JCNF 25 October 2023

UCU and our sister unions attended the quarterly negotiation forum with university senior management on 25 October 2023. We raised the following items on behalf of our members (links show relevant documents we submitted to support our claims):

  1. Period products for all. This is an item that we previously brought to UEB but the roll-out is happening more slowly and less consistently than expected across buildings. We made the point that the principle should be dignity for everyone in the university community, not charity directed at students only.
  2. Marking and Assessment Boycott Deductions: We continue to raise the unfair, disproportionate and problematic salary deductions as a result of the MAB, and highlight the discontent among staff. The university’s position is that deductions are a matter of principle, not proportion.
  3. Marking and Assessment Boycott Standards: We raised cases of staff and students not being given access to work marked by others during the MAB, meaning that staff were unable to give feedback to students on why they received the marks they did. The university gave reassurance that work should be provided for the purpose of giving feedback.
  4. International Study Centre and third-party providers. We raised concerns about the policies and employment practices of third-party providers who are contracted to provide education services by the university. The university replied that as they are separate companies, they cannot control all areas of their work.
  5. Pay scales. UCU did not agree to the changes made earlier in the year, and members across all three unions are unhappy with them. The university will not move on this and maintains that it was an overall positive change.
  6. Policy quality control. We raised the issue of a lack of version and quality control on university policies. We received reassurance that this is being worked on, but no explicit reassurance that the unions will be given timely notice of policies under review, which we are entitled to consult on according to our recognition agreement.
  7. Anti-sexual harassment policy. Following the motion passed at a General Meeting on 7 June 2023, we prepared a claim to work with the university on developing dedicated anti-sexual harassment policies and procedures. We are pleased to report that the university is happy to take this forward with us.
  8. Disparity in university response to situation in Ukraine compared to situation in Gaza. Muslim members have raised with us that there is perceived racism in this disparity.