Solidarity & Wider Campaigns (February 18th 2021:

1. Rural Primary School Closures 


A number of primary schools in Wales are at risk of closure with the implications that some pupils might have to attend school in England (without the possibility to learn Welsh) and/or travel greater distances to reach school. Schools are very important to small communities and governments should be investing in more schools with fewer pupils rather than fewer schools with more pupils. You can read more about it in this Guardian article  and sign the following petitions against the closure of two Welsh schools:

Ysgol Mynyddygarreg.

Churchstoke Community Primary School.


2. Free School Meals in Wales 


Child poverty across Wales, and the UK, is on the rise but the Welsh Senedd if failing to act on this, namely by refusing to provide free school meals to all Welsh children or even to expand their eligibility (currently only available to households with less than around 7K/year), despite pressure from a number of Welsh councils and groups like People’s Assembly Wales or the Child Poverty Action Group. It is even more shocking that in England and Scotland all children get free meals in the first three years of primary school but in Wales they don’t. You can support the campaigns requesting free school meals to all children and requesting guidelines on how these are delivered during the pandemic by signing the following petitions for the Welsh Senned:

Free school meals for all pupils in Wales

Revise the guidance for Free School Meals, removing the option for delivery of food parcels 

Events (February 18th 2021):

.  Cardiff Lunchtime Talk Series – TODAY 13:10-14:00  


Dr Woon Wong, Reader in Financial Economics in the Cardiff Business School, and Dr Dave Atkins, our UCU pensions officer, will be talking about “Understanding Pensions: Conversation and Q&A”. To join please use this link.

Next week, we will have another talk of our series Resist! The future of collective action and unionisation with Professor Jean Jenkins talking about: ‘The Struggle for Freedom of Association: Organising Against the Odds at the Grass Roots’

Thursday 25th February 13:10-14:00

Join using this link

We hope to see you there!


2.   Stop deaths in custody Solidarity and Justice for Refugees Public Meeting  

Thursday March 4 at 5.00pm


UCU Black Lives Matter is organizing a public meeting, supported by our branch, in protest of institutional racism in the police and in solidarity to the victims of police brutality, including Mohamud Hassan who died recently in Cardiff following his detention by the South Wales Police. To join this event, please register here. 


3. UCU week of action against workplace racism – 22-26 February 2021 

Community accountability: an antiracism for abolitionist times

The sixth week of action against workplace racism will be held from the week beginning Monday 22 February 2021. This annual campaign event has grown from strength to strength as it involves a whole union approach in tackling the issues of workplace racism and its impact on careers, mental health and well-being and relationships with peers/students. For more information and events, click here.


4. Risk assessment: No return until safe 

24 February & 1 March 2021, 1:30pm – 3.30pm, Online, (National course)

This online course has been designed for Reps and activists who are looking to better understand the risk assessment process. The course will take account of the pandemic, look at how current Health and Safety legislation can help, and discuss strategies for involving members. Click here for more information and to register. 


5.  Wales green transitions network event – Friday 26th February at 14:00 online.   


During the next decade, we foresee the climate emergency impacting upon our professional lives. To ensure that this transition is fair, UCU is working closely with TUC Wales to drive a green recovery and a just transition, building strength in our workplaces and liberating the expertise that sits in our institutions.

Timed to closely follow the 10 February launch of Wales TUC’s ‘greener workplaces for a just transition’ toolkit, this event will give you the opportunity to explore how you can root a just transitions agenda in the workplace.

• Learn – from UCU reps who are already taking this work forward

• Share – your own experiences, successes and challenges

• Network – be inspired and supported to make the change happen

• Access – training, advice and continuing professional development

Please join by clicking the link on this page.

Branch News and Updates (18th February 2021):

1.  Volunteer to help with Get The Vote Out Campaign (GTVO) 


Our negotiators are meeting with the University Executive Board (UEB) today in another attempt to resolve the dispute. Recent correspondence from management indicates that they are still refusing tomake the commitment that face-to-face work on campus will be optional. Time is of the essence in a situation like this and we must be prepared to keep up the pressure for ours and our colleagues’ safety. We urge all members to check their UCU records here (link) to ensure they have the correct address to receive a ballot for industrial action. We also need volunteers to help with the GTVO campaign so that we can reach those members who are less engaged with the union and encourage them to vote in order for us to reach the required 50% voting turnout. If you can spare any time over the next few weeks, please add your name to this form and we will get in touch soon.


2.  Anti-Casualisation Update 


Casualisation in HE, including at Cardiff University, has been a growing concern over the past years and the impacts of the pandemic on those in precarious work are particularly concerning.

We recently wrote to HR enquiring about the progress of the Teaching Delivery Governance Group, set up to improve the contracts and progression of hourly-paid staff and to evaluate the terms of conditions for postgraduate tutors (for which UCU is requesting working contracts), after a number of meetings have been postponed – we have received no reply yet but we will update members when possible.

The Anti-casualisation working group set up a new taskforce, led by Dr Ryan Davey, to look at contracts with relevant factors. We aim to submit a claim to the University with demands relating to these contracts. If you would like to contribute to the discussion leading to submitting the claim, please get in touch with the office (


3.  Casualisation – Potential Legal Cases 


UCU National is asking branches for case studies for potential legal challenges across HE institutions by way of unfair dismissal or indirect discrimination claims. We are seeking cases for submission that include staff on fixed terms contracts which have been allowed to expire where:

• They have been on one Fixed term contract of 2 years or more, or

• On successive fixed term contracts with a gap between them of no more than 1 week, or

• Have had a significant history of fixed term contracts (more than a few years) expiring at the end of the academic year and being issued another one in September

(all of these with the same institution)


We are also interested in any cases of fixed terms contracts being allowed to expire  where those contracts are primarily fulfilled by (a) staff of one sex, (b) a particular age group or (c) a particular race or ethnic origin, or (d) of staff being selected for redundancy (i.e. let go when their latest contract expired) just because they were on a fixed-term contract.


If you think you can be used as a case-study or know anyone who might fit any of the above please contact the office to let us know (


4.  Promotions 


Following the University’s announcement on the decision to delay promotion awards this year, we inquired about the reasons and objected to the effective ‘suspension’ of the academic promotion process for 2021 in this letter sent to the University Executive Board (UEB) on 21st January 2021.


UEB have responded and confirmed that the decision to delay the promotion award is not because of savings to staff costs but they did not address our questions and concerns sufficiently. As a result, we sent a follow-up letter pushing for the award to be back-dated to August so that no member of staff incurs a detriment when applying for promotion this year.


5.  Home Working Risks 


Many staff have still not had a proper Risk Assessment, including a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment, specific for home-working.

The Health and Safety Executive Government Agency (HSE) has some useful advice for home-working here and here and this fact sheet by Greater Manchester Hazards Website contains details on some of the risks involved in working long periods without the right equipment.


If your home does not have the conditions for you to arrange a proper workstation, you should consider discussing with your line manager a different space to work, including safe access to your office.


6.  Four Fights National Dispute 


UCU national office is surveying members on the latest offer by the employers at UCEA (Universities and Colleges Employers Association) over the four fights dispute relating to: Pay inequality, Job insecurity, Rising workloads, and Pay devaluation.


There’s still time to have your say if you have not yet done so – later today please lookout for a reminder email from independent scrutineers Civica containing your unique link to vote in the e-ballot (with subject line: ‘UCU consultative ballot on UCEA final offer 2020/21’ from sender ‘‘).


If you do not receive this email, after having checked your spam/junk folder you can request a replacement by entering your details on this online form


The consultative ballot closes on at 12 noon on Tuesday 23 February 2021. UCU’s higher education committee will then meet on 26 February and will decide the next steps.