University of Manchester UCU Rotating Header Image

May 27th, 2015:

Motions to the AGM – 3rd June 2015

1. Resist compulsory redundancies at the University of Manchester, up to and including a ballot of members for industrial action

Proposer: UMUCU Executive Committee

UMUCU deplores the University of Manchester’s actions in declaring compulsory redundancies for permanent core-funded staff currently, and in future, on the Redeployment register. UMUCU also deplores the attempt to justify these actions as a mechanism to provide equity between core-funded staff and those employed using external finite funding. We believe any changes should seek to improve the terms and conditions of staff, rather than degrade them to the lowest common denominator.
UMUCU notes that the previous leadership at the University of Manchester and its predecessor institutions weathered much more severe financial crises without resorting to compulsory redundancies. The present leaders of the university appear to be intent on following the example of universities such as Salford, Bolton, Hull and London Metropolitan, in using unnecessary and extensive restructuring combined with changes to Redeployment policies as a means to achieve compulsory redundancies; such a hostile management approach is unworthy of a university which aspires to be a “world class” institution.
UMUCU further notes that restructurings may be initiated in any area of the university in future, so that all permanent core-funded staff are at risk of compulsory redundancy. This will further undermine the culture of collegiality and has the potential to become a tool for intimidation and bullying by management.
UMUCU therefore calls upon the University to establish an immediate moratorium on all compulsory redundancies, and to work constructively with the campus trades unions to find better, more collegial means of dealing with any financial pressures facing the university.
UMUCU also calls upon the local Executive to develop plans to vigorously resist compulsory redundancies, up to and including seeking authority from the national union for a ballot of members for industrial action.

PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

2. Support the People’s Assembly Against Austerity

Proposer: UMUCU Executive Committee

1. Under government austerity, more than 13 million people in the UK now sit
beneath the poverty line.

2. Whilst government austerity was meant to reduce the deficit, it has grown
10% in the last year, reaching nearly £100bn.

3. Average pay, taking account of rising prices, has fallen every year since the
financial crash, whilst the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain has
doubled.

4. That currently, only 1 in 40 new jobs is offered as stable full-time employment,
whilst the rest remain to be forms of fake self-employment, temporary, casual
or zero hours contracts.

5. The People’s Assembly is a broad united national campaign that brings
together all voices against austerity, mobilising resistance and providing
support and publicity to local and national struggles.

Believes:

1. Austerity has lowered living standards, cut public services and not reduced
the deficit; more of the same will produce the same result.

2. That as a united coalition of trade unions, campaigns, and individuals, we
must support and encourage joint coordinated actions, together building a
mass movement impossible to ignore.

Resolves:
1. To affiliate to the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
2. To support, mobilise and publicise national and local People’s Assembly campaigns
and events and to encourage branch members to actively participate in local
People’s Assemblies.

3. To support up to 10 UMUCU members wishing to claim their People’s Assembly coach fare to the demonstration on June 20th. Maximum cost to branch £200
4. To sponsor coach places for Manchester homeless and individuals most impacted by austerity by sponsoring the cost of 5 free places. Cost to branch £125
5. To make an additional one-off donation of £100 to The People’s Assembly as
part of the 2015 Appeal

Financial Note Total Cost of donation committed £ 225
Additional potential cost of travel claims £200

1 Notes 1-4 have been sourced from: OECD and The Office for National Statistics

PASSED BY MAJORITY

3. Oppose TeachHigher

Proposer: Luke Yates
Seconder: Pamela Thompson

Branch notes:
1. Post-secondary education is being fundamentally reorganised around the use of casual contracts. Up to one third of staff in HE and FE are on non-permanent contracts.
2. Casual workers are paid significantly less, have no job security, and limited career development opportunities.
3. Recent campaigns have won secure status or improved pay and conditions for casual workers. Examples include campaigns against ZHC at Edinburgh, and for better conditions for cleaners and fractional staff at SOAS.
4. However, to avoid offering regular employment contracts, Warwick University is creating a new ‘internal academic recruitment and administration service’ – piloted at Warwick but with the intention of franchising at universities across the UK. TeachHigher will employ hourly paid staff on worse terms and conditions than they currently endure at Warwick

Branch believes:
a. Casualisation is an attack on our basic employment rights, and is a central issue and needs to be addressed by every UCU branch.
b. TeachHigher is a threat not just to Warwick staff but to everyone working at UK universities – both implicitly through setting a dangerous precedent, and explicitly through its plans for franchise.
c. It is possible to reverse this trend towards casualisation.
d. However, if outsourcing teaching to agencies is entrenched, it will institutionalise a two-tier academic workforce and permit further outsourcing of academic staff.

Branch resolves:
i. To oppose TeachHigher and support the national demonstration against it, supported by Warwick UCU, on 19th June at 12 noon, Library Road, Warwick Campus Cv4 7AL.
ii. To organise a delegation of Manchester UCU members to attend and to donate £300 towards travel costs to demo.

PASSED BY MAJORITY