Category Archives: workload

UCU members now working to contract throughout UK

Work to contract_lunchFollowing up from our last two blog posts reporting on local action including the excellent Glasgow media coverage, the UCU has a page reporting all the activity https://www.ucu.org.uk/UCU-HE-strike-live

And now we move to action short of a strike by working to contracthttps://www.ucu.org.uk/heactionfaqs sets this out as:

  • performing no additional voluntary duties, such as out of hours cover, covering for colleagues (unless such cover is contractually required), or attending open days etc.
  • setting and marking no work beyond that work which you are contractually obliged to set and/or mark or which you are competent to do
  • attend no meetings where such attendance is voluntary on your part
  • undertake no duties that breach statutory guidance, health and safety policies or other significant employer’s policies.

Hours of Work
UCU has told GCU management that we have called ‘action short of a strike’ in the form of ‘not working in excess of the maximum number of hours stipulated in the affected employees’ contract of employment, or, where no maximum number of hours is stipulated, 37 hours per week (or such lesser number of hours as the case may be).’

What this means is that you should work no more than the maximum number of hours stipulated in your contract, or, where the contract is silent on the maximum number of hours, 37 hours in any normal working week. In a shorter working week, eg, a week in which there is a bank holiday, or you are on strike or lawfully at work for less than a week (eg, you are on holiday or you work a fraction of a full time post) the union asks that you work the appropriate fraction of the normal working week. Read more at https://www.ucu.org.uk/heactionfaqs

External Examining
UCU is appealing to members to resign positions as External Examiners – there is a collective letter in the Guardian that members might wish to read:
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/may/26/why-we-are-resigning-as-external-examiners, again the FAQ has more details. https://www.ucu.org.uk/heaction_externalexaminers

As ever, UCU@GCU will be encouraging members to take lunch breaks, leave on time and reclaim the weekend. It’s a bank holiday weekend coming up and the forecast is for sun, so perhaps you can make a start on the weeding or simply pot up some basil seeds for your windowsill. There’s plenty of outdoor activities going on around the Glasgow area as well as theatre, exhibitions and events, including the Southside Fringe Festival.  You can start planning your weekends from here: http://www.whatsonglasgow.co.uk/  Use the #fairpayinhe twitter hashtag to keep us up to date with what you’re doing instead of working all those extra hours you always do.

Members may find this page useful as a clear statement of the issues in our current dispute https://www.ucu.org.uk/fair-deal-for-HE

Thanks again for the support for your union, your colleagues and the future of HE

Second day of successful industrial action

Staff believe in the common good - but this means their concerns need taken seriously

UCU members  believe in the common good – but this means staff concerns need taken seriously

Starting with Dolly Parton’s ‘Nine to Five’ – surely a workload issue – and finishing rather ironically with Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York,’ our spotify playlist (entitled IndustrialAction2016) provided a very suitable backdrop to the varied discussions we held on the picket line on day 2 of our current industrial action. Focussing today on casualised contracts, our helium balloons targeted zero hours and again got an appreciative response from passing cars.

Zero second version

Pickets as they began to arrive were welcomed with ‘No to Zero’ demands

Despite it being the second consecutive day of action, the picket was again well attended and by 9 a.m. covered both main gates.

Early buildup2

Our postgrad members were very active again from early morning.

Postgradcrop

Again our postgrads were clear on the need to end casualised contracts

One of the discussions on the picket line was of course whether or not the current offer made by UCEA was reasonable. An ‘unscientific’ snap poll was held on union members’ views. They preferred not to vocalise their opinions, but your intrepid reporter was held in no doubt……

IMG_6992

Asked what they thought of the 1.1% ‘offer’ their unvoiced opinions weren’t hard to discern..

We were pleased to welcome Natalie as a new member of UCU. A PhD student at GCU, she baulked at the idea of crossing a picket line, so solved the problem by joining on the spot – then staying to support us.

Welcome Natalie - one of several to join during the industrial action

Welcome to Natalie – one of several to join during the industrial action

As editions of the Glasgow Herald, and then the Evening Times hit the picket line we were also glad to see that our VP Catriona Mowat, had made the front page of the Herald, and our President Douglas Chalmers (talking as President of UCU Scotland), had also featured prominently in the Evening Times.

Catriona 3

Fantastic Front page coverage for our VP UCU@GCU

And in the Evening Times:

Douglas in Evening Times

Douglas has pledged to get a union t-shirt in future in an effort to move from page 5 to page 1 in the printed press.

At the end of the picket, a spokesperson from the branch committee thanked all those attending, and reminded everyone that the UCU would be issuing guidelines to members about their ‘working to contract’ position, which was now operative from the 25th May.

The scandal of unpaid overtime at GCU and elsewhere

Weekend short posterTeaching and educational professionals are the group of workers most likely to be putting in unpaid overtime and clocking up the most free hours a week, according to figures released by the TUC – and there is no reason to believe GCU is any different in this

The University and College Union (UCU) said the figures, recently released as part of Work Your Proper Hours Day, highlighted how teachers and lecturers continue to go above and beyond the call of duty and put in the extra unpaid mile, despite real-terms pay cuts.

The analysis  reveals that over half (54.2%) of teaching professionals do extra unpaid work each week and, at 12 hours a week, they clock up more unpaid overtime than any other profession.

Last year teachers were the third most likely group to be putting in unpaid overtime, behind finance managers and directors, and research and development managers. While both those professions have seen the percentage of staff clocking up unpaid hours fall, the percentage of teachers working unpaid hours has gone up.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “Most people are putting in extra unpaid hours compared to last year, but even more teachers and lecturers are going that extra unpaid mile. Not only are teachers and lecturers putting in an extra hour a week of unpaid overtime compared to last year, they are also now more likely than any other group of professionals to be doing unpaid work.

“This commitment is all the more admirable considering the insulting real-terms pay cuts their employers continue to offer them. The time has come for universities to recognise the hard work their staff do, reward them fairly and sort out their workloads.

February 28 each year marks the TUC’s Work Your Proper Hours Day – the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime would start to get paid if they did all their unpaid overtime at the start of the year.

Said Douglas Chalmers, local UCU President “Academic unions are in negotiation with HR at GCU at the moment to put together an acceptable and fair workload model. A successful workload model, would correctly acknowledge and regulate the excessive workload facing many staff in our university. After the model has been piloted in several departments, we will again consult with our members for their experiences with this.

Meanwhile we again ask the university management to pressurise UCEA to put a reasonable offer on the table for the new wage negotiation round, which will take into account the unfulfilled demands of the current negotiations. Otherwise there will be no alternative but to proceed with the marking boycott starting 28th April”