspections from January 2024.  

More member support is always welcome – if you’re interested in contributing to the Workload Campaign, please email This could involve small tasks like talking to colleagues, helping to analyse inspection and survey results, or sharing information and campaign materials. 

Academic Related and Professional Services (ARPS) Staff 

Cardiff UCU are proud to represent ARPS staff. We know that UCU often gets incorrectly labelled ‘the lecturers union’ in the media, but ARPS staff have always made up a significant proportion of our membership, reps and executive committee. We have recently put some more information on the branch website about who we represent and how this relates to the other trade unions on campus, which you can direct colleagues to if they are unsure what union to join. As we leave ‘Build the Union’ month, if every member speaks to one colleague about joining a union, whether that’s UCU, Unite or Unison, we could strengthen our membership and our joint collective bargaining power! You can find more resources here.

At the recent Joint Consultative and Negotiating Forum with the other campus unions and members of the University Executive Board we raised the specific issue of changes to lower grades that was brought by ARPS members to a General Meeting. The response was clear that there will be no movement on this unless we and the other unions escalate it. We are not planning to let this drop. 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) 

Our EDI group continues to work on areas of concern for our members. Here are some recent successes and updates:  

  • The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for migrant members can now be claimed under the relocation policy and allowances. We note that this is a good improvement but still leaves staff on fixed-term contracts to pay for subsequent visa and IHS requests and we will continue to raise this with University management. 
  • The university has agreed to work with us on developing dedicated anti-sexual harassment policy and procedures 
  • Reasonable adjustments: we know that members often face difficulties getting the reasonable adjustments they are entitled to, and we are looking for members with knowledge of reasonable adjustments to help with our work around this 
  • We are looking for members to help us work on an anti-racist strategy for the union – please get in touch if you are in a position to help us with this. 

Solidarity with Palestine 

There are many events taking place in the coming days at which members may wish to support the Palestinian people.  

Wednesday 8th 

The Muslim Council of Wales has sent the following request for action: This Wednesday 8th November there is a debate taking place in the Senedd tabled by Plaid Cymru calling for an IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE.  

It is VITAL that the motion passes and the amendment fails putting pressure on the UK government to call for a ceasefire.

We need your support by writing to your MS BEFORE Wednesday 8th November.  

We have made this task easy for you by taking the following two steps. Click on the link below to see how: 

Also on Wednesday 12pm – Vigil at Senedd hosted by Cardiff Stop The War. Oxfam has contacted them to ask if people could come at lunchtime (therefore 12pm) for politicians to speak to people outside the Senedd regarding their concerns, before they start the plenary at 1.30pm. There will be a demonstration at the Senedd during the debate itself which is due to start at 17:25.  

Thursday 9th 5pm – 7pm Documentary screening fundraiser for medical aid 

Dyddiau Du in the Capitol Centre  

One More Jump (2019), 1h 13m, Fundraiser for the Palestinian Medical Relief Society  

Gaza Parkour Team founder Abdallah has managed to escape Gaza. His friend Jehad still lives there, training young athletes for whom sport remains the only thing imbued with hope amidst the conflict. Is it better to leave to fulfil your dreams or stay and fight for your country? The question is the common thread running through this deeply moving account of sport, friendship, and exile.

Saturday 11th Demonstrations in London and Cardiff

National March for Palestine @ Hyde Park to US embassy 12.45pm.

Please register your interest if you would like to attend the National Protest for Palestine in London.
Saturday 11th November Pick up: 8:00am from National Museum, Cardiff Return: 5:00pm from Hyde Park, London Price to be confirmed but will be approx. £25 per person.

For any queries, please contact Asif via WhatsApp on (ask branch for contact or sign up here:  
– Local Cardiff march organised by BLM to happen again from Nye Bevan statue at 12pm
Cardiff UCU

October 2023 Newsletter

It is not long since our previous email communication, but we have a few important things to update you on:

  • Upcoming General Meetings
  • University governance campaign – please vote
  • Callout for members to respond to the consultation on USS pensions scheme
  • Callout on collective and individual grievances
  • Get the vote out campaign
  • Llanelli Unites Community Fun Day on Sunday

Upcoming General Meetings

We have scheduled two upcoming General Meetings.
The first meeting will be Thursday, October 12th 1pm to discuss the ballot and strategy. This discussion will feed into the larger UCU consultation on strategies to win the pay and working conditions dispute.  A UCU national negotiator will also be present to speak about the USS dispute.
There was an issue with the link to the papers that we sent yesterday. We have resolved this issue and produced a new link. The full agenda and papers can now be found on SharePoint.
As ever, members are encouraged to submit their own motions. The deadline for motions is Monday 9th October, and they should be sent to the branch secretary, Ryan Prout.
Join the meetings using the following link: Passcode: 289979
The second General Meeting will be on Thursday, November 16, 2023 1PM to discuss the ballot results and our local plan moving forward. We will send joining information closer to the time.

University governance campaign – please vote

Our branch has been actively running a campaign calling for more and better democratic governance structures at universities. Members of the Governance and Democracy working group have met with Welsh politicians to expose the need for better governance structures. A motion was passed at the UCU Wales congress to survey all members in Wales on this topic to add strength to this campaign.
You should have received an email on the 19th May 2023, from, with the subject “UCU Cymru consultation on democratisation of university governance”, followed by reminder emails, all containing your personal link to vote. If you have not already done so, please vote now – this is a very small survey that will just take a minute.  
If you are interested in knowing more about our University Governance working group, please get in touch.

Callout for members to respond to the USS pensions scheme consultation

Our negotiators have requested that we respond as individuals to a consultation on changes to USS. See the link here and a negotiator’s report on the consultation.
More in-depth information on the context and possible considerations for members when they respond are in an appendix at the bottom of the email, but the shorter branch position on the questions posed by the consultation are below. Members are strongly encouraged to word answers in their own way.
Question 1: This appears reasonable and much better than the current situation – we encourage members to support it.
Question 2: Pensions in Post-92 institutions have much better accrual rates: 1/57 for Academic staff and 1/49 for Academic-related and Professional Services staff. Members may want to suggest that this gap be closed by improving the accrual rate beyond the proposed 1/75.
Question 3: This appears reasonable and much better than the current situation, members are encouraged to support it.
Question 4: Members could observe that other pension schemes offer options for affordability other than a blanket reduction of employer contribution rates (e.g. 50/50 and progressive contributions).
Question 5:  This only affects people being paid more than £66,000k, so the acting pension officer didn’t feel able to give a recommendation.
Please come to the General Meeting on the 12th October to hear more about the USS dispute from a national negotiator and bring any questions you might have.

Get the vote out campaign

We appreciate that this is a difficult time in the 4 Fights dispute. Many members feel dispirited after the long marking and assessment boycott (MAB), which has not seen the response we had hoped for from employers. It was employers’ choice to react as they did to the impacts of the MAB, and in the process hurt staff and students, instead of engaging with our demands for fair pay and working conditions. Our action was not, however, in vain. It showed university managers our strength in causing significant disruption, and demonstrated our need for and commitment to fighting for better and fairer working conditions. Winning another ballot will send our employers the message that we have not been defeated, and that this fight will not end without meaningful negotiations that offer real prospects for change.
Locally, the strength of our branch has been pivotal in the progress we made and are making in ongoing local and national negotiations related to casualisation, inequality, workload and others.
It is also worth reminding ourselves what has happened to our salaries. The fact is that against the CPI we have lost around 32 days of pay from our yearly wages against inflation just since the start of the pandemic in 2020 to date – that’s negative 8.9%, even with the 2% and 3% pay rises. This works out to losing around five weeks of pay a year since 2020, – about 23 working days.
Our negotiators count on you to demonstrate our collective strength and engage with the union’s democratic processes by posting your ballot as soon as possible. Please do so and let us know that you voted either by replying to the texts or to your dep reps so that we can effectively reach those members who still need reminding. Many members are very grateful for the reminders and the more members who tell us that they have voted, the more resources we have to reach others. Please note that we are not asking how you have voted, just to tell us whether you have voted.

Callout on collective and individual grievances

The ways in which deductions were made for participation in the MAB were disproportionate and punitive. Some members are submitting grievances to the University about this. If you are interested in being involved in either individual or collective grievances in relation to the MAB deductions, please get in touch with the branch.

Llanelli Unites Community Fun Day

Sunday October 8th 12-4pm
A large number of progressive organisations are supporting a UNITY event in Llanelli on Sunday. This has been organised in response to the recent mobilisation of far right and racist groups against refugees at the Stradey Park Hotel.
Gareth Lloyd, the new UCU Cymru Official, will be attending with the UCU banner and members of our branch will be there too. If you can, please come along to show support. If you would like to arrange transport with other members who are going, please email the office and we will try to connect you.  
Email for more information on the event.
If you would like to get involved in our branch’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion working group, please let us know. We are in the process of creating a role on our executive committee to deal specifically with racism and race equality and we would welcome volunteers to support this process.

Appendix on USS
Recording of the USS briefing 20th Sept 2023:

Negotiator’s detailed suggestions for members responding to the consultation.
Cardiff UCU

September 2023 Newsletter

As we begin a new academic year, this newsletter will reflect on what we achieved last year and cover what will be happening in the branch in the next few weeks. Contents of the newsletter: 

  1. Welcome and reflections 
  2. PGR contracts 
  3. Get The Vote Out – a new ballot 
  4. USS Pensions consultation 
  5. Get involved with Cardiff UCU 
  6. Workload Reps Training

Welcome and reflections

It has been a difficult year for members and students. We had two consecutive mandates for industrial action covering the whole academic year and took part in the first ever national Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB). Of course, we have not achieved some of the wins nationally that we wanted in this timeframe and many members are no doubt feeling frustrations with how things have gone. It is important to acknowledge how tricky the MAB has been and how divisive it has proved in some departments. Some colleagues have made great personal and financial sacrifices on behalf of all of us, and we owe them an enormous debt. We acknowledge that some members could not take part for as long as they might have wanted to and that they may feel awkward about re-engaging with the branch as a result. To those who have felt alienated or who have not been able to participate, we warmly invite you to re-engage actively with the branch. 
It is crucial to recognise that we have also made progress locally and had some significant local successes. The success and progress we have had has only been possible because we have worked together. See below for details of how to get more involved. 

Our local successes have included:

  • Local MAB. Strong support for those who took part and lost pay for all of us; and an amazing amount of funds raised to help MABers with the financial cost. Our strategic knowledge has been tightened up and given us a solid foundation to build on. 
  • PGR contracts. This will be discussed more in this newsletter [link] 
  • Improvement of variable hour contracts  
  • Equal parental leave for all staff 
  • Sanitary products freely available across the university 
  • More input from union representatives in shaping the workload model, which in some schools resulted in massive improvements  
  • More input/insight from union representatives in the pay gap reports – although union input was limited, the latest report (2022) already includes a more thorough analysis of the gender pay gap as well as race and disability pay gap information  
  • More insight from union representatives on the staff survey 
  • Change in university procedures so that metrics from student feedback will no longer be used for probation, PDR, and promotion purposes and will be removed from the promotion application forms  

The branch is also engaged in ongoing discussions on issues such as: visa payments for staff; management procedures; contracts with ‘relevant factors’ (a term that our employer uses to obscure the number of staff on fixed term contracts); or the items we are currently working on such as privatised/third party providers; and the need for a policy and clear procedure for those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

Get the Vote Out – a new ballot

You should have received your ballot paper to vote for industrial action as part of the ongoing UCU Rising campaign. We are reballoting to regain a live mandate and continue fighting for pay in line with inflation and an end to casualisation; gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps; and excessive workloads. The progress we made on USS pension restoration would not have been possible without the live mandates we successfully secured twice in 2022-2023.

  • Restrictive trade union legislation requires not only that we carry out postal ballots (rather than quicker and easier electronic ones) and that we meet a turnout of at least 50% of members in ballots, but also that we renew our mandate every six months. 
  • without a current mandate, UCU has no leverage at all – the employer organisation UCEA know that we could not call any kind of industrial action, including action short of a strike, without a mandate and their treatment of negotiators is commensurate: UCU’s claims are ignored.  
  • without a renewed mandate, therefore, UCEA will conclude that we are happy enough with what they have offered. In their words, at typically 5% uplift to pay, this is the best they have offered in the last 20 years. Only, it makes for yet another real-terms pay-cuts to add to all the others and 5% lags significantly behind the average pay increases of both the private and public sectors.  
  • until we have another mandate that restores UCU’s ability to negotiate, it is unlikely there will be any further movement on any of the 4 fights (pay, casualisation, pay gaps and workload). 
This is why we are re-balloting again and we need everyone sending in their ballots at the earliest opportunity.
When you have voted, please let us know by using this form:<< Test Membership Number >>
We will be holding a member’s meeting soon to discuss the campaign, and we are also looking for volunteers to help with contacting members and running the campaign. Please email to get involved.

PGR contracts 

It is an incredible achievement that contracts for Postgraduate members who teach or demonstrate are now being implemented. This was a member-led campaign since 2018, and shows that with perseverance we can make some of the changes we so desperately need to improve job security and workers rights for casualised staff. However, we are aware of some issues around the implementation of the contracts (UCU were excluded from contributing to the implementation phase and not consulted regarding implementation) and as such our first anti-casualisation meeting of the year will be focusing on this. PGR members are invited to attend on Monday 2 October at 11am, link:
Click here to join the meeting

Get involved!

The local successes we have are only possible through the work of members, and there are many ways you can get involved with your union. Some particular areas we’re seeking volunteers for are: reasonable adjustments, environmental action, pensions and communications.


  • Members with knowledge and/or interest in reasonable adjustments to help develop better policy and processes. 
  • Members with an interest in advancing environmental sustainability at Cardiff to join the working group or contribute to developing claims around Scope 3, sustainable travel etc. 
  • Someone to fill the newly vacant Pensions Officer Role on the branch Executive Committee 
  • Someone to be the new branch treasurer 
  • Someone to be the anti-casualisation officer 
  • Departmental reps in departments where we don’t currently have them. These include CARBS, EARTH, MLANG, ENGIN, MATHS, Ysgol y Gymraeg (Welsh), PCE, HCARE 
  • People with an interest in comms to help us with newsletter and social media content, or discussions around comms strategy. 
Our principal method of working tother in-between industrial action is through the branch working groups. These are open to ordinary members to join and comprise the Equality Diversity and Inclusion, Anti-Precarity, Workload and Democratisation working groups. Get in touch with Rowan on to express an interest or find out more.  
You can also join our branch WhatsApp group by e-mailing the branch to request a link

Workload Reps Training – Wales HE

We know that workload continues to be an issue for many members, and we would like to invite anyone who is interested in becoming a Workload Rep to join our Wales HE training courses. Workload Reps 1 will take place online, 4th October, 1-4pm. Registration link here:
Cardiff UCU

March 2023 Newsletter


This is your March branch newsletter. This covers news from March and February – unfortunately, between re-balloting and industrial action we weren’t able to manage a February newsletter.The branch represents members’ interests to our employer. Your branch officers are in active negotiations with the University over many issues. The proposed agreements on pay and conditions (see the first item of the newsletter), if accepted, would mean more issues being ‘devolved’ to local branches.

We hope you will all manage to have a break at some point over the next few weeks.

In this newsletter you can read about:

Branch News & Updates

Industrial action
Challenging sexual harassment and sexual violence workshop
Dim diolch – submissions to University ‘Diolch’ initiative vetoed
February Town Hall Meeting
CO2 monitoring in buildingsBranch fundraising

Events, Solidarity & Wider Campaigns

Save Maindy Velodrome

Branch News & Updates

Industrial ActionThe current round of strikes finished on Wednesday 22 March. Thank you to all members who were on strike and on pickets

A meeting of the Higher Education Committee (HEC) took place on Thursday 30 of March to decide how to proceed with our disputes. The HEC decided to consult with members on the USS and pay & conditions dispute. You should have something in your inbox to vote on come Tuesday next week.The previous HEC meeting, a couple of weeks ago, decided not to put the proposed agreements to members. If you are interested in understanding why this happened and what different members’ perspectives on the decision was, the branch has been putting together a list of suggested reading.

The HEC’s decision yesterday was informed by the e-ballot of members, but also the Branch Delegates Meeting that took place on the 29 March. Renata Medeiros (Branch Chair) and Sandy Gould (Comms Officer) attended the BDM and voted on behalf of the branch.

Your branch delegates used messages from members, discussions from our informal branch meeting last week, and conversations from pickets to inform their voting at the BDM. Here are the questions put to the BDM (with the Cardiff UCU vote in brackets):

Do you support moving forward in negotiations with UCEA based on the terms of reference agreed at Acas? (Abstain)

Do you support UCU members being formally consulted over the commitments that have been agreed with UUK to restore benefits and lower pension contributions? (Abstain)

Do you support UCU members being formally consulted on the proposals that have been agreed with UCEA on pay, ending zero-hour contracts, workloads, casualisation and closing equality pay gaps? (Abstain)

If members vote for industrial action in the re-ballot, do you support beginning a Marking and Assessment Boycott over the pay and conditions dispute from w/b 17 April? (Yes)

If members vote for industrial action in the re-ballot, do you support beginning a Marking & Assessment Boycott over the USS cuts imposed in April 2022 from w/b 17 April? (Yes)

We voted to abstain on the first three questions – the feedback we had from members was quite mixed, and, (like other delegates) found the questions were still quite confusing (albeit less so than last time around). We were not able to fully grasp the implications of voting either way on each of the first three questions, and how these questions related to one another (e.g., the relationship between Q1 and Q3). We felt it was most appropriate to abstain, rather than fall definitely on a yes or no.

We voted to yes to Q4 and Q5, as this seemed more clear-cut; if members vote for action in the reballot and members vote to reject the proposals going to consultation, then it is logical that further industrial action would follow. Alternatively, if members vote in favour of the current proposals during the consultation, then any action is very likely to be called off if negotiations seem to be making progress in good faith. (And the reballot result becomes moot if members decide what is on the table is sufficient.)

The way the dispute has been run has become quite complicated, even for the most engaged members. We are now waiting to find out whether the reballot for industrial action has reached the turnout threshold, and what have voted for action. This result will have a significant influence on how these disputes progress, alongside member’s votes on the consultations next week. Despite the complexity, please do try and keep an eye on your inbox for messages about voting. Our employers do take notice of members’ levels of engagement in decision-making.


The University’s arrangements for workload management are inadequate. Uncompensated labour is rife, overwork has been normalised. The branch wrote to the University Secretary, Rashi Jain, the University’s unwillingness to negotiate over workload. This was the response received:

“You have asked where you can raise aspects of workload management. Your original request was unclear (para 2) on what aspect of workload you considered was covered by S3.2 of the Recognition and Procedure Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt consulting on managing workload is not a statutory obligation and is not covered by the agreement referred to above. That is not to say that there is no avenue for redress for staff. The Workload management policy sets out the appeal procedure in these circumstances.”

There is no dispute that workload allocation is, itself, a matter for Schools. The University has committed to meaningful involvement of UCU in allocation. However, workload more generally across the University is an essential component of our terms and conditions; pay for full time staff should reflect 35hrs of work, not 45 or 50 as staff are commonly working in order to fulfil the demands placed upon them. This is a systemic, University wide issue and the University should be negotiating with the recognised trade unions on such a core employment matter.

The University’s stance on this issue is also at odds with the recent JNCHES proposal on workloads, which was negotiated nationally and includes provision for negotiation with recognised trade unions. It seems strange that national representatives recognise this need while Cardiff University continues to seek to atomise staff over workload issues.

Challenging sexual harassment and sexual violence workshop

We have arranged a workshop for the branch on challenging sexual harassment and sexual violence on 25th April, 2pm-3.30pm. This is a first step in addressing issues that have affected our branch in recent years and undertaking action points from the motion that was passed by the branch. You can sign up to the course here.

If you are interested in undertaking further training in this area and/or becoming a sexual harassment contact, please have a look through the details of a day-long course on 23 May in Exeter.

Dim diolch! Submissions to University ‘Diolch’ initiative vetoed

The University has been running its Diolch programme as a way for staff to publicly thank one another for their contributions. Much of the activity undertaken by branch representatives contributes tremendously to the functioning of our community, so several members sent messages for publication thanking colleagues for their organising efforts. Unfortunately, submissions from members to thank other members for their contribution to the University were not published. A note was later added to the call for participation; “All messages should relate to university business.” This doesn’t provide very much more clarity – the work done by reps is absolutely ‘university business’; bringing poor or capricious management to attention, ensuring that EDI policies are up-to-date, campaigning for healthier workloads. This is often work that ‘the University’ should have already done itself. Of course, the University is more than just the UEB, it’s a community, of which trade unions are an essential component.

Given that Internal Comms won’t publish our messages of thanks, if you have a Diolch message that was vetoed, send it on to the branch office. If the person you’re thanking is happy to appear online, we’ll put these messages of thanks on the branch website.

Town Hall Meeting

Our branch wrote to the VC on 4th January to request an open forum to discuss his position in relation to the industrial action.

In response, on Monday, 6th February, the VC organised a Town Hall meeting for all staff to discuss the industrial action and offer an opportunity to present the university’s and UCU’s positions. UCU was not involved or consulted on the details of the meeting, which was announced on ‘Blas’ on a Thursday afternoon before taking place on a Monday morning. You can watch the meeting on Panopto.

Our branch chair, Renata Medeiros-Mirra made an address to explain UCU’s position and ask the VC a question from the branch. This was followed by our questions submitted to us by our members, and then questions from the audience.

The VC answers can be summarised as:

Cardiff University’s finances are relatively healthy because they have been prudent, but the sector is unsustainable as it is, Wales universities are worse off than English universities, salaries are very expensive, and the sector cannot afford to increase them

While some universities could make higher pay offers, they have to go at the pace of the smaller ones.

We can’t ask him to break from his line of negotiations as he doesn’t ask us to break ours.

If they could resolve this, they would, but one VC alone can’t do much.

He reserves the right to deduct 100% if staff don’t reschedule lectures because it’s breach of contract.

CO Monitoring in Buildings

Quality ventilation is important for reducing exposure of staff and students to contagious diseases (e.g., COVID, flu) and particulates. Your branch officers have been pushing the University to make clear how staff with concerns about air quality can get the University to act and maintain a safe working environment. Here are the instructions for anyone concerned about air quality:

Every School was issued with two CO₂ monitors, which can be used to provide an indication of ventilation levels within a space. If any member of staff has concerns about ventilation in a workspace (teaching room, office, lab etc) they should contact their School Safety Officer (or School Manager) and request that the space be monitored using the CO₂ monitors. This will involve placing a monitor (which should have been ‘calibrated’ to account for background CO₂) in the room in a suitable location (not next to the windows for example) and recording the CO₂ levels at the start and end of teaching (or every 30 minutes if teaching for longer than 45 minutes). The readings should be sent to Safety and if they indicate that ventilation requires further investigation this will be carried out. (Please copy the Cardiff UCU branch office on messages to Safety.)

Branch Fundraising

The branch has been raising funds to help support striking members. The Moon Club allowed us to collect donations at a karaoke night in February, which raised £66.50. There was also a benefit gig at Brewmonster, which raised £213.60. This money, along with donations received, will go into our local fighting fund. The branch is always seeking donations to help build this fund – please consider contributing if you can, especially if you have not been striking.

Our next fundraiser social event will take place on Saturday 22 April, 8.30pm at NoFit State Circus. Organised by our queer UCU community, you can expect drag, cabaret and comradely mate-dating! More details to follow; allies welcome.

Events, solidarity and wider campaigns

Save Maindy Velodrome

Cardiff Council are planning to demolish Maindy Velodrome. Campaigners have been telling the council that the planned alternative provision is inadequate. Geraint Thomas, who learnt his trade at the velodrome, has come out against the demolition. Members who live in Cardiff and oppose the loss of this facility might consider making representations to their local councillors.

Newsletter 21/07/2021


This is your Cardiff UCU July bulletin. Please read our Branch News & Updates to be informed about the branch activities and campaigns, and check the Events and Solidarity & Wider Campaigns sections for ways to get involved in the branch and beyond.


In this bulletin we share some recent union successes with you, as well as providing updates on our local dispute about the workers choice not to work face-to-face during the pandemic and our ongoing UK-level fight to retain our pensions’ benefits. We also share concerns regarding UEB’s decision to restructure the research institutes (including some closures) and provide some insights on the changes to the University’s car parks.


In these challenging times, standing our ground and stopping cuts and further degradation of our working conditions is already a victory that we should celebrate. Fighting to keep our rights is a worthwhile fight but union work can feel draining and discouraging at times as the “Red Queen Hypothesis” often seems to hold true: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” -Lewis Carroll. When sharing good news with our members, it feels great to be reminded of something even better, that together we can do more than that and bring positive changes to our workplaces.


As we approach the middle of the summer, we hope all our members have a chance to rest and relax ahead of the next academic year. You can still reach us throughout the summer ( to get support, submit any queries, report on issues, join our workgroups or become a dep rep, send comments and suggestions or any other reason. It is great to hear from members and feel the union alive with ideas and solidarity.


“variety is life; uniformity is death”

Peter Kropotkin

(Russian activist, essayist, researcher and writer)


  1. One-off payment to all Cardiff University staff
  1. Progress in our Anti-Casualisation Campaign: Relevant Factors, Variable Hours & Postgraduate Workers
  1. Dispute over choice not to work face-to-face during the pandemic
  1. USS Pensions – The Fight Goes On
  1. University Car Parking
  1. UCU HE Special Sector Conference on HE Disputes
  1. Discrimination in UK universities

Plus upcoming events and wider campaigns.

Branch News & Updates:

1. One-off payment to all Cardiff University staff 

We owe thanks to our fellow Unison colleague, Katie Hall, whose work has resulted in University giving a one-off payment of £250 to all staff. This shows that the University recognise that staff have been undervalued and we will continue to push for long-term better pay and conditions. We hope this reward will reach everyone who contributed to keep the University going during the pandemic and our Anti-Casualisation Officer, Rachel Beaney, wrote to the Vice-Chancelor to clarify the terms of this award, please get in touch with us if you think you are being excluded.
2.  Progress in our Anti-Casualisation Campaign: Relevant Factors, Variable Hours & Postgraduate Workers 

We are very happy to be able to report positive progress in all three of our key areas of work within the anti-casualisation group!
Postgraduate workers 

We are very happy to report that after a long campaign the Teaching Delivery Governance group is recommending that postgraduates are offered contracts for their teaching roles in the University, which could be implemented in 2022. The is the result of years of great work by many of our current and previous members, including Grace Krouse, Rowan Campbell, Josh Robinson and Rachel Beaney. The Anti-Casualisation Campaign has shown incredible team work in great spirit of solidarity; this is still work in progress but we are hopeful of the outcome and we will continue contributing to the governance group discussions on this and other teaching related issues.

Many of you might not benefit directly from the fruits of this campaign, but it is contributing to a fairer and more pleasant workplace for all and it would not be possible without the power you impart on the branch by being a member.

This is an important outcome for out postgraduate members in particular. Cardiff University is one of the universities that currently does not recognise postgraduates as employees, which means they have fewer rights compared to other teaching staff or with postgraduates in other universities. You can read more about UCU’s manifesto for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) here.
Relevant factors 

We are happy to report that senior management has agreed to set up a process for revising the use of relevant factors (where an end-date is included on the end of “permanent” staff contracts). And to address the concerns we outlined in our recent claim, which you can read here. This claim was led by Ryan Davey after very helpful discussions with CURSA (Cardiff University Research Staff Association). This work should start in the next academic year, and we will keep members informed of its progress.

Unfortunately, we recently heard that Cardiff University plans to re-structure some research institutes and close at least two of them. Most people working for these research institutes are on open-ended contracts with relevant factor and many are being put forward for redundancy. These changes have been planned for at least 18 months but there was no meaningful consultation with the union (or with staff) on these closures and we are challenging these redundancies on that basis. If you are affected by this, get in touch with the office ( to help us build a stronger case and support you individually, if needed.
Variable hours 

We have good news from the School of Modern Languages, where the branch have been discussing a range of topics affecting hourly-paid staff with School management. The School has given us a commitment to contact all staff very soon with clarification on issues raised by our members. They have also recently confirmed that they will support a grading review of the “Languages for All” tutors, who have been working at grade 5, while performing tasks that align with a grade 6 teacher post. This review will start very soon. We are also discussing issues of hourly-paid staff with university management as part of the Teaching delivery governance group and we urge people on these contracts to join our Anti-casualisation workgroup and contribute to the discussions.

Many of you might not benefit directly from our Anti-casualisation campaign, but it is contributing to a fairer and more pleasant workplace for all and it would not be possible without the power you impart on the branch by being a member. Regardless of your situation with Cardiff University, you can help unravelling and breaking the iceberg of casualisation.

If you have any questions/comments, please contact the office (, or our Anti-Casualisation Officer, Rachel Beaney (

3. Dispute over choice not to work face-to-face during the pandemic 

Following UEB’s recent good-will act of giving all staff a bonus payment in recognition of the hard-work and challenges that staff faced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, we hope that another act of good-will empowering workers with a choice about face-to-face work will follow if the risks of the pandemic are still high at the start of the new academic year, as it seems likely to be the case.

As agreed at our General Meeting in June, if necessary, we will run a ballot in the Autumn to protect members who do not feel safe returning to face-to-face working on campus.

If you have been asked to work face-to-face during the summer and have concerns about that, please get in touch with your dep rep, the UCU office (, or our Health & Safety Officer, Andy Skyrme (

In the meantime, discussions of health & safety are ongoing in terms of planning for the next academic year and this thread on Twitter about indoor risks of COVID-19 spreading, by Professor Jose-Luiz Jimenez, a specialist in aerosols and disease transmission can be very helpful to inform any discussions among staff who are expected to work face-to-face. His COVID-19 Aerosol Transmission Estimator is freely available here.


4. USS Pensions – The Fight Goes On 

According to UCU Head Office, an amazing twenty thousand people have now used the UCU’s USS modeller to see how employers’ proposals would impact individual retirement benefits. It’s clear that university workers are extremely concerned about the future of the scheme. To find out how your pension might be affected, just input your date of birth and salary details then share how the cuts impact you by tweeting the results with #NotTodayUUK. Please also complete the survey at the end which will help inform our negotiations with employers and USS.

We submitted branch members’ views on the strategy to fight for our pensions at the last General Meeting and through a survey, these can be found here.

Cardiff University apparently shares concerns regarding the USS 2020 valuation but declined our request to make a public joint statement on these shared concerns. UUK’s position after consulting with its members (UK universities) is that there is support to proceed with the USS 2020 valuation that results in staff bearing the brunt of the proclaimed deficit and paying more into their pensions to maintain the current benefits.

The Financial Times published an article on USS, highly critical of 2020 valuation and referring to work by our member and pensions expert Woon Wong. Woon’s position is that we should fight to halt the October increase and replace the 2020 valuation with a new 2021 valuation that corrects the faults clearly highlighted.

Cardiff UCU executive committee will be calling an Emergency General Meeting that will include a vote on a branch’s financial contribution to a legal claim against the USS proposed by Ewan McGaughey, a reader in Law at King’s College, London, and KCL UCU branch president.

If you have any questions/comments, please contact the office (, or our Pensions Officer, David Atkins (


5. University Car Parking 

As members will be aware, University car parking suffered a number of significant issues for many years prior to the Covid-19 lockdown. Notably, eligibility to park was based on seniority and length of service and contraventions were unenforceable.

In 2019, UCU drafted a proposal for a more transparent, fair, needs-based scheme. In view of this and the University’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, a joint paper developed by UCU and Estates Operations requesting approval to review University parking arrangements was approved by the University’s HSE Committee. Shortly after that, Covid-19 changed the situation significantly!

As more staff are likely to return to campus from the autumn, it is essential that University parking works for those who need it most and UEB have now approved an outline proposal, based broadly on the original UCU draft – which all three trade unions have worked with Estates on, to introduce a new scheme from January 2022.

Detail around parking fees, management and policy compliance arrangements are still to be agreed but applications to determine parking eligibility will open soon and will be determined by use of a needs-based parking eligibility criteria aligned with the following agreed principles:

·         Childcare

·         Caring responsibilities

·         Non-standard / out of hours contracted hours

·         Access to Public Transport

This process will be supported by an appeals and exceptions panel which will include representatives of all three trade unions.

The University has scheduled two webinars to introduce the planned changes to parking which we strongly encourage interested members to attend:

You can register to attend here.

If you have any questions/comments, please contact the office (, or our Environmental Officer, Paul Rock (


6. UCU HE Special Sector Conference on HE Disputes 

The UCU Higher Education Committee has resolved that a HE special sector conference will take place online on Thursday 9 September, on the topic of HE dispute(s), including New JNCHES, USS, TPS, and any possible links between them.

You can read more details in the meeting circular here.

We are entitled to a total of four branch delegates and two motions, that need to be voted at a branch’s General Meeting. The deadline for motions is 12 noon on 23 August; for delegate registration, 5:00pm, Friday 3 September.

If you would like to join the conference or submit a motion, please contact the office as soon as possible so that we can include these in the agenda of an Emergency General Meeting before the 23th August.


7. Discrimination in UK universities 

A UCU report on the levels of LGBT discrimination in UK universities, particularly serious when intercalated with racial discrimination, with 100% of black LGBT respondents reporting either personal discriminatory experiences or having witnessed derogatory language towards others, and a recent report by researchers in Dundee University based on data collected in March 2021, showing that 50% of HE staff report high levels of anxiety and 47% report poor mental health, with poorer levels correlated to lack of control over their work and the sense of not feeling valued, bring to light that trade unions have an important role to play in fighting for better workplaces for all.

You can see here the motions voted at the UCU national congress in May-June this year. These include motions to defend our pensions, fight casualisation, resist cuts and fight for better pay, against discrimination in promotion, for academic freedom, on building up the national workload campaign, on the covid-19 impacts on black members, to decolonise curricula and support Black Lives Matter campaigns, to combat ableism, to promote equality of genders and fight gender-based violence, to promote trans equality, to defend the rights of LGBT members, to defend asylum seekers and fight the hostile environment policies, to defend the arts from government attacks, to promote environmental sustainability and fight climate change, against nuclear armament, on the right to protest, on the definition of anti-Semitism, on international solidarity, and others.

These illustrate the multitude and diversity of issues that a big union like UCU represents and the reach and impact it can have in society. In the words of UCU president, Vicky Blake, during the congress: “It is our collective responsibility to build the union, and we must always be vigilant not to fall into the dive-and-rule tactics of employers because our unity is our strength and when we are united, we are a force to be reckoned with.”

Solidarity & Wider Campaigns:

1. Victory for other UCU branches! 

Across other branches, there are good news from Open University UCU, which have agreed a life-changing deal with the university to ensure improved pay and job security for more than 4,000 associate lecturers who will be moved onto new permanent contracts; from New City College UCU whose threat of industrial action over a restructure of supported learning has led to the employer confirming there will be no compulsory redundancies; and from UCU and Unison at Newcastle College Group which managed to negotiate a pay increase to their seven branches. Unison also recently won a victory in court for all the trade union movement, by winning a case which resulted in the amendment of the Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 making it unlawful for employers to discipline or make life difficult to staff who were involved in strike action, correcting a grave loophole in UK law. There are also good news from Unite, whose Go North West drivers in Manchester celebrated a historic victory after defeating attempts to “fire and rehire” them after 80 days of strike action in May.
2.  HE Restructuring Exercises & Prison Education  

Department of Archaeology – Sheffield University

Sheffield UCU held an Emergency General Meeting to discuss responses to the decision by Sheffield University to close their reputable Department of Archaeology. Our office sent Sheffield UCU the solidarity message below from our colleagues in the Cardiff School of History, Archaeology and Religion:

“We, as UCI representing archaeologists and conservators at Cardiff University, condemn the treatment of staff and students at The University of Sheffield department of archaeology. It is clear that the process of reviewing the future of the archaeology department was neither transparent nor impartial and was entirely lacking in empathy, compassion and courtesy. The University Executive Board have made a devastating decision to close a world leading department with no regard for the livelihoods of staff, the education of students or their obligations to local, national and international communities. This is a shameful, ill-conceived and reckless decision, and we stand in solidarity with colleagues in Sheffield in fighting this decision.”

University College Birmingham 

University College Birmingham management are conducting a restructuring exercise. Management argues this is not a cost cutting exercise but 73 senior lecturing staff have been told they are at risk of redundancy and asked to re-apply for 42 new senior lecturer roles. Please sign & share this petition ( with all of your contacts, in support of Midlands members at University College Birmingham who are facing a brutal attack on jobs.

Prison Education 

The Novus UCU prison education dispute over health and safety is also still ongoing. Around 600 educators in 49 prisons took four days of action in May and June over health and safety concerns. Members this week voted overwhelmingly to take further strike action. Our branch sent a message of solidarity to Novus UCU. Please send messages of support via Twitter @ucuprisoned and consider donating to either the national fighting fund (, reference NOVUS, or the local strike fund: sort code 60-83-01 and account number: 20240811.

You can read here news on other HE disputes across the UK and how to support them. 
3. Hazards Campaign – Survey on Hybrid Working 

The national Hazards Campaign, supported by UCU, are carrying out a survey on Hybrid working. Here is the link to the survey.

Please circulate and complete, if possible,
4. NHS Pay Rise 

Matthew Tovey, a Welsh nurse started a petition for a 15% NHS pay rise that has been signed by more than three-quarters of a million people. The petition, called Claps Don’t Pay the Bills, will be officially delivered to Downing St on Tuesday 20th July at 4 pm. You can add your name here.

There will be an assembly and rally from 2.30 pm at Old Palace Yard. You can check the Facebook Event page for more information.

Zarah Sultana (Labour MP) will raise the issue to Parliament at 7pm. Several MPs have stated they will come out and support the rally.

On Saturday 3rd July, marking the 73rd anniversary of the founding of our NHS, protests were organized all over the country in defence of keeping the NHS public and demanding better working conditions for staff. Our officers Lucy Riglin, Renata Medeiros, and Phil Parkes, represented the branch in the Cardiff protest.

5. Victory in the Fight of the Hostile Environment 

We are very pleased to report that Osime Brown, a young boy with autism and learning difficulties, will be allowed to remain with his family following a Home Office decision to withdraw the deportation order. Osime had served a prison sentence under the disputed joint enterprise policy and was due to be deported to Jamaica but a campaign by Black and Disabled Peoples Organisations supported by UCU through the massive effort of its black and disabled members, has succeeded in ensuring Osime will now remain at home in Dudley with his mother.

If you are interested in wider campaigns in support of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, you can check the Anti-Raids Network or the No Evictions Network.
6. Defend the arts: say no to cuts to creative and performing arts 

The government is proposing big cuts to creative and performing arts courses at English universities. Please sign this petition backed by UCU, Equity UK, BECTU, Writers Guild of Great Britain, Musicians’ Union, Unison and Unite and tell Boris Johnson that the arts should be for everyone.
7. Solidarity with Palestine 

At a General Meeting in June our branch voted in support of a motion related to the ongoing situation in Palestine (link to minutes from EGM). Those supporting the motion may wish to sign up to the British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) here and/or to sign the Academic Commitment to Palestine.


1.  UCU H&S focused Breakfast Briefing Webinar, 28 July 9-9.30 am 

You are invited to register for the next UCU H&S focused Breakfast briefing webinar

Theme: ‘Asbestos: An increasing H&S concern’ 

Date: Wednesday 28th July 2021 

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

These breakfast briefing webinars are designed to equip reps and ordinary members with the knowledge they need to challenge the employer with confidence. Our Health and Safety officer and Training officer will be considering asbestos as an increasing issue within our institutions and workplaces. We will discuss how reps can begin to hold employers to account and ensure the workplace is not a threat to members and others health and safety. Should you have any specific questions around this topic please do ask them on the registration form.

To register please complete this short form.

If you’ve missed previous sessions, you can see a list of topics and past breakfast briefing recordings here.


2. Transforming UCU – Development Programme, September/December 2021 

The application process for Cohort 11 of the ever-popular Transforming UCU programme is still open. Transforming UCU isn’t like a normal trade union course. Participants take part in a comprehensive package of training, discussion and support delivered across two residential modules. Feedback from those taking part has been extremely positive.

The programme is arranged over two modules:

Module 1: UCU, strategic choice, building power, and leadership in a changing world;

Module 2: Building collective identity, organising and learning from others, taking control at the workplace

Sessions will be held in September and December and led by leading academics and practitioners. Sharing ideas, experience, and different perspectives is a key element of the programme. It is important that UCU remains a strong union with the ability to make independent decisions, based on strategic choices that consider carefully the environment we operate within. This programme will help participants consider the position of UCU, how to build power for effective bargaining, and different types of leadership within a trade union setting.

Please apply online as soon as possible as places are extremely limited. The absolute deadline is Friday 13 August 2021


3. UCU LGBT+ research conference, November 2021 

UCU LGBT+ research conference will be held online over 3 days during the first week of November 2021. This notice announces the opening of the call for papers. For further information and to submit a proposal please click here.

Leave Entitlement

We are writing to you in relation to complaints received by UCU Cardiff regarding leave entitlement.

A number of members have reported that they are not able to have a proper break, and/or enjoy all their annual leave this year.

All workers are entitled to take leave by law. Therefore, the University should be encouraging all of us to enjoy all our leave.

We had discussed this with the University management, and they had confirmed that there is no guidance issued by the University restricting leave in any way whatsoever.

UCU Cardiff’s position is that all members of staff should be able to take all their leave this year.

We also consider the possibility that, only upon agreement with the member of staff, it may be acceptable for some members to have their leave (more specifically, up to 4 weeks of leave) carried over to next year, if their entitlement cannot be taken this year as a result of COVID-19. The latter would be only an exceptional situation, and the University management have confirmed that they could make exceptions on an individual basis. In the current situation, as for University’s policy, 10 days would be carried over for all staff if they cannot take all their leave.

If you have had restrictions imposed on you regarding leave, or for any other reason you are not able to take all your leave this year, we encourage you to come forward and contact us directly, if you would like us to discuss this with the University, in order to find a solution that it’s satisfactory to you. We had been in communication with the University management, who are willing to discuss anonymized cases. They have made it clear that they are willing to address particular cases.

If you would like us bringing your case anonymously to the University management, please let us know by contacting your dep rep, or UCU’s local office, or simply by replying to this email. Of course, you can always request a caseworker by emailing the office (

With best wishes
Cardiff UCU executive

PS. Why up to four weeks of leave carried over? This is government policy

Update From Cardiff UCU General Meeting – We Need Your Views On The UUS Pensions And Pay Disputes

Great job from everyone who joined the last general members’ meeting of the academic year yesterday and contributed to the discussions.

At the meeting we discussed:

  • potential upcoming USS pensions and pay disputes,
  • our strategy to address excessive workloads,
  • some recent anti-casualisation victories, and
  • the proposed changes associated with Recast Transforming Services and Better Ways of Working.

You can see the slides presented by our member and pensions expert, Woon Wong, on USS pensions here, and the slides presented by our Exec members Nicky Priaulx and Martin Weinel on workload here. Chris Graves’ presentation on Recast Transforming Services and Better Ways of Working is here.

As part of the discussion on Pensions and Pay, UCU head office has asked us to collect views from members on potential industrial action. Please complete this very short survey so that your thoughts can contribute to the union’s strategy.

Members voted overwhelmingly (95%) in support of the proposed strategy for the workload campaign, which includes exploring the submission of a collective grievance to university management regarding the workload crisis and its consequences for staff.

If you are interested in the anti-casualisation workgroup updates, there is a dedicated Anti-casualisation meeting on Tuesday 29th June at 10 am. Everyone is welcome and the link to the meeting is:

All the updates and news from the branch are sent to members in our branch’s newsletter/bulletin so we urge members to read these in order to be up-to-date with the branch’s activities – you can search for “Cardiff UCU News” or “Cardiff UCU Bulletin”; there will be one in your inbox next week. We were initially sending the bulletin every week but decided to start sending it less frequently and intersperse it with occasional specific e-mails like this one.  We hope this works well for you but please let us know if you have any ideas or preference regarding how we communicate with you.

If you have any questions or any issues we would like to discuss with the branch, please contact our office (

In solidarity,

Cardiff UCU Branch Committee

Newsletter 10/06/2020

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 ( 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.

Solidarity & Wider Campaigns

1.  Solidary with the Department of Archaeology of the University of Sheffield 

At the end of May, plans to axe the archaeology department at the University of Sheffield emerged and resonated strongly with our own members from SHARE who are facing worrying managerial procedures. The University Executive Board at the University of Sheffield has recommended that the Department of Archaeology be closed, despite an international outcry over the prospect that has been covered by the BBC, the Guardian and many local news organisations.

We stand in solidarity with the Archaeology department at the University of Sheffield and with all the colleagues affected by this. Sheffield UCU and the other campus unions are determined to resist the closure plans, which would affect academic, technical and professional services staff in the department. To support the campaign against closure:

2. Solidary with UCU members at Leicester and Liverpool universities 

UCU members at Leicester and Liverpool universities are on strike against compulsory redundancies this week. We already sent messages of support from our branch.

Leicester UCU began three consecutive days of strike action today, and Liverpool UCU are in the middle of their third week of continuous strikes. Both branches are due to complete their current stage of industrial action this Friday.

Both branches have therefore agreed to organise a Joint Solidarity Strike Rally at 12pm this Friday 11th June – to which all UCU members are invited.

Please share the details of this important event with colleagues and ensure your branch is well represented at the rally. It is vital to demonstrate that whenever, wherever, and however UCU members fight back, they do not fight alone.

You can also urge your MP to sign Early Day Motion against university redundancies and urging the Government to end the marketisation of higher education.


3. Anti-racist Wales 

Welsh Government is consulting around a Race Equality Action Plan for an anti-racist Wales and the UCU regional office is requesting members’ input to respond to the consultation. If you would like to contribute, please contact Jamie insole – UCU Policy Officer, at

Jamie prepared a narrative document summarizing interviews he had with members to date. He is particularly interested in speaking to black members so that their priorities inform governments process.

The deadline for the consultation is the 17th June and Jamie is asking for people to contact preferably before the 11th June.



1. Cardiff UCU – General Meeting, 23 June 1.10-2.10 pm 

Our branch’s next General Meeting is on 23rd June via Teams. We will send an agenda and link closer to the date.

General Meetings are the main channel for the executive committee to consult with members and for the branch to make decisions as a collective.  These meetings are always scheduled at lunchtime on a Wednesday to ensure no teaching clashes for staff with teaching responsibilities. However, we are aware that other members, including those who are part-time, might be disadvantaged. While there are no perfect solutions, we welcome any suggestions to make these meetings more open and inclusive.

We are in the process of updating our website so that members can find useful information more easily and we will be looking into setting up calendar invites to the General Meetings in advance.

You are the union and it is important that you participate in the branch activities so that the branch can best represent you and prioritise the things that you and your colleagues care most about.


2. Clean Air Day Meeting, 17 June 6-7.30 pm 

On June 17th UCU Hazards Campaign have organised a zoom meeting for Clean Air Day.  6-7.30pm 

With a discussion led by Prof Andrew Watterson Stirling University, Hilda Palmer Hazards Campaign/TUCAN and John James UCU member and TUEducation in Wales about initiatives being led by trade unions and Hazards Campaigners in Scotland, Wales and England to improve Air Quality.


3.   People’s Assembly National Demonstration – After COVID, Demand a New Normal 

People’s Assembly is organizing a national demonstration in London on the 26th June 2021. The key demands of the demonstration are:

  • Renationalise key industries
  • Decent housing for all
  • No Tory crony corruption
  • Properly funded, fully publicly-owned NHS
  • Keep the market out of education
  • A green new deal
  • Safe workplaces, save jobs
  • End fire and rehire
  • Fully funded social care
  • Kill the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

If you would like to arrange transport from Cardiff, please contact:

Cardiff UCU Statement in Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Cardiff UCU condemns the violent attacks on Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and within Israel by the Israeli armed forces. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who, since at least 1948, have resisted warfare, violent displacements, discriminatory laws/policies, blockades, detentions, land annexations and what has been described as ethnic cleansing (e.g. Pappé, 2006). What is going on today is only the most recent juncture in an ongoing process of occupation and apartheid (B’tselem, 2021) that dehumanises the Palestinian people. This has been recognised most recently by Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem.

We mourn all loss of life and condemn all forms of racism including antisemitism, we are in solidarity with all people around the world who suffered attacks as a result of this situation and who have endured discrimination for generations, and we are in solidarity with all ordinary people/workers, Palestinian and Israeli, who have been oppressed by the Israeli state. We strongly refuse the ‘two-sides’ narrative that conceals the inequalities between the Israeli state – which receives USD $3.8 billion in military aid annually from the United States and exerts sovereign control over Israel and all the Occupied Palestinian Territories — and a Palestinian population resisting occupation, oppression and the daily violation of human rights. We recognise Palestinians’ right to liberation, to self-determination, to remain in their residence, and to return home.

We therefore condemn the threat to forcibly and illegally evict Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, the attack on the Al Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan and the violent repression of Palestinian protests. We also condemn the bombing of the besieged Gaza strip, which has killed over 200 people and injured over 1000.

The attacks have, in the context of the global pandemic, damaged important infrastructure, affecting the provision of water, sanitation, healthcare, education, journalism and housing, as well being disproportionate and not taking the necessary precautions to protect civilians.  Collectively as well as individually such acts amount to serious and egregious breaches of international law and may amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes.

We recognise that we have colleagues and students who are personally affected by what is going on at this time and offer them our solidarity and support.  We take seriously calls from students to decolonise our university and see solidarity with the Palestinian cause as part of this process, and indeed part of our role as universities to work against all forms of racism, colonialism and injustice globally.

More specifically we call on the university to make a public statement of support and solidarity with Palestine and call on the Israeli state to stop the violence. We also call on the university to support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of the Israeli state for as long as it continues with its system of apartheid.

The UK is very much implicated in this colonial project through its involvement in the early 20th century Sykes-Picot Agreement, Balfour Declaration, British mandate, and its arms sales to Israel. We call on the Welsh and UK government to apply pressure on Israel to immediately end its air strikes and impose a two-way arms embargo with Israel and to lobby the Israeli state to end its siege of Gaza and dismantle the Apartheid wall that it has constructed both in Gaza and in the West Bank. We call on these governments to ensure that no Welsh and UK firms/institutions contribute to the apartheid regime.