Update on Health & Safety:

In our last meetings with management, we insisted organisation at School level needs to be improved to ensure consultation is taking place for all buildings.

We currently do not have enough evidence that buildings are safe and we are still awaiting answers to some of our questions regarding safe re-opening of buildings.

We do not know under which conditions the sports facilities and other specific places have been re-opened. If you have any information, get in touch with us.

Management have assured us that vulnerable staff with concerns will be supported, and if this does not happen, these staff should report to Cardiff UCU.

Any health and safety issues our members identify as problematic, we want to hear from you.

We also encourage our members to ensure a UCU rep is on the Health and Safety Committee for your workplace. Discuss with your UCU dep rep and colleagues the potential health and safety risks in your building. Discuss your health and safety concerns with colleagues in UCU, Unison and Unite, as well as non-union members.

University management have devolved decision-making on health and safety to school-level, so it is important our UCU members and reps take the initiative for the safe re-opening of their particular building.

If you need support or guidance, please be in touch with us.

Strike School:

UCU have teamed up with US trade union organiser Jane McAlevey to offer UCU members free attendance at her six session online “Strike School” this September and October.

Cardiff UCU activists are very excited to take part in this training. McAlevey is a fantastic organiser who recently completed her PhD on trade unions at CUNY and worked as a postdoc at Harvard Law School. We have been gaining inspiration from her books No Shortcuts, A Collective Bargain, and Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell).

We encourage members of Cardiff UCU who might like to attend the Strike School to join this webinar. In this session, Jane McAlevey will talk to UCU members and general secretary Jo Grady about growing UCU branches, winning disputes and keeping workplaces safe.

If you attend this webinar, or cannot attend but would like to attend the Strike School with fellow Cardiff UCU activists, please reply to this email to let us know. But please do not register for the six session Strike School yet, as the registration process will be clarified by UCU closer to the time.

What? Back To School: Organising to Win in 2020-2021

When? 7pm-8pm, Wednesday 2nd September 2020

Where? Twitter, FaceBook or YouTube: https://fundthefuture.org.uk/event/organising-to-win/

The dates for the six sessions of Strike School are as follows:

Taking place Tuesdays and Thursdays: September 24 & 29 / October 1, 6, 8 & 13
Running twice daily: 12pm New York / 17h Lagos / 18h Berlin / 19h Baghdad / 21h30 New Delhi
And again: 5pm Los Angeles / 7pm Mexico City / 8pm Washington DC / 21h Buenos Aires / 8h Manila (following day)

Management planned to scrap staff pay increment:

Are you salaried staff and did you receive an annual increment this month by moving up a spinal point on the pay scale? Congratulations! This is a recognition given to roughly 30% of higher education staff of gained experience and expertise. It is not a “pay rise”, as senior managers at Cardiff University are telling members of staff.

University management were keen to deny staff this uplift in pay. In May 2020, they sought permission from campus unions to scrap increments, as part of a cost-saving drive to “save the University that we all love”. The campus unions refused to give their permission for these unnecessary cuts.

University managers’ cost-cutting plans were based on apocalyptic predictions of reduced income, due to students apparently not wanting to study at the university. Campus unions rejected this manufactured crisis scenario. Not enough was known about student numbers, and managers failed to demonstrate that they made cost savings elsewhere.

Recent projections of expected student numbers appear to be vindicating the campus unions’ stance on rejecting the scrapping of annual increments.

NHS Staff Protest this Saturday!:

“We are feeling undervalued, demoralised, overworked and exhausted. We have lost 540 of our colleagues to COVID-19 and the fight is not over” 

We support NHS staff in their demand for a 15% pay rise and encourage all UCU members to show their support.

30 protests led by frontline NHS staff will be taking place across the UK this Saturday.

Cardiff UCU will attend the Cardiff protest with our banner. Please join us and say hello, especially if this is your first protest!

If you have clapped for NHS staff, show your support again to help them win their demand for fair pay.

“We are calling on NHS staff and supporters to mobilise with us on Saturday 8th August to send a clear message to the government.

We do not accept your plans to exclude us from the public sector pay increase, and we will make ourselves heard until you listen.

This event is a peaceful protest against the government’s decision to leave NHS staff out of the recent pay increases.

Please observe social distancing, and wear a mask or face covering”

When? Saturday 8th August 2020

Where? Millenium Centre at 10.45am; march to the Senedd for 11am

Tweet your support: @NurseSayNo

FaceBook: @NHSworkersSayNo

Negotiations with management:

The Joint Consultative and Negotiating Forum (JCNF) was due to meet on Monday. This is the formal negotiating meeting at which the three campus unions discuss all matters relating to collective bargaining with senior management.

The main item for discussion was an update and discussion on the University’s financial position. Unfortunately, the university failed to provide written information in advance of the meeting. We expected this to include a redrafted version of its financial position, which takes a less pessimistic position on student numbers and acknowledges the government assistance that was recently announced.

Without the time to consider such crucial and detailed information in advance of the meeting, the three unions considered that we were unable to engage constructively in discussions. We notified management that the JCNF would need to be postponed until the information has been provided and we now expect the JCNF to take place in September.

Update on Health and Safety:

Conversations with management continue. The Unions have stressed the importance of management engaging in meaningful consultation with the Unions, and communication for this purpose has been intense.

We do not feel we were adequately consulted on the initial move back to campus for some staff and we are still hearing reports of a lack of meaningful consultation in some Schools. Please let us know if this is the case in your School.

All concerns raised by union members and representatives have been communicated to management. Some of these have been clarified and others need further discussion. We are asking for clarification on issues including individual risk assessments, which remain a concern for many of our members.

Building Risk Assessments:

Management have been sending Building Risk Assessments to trade unions and building users, but we have received reports that consultations with unions are not being done in all cases. There is also confusion about deadlines.

UCU have requested that clear deadlines are communicated to unions for these consultations and have reiterated that it is a legal requirement to consult trade unions about them.

Training and Guidance for Risk Assessments:

UCU members are reminded that Risk Assessments are the responsibility of our employer, and nobody should be required to do a RA if they do not have the appropriate training, which needs to be provided by Cardiff University.

If you find that this is not being done correctly in your School, please let us know.

UCU’s guidance for member on coronavirus and your rights at work can be found here.

Unless you are given the appropriate training to undertake a Risk Assessment, your involvement should be to provide feedback. You are not responsible for the Risk Assessment itself.

Individual Risk Assessments:

For members of staff working from home, the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) procedure must be followed. You should have received this from management and individuals are expected to raise any concerns with their line managers.

Please contact us if you have not received the DSE guidelines.

For members of staff who will be required to work on campus, the All Wales RA Tool will be used:

This tool should be the foundation for a meaningful discussion with your line manager. We have concerns about what this will mean in practice and have asked for clarification.

Teaching and Researching on Campus :

We have raised many concerns on behalf of our members in relation to arrangements for face-to-face teaching and researching. These include:

  • A primary focus on teaching and little engagement about research activities

  • the extent of face-to-face teaching to be undertaken next semester, including what has been communicated to students

  • The extent of Schools’ discretion to make alternative arrangements according to variable factors such as space, ventilation and student numbers.