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FAQ: RUCU Collective Agreement 2020

Q: I was a grade 6 teaching fellow, doing grade 7 work according to the criteria that were shared before the holidays. I have now taken up a grade 7 post in another School. Is it possible for me to still claim the back-pay for the period where I was a grade 6 teaching fellow being underpaid?

A: The RUCU cmte (and the Claim negotiators) are currently discussing questions and specifics relating to the implementation of the agreement, but in principle there should be the possibility of claiming for back pay, especially since you are still working for the same employer (the University of Reading).

Q: I have been offered a sessional contracts for this term, which violates the agreement in multiple ways. However, HR have stated that the new agreement is not yet in force and won’t be until Autumn 2021.

A: The agreement is now in force and HR needs to change its guidance to managers. Contracts starting after 18 December need to be based on the new terms and conditions agreed, but the RUCU position is that all current sessional contracts, no matter the start date, be revised in line with the agreement, to avoid creating an unfair situation where less favourable contracts are running alongside more favourable ones.

Q: Does being moved to the new role of Grade 7 Teaching-Intensive Lecturer imply a potential increase in my teaching hours and a reduction of my other duties and responsibilities, or might I be expected to carry out additional duties and responsibilities beyond the ones I already have?

A: Being moved to Grade 7 Teaching-Intensive Lecturer does not entail an expectation that you will be covering more teaching hours, nor a reduction of your other duties and responsibilities. For colleagues on Grade 6 teaching contracts, who already carry out the duties and responsibilities of a Grade 7 Lecturer, being moved to Grade 7 Teaching-Intensive Lecturer will effectively be just a re-grading of their role. [It is worth noting here that only the new Grade 6 Teaching Role Profile has been formally agreed with RUCU. Other role profiles, which set out the type of activities expected at different grades, have not been formally agreed with RUCU]. The allocation of additional duties and responsibilities can only be acceptable if an adequate amount of time is freed up from one’s workload to cover the additional activities involved, or in the case of a part-timer, if the fractional FTE is increased.

Q. In the letter I received from HR, it says that when completing the questionnaire, I should focus on those duties that have featured consistently in my role over a maximum of the past three years, but I have had a Grade 6 TI contract for less than three years. Does that mean that I will not be considered in the re-grading review?

A. As the Agreement says in Appendix 4, Staff should include information covering the last three years in their current role “where applicable”. Grade 6 Teaching Intensive contract for less than three years should be included in the re-grading review.

Q. Is the questionnaire I have been asked to complete meant to reflect an ‘agreement’ between my line manager and myself? Do line managers send their own documentation?

A. Only one questionnaire is to be sent to HR. You should complete the questionnaire in discussion with your HoS/HoD or someone with a thorough knowledge of your contribution, nominated by your HoS. In case full agreement cannot be reached, you should submit the questionnaire highlighting the areas of disagreement – see last paragraph of the letter you received from HR. Members of the UCU/UoR Joint Panel “may then seek further clarification or commission an independent review before they make a final determination”.