Saint David’s Day or the Feast of Saint David, is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March, the date of Saint David’s death in 589 AD. The feast has been regularly celebrated since the canonisation of David in the 12th century, by Pope Callixtus II, though it is not a public holiday in the UK.
1. LUNCHTIME TALKS AND DISCUSSIONS: Every Thursday 1:10pm-2pm
Today we had another lunchtime talk of the series Resist! The future of collective action and unionisation with Dr Jonathan Preminger talking about ‘Ideational Power: The Strategic Use of Ideas in Union Struggle’. Please let us know if you would like a link to the recording.
Join us next week for ‘Understanding Workload: Conversation and Q&A’ with Dr Martin Weinel, our Workload Officer – Thursday March 11th 1:10-2pm
2. UCU #BLM Stop Deaths in Custody/Justice for Refugees public meeting – TODAY 5pm
Solidarity runs both ways. Racism and fear blights our lives and keeps us divided.
You can still register here for this important event supported by our branch. Speakers include Shavanah Taj from the Wales TUC and Hilary Brown, Mohamud Hussein’s family’s lawyer. Please do encourage friends and colleagues to join us.
3. Food Poverty Is A Feminist Issue – Monday 8 March 6-7pm
People’s Assembly Wales has been campaigning for the new Welsh Budget to include giving free school meals to all children in poverty, as a step towards free school meals for all children. Join this rally broadcasting live on their Facebook page with Welsh and international speakers including author and activist Selma James and Rebecca Boden from the University of Tampere, Finland. Our branch is supporting this campaign and our anti-casualisation officer Renata Medeiros will share a message of solidarity from UCU at the event. You can find more details of the event here.
4. UCU Annual Meetings
Casualised Staff – Saturday 13 March 11am-4pm
This meeting is open to any member on a casual contract, including postgraduates. Members can join as branch delegates or self-register to attend. The registration deadline is tomorrow – 5th March.
The meeting elects an anti-casualisation committee to advise the national executive committee. It also sends motions to the union’s annual congress meeting to inform its work for the year, and it’s an opportunity to discuss how to step up the fight in all our branches.
For more information and to self-register, please use this link.
Academic related, professional staff – Thursday 18 March 11am-3.30pm
This meeting is open to those on professional roles in grades represented by UCU in Higher Education. Members can join as branch delegates or self-register to attend. The registration deadline is 11th March. Please get in touch with the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to attend as a delegate.
The meeting will hear reports on the work of UCU in relation to academic-related staff and discuss motions submitted by branches and local associations. The meeting will provide an opportunity to debate the challenges facing the union in general, and academic-related members in particular. Workshops will address particular issues for academic-related members.
For more information or to self-register, please use this link.
4. LGBT+ mental health webinar – Wednesday 17 March 4pm
UCU LGBT+ will host an online event about LGBT+ mental health on Wednesday 17 March 2021, 4.00- 5.30pm. You can register to the event here.
1. UCU Solidarity Movement
Solidarity has always been at the heart of the trade union movement and the Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated once again why that is so important. UCU has a new movement to build solidarity among branches and with other unions and causes across the UK and the world. You can keep updated on the actions and event of the movement here.
2. Prison education – has your MP signed the motion?
UCU has worked with MPs in Westminster to get a parliamentary motion tabled calling for more investment in prison education technology and greater support for staff and prisoners. You can read the motion in full here.
Please contact your own MP and encourage them to add their name to the current list of signatories, you can find your MP’s contact details here.
1. Cardiff UCU Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Our Annual General Meeting will be held online next week on Wednesday 10 March at 1.10pm.
We will be voting motions to submit to the Higher Education Conference Sector and the UCU Wales Congress in April and members of the new Executive Committee, starting in September, will be selected. We will also update you on our dispute with University management and discuss further actions. The full agenda can be found here.
A link to the registration form will be sent on Monday.
You can still submit motions by emailing them to the office (email@example.com) by Tuesday 9th March.
2. Update from the Joint Consultative and Negotiating Forum (JCNF)
The campus unions met management at the JCNF on Monday 22nd February at 9am for 90 minutes.
University Executive Board (UEB) members presented papers on a) Professional Services strategy and b) Academic Renewal. Both initiatives are intended to bring about consequential changes across the University.
Both initiatives have commenced and the position of UEB members is that as these are a development of “Transforming Professional Services” and “Transforming Cardiff” there is no need to consult, but simply to inform.
Cardiff UCU branch negotiators and executive committee members are not surprisingly somewhat unhappy about the approach UEB members have taken. The branch will be pushing forward with measures to ensure that effective and meaningful consultation commences as soon as possible.
In the meantime, the “Academic Renewal” initiative is already pushing ahead with measures to curtail programmes in one AHSS school with a deadline of 12th March.
On the one hand UEB members are adopting a UK Government framework called the 7 Lenses of Transformation as good practice to follow, where for each “lens” warnings about things to watch out for are set out. On the other hand, they have not heeded many of those warnings and have commenced short timetables that don’t incorporate listening or consultation.
Members with any information about either of these two initiatives and measures being put in place are asked to contact their department rep or the UCU office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. USS 2020 Valuation – Trustee’s Update
USS have feedback response from the Pensions Regulator for the Rule 76.1 report where they have indicated that pension contributions will need to rise sharply if existing benefits are to be maintained. This now moves the 2020 valuation to the next stage of consultation and UCU has provided a response to the USS trustee update.
In the Rule 76.1 report, USS have ignored most of the concerns expressed by members, universities and many external experts presenting the same picture they have been doing for a long time now that pension scheme has a large debt and only very large increases in contributions can resolve this to continue with the current benefits.
As part of the previous valuation, in 2018, there is already an increase set for October this year where contributions will rise to 34.7%, split as 23.7% for employers and 11% for members (which is a further contribution increase for us from the current 9.60% level that came into effect from October 2019).
Discussions will continue and a consultation period must now involve members in the official response. The lateness of this means that it is now unlikely that there will be a resolution to this within the original timeframe and so this is likely to take any actual changes into next year. But that doesn’t change the fact that by doing this USS are setting up an inevitable dispute between employers and members and that this could result in large dropouts due to the cost which will take the scheme itself into even more problems and even closure.
4. Update on Teaching Delivery Governance Group
The teaching Delivery Governance Group was set up by University management in response to UCU’s concerns on the extent of casual staff across the University. The group falls short of what is needed to tackle casualisation but aims to improve in the short-term the teaching conditions for staff on variable hours contracts and for postgraduates with teaching responsibilities.
The progress of the group has been slow and a number of scheduled meetings have been cancelled. We recently wrote to HR to enquire about this and to push for the group to act with a matter of urgency to protect workers who are most vulnerable, particularly since the pandemic. They confirmed that following initial conversations with all schools/departments, they will be contacting them again to review information gathered and inform the next steps.
We urge our postgraduate members and our members on variable-hours contracts to raise any issues relating to their working conditions, including in relation to the pandemic, with their line managers and heads of school and/or to contact their UCU departmental reps so that HR cannot claim not to be aware of these in discussions with us. You can contact our office (email@example.com) or our Anti-casualisation Officer, Renata Medeiros (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you have any questions or would like more information.
5. Meeting for Staff with Caring Responsibilities
Several members have contacted us to raise issues related to their caring responsibilities, especially relating to home-schooling children while working.
We remind you that you can always request a case worker to support you
, if you would like to raise concerns with your manager.
We have contacted management to address this collectively, and we have arranged some meetings where members facing similar issues can come together to share experiences, let us know of their concerns and discuss what further action by the branch would be the most useful to them. We held two meetings yesterday and our third is today – 4th March – at 6pm using this link https://cardiff.zoom.us/j/82230701484?pwd=NjdhSksybjZ1Z3R4ZTN4OTJzd3hHZz09
6. Members’ experience of the immigration system
UCU is currently supporting some research into migrants’ experiences of the UK immigration system; if you’d be willing to be interviewed for this, or for similar research in the future please contact Jenny Sherrard, the UCU National Head of Equality and Participation, on: email@example.com