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Update on elections and Branch AGM

Dear Reading UCU Member,

I am writing to you in my capacity as Returning Officer for the Reading UCU Branch AGM and elections.

Nominations for roles in the Reading UCU Branch for 2023/24 academic year closed at noon on Thursday 18 May.  The following posts were uncontested and will be formally announced at the AGM.

President: Deepa Driver

Treasurer: Ellen Owens

Membership Secretary: Hattie Robinson

Anti-casualisation officer: Rita Balestrini

We continue to have several roles still available, and therefore I have decided to re-open nominations to the Reading UCU Branch Committee 2023/2024.

The new deadline for submitting a nomination is midday on Tuesday 13 June 2023.  A nomination form and can be found here, once completed should be sent to cmaxfield@ucu.org.uk for the attention of Moray McAulay.

The following roles are available, and we encourage members to submit nominations for these roles for the next academic year:

UCU Branch Officers:

  • Vice-President
  • Secretary
  • Equality Officer
  • Ordinary Committee member (9 posts)

For a more detailed description of each of these roles, please see the Local rules of our website at www.reading.web.ucu.org.uk in section 8.

How to get involved in the Reading UCU Branch Committee

This is a great opportunity to get involved in the running of our branch by nominating yourself for a role. If you already have a role and wish to continue, please do not forget to fill in the attached form to nominate yourself.

If you wish to nominate yourself, you will need to include a proposer and seconder for each post (details about this are on the nomination form).

If you wish to share one of the posts, you will need to complete the nomination form to include both members’ details and indicate that you are sharing the role (i.e. one form, two names, one proposer, one seconder).

Should any post(s) be contested, UCU will organise an online ballot of members.  Further details on this will follow if applicable, and this will take place after the Reading UCU Branch AGM.

Reading UCU Branch AGM

The Reading UCU branch Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held at 1pm on Thursday 15 June 2023.  Papers for the meeting will be sent out by 1 June.  Please ensure any agenda items, including motions, are received by the branch (cmaxfield@ucu.org.uk) by 5pm on 30 May.

Reading UCU would like to encourage members to get involved in their trade union, so please do put the Branch AGM in your diaries and consider standing for one of the Branch Committee positions.

We hope to see you at the AGM on Thursday 15 June 2023.

In solidarity

Moray McAulay

Regional Official, UCU Southern Region

RUCU Annual General Meeting 2023

Dear Members

We have sent you an email to invite you to the Reading UCU Annual General Meeting 2023. 

This is a formal announcement, required under local rules (https://reading.web.ucu.org.uk/local-rules/), of the meeting which will take place on Thursday the 15th of June 13:00. An agenda will be circulated for the meeting 14 days beforehand, by the 1st of June, as also required under local rules. We will need to have received any items for the agenda, including motions, by 5pm on 30th 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, 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 18th of May. ​Please send your nominations to Colette Maxfield, the Branch Administrator, who will pass them on to the returning officer. Nomination forms are available on the Branch website at https://reading.web.ucu.org.uk/files/2023/05/RUCU-Nomination-form-for-Committee-and-Officers-2023-24.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 the 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

Strike FAQ 2023

UCU members will be on strike on the following six days of action:

  • Wednesday 15, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March
  • Monday 20, Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March

UCU HQ Strike FAQs

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs

Physical Pickets 

We will be running physical pickets every strike day from Thurs 16th March (i.e. 16th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22nd) at both Shinfield Road and Earley Gate between setting up from 8 a.m. and running till approx. 9.30 a.m. Please note, there is no physical picket on 15th March,  instead we are hosting a online teach out and organising a branch outing to the London march and rally.

Wednesday 15 March – London march and rally. If you can, we would love to see as many members as possible at the London march and rally, organised by NEU and supported by a host of sibling unions. Further details can be found hereUCU branches will be assembling at Speakers’ Corner from 11.30 a.m. We’ll then move as a union block up the road to join NEU who are assembling by Grosvenor House Marriott Hotel, Park Lane 12 noon.The route map is here and in summary is a family friendly walking route, which takes all to Trafalgar Square for a rally and carnival.  Please also check your inbox for details on branch meeting points.

Virtual Pickets 

Wednesday 15 March – online teach-out 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. ‘Art of Resistance’ (Hosted by Deepa with special guest Andy Worthington, journalist). If not travelling to the London rally, please do come along to this special teach-out 10 a.m. to 11 a.m

Friday 17 March 8.30 to 10 a.m. – with link to our physical pickets

Wednesday 22 Mar 8.30 to 10 a.m. – with link to our physical pickets

A virtual picket is an inclusive way to make a day of industrial action/ strike count by:
– starting new conversations
– making friends
– building confidence
– building a sense of togetherness
– providing an opportunity to learn about USS pensions dispute, unions and workers rights, e.g. via teach outs.

UCU CPD Teach Outs

Challenging Excessive Workload in Education Thursday 16 March 4:00pm-5:30pm click here to book *Teach Out session*

Decarbonise and Decolonise Monday 20 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book *Teach Out session*

Collectively Challenging Disability Discrimination Tuesday 21 March 10:30am-12 noon click here to book *Teach Out session*

Emails and Outlook forwarding

Please find guidance here on how to set up auto forwarding during the strike days if your usual mode of communication for Reading UCU is your work email. This means you will receive any updates from us without having to access your work email account. Please note, if the redirect is not working, please try setting the redirect rule to work for the following email address also: rucu-bounces@lists.reading.ac.uk, as well as adding the email addresses of RUCU, our Branch Officers (Sally, Nat) and our administrator (Colette), to your ‘safe list’ in outlook.

Resources for students

-RUCU Student leaflet 2023 Student Info PDF

-USS FAQs (includes What is the USS dispute about?)  https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#USS_pensions_dispute

-UCU template/example PPT slides: Reading UCU IA LECTURE SLIDE 2023

Strike out-of-office

Members may want to use the following template, checked by our Regional Office:

I am not able to check email today as members of Reading UCU are taking industrial action in opposition to the devastating cuts to our pension scheme. The value of the staff USS pension has been unnecessarily cut by an average 35%. Members of Reading UCU will be on strike on the following days – please do not email on these days as I will not be able to respond to emails sent to me on strike days on my return.

If you would like more information about the dispute, please visit UCU – FAQs. If you are a student, please do contact vc@reading.ac.uk to find out what steps the University is taking to avoid a dispute, we are urgently looking for meaningful negotiations so that we can all return to work. If you are a student affected by strike action, you can also contact the Students’ Union for independent advice and support at https://www.rusu.co.uk/ 

Members may also want to upload and use the UCU USS email signature banner: ucuRISING_EmailBanner_600px_04_USS_221103.png (600×150)

Informing the University about your strike action

Members are under no obligation to inform HR, or indeed any other member of staff, about their intentions to undertake strike action if you are going to be on strike. If a manager asks, you can politely decline to answer that question in advance of taking part in any forthcoming action.

Members also do not need to notify the Director of HR, or anyone else, immediately after every day of strike action if strike days are consecutive. Our first day of strike action is on Wed 15th March. After that period of strike action, if full time, your next day of work would be Thursday 23rd March. That’s the day to confirm that you have taken part in action, once you have been asked to notify. If you work part-time, then you would notify, if asked, the next day that you are scheduled to work after this period of strike action.

See the relevant UCU Strike FAQ here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#Do_I_have_to_tell_my_employer_that_I_am_taking_industrial_action?

Action Short of A Strike

Please see the ASOS FAQ on the national UCU website here:
https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#Taking_’action_short_of_a_strike’_(ASOS)

Staff will begin action short of a strike (ASOS) from Wednesday 23 November onwards at institutions in England, Wales and Scotland.

Action short of a strike will consist of the following until further notice:

  • working to contract
  • not covering for absent colleagues
  • removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action
  • not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action
  • not undertaking any voluntary activities.

In terms of ​rescheduling, the national UCU FAQs linked above state that by ‘lectures or classes’ we mean any activity between any UCU member and a student or group of students which involves any instruction, tuition, communicating or sharing of knowledge or guidance.

This includes teaching which would have taken place on one of UCU’s strike days and covers instructional activities undertaken by UCU members who are academic-related professional services staff, as well as academic staff. You should, if asked, refuse to reschedule such sessions, stating that you are supporting UCU’s action short of a strike.

If someone else such as a line manager or head of department has already scheduled your classes, the FAQ state that once the action has started you should not teach rescheduled classes whoever has rescheduled them.

It is reasonable to assume that instructions for staff to make ‘arrangements’ to make up for any cancelled teaching sessions is a request to reschedule teaching using different phraseology. As a consequence, the advice on the UCU FAQs would apply, “You should, if asked, refuse to reschedule such sessions, stating that you are supporting UCU’s action short of a strike.” Making alternative arrangements would undermine the strike action that members are taking.

In addition, members could:

(i) ask their line manager when this work could possibly be done, given that members are working to contract and not doing any unpaid overtime

(ii) ask what activities will need to be relinquished if this request was to be fulfilled

(iii) ask the employer where re-scheduled classes should be situated, given the pressure on space in many universities

(iv) ask how staff are meant to ensure that their additional sessions do not clash with those organised by their colleagues.

The national UCU FAQS also outline that the reasonability of any request will depend on the terms of your contract and custom and practice. If in doubt, or if your actions are challenged by someone senior to you, you should temporarily suspend your action and contact your branch who will seek further advice.

As a result, please do not hesitate to get in touch for support if you need to, for example by contacting the Branch Administrator in the first instance. We can ask for additional guidance from our regional office on your behalf.

UCU Picketing guidance

What is the law on picketing?  https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#What_is_the_law_on_picketing?_

December Newsletter 2022 – Happy festive break everyone!

[STRIKE NEWSLETTER 2022 PDF]

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Strike FAQ Autumn 2022

UCU HQ Strike FAQs

https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs

Physical Pickets

Please do email to let us know if you plan to come along to the physical picket lines. We are asking you to email in as we will be forwarding all ‘in person’ picketers detailed UCU legal guidance. In the first instance, can picketers please make their way to the Shinfield Road entrance and find a picket supervisor. We will be picketing between 08:00-09;30 on the following days of industrial action: Thurs 24, Fri 25 and Wed 30 November. The first six members to arrive will be given ‘Picket’ armbands, and we’ll cover the main road entrance plus the path from the bus stop past the Sports Centre. Supporters are very welcome to pop by and say hello.

Virtual Pickets

Thurs 24: 09:00-10:00 Click here to join the meeting  Meeting ID: 338 127 171 944 Passcode: o4saH5

Fri 25: RUCU members are encouraged to attend the national UCU virtual picket line at 10:30AM on Friday 25 on Zoom. You can join by following this link or by entering the Meeting ID 854 7912 2665. No passcode is required.

Emails and Outlook forwarding

Please find guidance here on how to set up auto forwarding during the strike days if your usual mode of communication for Reading UCU is your work email. This means you will receive any updates from us without having to access your work email account. Please note, if the redirect is not working, please try setting the redirect rule to work for the following email address also: rucu-bounces@lists.reading.ac.uk, as well as adding the email addresses of RUCU, our Branch Officers (Sally, Nat) and our administrator (Colette), to your ‘safe list’ in outlook.

Resources for students

Reading UCU Information for Students. A4 Leaflet

-USS FAQs (includes What is the USS dispute about?)  https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#USS_pensions_dispute

Strike out-of-office

Members may want to use the following template, checked by our Regional Office:

I am not able to check email today as members of Reading UCU are taking industrial action in opposition to the devastating cuts to our pension scheme. The value of the staff USS pension has been unnecessarily cut by an average 35%. Members of Reading UCU will be on strike 24, 25 and 30 November. Please do not email on these days as I will not be able to respond to emails sent to me on strike days on my return.  

If you would like more information about the dispute, please visit UCU – FAQs. If you are a student, please do contact vc@reading.ac.uk to find out what steps the University is taking to avoid a dispute, we are urgently looking for meaningful negotiations so that we can all return to work. If you are a student affected by strike action, you can also contact the Students’ Union for independent advice and support at https://www.rusu.co.uk/ 

Members may also want to upload and use the UCU USS email signature banner: ucuRISING_EmailBanner_600px_04_USS_221103.png (600×150)

Informing the University about your strike action

Members are under no obligation to inform HR, or indeed any other member of staff, about their intentions to undertake strike action if you are going to be on strike in the next two weeks. If a manager asks, you can politely decline to answer that question in advance of taking part in any forthcoming action.

Members also do not need to notify the Director of HR, or anyone else, immediately after every day of strike action. Our first days of strike action are on Thurs 24 and Fri 25 November. After that period of strike action, if full time, your next day of work would be Monday 28 November. That’s the day to confirm that you have taken part in action, once you have been asked to notify. If you work part-time, then you would notify, if asked, the next day that you are scheduled to work after this period of strike action.

Members will then be on strike on Wed 30 November. Members of staff do not need to notify the University of this day of action until Thurs 1st December (or their next working day after that if on a part time contract).

See the relevant UCU Strike FAQ here: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#Do_I_have_to_tell_my_employer_that_I_am_taking_industrial_action?

Action Short of A Strike

Please see the ASOS FAQ on the national UCU website here:
https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#Taking_’action_short_of_a_strike’_(ASOS)

Staff will begin action short of a strike (ASOS) from Wednesday 23 November onwards at institutions in England, Wales and Scotland.

Action short of a strike will consist of the following until further notice:

  • working to contract
  • not covering for absent colleagues
  • removing uploaded materials related to, and/or not sharing materials related to, lectures or classes that will be or have been cancelled as a result of strike action
  • not rescheduling lectures or classes cancelled due to strike action
  • not undertaking any voluntary activities.

In terms of ​rescheduling, the national UCU FAQs linked above state that by ‘lectures or classes’ we mean any activity between any UCU member and a student or group of students which involves any instruction, tuition, communicating or sharing of knowledge or guidance.

This includes teaching which would have taken place on one of UCU’s strike days and covers instructional activities undertaken by UCU members who are academic-related professional services staff, as well as academic staff. You should, if asked, refuse to reschedule such sessions, stating that you are supporting UCU’s action short of a strike.

If someone else such as a line manager or head of department has already scheduled your classes, the FAQ state that once the action has started you should not teach rescheduled classes whoever has rescheduled them.

The national UCU FAQS also outline that the reasonability of any request will depend on the terms of your contract and custom and practice. If in doubt, or if your actions are challenged by someone senior to you, you should temporarily suspend your action and contact your branch who will seek further advice.

As a result, please do not hesitate to get in touch for support if you need to, for example by contacting the Branch Administrator in the first instance. We can ask for additional guidance from our regional office on your behalf.

UCU Picketing guidance

What is the law on picketing?  https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs#What_is_the_law_on_picketing?_

 

 

UCU national ballot results – 50% threshold *smashed*!

UCU has delivered an unprecedented turnout and a huge YES vote in the #ucuRISING ballots UCU – #ucuRISING ballot results

Thank you so much to our AMAZING ReadingUCU members who voted – and to all those who worked hard on our Get The Vote Out campaign.

I'm 84.9% and proud

 

Help Us Get The Vote Out!

We are getting ballot ready!

You will be aware that, following recent Congress and HEC decisions, UCU will be balloting its members on the UCU Rising campaign in the autumn.  This campaign was launched to members last Wednesday 10 August – if you missed the launch, you can find the recording here. 

This is a call for volunteers to help us with our local Get The Vote Out plans (GTVO).

If you have some time to spare to remind colleagues to vote, please get in touch, especially if your department does not currently have a UCU rep: Department reps – Reading University UCU. Even if you only have a few hours over the Autumn, it would be much appreciated: cmaxfield@ucu.org.uk

Our Southern regional office is also helpfully holding a briefing on Get the Vote Out to be held online via Teams on Thursday 1 September from 1-3pm – so if you are new to GTVO, there are lots of resources and help on hand.

It is important to note that this time round the ballots will be aggregated, which means in order for all HE branches to be able to take action we need to exceed the 50% threshold nationally.  We are hopeful that with some early planning and actions from us all, we can beat the 50% barrier this time round.

We will be organising a branch GTVO meeting soon, to discuss recent developments (please see section 2 here for updated FAQ on the USS dispute: UCU – FAQs)

We look forward to hearing from you!

Getting Ballot Ready

You will have hopefully seen HQ comms at the start of July detailing that nationally elected reps have agreed a strategy for the USS and Four Fights campaigns for 2022/23.

In summary, UCU is calling on UUK to withdraw their imposed benefit cuts to the USS pension and to carry out a new evidence-based valuation.

UCU is rejecting the 3% pay offer from the employers and is seeking a substantial pay increase alongside action to close equality pay gaps, eliminate casualisation and precarious work and to address excessive workloads. After a meeting on the 14th of July with the employer representatives (UCEA), Vice chancellors again failed to make an improved offer on pay.

If UCU claims are not met by the employers, it has been agreed nationally that all affected UCU branches will begin aggregated ballots this Autumn. This comes at a time when ballots in FE have just achieved outstanding results relating to a dispute involving pay, workload, and professional respect.

You can help us by checking that your records are correct on ‘My UCU‘. Please check that you have the following correct information:

1. The postal address you want future voting papers to be sent to

2. Your correct current Branch name

3. Your correct current preferred email

4. Your correct current preferred mobile phone number

5. That you are on the correct membership category: (student/standard free/full/retired/attached)

We will keep you updated on developments (and do keep an eye out for the UCU ‘Friday emails,’ which provide members with a good weekly roundup of all campaigns and other issues).

RUCU Election Result

We are updating you on the results of the recent election. The President position was the only contested role this year, and the result of the local ballot was as follows:

The President 

Deepa Govindarajan Driver

Sally Pellow                       ELECTED 

Thank you to the candidates that stood for election, and thanks to the members who voted in this democratic process.

The format of the new committee that will take office with immediate effect can be found here: Branch Committee 2022-2023 – Reading University UCU

As you can see, there are a number of positions still vacant, both as Ordinary Committee members (without portfolio) and Branch Officer roles (for more information on the Officer roles, you can find summaries in our Local Rules: Local rules – Reading University UCU).

We also had a nomination from David Field at the AGM for the Vice President role.

Thanks everybody.

 

Reading UCU Elections 2022

We are updating you as to the recent nomination process for RUCU Committee roles, prior to the RUCU AGM on 9th June. The nominations at the end of this email were uncontested, and the format of the new committee will be announced formally at the AGM.

In addition to these uncontested roles, the Returning Officer received two valid nominations for the post of Reading UCU President, which means that Reading UCU will be holding an online election for this position, facilitated by our Regional Office and UCU HQ.

 

The election will open on Thursday 26 May.  The vote will be open until 11am on Thursday 9 June 2002. We expect to be able to inform members of the result of this election at the Branch AGM.

In order to vote, you will receive an individualised link from UCU HQ to the email account that you have registered as your UCU contact address. Please check your junk/’other’ folder if you do not receive this link in your inbox. To check which email account you have registered for UCU HQ, please click here (members who have forgotten their membership number, in order to access MyUCU, can click here).

Voting eligibility is defined as full standard, standard free, retired and attached members. (UCU members in the following categories are not eligible to vote: student).  
If you are a student, please do check that you are on the correct membership category, as employed postgraduates on the ‘full free membership/standard free’ are eligible to vote. More information on student membership categories is outlined here  
All members can check that they are in the correct membership category, and/or update records in order to transfer to a different category, via MyUCU.

The deadline for requesting replacement voting links is 12:00 noon Thursday 2nd June. This date also applies to those members who need to update their membership category via MyUCU in order to receive a voting link. In both cases, please contact the RUCU Branch Administrator by 12:00 noon Thursday 2nd June: cmaxfield@ucu.org.uk

There are a number of positions on the Reading UCU Branch Committee which are still available to Reading UCU members.  We will give more information about these roles, and how members can get involved, at the Reading UCU Branch AGM which will be taking place on Thursday 9 June 2022.

We would very much appreciate your participation in this democratic process.  Please use your vote in these elections.

Uncontested Reading UCU Nominations:

The Treasurer

Simone Knox

The Secretary

Nat Willmott

The Equality Officer

Ellen Owens

The Anti-casualisation officer

Rita Balestrini

* Sally Pellow and Deepa G Driver will automatically be on the Reading UCU Branch Committee as NEC Ex Officio Committee members.