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RUCU Claim Agreement Ballot Enclosure

The Reading University branch of UCU drafted a claim to the University management, which was endorsed by the membership at a general meeting in June 2018, and submitted to the University in September 2018.

The claim covered three areas: The Gender Pay Gap, Casualisation and Grade Drift.

The claim document can be found here:
We encourage you to read the claim objectives against the agreement in more detail.

The full proposed agreement between UCU and University of Reading can be found here:

The appendix to the agreement, can also be found here:

What follows is a headline summary of what we have achieved.

Negotiations started in November 2018 on the Casualisation and Grade Drift parts of the claim, due to their interrelatedness, and finished in July 2020, leading to the agreement for which members are now balloted.

The agreement acknowledges that the Gender Pay Gap part of the claim has not yet been addressed and stipulates that these negotiations will begin in due course, obliging the local UCU committee as well as University of Reading management to continue negotiating about the outstanding area of our claim (see point 1.3 in the agreement).

The main objectives with regard to casualisation were
– to dissuade casualisation
– to reduce the use of casualised staff in order to meet teaching provision needs
– to prevent unpaid work being done by casualised staff
– to improve the contracts issued to casualised staff.

The negotiators believe that we have met these objectives by
– setting out specific reasons for employing staff on a sessional basis and initiating a Joint Panel that will monitor the use of fixed-term staff at the University and consider conversion of casualised staff to permanent contracts (see points 2.1-2.6 of the agreement and Appendix 1 as part of the agreement)
– reducing the amount of time that teaching intensive staff can normally be kept on a limited teaching intensive role and fixed-term contract to 12 months, after which a more substantial contract needs to be offered if the need for the same work continues (see points 3.2 and 3.4 in the agreement)
– implementing a multiplicator of three hours for preparation and administration of every teaching hour undertaken by staff on sessional contracts and ensuring that any necessary training is included in the paid work hours and that time spent on assessment is calculated set out separately (see Appendix 2 to the agreement) rather than subsumed in the teaching hours (see points 2.7 and 2.8 in the agreement)
– agreeing that staff engaged on a sessional basis get fractional rather than hourly-paid contracts if their work equates to more than 0.2 FTE and ensuring they have access to professional development opportunities (see points 2.9-2.14 in the agreement).

The main objectives with regard to grade drift were
– to re-negotiate the remit of Grade 6 Teaching Intensive staff based on evidence of them working beyond what RUCU maintains to be a suitable level of responsibility for staff at Grade 6;
– to ensure that beyond the specific matter above, staff to not regularly undertake activities that are beyond their pay grade in the level of responsibility carried.
The negotiators believe that we have met these objectives by
– agreeing a new role profile for Grade 6 teaching intensive staff with a much more limited range of activities and responsibilities to prevent future grade drift for teaching intensive roles (see sections 3.1-3.4 in the agreement and Appendix 3 as part of the agreement)
– agreeing a process to ensure that current Grade 6 staff that are working beyond this limited range of activities and responsibilities are transferred to become Grade 7 Teaching Intensive Lecturers (see sections 3.5-3.7 in the agreement and Appendix 4 as part of the agreement)
– agreeing a range of criteria to provide binding guidance for line managers about which roles and activities should not normally be undertaken by staff below Grade 8 (see section 4 and Appendix 5 as part of the agreement).

The negotiators for the Reading UCU branch therefore recommend that branch members vote to accept the agreement reached with the University management.

UCU recommends that members vote to agree to the proposed agreement between UCU and University of Reading.

We believe that this is a significant offer from University of Reading that will provide considerably more security of employment for many of the hourly paid lecturers in the University and the agreement on grade drift will see an increase in grade for many UCU members.

We urge you to vote YES in this ballot.

This ballot closes at midday on 18th December 2020. We will notify members of the result as soon as possible after the ballot has closed.

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