Branch Meeting Motions for Discussion – 9 October, 2019

The following three motions are to be presented and debated at the branch meeting. The motions below are presented in order of complexity.

Passing of Steve Lecomber

Steve Lecomber was a valued and energetic member of the branch, highly respected as a colleague and friend. Steve played an important role building and nurturing the community of scholars in the School of Biological and Chemical Science and that energy and solidarity to the picket line. Steve will be deeply missed.

The branch sends its most heartfelt condolences to Steve’s family and SBCS colleagues.

Academic Development Restructuring

QMUCU notes with dismay and disappointment the outcome of the restructuring of Academic Development. These disruptive proposals and the poor handling of the consultation resulted in the resignation and loss of many valued and dedicated colleagues with years of experience working at Queen Mary. It also resulted in a severe loss of capacity in crucial areas of Queen Mary’s mission, including (but not limited to) CAPD, Learning Development, and Engagement, Retention, and Success.

QMUCU resolves:

  • to continue to support members affected by this restructuring through casework and campaigning;
  • to seek amendments to the Redundancy, Reorganisation, and Redeployment policy to improve consultation and to prevent rushed processes being forced through over summer;
  • to ensure that the redeployment register is properly maintained by QM senior management and advertised to affected staff;
  • to call on QM senior management to apologise to all staff for the disruption and losses caused by the restructuring;
  • to demand a moratorium on all restructuring until lessons from this process have been learnt and adequately responded to;
  • to call on its academic members not to take up buy outs offered as a replacement for lost capacity in Academic Development.

Enabling Motion for Collective Pay Claim

This branch notes that the UCU strike over USS pensions in 2018/19 became a flashpoint for fundamental discontent with the way that universities are being run; that
during the strike members were raising long-standing grievances about the ongoing casualization of the sector and increasingly unfair terms and conditions for staff employed on part-time or fixed-term contracts. Problems associated casualisation intersect with inequality based on protected characteristics, including ethnicity and gender.

On the matter of equal pay, members are particularly concerned about the BAME and gender pay gaps. On the matter of casualization, two concerns persist: Firstly, the extent and handling of casualised work and secondly, a development of management covering duties normally carried out by staff in higher grade roles with lower-graded staff.

Equal Pay

On inequality by protected characteristics, this branch notes that

  • the mean BAME pay gap in QMUL’s 2019 report was 21.9% [*]
  • the mean gender pay gap in QMUL’s 2019 report was 13.69% [*]
  • women and BAME staff are under-represented higher up the career pathway and
    grading structures;
  • despite the efforts made by UCU and others over many years, the gender and BAME pay gap persists;
  • at the current rate of progress it will take several more decades to close the gap;
  • there is a need for meaningful action to resolve many issues across academic and related staff.

Casualization of Academic Staff

On the casualization of academic staff, this
branch notes that

  • casualised staff employed to teach – often delivering modules while covering for permanent staff on leave – should be on academic-related contracts but have been erroneously on professional services contracts
  • the terms and conditions for casualised teaching staff has not been agreed with UCU and this must be resolved
  • QMUL has hourly paid casually employed teaching staff that have been employed for more than four years and should be offered fractionalised permanent contracts
  • QMUL has full-time research staff who have been employed for more than four years who should be offered permanent contracts
  • rates of pay continue to vary across Schools and need to be set according to the experience and qualifications of all staff consistently and according to an agree, written, and transparent pay policy
  • the pay is being unfairly capped for long-serving TAs at Grade 4 and for TFs at Grade 5, Spinal Point 34 without a written pay policy
  • that practices still vary widely regarding the way in which preparation time
    and/or time for marking is remunerated, or is indeed not remunerated;
  • despite attempts to resolve this, notably the assimilation of TAs, TFs and Demonstrators onto the pay scale, no meaningful progress has been achieved to date. If anything the situation has become worse and casualised staff continue to be managed in an ad hoc and inconsistent way across the university.

Rate for the Job

On the link between pay grades and levels of responsibility, this branch notes that

  • there is no procedure that prevents exploitation of staff who
    desire career advancement through the delegation of higher level duties to staff paid on lower grades;
  • when professorial teaching duties are covered by Grade 5 teaching fellows, who are given no paid time to develop their own research, our next generation of academic colleagues becomes more precarious.

Resolving these Issues

This branch believes that there is a need for the University’s senior management to agree that dealing with these matters through joint negotiation with UCU should be a key organisational objective in starting to repair the damage caused by UUK and university management approaches to the employment package. We believe they should commit
to time limited negotiations to reach an agreed action plan.

This branch agrees that:

  • members meetings on the three themes identified above (BAME and gender pay inequality and casualization) should be held in November;
  • these meetings should be asked to consider a draft claim for
    submission to University management, a collective bargaining
    approach, and ways in which members can get involved in
    supporting their claim (including involvement in co-ordinating
    groups);
  • the branch committee should agree a final version of the claim and submit it to the University management ASAP and by no later than 15th January 2020;
  • members should be kept informed of developments after each meeting with management;
  • a full report, including the need for action in the event of insufficient progress, should be made to each branch meeting

[*] http://hr.qmul.ac.uk/media/hr/forms/procedures/equality/docs/gender-pay-reporting-report/Queen-Mary-Gender-and-BAME-Pay-Gap-Report-2019.pdf

 

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