UCL UCU: Motions received for General Meeting, Thursday 1st February, 3-4pm

30 January 2024

Four motions have been received in advance of the general meeting. They are included below and amendments are invited.

This is a reminder that a hybrid General Meeting of UCL UCU will be held on 

Thursday 1st February from 15:00 - 16:00 in Maths 505, Gordon Street (25) and also online via Zoom

This will be a hybrid meeting. To participate via zoom please register to receive the zoom link via email.

Four motions have been received and are included in Appendix 1. Members are invited to submit amendments to ucu@ucl.ac.uk by 10am on Wednesday 31st January.  Amendments should be submitted with the subject line: Amendment for GM.  We aim to circulate amendments by 10am on Thursday 1st February for discussion and decision-making at the GM on Thursday at 3pm.

As a reminder, afterwards we will be heading to our branch social which starts at 4.30pm.   An initial amount of free drinks (non-alcoholic and alcoholic available) will be provided by the branch, with a few nibbles available from 6pm.  It’s a perfect opportunity to meet and chat in relaxed setting, so if you’re able to join us RSVP using the link sent to members via email.

UCL UCU Executive

Appendix 1

Motion 1

Cuba Vive – End the blockade on health
Proposed by Waseem Ahmed

This branch notes that: 

Cuba’s commitment to health for all has helped the country achieve world-renowned health services for its people despite 62 years of an illegal US blockade. 

Today, these achievements are under threat. A combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic crisis, climate change, extra sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, and inclusion on the US’s State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSOT) list have taken a terrible toll on the health service. 

The country’s dedicated health professionals struggle with limited resources to treat patients. From surgical supplies to spare parts, paracetamol to sutures: items that are in plentiful supply in the UK are increasingly hard to come by or cost up to three or four times more. Some health indicators have declined and there has been an increase in preventable deaths and suffering.

Today’s shortages are unprecedented. After leading the region for many years, Cuba’s impressive health indicators are suffering. Between 2019 and 2022 the infant mortality rate rose from 5 per thousand live births to 7.5.

Since US companies won’t sell to them, Cuban doctors are forced to adapt larger catheters to use for infants with renal failure who need dialysis; many of the 450 Cuban children diagnosed with childhood cancer each year are forced to go without the appropriate drugs; and 20,000 Cuban families waiting for diagnoses of genetic diseases have not been able to receive adequate care because the technology needed to treat them contains over ten per cent US components and therefore can’t be sold to Cuba.

In the midst of this, Cuba’s commitment to internationalism continues to inspire. From sending doctors to help treat COVID patients in 45 countries during the pandemic, to training medical students from the global south, including 144 Palestinians students currently studying at Havana’s Latin American Medical School. 

Cuba’s continued inclusion on the SSOT list threatens Cuba’s ability to continue its international health programmes as well as provide health care for its own population.

We welcome the Cuba Vive medical appeal launched by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and UNSION regions in January 2024 which aims to raise money to buy and send containers of life-saving medical aid to Cuba.

This branch agrees to support Cuba Vive by:

Donating to the appeal
Raising awareness and encourage support by publicising and distributing appeal materials to members
Promoting the #OfftheList campaign to remove Cuba from the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list

Motion 2

Motion of solidarity to staff in Greek universities opposing the bill that permits the establishment of private universities.
Proposed by Ilektra Christidi

UCL UCU express our solidarity to colleagues and students in Greece who mobilise against the establishment of private universities in Greece. 

Greek universities remain tuition-free to this date due to the decades-long, relentless action by student and labour unions. This bill will deliver a fatal blow to free public higher education, ultimately forcing public universities to impose tuition fees to compete against private providers.  

In the UK, we know the consequences of the marketisation of Higher Education only too well; the only results this bill is guaranteed to achieve are worse working conditions for staff, barriers to Higher Education- especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds- and research and teaching dictated by the market and not by the needs of society.  

In Solidarity,

Motion 3

Motion for participation in the National Day of Workplace Action for Gaza on February 7

Proposed by Ilektra Christidi

UCL UCU notes

  • That Israel is continuing its offensive on Palestinians in Gaza despite a global mass mobilisation in solidarity with Palestine calling for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the siege on Gaza, and lifting the air, land, and sea blockade.
  • UCU Congress motions 8 and 9  (2023) supporting BDS and protests against Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
  • That our own branch supports a call for ceasefire and stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people, based on the motions passed in the EGM of 27 October 2023.
  • That UCU nationally supports the 7 February day of action called for by the Stop the War Coalition and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and calls on every branch to arrange a protest at their workplace on that day, and to ask student and other campus unions to participate.

UCL UCU resolves to

  • Support students’ right to walk out, protest and demonstrate, and call on members to act in solidarity with them.
  • Take part in the 7 Feb national day of workplace action #StandWithGaza by calling its members to a protest during the lunch hour, along with students and other campus unions.
Motion 4

Stop the wave of redundancies, rebuild the fightback
Proposer: Sean Wallis

UCL UCU notes:

  1. No further steps in the Four Fights dispute have been announced since the ballot in November.
  2. The issues regarding equal pay, workloads, casualisation, and pay remain unresolved.
  3. Without an active dispute on any issue, employers are increasing their cuts and attacks. 
  4. UUK has published a report saying that many universities could be in serious financial difficulties next year.* The main drivers are increased TPS costs in post-92 universities and risks to international student recruitment. 
  5. At least 15 UCU HE branches are already facing large redundancy programmes.
  6. As a union, we need to make collective decisions about what happens next.

UCL UCU resolves to:

  1. Call for a SHESC on the future of the Four Fights/JNCHES disputes, including a potential TPS dispute, and resisting redundancies.
  2. Support branches resisting redundancies in the meantime.