UCL-UCU: EGM - Motions to Special Conference on next steps in our disputes

23 March 2023

Calling notice for an Emergency General Meeting on Tuesday 28 March, 1-2pm

This message is to give notice of an Emergency General Meeting on Tuesday 28 March, 1-2pm.  

The meeting has been called to discuss and vote on our motions to the Special Higher Education Sector Conference (SHESC) called by 20 UCU branches to make decisions on the running of our current industrial disputes. We will also be electing delegates (we are entitled to 9 delegates). The conference will be on Wednesday 19 April 2023, online.

There are currently three motions that have been submitted for the EGM, and we will accept any further motions and/or amendments to submitted motions up until the evening of Sunday 26 March, 5pm. We will circulate final motions on Monday. We also encourage colleagues to nominate themselves to be a delegate to this Conference.

Please see the submitted motions below. These are on the following topics:

  • Motion 1: The ever-increasing casualisation and insecurity in HE needs addressing urgently
  • Motion 2: For a UK-wide MAB strategy driven by branches
  • Motion 3: No confidence in the General Secretary

UCL UCU Executive Committee



Motions for SHESC

Motion 1: The ever-increasing casualisation and insecurity in HE needs addressing urgently

SHESC notes that:

  1. insecurity is one of the "Four Fights", alongside pay, inequalities, and workloads

  2. insecure employment in HE continues to grow. 66% of research staff and 43% of teaching-only staff are on fixed-term contracts, and women, people with disabilities, and people from ethnic minorities are disproportionately included.

  3. the outline agreement reached at ACAS as a basis for future negotiations with the employers does not explicitly include anything to address casualisation and insecurity, other than a brief remark on zero hours contracts

SHESC believes that insecurity is key in the Four Fights and must be explicitly addressed in any resolution to this dispute.

SHESC resolves to insist that any future negotiations and agreements cannot be reached or resolved without the inclusion of concrete proposals to address insecurity.

Proposed: Bella Vivat

Motion 2: For a UK-wide MAB strategy driven by branches

SHESC notes and reaffirms the core elements of the strategy set out in Motions 5 and 6 carried in both SHESCs in April 2022.

SHESC calls on branches to ready members for a marking and assessment boycott (MAB) explaining that it will require a higher level of organisation than hitherto, with daily strike committee meetings open to all members to:

  1. organise the MAB, fundraising and salary sharing

  2. decide whether strike action for punitive deductions should be taken or called off

  3. send delegates to BDMs (or national strike committee meetings)

SHESC calls on HEC to:

  1. notify to the employers a series of weeks of strike action commencing in late April to support the ASOS

  2. fortnightly: call BDMs with voting powers (or national strike committee meetings)

  3. in consultation with branches, call off strike action week-by-week if the employers agree not to make punitive deductions

Proposed: Sean Wallis

Motion 3: No confidence in the General Secretary

UCL UCU notes that:

  1. UCEA's "offer" on the Four Fights did not improve on the previous pay offer (already rejected), and offered nothing concrete, only marginal commitments to further discussions, on the other elements of Four Fights: security, workload, and equality
  2. The General Secretary's badly worded 48-hour e-survey, circulated one day prior to an emergency BDM and two days prior to an HEC meeting, severely limited opportunities for branches to discuss it
  3. The constitutional role of the elected HEC is to determine when and how offers in disputes are put to members. This is not the role of the GS.
  4. UCU's elected negotiators were marginalised in the negotiations which resulted in the Four Fights offer
  5. Discussion of the e-survey was severely limited in both the BDM and the HEC 
  6. Nevertheless, within the narrow options presented to them, the HEC voted not to put the offers out for consultation 
  7. Unison rejected UCEA's "offer" and are balloting for further industrial action 
  8. The GS has continued with divisive messaging.

UCL UCU believes that:

  1. Presenting this "offer" as any kind of gain is a serious error, and accepting it would constitute a loss for UCU
  2. The GS's actions around the e-survey sought to achieve specific outcomes and responses from the BDM, HEC and wider membership
  3. Plebiscitary ballots are tools of manipulation, not fair consultations. They are against UCU rules and policy, and incompatible with UCU's democratic structures
  4. The GS continues to defy UCU rules, procedure, and policy.

UCL UCU resolves that it has no confidence in the General Secretary


Patty Kostkova 

Anna Cupani

Louisa Acciari

Bettina Fredrich 

Bella Vivat

Paul Prior

Rob Traynor

Thomas Schlichter

Gianluca Pescaroli

Lily Kahn

Sean Doyle

Will Stewart