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.

Letter from Cardiff University UEB regarding MAB and deductions 4th July 2023

This letter was received from UEB on the 4th July 2023 and continued a chain of prior correspondence.

The PDF version of the letter as originally sent to the branch is available.

4 July 2023

Dear Cardiff UCU Executive

Thank you for your letter of 29 June 2023 in response to our letter of 28 June 2023 regarding a joint statement.

We recognise that the current Marking and Assessment boycott (MAB) is nationally mandated and that you are constrained by many matters outside of your control. As explained during our recent discussions, we too are subject to similar constraints. Our policy in response to the MAB therefore remains unchanged.

However, given the serious impact the MAB is having on our students and staff, we remain willing to engage in further discussions on how we can work together to call off the MAB at Cardiff or at least reduce its impact.

We also remain committed to the work on the issues that we are able to progress and take forward locally and look forward to continuing to engage in the constructive discussions which have shaped this work to date.

Yours sincerely
University Executive Board

UCU industrial action developments

Below is a list of think pieces written by various UCU members and collectives following the UCU Higher Education Committee’s (HEC) decision on Friday 17th March to proceed with strikes and not to put the UCEA/USS proposal out to members to accept/reject. Vicky Blake’s and UCL UCU’s pieces are good ones to start with, though we don’t endorse any particular position.

UCU national – summary of HE negotiations 2022/23

*Vicky Blake (HEC member, previous President of UCU): What’s going on, and why did HEC vote against consultation on the disputes? 20 March

*UCL UCU: HEC Decision Q&As, 20 March

UCU Left: Statement on USS and Four Fights, 21 March(?)

Notes from Below: The University Worker (bulletin) ‘Keep the strikes going!’, 20 March

Notes from Below: ‘UCU Democracy’ by Royal Holloway Early Career Academics, 19 March

UCU Commons: Moving On: the 17 March HEC Decision and Next Steps, 20 March

UCU Left: We stopped the sell-out. Fight on to victory! 19 March(?)

Reverse USS: Have we ‘won’ on USS? 19 March

UCU Commons: The offer and the details in, 16 March

Reverse USS: Have we ‘won’ on USS?, 19 Mar

Campaign for UCU Democracy: Does HEC listen to UCU members?, 21st March

UCU Left: Reject the Rubbish Non-Offer – No More Surveys!, 24 Mar

UCU Left: This is no time to end our disputes, 27 Mar

Campaign for UCU Democracy: Does HEC listen to UCU members?, 27th March

Mark Taylor-Batty blog: USS update – a brief for members of the USS pension scheme from elected UCU negotiators, 27th March

UCU HE Negotiators: UCU National Negotiators’ Analysis of the ACAS offer on pay gaps, contract type and workload, 26th March

Support for survivors of sexual harassment at Cardiff University Branch Motion 

The executive notes: 

  1. UCU’s commitment to eradicating sexual harassment in HE and FE, and its setting up of a helpline for survivors of sexual harassment.  
  1. The fact that many UCU branches are creating named contact(s) for sexual harassment cases and adopting the model UCU policy ( 
  1. That the prevalence of sexual harassment in HE was highlighted in a recent series of Al-Jazeera Podcasts, Degrees of Abuse,
  1. That few of the branch’s caseworkers are trained in how to deal with cases of sexual harassment, especially where supporting survivors is concerned. 

The executive resolves: 

  1. To adopt UCU’s policy on Dealing with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, to communicate this to the membership through the newsletter. 
  1. To recruit at least two named contacts who can advise survivors of sexual harassment. These contacts will be encouraged to attend the three-day training on Challenging Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (–7-14-March-2022-online-Yorkshire–Humber) 
  1. To offer local, less extensive training on challenging sexual harassment to all members of the executive committee, all departmental representatives, and all caseworkers, as well as to any other interested member of the branch. 

Bilingual out-of-office messages for UCU industrial action 2023

For ASOS (action short of a strike) – until further notice

Diolch am eich neges. Noder fy mod yn ‘gweithio i gontract’ fel rhan o weithredu diwydiannol UCU i gefnogi cyflog a phensiynau teg ym maes addysg uwch. Gall hyn olygu y bydd yn cymryd yn hirach i mi ymateb i e-byst. Gallwch ddod o hyd i ragor o wybodaeth am yr anghydfod yma:

Thank you for your message. Please note I am ‘working to contract’ as part of the UCU industrial action in support of fair pay and pensions in higher education. This may mean it takes longer for me to respond to emails. You can find out more about the dispute here:

For strike days – 1st February 2023 onwards

Option 1 for strike days

Diolch am eich neges. Noder fy mod ar streic heddiw fel rhan o weithredu diwydiannol UCU i gefnogi cyflog a phensiynau teg ym maes addysg uwch. Gallwch ddod o hyd i ragor o wybodaeth am yr anghydfod yma:  

Thank you for your message. Please note I am on strike today as part of the UCU industrial action in support of fair pay and pensions in higher education. You can find out more about the dispute here:–pensions  

Option 2 for strike days

I am not able to check email today as members of Cardiff UCU are taking industrial action, along with members at 150 other universities, over attacks on pay, working conditions, and pensions. Members of Cardiff UCU will be on strike for 18 days in February and March, starting on the February 1st. Please do not email on these days as I will not be able to respond to emails sent to me on strike days on my return. If you would like more information about the dispute, please go to If you are a student, please do contact to find out what steps the Vice-Chancellor is taking to avoid a dispute.

Nid wyf yn gallu agor fy e-bost heddiw gan fod aelodau UCU Caerdydd yn ymgymryd â gweithredu diwydiannol, ynghyd â 150 o brifysgolion eraill, o achos ymosodiadau ar gyflog, amodau gwaith, a phensiynau. Bydd aelodau UCU Caerdydd ar streic am 18 diwrnod ym mis Chwefror a mis Mawrth, gan ddechrau ar Chwefror 1af. Peidiwch ag e-bostio yn ystod y dyddiau hyn os gwelwch yn dda gan na fydd modd i mi ymateb i’r e-byst sydd wedi eu gyrru i mi ar ddiwrnodau’r streic pan fyddaf yn dychwelyd. Os hoffech fwy o wybodaeth am yr anghydfod, ewch i os gwelwch yn dda. Os ydych yn fyfyriwr/aig, mae croeso i chi gysylltu â er mwyn darganfod pa gamau sy’n cael eu cymryd gan yr Is-ganghellor er mwyn osgoi’r anghydfod. 

Option 3 for strike days

Shwmae! Sai ar gael ar hyn o bryd achos fy mod yn cymryd rhan mewn streic fel rhan o weithredu diwydiannol gan Undeb y Brifysgol a’r Coleg (UCU) i amddiffyn ein hawl i bensiwn teg, cyflog teg, cytundebau diogel a chydraddoldeb yn y gweithle. 

Os wyt ti’n fyfyriwr, anfona e-bost at yr Is-ganghellor i ofyn iddo ddweud wrth sefydliad y prifysgolion (UCEA) i ddelio â’r anghydfod yn deg. Gallwch chi wneud hynny yma >>> 

Mae Undeb Myfyrwyr Prifysgol Caerdydd yn cefnogi’r streic ac mae Undeb Prifysgolion a Cholegau Caerdydd wedi pleidleisio o blaid yr holl fyfyrwyr sydd am fynnu ad-daliad ffioedd.

Anfona e-bost ataf yn ôl ar ddiwrnod nad yw’n ddiwrnod streic UCU:


Hello! I’m not available right now because I’m taking part in the University and College Union (UCU) strike action to defend our right to a fair pension, fair pay, secure contracts and equality at work.

If you’re a student, please email the Vice Chancellor to ask him to tell the Universities’ organisation UCEA to deal with the dispute fairly. You can do that right here >>> 

Cardiff Uni Student’s Union supports the strike and Cardiff UCU has voted in support of all students who wish to demand fee refunds.

Please email me back on a day that is not a UCU strike day:

Timetable of Strike Activities, February/March 2023

This is a reproduction of the strike activities timetable in linear form. We will try our best to keep it up to date during action, but sometimes last minute changes are necessary. Please follow the branch on social media or join the branch announcements WhatsApp group for more information.

Wednesday 15 March

08:30 – Full pickets on buildings
11:00 – Rally at Main Gate
11:30 – Join TUC all-unions rally at Central Square

Thursday 16 March

08:30 – SHARE members picketing Main Building
11:30 – Teach out – “Equality in our University” at Student Union 3G

Friday 17 March

08:30 – MEDIC, DNTL, HCARE, MLANG and EARTH members picketing Main Building
11:30 – Strike bird-watching walk, leaving from Main Building

Monday 20 March

08:30 – SOCSI, GEOPL, PHYSX, ENGIN members picketing Main Building
11:30 – Teach out – “Know your rights” at Student Union 3G

Tuesday 21 March

08:30 – CARBS, COMSC, MATHS and UITBG members picketing Main Building

Wednesday 22 March

08:30 – Full pickets on buildings
11:30 – Rally at Main Gate

Schedule of activities on past strike days

Wednesday 1 February

08:30 – Full pickets on buildings
11:30 – Short UCU rally and then joining TUC rally

Thursday 9 February

08:30 – Full pickets on buildings

11.30 – Teach out: New Buildings Walking Tour starting at the Main Gate

Friday 10 February

08:30 – Pickets by LAWPL on Main Gate only

Tuesday 14 February

08:30 – Full pickets on buildings
11:00 – Rally at Main Gate
TBD – Potential Valentines fundraiser

Wednesday 15 February

08:30 – PSYCH+BIOSI picketing Main Gate
TBD – Member talks

Thursday 16 February

08:30 – ENCAP+JOMEC picketing Main Gate

Upcoming UCU CPD training – Early 2023

Allyship and Solidarity
Friday 24 February 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Wednesday 29 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Know what we mean by “allyship”
  • Understand why allyship and solidarity is essential now
  • Understand the difference between meaningful allyship and performative allyship
  • Explore how we can build structures that allow us to support each other.

Challenging Casualisation in Education
Tuesday 24 January 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Thursday 02 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Tuesday 14 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • understand why casualisation is so damaging to education and staff
  • understand what staff on casual contracts locally see as a priority for change
  • understand how more securely employed staff can support casually employed staff in their workplaces
  • be aware of the UCU campaign against casualisation and how they can contribute.

Challenging Excessive Workload in Education
Monday 23 January 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Monday 30 January 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Thursday 02 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Monday 06 February 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Thursday 02 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Thursday 16 March 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Tuesday 28 March  4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • identify why excessive workload is so damaging to education and staff
  • Identify collective responses to tackling excessive workloads
  • Develop an understanding of workload as a health and safety issue
  • Make members aware of the UCU campaign on workload and how they can contribute

Challenging Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence
Tuesday 07 February 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Tuesday 28 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Identify what we mean by individual harassment and sexual harassment
  • Understand how workplace policies protect staff
  • Understand UCU’s approach to challenging sexual harassment and sexual violence
  • Explore how we can all challenge sexual harassment more broadly in the workplace.

Collectively Challenging Disability Discrimination
Tuesday 24 January 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Wednesday 08 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book 
Tuesday 21 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book 

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Know more about what is meant by disability
  • Understand the social model of disability promoted by the UCU
  • Explore how we can all challenge disability discrimination in the workplace.

Community Accountability for Racial Justice
Tuesday 31 January 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Tuesday 07 February 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Friday 03 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Tuesday 21 March 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Understand UCU’s Community Accountability for Racial Justice programme
  • Explore how to build alliances for racial justice within and beyond your institution
  • Consider how to bring community influence to bear on institutions
  • Discuss how to create enduring, inclusive and pleasurable structures that will work toward winning racial justice.

Decarbonise and Decolonise
Thursday 26 January 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Monday 30 January 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Monday 20 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Friday 03 March  2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Monday 20 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • provide an introductory understanding of climate justice and its connection with decolonising and decarbonising
  • support participants to identify opportunities to apply decolonising and decarbonising for climate justice to the education sector
  • encourage participants to develop their own practice to consider climate justice and intersectionality
  • explore the role of UCU branches and members in mobilising action for decolonising and decarbonising.

Democratising Education- UCU Green New Deal
Friday 03 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Thursday 16 February 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Thursday 09 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Wednesday 29 March  10:30am-12 noon click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Understand the meaning of democratising education  
  • Realise the interconnection between democratising education and the climate crisis
  • Be able to communicate with branch members and the student movement on democratising education to progress the UCU Green New Deal
  • Gain an awareness of what others are doing to democratise.

Embedding Climate Education in the Curriculum 
Wednesday 25 January 10:30am- 12 noon click here to book
Friday 10 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book 

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Understand why sustainability issues are so important to students and UCU members
  • Explore how sustainability issues have been incorporated into a range of learning programmes
  • Reflect on how to amend your own practice
  • Consider how you could use your experience to support other UCU members around sustainability issues.

Everyday Ableism
Tuesday 31 January 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Tuesday 14 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Tuesday 28 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Know more about what is meant by ableism and what it looks like
  • Understand the social model of disability promoted by UCU
  • Explore what UCU branches can do to challenge ableist cultures.

Introduction to Sustainability
Friday 24 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book 
Wednesday 15 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Understand student demand for sustainability and climate education
  • Explore the meaning of sustainability
  • Make the connection between sustainability and climate education
  • Understand the relevant frameworks defining sustainability, and how to apply them.

LGBT+ Language in Use
Wednesday 08 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Wednesday 15 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Wednesday 22 February 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Thursday 23 February 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Have a greater understanding of LGBT+ language in use
  • Be more confident in the use of appropriate language
  • Explore how your professional practice could be improved by using supportive and inclusive language
  • Consider how to develop, support and promote UCU campaigns in support of LGBT+ equality.

The Menopause is a Workplace Issue
Thursday 26 January 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Thursday 02 February 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Tuesday 07 March 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Wednesday 15 March 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Thursday 30 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Understand why the menopause is a workplace and a trade union issue
  • Understand some of the challenges facing those with menopausal symptoms in the workplace
  • Explore strategies to support members through the menopause in the workplace

Neurodiversity at Work
Wednesday 01 February 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book *Teach Out session*
Friday 03 February 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Monday 06 February 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Tuesday 07 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Thursday 16 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Thursday 23 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • know more about Neurodiversity and what it means to be Neurodivergent
  • understand the workplace barriers that prevent full participation at work
  • clarify the role of the employer in supporting neurodivergent workers
  • explore action that members and branches can take to support neurodivergent workers

Running Climate Learning Events
Thursday 09 February 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Tuesday 07 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • understand how to involve and engage allies including colleagues and students, in helping to run the climate-themed learning events
  • know what UCU resources are available, and how to add to them
  • explore specific resources and consider how they could be adapted to support local initiatives.

Tackling the Hostile Environment: Understanding the Challenges Facing Migrants in the UK
Monday 23 January 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book
Friday 27 January 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Weds 01 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book *Teach out session*
Thursday 09 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Thursday 16 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  • Know more about the challenges faced by migrant staff and students in post 16 education and beyond
  • Understand how to show practical solidarity with migrant staff
  • Explore how we can ensure that workplaces and the union are inclusive spaces for migrant staff.

Working Safely
Friday 27 January 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Thursday 09 February 10:30am-12 noon click here to book
Wednesday 08 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book
Thursday 30 March 2:00pm-3:30pm click here to book

The full aims of the interactive workshop are to:

  1. understand why it’s important to unapologetically protect your health and wellbeing at this time
  2. identify some of the challenges you face in working safely whether from home, back in the workplace or a blend of the two
  3. Be clear about what support you can expect from your employer
  4. Identify support available from UCU

How UCU CPD interactive workshops work

The taught session will last for about 75 minutes, after which time we take 15-20 minutes to discuss the issues raised. The total time commitment will be around an hour and a half.

You will need to find a quiet space, away from distractions (like telephone and email!), and you may prefer to use headphones for the session. I would also recommend that you check that you can use Zoom before the session if you are unfamiliar with it.

Following registration you will be sent a meeting number and password for the webinar using Zoom about 5 days before the start of the workshop. You will be able to join the session from about 10 minutes before the stated start time. I would also recommend that you do join five to 10 minutes early as you will need to be admitted to the session, and of course there can be technical problems.

Live transcription will be available. We plan to use the zoom “chat” function during the session. If that will in any way inhibit your full participation please contact us beforehand so that alternative arrangements can be made.

We are passionately committed to ensuring that everyone can fully participate in UCU CPD sessions so if you need us to make any additional facilities available to you please get in touch as soon as you can. We will do everything possible to help. 

If you have any questions or would like us to host a cpd session in your own workplace please email me at: