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EGM – 18/11/2019

A quorate EGM was held on the 18th November 2019 at 1pm.  At that meeting, the following four motions passed overwhelmingly:

Motion One: To be adopted by the local branch

 UCU response to the decision to take disproportionate deductions for Action Short of Strike

UEA UCU notes that:

  1. the senior management team intend to impose 100% pay deductions for any member of staff whose action short of strike results in what they believe to be “partial performance”.
  2. UCU guidance is that members who take strike action should not reschedule teaching or other work missed due to strike action.
  3. members participating in ASOS are therefore at risk of 100% pay deductions once back at work after the strike action.
  4. senior management have declared that such staff are carrying out “voluntary work”, thereby degrading and devaluing the work that members do on a daily basis to ensure a positive learning environment for students and staff.

UEA UCU believes the University’s response is disproportionate, aggressive, and has already caused significant damage to it its relationship with staff. It is a clear rejection of the collaborative “do different” ideals on which UEA was founded over 50 years ago. It fails to respect the sincerely held views of staff about the merits of the dispute, the genuine worries staff have for the long term viability of their own pensions, or to take any account of the hard work colleagues provide to students and other staff.

The Senior Management Team has not explained their reasoning behind such a change in practice, other than to restate that it “does not accept partial performance and will withhold 100% of pay for every day of ASOS”. We do not believe that positioning UEA as a draconian employer is a positive move for industrial relations locally or the University’s reputation internationally.

This union calls for the University of East Anglia to:

  1. Rescind the guidance issued on Tuesday 12th and Monday 18th November and reassure staff that failure to reschedule teaching and other work missed due to strike action does not constitute partial performance;
  2. Show a commitment to work with the union to establish a more balanced policy on deductions for industrial action short of a strike, that balances the university’s legitimate interests with the rights of its staff to take lawful action without punitive or disproportionate threat of penalty;
  3. Demonstrate how they are attempting to influence the employers’ national negotiators to ensure that constructive dialogue takes place in good faith with UCU national negotiators on the full set of JEP recommendations;
  4. Demonstrate their commitment to re-establishing good relations with the campus unions by continuing to make ‘employer’ contributions to USS for staff who take strike action as they have done in all other industrial disputes within the past decade.

In the event of the University withholding pay from staff taking part in ASOS, the branch resolves to:

  1. Request permission from the national union officers to conduct a local strike ballot.
  2. Request that HEC and NEC recognise this as a dispute of national importance.
  3. Request that HEC declares an academic boycott of UEA.

 

Motion Two: To be sent to the HE Special Sector Conference on 6th December.

Disproportionate deductions for ASOS

The HESC notes that:

  1. ASOS highlights the volume of unpaid labour that is currently being undertaken in UK HEIs.
  2. the failure to reschedule teaching events and other work missed due to strike action should not be considered “partial performance”.
  3. 100% deductions for ASOS are a draconian and unnecessarily punitive response to members’ legal rights to take industrial action.
  4. disproportionate deductions for action short of strike have the greatest effect on our most vulnerable and precarious members.

The HESC therefore resolves to instruct the HEC to:

  1. call for an international academic boycott of all institutions that implement disproportionate reductions for ASOS.
  2. consider how strike fund contributions can be used to off-set any remaining deductions that result from ASOS, especially for our most vulnerable and precarious members.
  3. authorise local strike ballots if requested by branches where disproportionate deductions have been made.

 

Motion Three: To be adopted by the local branch

Support for Extinction Rebellion Group Action

 This Union body/branch notes:

  • The UCU motion submitted to the TUC congress calling for a 30-minute workday stoppage on the day of the last Global Climate Strike on 20th
  • The global school students’ call for adults to join them again on the streets with mass walk-outs on 29th November, ahead of the COP 25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid and the UK general election.
  • Calls by the UEA Extinction Rebellion group, supported by SU officers and several student societies, to gather on the Square at 11am on 29th November for speeches and to proceed from there by bike and public transport into the city centre to join the rally organised by the UK Student Climate Network at City Hall from 1pm.

This Union body/branch resolves to:

  • ask members of the UEA Extinction Rebellion Group to consider moving their rally at 11am to a space off-campus.
  • support the students’ call for adults, workers and trade unions to join them in another climate strike on 29th.
  • call for all levels of our union to support and publicise this strike and to encourage members on strike on 29th November to join the rally in the city centre.
  • work with environmental and campaigning organisations to maximise turnout on 29th November.

 

Motion Four: To be adopted by the local branch

Seeking legal advice on position of picket locations

This Union body/branch notes:

  • severe disappointment with the decision taken to prohibit picketing on campus grounds.
  • that there are legitimate and serious health and safety concerns with picketing on public entrances to the University.

This Union body/branch resolves to:

  • seek legal advice within the structures of the Union to clarify our right to picket on campus grounds.
  • picket on campus grounds if legal advice reveals that we are allowed to do so.