Reading University UCU Rotating Header Image

June, 2018:

Enabling Motion passed at quorate RUCU AGM 06/06/18


This branch notes that the USS strike became a flashpoint for
fundamental discontent with the way that universities are being run; that
during the strike members were raising long-standing grievances about
equal pay as well as areas in which the University fails to consistently pay
the rate for the job.
On the matter of equal pay, members are particularly concerned about the
gender pay gap. Two concerns persist about the rate for the job: Firstly,
the extent and handling of casualized work and secondly, a development
of lower-graded staff picking up the duties traditionally undertaken by staff
on higher grades.

EQUAL PAY: On the gender pay gap, this branch notes

– that the gender pay gap at the University of Reading is 19.6%;
– that women are under-represented higher up the career pathway and
grading structures;
– that despite the efforts made by UCU and others over many years, the
gender pay gap persists;
– that at the current rate of progress it will take several more decades to
close the gap;
– that there is a need for meaningful action to resolve many issues across
academic and related staff.

RATE FOR THE JOB 1): On the casualization of academic staff, this
branch notes:

– that the University employs about 550 sessional staff, the majority of
which have been employed for more than one year;
– that the University is not committed to reducing the number of staff on
sessional contracts – e.g. by introducing a mechanism for such staff to
be offered fractional rather than hourly based contracts;
– that rates of pay vary across Schools and are not linked in any
meaningful or transparent way to the University pay scales;
– that practices vary widely regarding the way in which preparation time
and/or time for marking is remunerated, or is indeed not remunerated;
– that despite starts made to tackle this problem since 2015, no progress
has been achieved to date.

RATE FOR THE JOB 2): On the link between pay grades and levels
of responsibility, this branch notes:

– that grade descriptors have been established along with the current
pay scales introduced in 2006;
– that there are now numerous instances across the University where
responsibilities taken on by staff are not in line with their level of pay;
– that there is no procedure that prevents the exploitation of staff
desire for career advancement in order to delegate higher level
duties to staff paid on lower grades;
– that there is a structural problem with the roles and uses of Grade 6
academic staff both with regard to levels of responsibility and lack
of career progression.
This branch believes that there is a need for the University’s senior
management to agree that dealing with these matters through joint
negotiation with UCU should be a key organisational objective in starting
to repair the damage caused by UUK and university management
approaches to the employment package. We believe they should commit
to time limited negotiations to reach an agreed action plan.

This branch agrees:

– members meetings on the three themes identified above should be
held in June;
– that these meetings should be asked to consider a draft claim for
submission to University management, a collective bargaining
approach, and ways in which members can get involved in
supporting their claim (including involvement in co-ordinating
– that the branch committee should agree a final version of the claim
and submit it to the University management ASAP and by no later
than 1 October 2018;
– that members should be kept informed of developments after each
meeting with management;
– that a full report, including the need for action in the event of
insufficient progress, should be made to each branch meeting.