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Reading UCU Annual General Meeting 2024

Dear RUCU members,

We are sending you this email to invite you to the Reading UCU Annual General Meeting 2024.

This is the formal announcement, required under local rules (https://reading.web.ucu.org.uk/local-rules/), of the meeting which will take place on Thursday the 13th of June 12:00. An agenda will be circulated for the meeting 14 days beforehand, by the 30th of May, as also required under local rules. We will need to have received any items for the agenda, including motions, by 12:00 on 28th of May.

If you would like to participate more in the Branch’s work, please consider standing for election as an ordinary Committee member or as one of the Branch Officers. If you would like more information, there is a description of the responsibilities of the roles currently in the Local rules of our website at www.reading.web.ucu.org.uk in section 8 (also attached), or have a chat with one of the existing Committee members (names and contact details also on the website).

Our Returning Officer, Moray McAulay (Southern UCU Regional Official), will need to receive all nominations by 12 noon Thursday the 16th of May. ​Please send your nominations to Colette Maxfield, the Branch Administrator, who will pass them on to the returning officer. The nomination form is attached and also available on the Branch website at
https://reading.web.ucu.org.uk/files/2024/04/RUCU-Nomination-form-for-Committee-and-Officers-2024-25.docx

Each self-nomination should be supported by two separate members of the Branch. Please include the two members in your email (in cc), so that they can email to confirm support for your nomination. Positions for which there is only one candidate will be elected unopposed, while any elections required will be carried out through an online ballot of members in the weeks between the close of nominations and the AGM.

Please do let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you everybody and take care

Reading UCU

Know Your Rights – Carers Leave & Flexible Working Requests

New and improved statutory rights around Carer’s Leave and Flexible working come into force on 6th April 2024.

Acas Code of Practice on requests for flexible working: https://www.acas.org.uk/acas-code-of-practice-on-flexible-working-requests

Acas Carer’s leave Code of Practice: https://www.acas.org.uk/carers-leave

The University carers leave policy provides the right to take up to one week of leave per rolling 12 months: https://www.reading.ac.uk/human-resources/policies-and-procedures/absence-and-leave/carers-leave

If you need any further information, support or guidance/ representation, please remember that RUCU has a team of caseworkers who can support members.

UCU National Pensions Official Seminar

Dooley Harte, UCU National Pensions Official, will visit the University of Reading to give us an in-person seminar on USS Pensions.

PLEASE FIND THE POWERPOINT OF THIS PRESENTATION HERE: University of Reading – Basic Introduction to Pensions

Thursday 21st March 13:00 – 14:00, Harry Nursten 234 Whiteknights Campus.

This open meeting is free and open to all staff, both UCU members and non-members, and relevant to everyone who is eligible to join the USS pension scheme.
Dooley will update us on the changes to the Scheme and ongoing USS negotiations. You will also be able to ask questions.


USS Pension Changes

In 2022 a range of changes were made to our pension benefits. UCU and UUK have now come to an agreement that reinstates previously-cut benefits, offers an augmentation and agrees lower costs going forward for both members and employers.

USS members will already have seen positive changes from the reduced contribution rates in this year’s payslips. As an example, for a member earning £45,000, this amounts to an extra £111 net every month in your pay slip (figures from UCU HQ approximations).

For full details of all changes see USS webpages on what’s changing and when.

Important information for non-USS members

If you are not a USS member, we recommend that you consider joining the scheme now. It offers important benefits including death-in-service cover and the reduced costs have made the Scheme even more affordable, particularly to our lowest paid and precarious eligible members.

Of particular importance is that if you join before the end of March, you will also benefit from the augmentation uplift of a further £215 per annum in pensions in retirement see USS webpages for full set of FAQs on the uplift).

USS Pension Changes Summary

1 – Restoration of benefits to pre-2022 levels to take effect from April 2024
accrual rate returned to 1/75 (had been reduced to 1/85)
DB threshold now restored to circa £70,000 (previously £60,000 before April 2022 but had been taken down to £40,000 after the cuts)
threat to inflation protection removed
2 – Augmentation / recovery of benefits (for benefits lost 2022-24): One-off pension payment of £215 (per annum paid in retirement) to all active members plus an associated £645 retirement lump sum. (Different calculations apply for pensioner members and those in other categories). Please inform USS non-members who are eligible and encourage all eligible members to join the scheme urgently before 1st April 2024
3 – DC pot: Anyone who accrued money in the DC pot due to threshold changes in 2022-24 will keep that pot untouched too.
4 – Reduced contribution rates –from January 2024. Contribution rates reduced to 6.1% for employees and 14.5% for employers

If you have any queries, please email RUCU branch administrator.

Best wishes

Reading UCU

UCU General Secretary Hustings – ‘Have Your Say’

Have your say in who becomes the next UCU General Secretary and join us at the hustings online:-

Thursday 1 February, 12.30-14.00

https://www.ucu.org.uk/elections-2023-24

You can use the form to submit a question for the hustings. Questions must be submitted by 12 noon on Wednesday 24th January 2024:-

https://yoursay.ucu.org.uk/s3/General-Secretary-hustings-question-submission-form

UCU General Secretary Candidates

We have a very strong field of candidates for UCU General Secretary and invite you to peruse the candidates’ manifestos, before deciding who you would like to vote for:-

Vicky Blake https://vickyblakeucu.uk/

Dr Jo Grady Www.grady4gs.com

Professor Ewan McGaughey https://ewanmg.uk/

Sara Weiner https://saira4gs.wordpress.com/

There has never been a better time to participate in union democracy: there has never been a better chance to improve workers rights and conditions; we wish all the UCU General Secretary candidates the best of luck for the hustings, their campaigns, for the election and for their and our collective future.

We stand together!

Reading UCU Committee.

OGM 23rd November 12:00

Dear Members

We are taking this opportunity to invite you formally to a RUCU Ordinary General Meeting:

Date: Thursday 23rd November

Time: 12:00 – 13:00

More details will be circulated nearer the time, including a branch meeting agenda.

Members who wish to submit a motion can do so before the deadline of 12:00 Tuesday 21st November. Please send your motion, with proposer and seconder, to the branch administrator: cmaxfield@ucu.org.uk. More information on motions can be found in our local rules here: https://reading.web.ucu.org.uk/local-rules/

We look forward to seeing you there

RUCU

RUCU statement on pensions

RUCU is proud to announce that UCU has won a five-year long USS pension dispute and would like to congratulate all RUCU members who took industrial action, or were part of the negotiations or who contributed to the fighting fund … this historic victory belongs to you!

Whist, there are still some details to be ironed out, in Spring 2024, we shall see pensions restoration, a reduction in our pension contributions and better protection against inflation. For more information see here https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/13247/UCU-wins-five-year-long-USS-pension-dispute?utm_source=lyr-ucu-members&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=members&utm_term=he-uss-all&utm_content=We+have+won+back+our+pensions

Now that we have won on pensions, let’s win on pay … if you have not done so, please return your ballot paper by 31st October 2023, which is the last safe postal date to post back your ballot papers.

If you need a replacement ballot paper, please order one ASAP here! https://yoursay.ucu.org.uk/s3/ucuRISING-ballotupdate?mg-src=website

Reading UCU Committee

Build The Union Month – October

RUCU Build the Union Programme 2023

Reading UCU is very excited to present the following programme for BTU month this October.

3rd October 2023: 13:00 – 14:00
Pensions Briefing with Dooley Harte, UCU National Pensions Officer (In Person Only)
A FREE USS Pensions seminar and Q&A for Members & non members.
Room: Edith Morley 126. Whiteknights Campus.

5th October 2023: 13:00 – 13:50
Drop-In hosted by Hattie Robinson, RUCU Membership Secretary (Online only)
Come and have a chat, bring your issues, feedback, knitting or crafting and catch up with new and old RUCU colleagues. Non members welcome.

Click here to join the meeting on UCU Teams
Meeting ID: 386 493 394 038
Passcode: u3Hyey

12th October 2023: 13:00 – 13:50
Disabled Members Coffee Pot hosted by Ellen Owens, RUCU Treasurer
(Online only) Non members welcome

Click here to join the meeting on UCU Teams
Meeting ID: 371 789 771 917
Passcode: cPUuds


17th October 2023: 14:00-15:00

President Inaugural Lecture – With Dr Deepa Driver, RUCU President. Online.

Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 363 255 728 663
Passcode: Ac4Ti5

19th October 2023: 12.00 – 13.00
RUCU October OGM & Build the Union
Guest speakers from HEI & FE (HEI speaker from a MABBING Branch Brighton (Online only)

Tuesday 24th October 2023: 14:00-15:00
Anti-Casualisation Agreement & Successes with Rita Balestrini, Anti Casualisation Officer
Room Carrington 201, Whiteknights (Hybrid).

Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 322 573 681 813
Passcode: YoAvcz

Tuesday 31st October 2023: 13:00-14:00
Introduction to UCU National Workload Campaign with RUCU AntiCasualisation Officer
Room Carrington 101, Whiteknights Campus (Hybrid)

Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 323 495 621 314
Passcode: WU49XG

[Programme Subject to Change, please check the RUCU website.]

* RUCU donates £600 to build solidarity in the UCU Southern Region and Branches fighting excessive deductions *

At the RUCU AGM in June, a motion to build regional solidarity in the UCU Southern region and to support UCU branches participating in the a Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) as part of Industrial Action over pay and pay-related conditions was proposed.

Unfortunately, the motion could not be heard as we ran out of time. We brought it to the next OGM in July, but it could not be passed then as the meeting did not reach quorum. However, there followed a lively discussion about the impact of the cost of living crisis and RUCU members were unanimous in wanting to show regional solidarity and make small donations of £100 to each Southern region branch needing it (permitted under the RUCU local rule book when members voting can’t be achieved).

In a subsequent committee meeting, committee members also voted to send solidarity donations to a few other branches facing excessive deductions.

Payments have now been made to the following branches:

Winchester – MAB
Southampton – MAB
Bournemouth – MAB

Others voted on by the committee:

York St John – MAB
Kingston – MAB
Brighton – Redundancies

RUCU is proud to show solidarity with regional UCU Southern and other branches in need of solidarity.

UCU will carry on fighting to defend pay and workers conditions in Higher Education, amidst one of the most severe cost-of-living crises faced in recent decades by education staff and the broader collective of workers.

During the June AGM a motion was passed to top the local hardship account back up to £5,000. A bank transfer of £3,050.61 has now been made. This covers hardship applications that have mainly been made by Reading members over the past year, though also includes some smaller amounts from previous years.

Solidarity!

RUCU Committee

RUCU OGM Thursday 20th July 12:00

Dear Members

We are taking this opportunity to invite you formally to the first 2023-24 RUCU Ordinary General Meeting:

Date: Thursday 20th July

Time: 12:00 – 13:00

More details will be circulated nearer the time, including a branch meeting agenda.

Members who wish to submit a motion can do so before the deadline of 12:00 Tuesday 18th July. Please send your motion, with proposer and seconder, to the branch administrator: cmaxfield@ucu.org.uk. More information on motions can be found in our local rules here: https://reading.web.ucu.org.uk/local-rules/

The RUCU Committee 2023-24 is currently working on a calendar of meetings for the following year. The calendar example below is a working draft and we hope to finalise this, with more details, very soon:  Meetings – Reading University UCU

We look forward to seeing you all on the 20th July!

Reading UCU