The current national industrial action is over pay and conditions (including pay deflation, pay inequality, casualisation and workload) and pensions.
National collective bargaining means that the issues of pay deflation and pensions must be addressed nationally.
National frameworks on inequality, casualisation and workload would help ensure that the minimum standards are raised. This is long overdue and employers resistance is baffling.
Local progress on inequality and precarious work
There is nothing, of course, to stop individual employers locally improving conditions in terms of inequality, casualisation and workload.
QMUCU continues to use the informal and formal structures to press management for improvements to the treatment of those on irregular contracts, as outlined in recent branch meetings.
QMUCU, in conjunction with other campus unions, has held a series of workshops on equalities and will use the insights from those to frame demands for improvements in local equalities practice.
Local initiatives on workload are less well developed.
In casework, discussion with colleagues and on the picket line we hear often quite harrowing stories of what the demands of the job are doing to mental and physical health, let alone to the maintenance of healthy and happy family life.
UCU work demonstrates that the issues at Queen Mary are similar to that in other institutions, which is why workload is part of the national campaign. Queen Mary could dare to be different and set the standard for other employers.
Queen Mary should be a beacon instituton for best practice in the treatment of its staff.
In various fora the branch has asked that management adopt the Health and Safety Executive Management Standards. Progress is not obvious and it is, therefore, time to press for meaningful action from management.
It is time that management gave the same attention to bolstering staff that they have given to bolstering the estate and finances of the university.
Given management’s apparent inability or unwillingness to act, the next step is therefore to develop a series of concrete demands, supporting data and testimonies and present them to management for action.
To start the process, please email (confidentially) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use the link (or include “Managing Workload at QMUL” to enable us to compile the stories, data and your ideas for solutions.
Let’s get started the process of making Queen Mary a better place to work.