UCL UCU General Meeting on Thursday 14 March

12 March 2019

general meeting 14th March


Our next General Meeting will take place Thursday 14 March, 1-2pm, in the Christopher Ingold Ramsay LT (Chemistry Building, Gordon St). This meeting is timetabled to enable members to raise motions and stand as delegates for the national annual UCU Congress



1)      UCL UCU / IOE UCU branch merger (motion at Appendix 1)

2)      UCU Congress delegate entitlement

3)      Motion to UCU Congress on the victimisation of UCL UCU Branch Secretary Tony Brown (motion at Appendix 2)

4)      Higher Education Sector Conference (HESC) motions (Appendix 3 - ‘USS’ & ‘Academic Freedom to discuss Sex and Gender’)

5)      Rule changes motions (three motions at Appendix 4 for the consideration of UCU Congress)


UCU Congress

Congress reviews the UCU's campaigning work over the preceding year and debates campaigning priorities and policy for the coming year. Members should also consider putting themselves forward as delegates to Congress, which will be in Harrogate Convention Centre from 25-27 May (the cost of travel and accommodation is met by the UCU). UCL UCU is entitled to submit one motion to Congress and two motions to HE Sector Conference (the Higher Education sector meeting of Congress).

UCL UCU Executive Committee



Appendix 1 – motion on UCL UCU / IOE UCU branch merger


This branch notes that:

1)      Branch Officers from UCL and IOE branches have pursued the merger of the two branches as mandated by previous branch motions;

2)      The two branch committees are now operating as a single, super-branch committee;

3)      A progressive local subscriptions system has been agreed by the officers.


This branch resolves that:

1)      From the date of March 14, the IOE and UCL UCU branches shall be unified;

2)      From that date we will constitute a single branch of the UCU – subject to approval by the Higher Education Committee of the UCU;

3)      New local fees, to be agreed at an AGM in June, will be adopted from 1st Sept 2019 (in line with UCU Accounting years);

4)      A final set of compliant branch rules will be set out at the AGM. Until then UCU model local rules will apply.


Appendix 2 – Congress motion on the victimisation of UCL UCU Branch Secretary Tony Brown


Congress notes that:

1)      An employment tribunal panel has unanimously found that UCL UCU Branch Secretary Tony Brown was victimised by UCL management for carrying out trade union activities

2)      The trade union activities were setting up an opt-out email list for staff to use in response to management imposed restrictions

3)      UCL has appealed the case to the EAT

4)      UCU Congress 2017 reaffirmed strong support for members subject to victimisation by their employer


Congress believes:

1)      An injury to one is an injury to all

2)      Freedom of association is a fundamental right that supports collective bargaining

3)      This is a test case on the right of trade unions to use email facilities to organise at work


Congress resolves to:

1)      Declare this matter a dispute of national significance

2)      Instruct the NEC to support UCL UCU to publicise the case and seek practical and financial solidarity


(149 words)


The ET judgement on Tony Brown v UCL is publically available for background reading.


Appendix 3 – motions to Higher Education Sector Conference




HESC notes:

1)      The transformative impact of the USS strike on UCU.

2)      The failure of USS to implement the JEP’s first report, leading to proposals for increasing contributions and threats to reduce benefits.

3)      Additional USS contributions are already leading to some researchers being offered shorter contracts.


HESC believes the refusal to adopt JEP recommendations represents a governance failure within USS Trustee body.


HESC resolves:

1)      To reaffirm UCU’s position calling for the resignation of Bill Galvin USS CEO, and call for the resignation of all independent Trustees.

2)      To call for the transfer of powers to determine the valuation methodology to be moved to the JNC.

3)      To call a Higher Education Sector Conference on USS in the Autumn term 2019 to review the position and consider all actions available to UCU to defend USS.

4)      To call for a national Day of Action on USS.


Academic Freedom to discuss Sex and Gender


HESC notes:

1)      UCU's commitment to equality and academic freedom.

2)      That UCU members have much to contribute to public debate over definitions of 'sex', 'gender' and 'gender identity'.

3)      Harassment has been directed at academics and activists including the blacklisting of feminist scholars such as Kathleen Stock, Rosa Freedman and Nina Edge (note 1)

HESC believes:

1)      That UCU members hold diverse views.

2)      Members need not agree with the views of any academic to support their right to express them within the law (note 2).

3)      Civil engagement with reasoned argument and empirical evidence is a foundational value of HE, and essential for democracy.

HESC resolves to:

1)      Re-affirm our commitment to academic freedom in research and teaching, and to the right of academics to participate in political debates;

2)      Condemn the blacklisting and abuse of academics for exercising their academic freedom and lawful rights.

3)      Proposed by: Holly Smith, Judith Suissa and Alice Sullivan



(1) Trans Goldsmiths lecturer Natacha Kennedy behind smear campaign against academicsUK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans rights rowUniversity 'turned down politically incorrect transgender research'

(2) Freedom of expression: a guide for higher education providers and students’ unions in England and Wales


For further background reading see the British Educational Research Association blog.


Appendix 4 – rule change motions to UCU Congress


A) Branch delegates


In Rule 17.2, remove "up to a maximum of six members" where it appears with respect to Congress and Sector Conference entitlements.


The existing rule, with deletions marked [**], is as below.


17.2    The number of members from institutions/central groups/regional retired members’ branches for meetings of National Congress shall be one for every 400 members (or part thereof) in an institution/central group/regional retired members’ branch, or in an aggregation of members in institutions/central groups/regional retired members’ branches in accordance with Rule 17.1, [** up to a maximum of six members **] from, as appropriate, each institution/central group/regional retired members’ branch, or aggregation of members in institutions/central groups/regional retired members’ branches. The number of members from branches/local associations/central groups for meetings of Sector Conferences shall be one for every 400 members (or part thereof) [** up to a maximum of six members **] from, as appropriate, each institution/central group.


B) Democracy Commission


B1)  Delegation of general secretary powers


Delete rule 28.2:


28.2   The General Secretary may delegate any power or duty of, or allocated to, the General Secretary under these Rules to another employee of the Union as the General Secretary shall determine.


Replace with:


28.2 The General Secretary may delegate any power or duty of, or allocated to, the General Secretary under these Rules in the following ways:


28.2.1  Those which relate to negotiations or representation of the Union shall be delegated to the President and President Elect. 


28.2.2 Those relating to day to day running of the union, or pertaining to employees, or other matters not connected to negotiations and representation of the NEC/union may be delegated another employee of the Union as the General Secretary shall determine.


Purpose:  to create a mechanism for ensuring that, if delegated, the representational powers and duties of the General Secretary would be transferred to elected officers of the union, while powers relating to staffing and the day to day running of the union can be delegated to employees of the union.


B2) Dispute committees:


Insert new rule 35:


35.1   For all multi-institution industrial disputes, a dispute committee will be constituted immediately following a successful ballot from delegates from each branch involved in the dispute, which will exist for the duration of the dispute. Delegates will be elected or nominated by branches, with delegate entitlements as per those prescribed for Sector Conferences in rule 17.2. The committee will be chaired by the relevant Vice President (for single sector disputes), or by the President (for cross-sector disputes). The frequency of meetings will be determined by the committee. Branches may send different delegates to each meeting.


35.2   No decision affecting the choice of tactics, continuation, escalation, or ending of an industrial dispute, including putting to the membership for approval a proposed deal to settle the dispute, can be taken without the approval of the dispute committee constituted for that dispute.


(Renumber remaining rules as necessary).


Purpose: To establish in rule disputes committees for multi-institution disputes.


Download A4 poster