UCL-UCU: Motions for EGM today 13.00: Reballot and e-consultations

5 April 2023

This is to remind you that we have an Emergency General Meeting today at 13.00 to discuss the reballot results, the current e-consultation on our two disputes, and what is next

We have had one motion submitted for today’s Emergency General Meeting along with two pending motions from a previous meeting (see appendix below). The new motion is mandating UCL UCU recommends a ‘No’ vote to members on the USS consultation currently being undertaken by UCU online. 

We previously communicated that the HEC of UCU recommends a ‘to NOTE’ vote, but the UCL UCU Executive have not yet made a recommendation.

The agenda for the meeting is:

  1. Reballot results discussion
  2. E-survey and motion
  3. Electing delegates to the SHESC conference that will set policy for the future of the dispute (please put your name forward if you wish to be a delegate, we have provision for 9)

UCL UCU Executive Committee




Appendix: Motions for debate

Motion 1

UCL UCU notes:

  1. The joint statement on UUK and UCU collaboration toward USS benefit restoration in which UUK:

  • expressed an intention to restore benefits by April 2024, but has not committed to so doing, while member institutions have to agree to this policy before it is enacted;
  • agreed to seek an improved risk-management mechanism in the light of the open and long-term nature of the scheme, but has made no commitment to the preservation of benefits or to restraint on contribution increases should the scheme experience future adverse valuations;
  • has made no commitment to repay USS benefits lost between April 2022 and 24.
  1. The 29 March 23 UCU news item ‘USS Trustee confirms full pension benefit restoration on course for April 2024’.

  2. The resignation of USS Chief Executive Bill Galvin and his replacement with Carol Young (who led the closure of the Heineken DB pension scheme in 2011 and designed and launched their replacement DC plan).

  3. That the limited progress made on USS is not conditional on agreeing to pause industrial action or settle the grounds of our dispute with UUK.

  4. That UCL UCU mandated delegates to the 29 March 23 BDM to ‘Vote ‘no’ [to] putting the current commitments in UUK statements on USS to the members for formal consultation’.

UCL UCU believes:

  1. The coupling of the four fights and USS campaigns is strategically important.

  2. That the joint statement on UUK and UCU collaboration toward USS benefit restoration is not an ‘offer’ in the commonly understood sense of the term.

  3. An e-consultation vote to ‘note’ the joint statement on UUK and UCU collaboration could be used to stand-down or otherwise undermine the USS dispute.

  4. An e-consultation ‘no’ vote on the joint statement on UUK and UCU collaboration would put pressure on individual employers, and increase political pressure on USS to resolve the dispute.

  5. That notification of the forthcoming marking and assessment boycott should be in support of both four fights and USS disputes.

UCL UCU resolves:

  1. To preemptively email a statement, including this motion as an Appendix, to all UCL UCU members encouraging a ‘no’ vote in any e-consultation on the USS statement.

  2. To use social media to encourage UCL UCU members to vote ‘no’ in any e-consultation on the USS statement.

  3. To mandate delegates to the 19 April 23 Special Higher Education Sector Conference to support motions HE2, HE4, HE5*, HE10 and HE11, and oppose motions HE3 and HE9.

* Explanatory note: HE5 is a composite motion which includes a motion submitted by UCL UCU. See relevant motions mentioned above in the  first report of the SHESC Congress Business Committee.

Motion 2: Disagreeing Respectfully in UCU

SHESC notes that:

  1. Our current disputes raise strong feelings because they deeply matter to members 
  2. Dissent, debate and discussion are a vital part of union activity
  3. The recent public fighting (e.g. on social media) over union strategy and decision making is a boon to employers wishing to divide and defeat us
  4. There is no place for personal attacks in our union

SHESC resolves to call on all officers to circulate guidance on union discussions outlining the importance of:

  1. Disagreeing respectfully 
  2. Being willing to listen to other points of view
  3. Considering carefully whether publicly voicing concerns is detrimental to our current disputes
  4. Utilising private channels of debate, dissent and discussion through utilising UCU emails, branch meetings, local reps and executive committee to pass on ideas, comments and concerns
  5. Calling out unacceptable conduct from other members

Proposer: Rachel Wilde

Motion 3: USS legal action 

SHESC notes that:

  1. In 2022, UCU HESC L5 instructed UCU to financially support the USS legal action.
  2. Subsequently, the NEC instructed the national officers to provide £350,000 to the legal action.
  3. The UCU national officers have refused to enact these instructions, and are in breach of UCU’s rules.
  4. The Court of Appeal has agreed to hear the case. 

Conference believes a key factor in the USS directors’ and TPR’s current willingness to restore benefits cut between April 2022 and April 2024, is the ongoing legal action. 

Conference resolves:

  1. to call on UCU national officers to comply with Conference and NEC’s instructions and to financially support this campaign with £350,000. 
  2. To use UCU resources to gain additional publicity and political support for this legal challenge, and 
  3. That UCU must back the case publicly by email and social media. 

Proposed: Neil Davies