UCL-UCU: Motions for EGM, Delegates, and e-survey discussion

27 March 2023

Amended and additional motions for tomorrow's Emergency General Meeting

As notified last week, we are having an Emergency General Meeting tomorrow to discuss a) motions to congress, and b) the e-survey and the Branch Delegates Meeting called by officials at UCU HQ to give feedback on the employers’ proposals.

The meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday 28 March, 13.00.

The motions that have been submitted for discussion and voting are below. Please note that the motion previously referring to ‘No confidence’ has been changed by the members submitting it, and now refers to “censure” of a particular “approach”.

In addition to the submitted SHESC motions there is a motion on instructing our delegates to the Branch Delegates Meeting (BDM) called for Wednesday this week.

There will also be an opportunity to discuss the e-survey that has been circulated by officials at HQ.

In addition to this we need to elect 9 delegates to SHESC.

The list of the below motions:

  • 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: Censuring the GS’s approach to the disputes
  • Motion 4: Disagreeing Respectfully in UCU
  • Motion 5: USS legal action 
  • Motion 6: Instructing our delegates to the Branch Delegates Meeting, Weds 29 March 2023

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: Censuring the GS’s approach to the disputes

UCL UCU notes: 

  • UCU's elected negotiators were marginalised in the later stages of negotiating
  • UCEA's Four Fights "offer" did not improve on the previously rejected offer 
  • Constitutionally, the elected HEC, not the GS, determines when and how members receive offers in disputes 
  • The 48-hour e-survey was poorly worded and circulated shortly before emergency BDM and HEC meetings, limiting branches’ opportunities for discussion. Both meetings also restricted discussion
  • HEC options for voting were restricted, but the majority opposed consulting now 
  • Unison rejected UCEA's "offer" and are balloting for further industrial action  
  • The GS’s messaging breaches UCU rules, procedure, and policy 

UCL UCU believes: 

  • Presenting this "offer" as a gain or consulting on it are serious errors 
  • Plebiscitary ballots are not fair consultations, against UCU rules and policy, and incompatible with UCU's democratic structures 
  • This is no way to run a dispute 

UCL UCU resolves to censure the GS's approach 

Proposed: Patty Kostkova

Motion 4: 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 5: Supporting the 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:

  1. 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

Branch Motions instructing our delegates to Branch Delegates Meeting, 29 March 2023

Motion 6: instructing our delegates to BDM (see questions for BDM circulated to officers below)

UCL UCU resolves to instruct our delegates attending the Branch Delegates Meeting on 29 March to:

  1. Vote ‘no’ to putting the current UCEA proposals to the membership for formal consultation; 
  2. Vote ‘no’ putting the current commitments in UUK statements on USS to the members for formal consultation;
  3. Vote ‘no’ to terms of reference for talks if these require us to give up our pay dispute for a year;
  4. Vote to support a Marking and Assessment Boycott starting on 17 April 2023 (if the re-ballot is successful).

Proposed: S. Meckled-Garcia

[Questions circulated by UCU HQ for the BDM: 

  1.  Do you support moving forward in negotiations with UCEA based on the terms of reference agreed at Acas?
  2. Do you support UCU members being formally consulted over the commitments that have been agreed with UUK to restore benefits and lower pension contributions?
  3. Do you support UCU members being formally consulted on the proposals that have been agreed with UCEA on pay, ending zero-hour contracts, workloads, casualisation and closing equality pay gaps?
  4. If members vote for industrial action in the re-ballot, do you support beginning a Marking and Assessment Boycott over the pay and conditions dispute from w/b 17 April? 
  5. If members vote for industrial action in the re-ballot, do you support beginning a Marking & Assessment Boycott over the USS cuts imposed in April 2022 from w/b 17 April?]