"CUCU Extraordinary General Meeting, 1pm, 29 June 2007"
CUCU Extraordinary General Meeting, 1pm, 29 June 2007 Room G24, The Faculty of Law, West Road Present: Mike Clark (MC), David Goode (DG), Rowland Thomas, S. Crowley, M. Sargeant, Chris Kirton, Arthur Kaletzky, Josh Robinson (JC), Mary Jennings, Luke Abraham, Ian Hewes, Doug Astill, June Edmunds, Ronald Haynes 1) Apologies: Mark Manning, Brenda Purkiss, Munawar Chaudhri, Neil Dodgson, Mary Deville, Nick Maclaren, Tarak Barkawi, Priyamvada Gopal, Jo Dillon, Geoffrey Grimmett, Lorraine Tyler, Stephen Cowley, Arif Ahmed, L. Radoilska, Eleanor Blair 2) Minutes: There were no adjustments made to the minutes of the last meeting. 3) President's Report on local matters: Two main points of local concerns were the grading appeals and the matter of formal recognition of the Union by the University. Personnel Committee had recently reached some agreement on the appeals process, following some differences with Personnel and among some Unions. The process would involve an appeals panel and a HERA scoring, along with accompaniment for the appellant (union member, technical expert). It would still take some time to sort out some final details, and to constitute the panels, then schedule the hearings. It will have to be further monitored. In addition, the required Impact Assessment for the Pay and Grading process will also have to wait, pending staff and further agreement with Personnel. Concerning recognition, Cambridge is the only pre-1992 university not to have given full, formal recognition to the AUT/UCU. As part of the agreed National Framework and implementation of the Single Spine there was acceptance that the unions would be engaged in a process of "Partnership Working", and local association members of the AUT /UCU were invited to join with members of the other locally-recognised unions in the Partnership Working Group. In practice we have been given the same levels of consideration by the University as have the other union representatives. In discussions with our national officers it was decided that the time was right for full recognition, and so in May a formal request was made of the University for recognition to represent Members of Academic, Academic-Related, and the categories of Post-graduate and Post-doctoral research staff, in any University-Trade Union negotiations. That request was initially considered at the 21st June meeting of the Personnel Committee and will next go to the central bodies, including Council. Further details will be available as the process evolves. 4) UCU Congress 2007: DG and JC attended Congress and briefly reported back from UCU's inaugural Congress, which took place 30 May - 1 June in Bournemouth. The Congress included meetings of the higher education and further education sector conferences, and it was noted that there were some tensions between former AUT local associations and NATFHE branches. One of the significant differences was over the number of members who can attend. For instance, formerly we were able to send up to 6 members to the annual AUT Conferences, whereis in the newer UCU Congress we are permitted 2. (MC noted that, according to the rules, we nearly warrant being able to send 3 members, if we grow by about 19 members more.) Of the varied discussions at the Congress (for motions, amendments and votes, see: UCU Congress 2007 <http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2392>), there was of course a great deal of activity around the Palestine/Israel-related Motion 30 and all its related amendments (see: Congress business section 5: International and European work <http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2555>). In the end, Motion 30 carried was amended and carried (158 to 99) in its least-contentious form, which was then widely reported (and mis-reported). No conclusions were reached, but it was referred to local associations/branches for further discussion (e.g. see motion below). unapproved minutes of CUCU Extraordinary General Meeting, 29 June 2007 5) Motions Following on from the ammended Motion 30, from Congress, a motion was submitted and circulated in advance, relating to a non-alignment approach to Foreign Policy issues. The motion was proposed by Dr. Tarak Barkawi, Centre of International Studies and Dr. Priyamvada Gopal, Faculty of English (available on the CamTools - CUCU Interactive site, in the Resources section). MC noted that the Palestine/Israel motion and amendments had evoked many opinions A ballot in Oxford had about a 30% response, of whom amout 95% favoured a national ballot on the question. Nationally, Congress gave much time and discussion to the motions and amendments, favouring further local input in the process. Locally, some feel strongly that our primary focus should be on pay, negotiations, etc.. Some also found the local motion absurd, wondering if opposition to it could be construed as being anti-Zionist, as well as wondering how it fit with the national motion. MC also highlighted the concern for Academic freedom, noting that if a boycott was voted in he would have to stand down. MC also noted that all views - pro, anti, abstention - are political matters, however if CUCU abstained from the national motion then we would lose influence on the vote. The meeting, while being inquorate, yielded a vote of 0 For, 9 Against, and 4 Abstensions. The matter was refered to the Executive. 6) Local Association rules and voting As there are newer, updated national model rules for local associations/branches, there was discussion about the process to change those of CUCU. Such a rule change requires a vote of 2/3 + 1 (of a quorate meeting). Concerning some discussion about whether or how a member could be mandated by CUCU, e.g. for Congress, that too would require a change of the local rules. Practically, it would also require additional meetings, such as when motions and ballot papers are published in advance of Congress. The matters were referred to the Executive and a future meeting. The question of electronic voting, or perhaps polling, was addressed, as it had been suggested as a way of improving members' involvement in CUCU's decision-making process. Some concern was expressed that any such approach would need to increase numbers and participation in meetings, rather than compete with them. There was also concern about trying to developed this area with already over-stretched resources, for instance given the lack of case- workers. The (inquorate) meeting showed mixed feelings about using electronic voting (2 For, 2 Against, and 2 Undecided - dependent on the approach taken). The matter was refered to the Executive. 7. Harlow College dispute The teaching staff at Harlow College had been taking action as part of a campaign to defend their contracts and jobs. Half the teaching staff were set to become redundant, creating a staffing crisis. The management proposals would: cut wages by up to £13,000, make many staff redundant, cut leave entitlement by over three weeks, force staff to work up to 56 hours a week including Saturdays, remove health and safety protection such as a maximum number of weekly teaching hours. The strike had just been called off, while talks resumed, however the situation would have to be monitored. General concern and support for the Harlow staff was expressed. There was some discussion about a hardship fund, which had been discussed during the last AUT industrial action and action short of a strike, and there was some further development at the national level. The Executive would check on the question of local association contributions to the fund. 8. AOB There was a reminder of the need for more caseworkers. Help would be available from from the Executive, with the possibility of a accompaniment or a mentor's assistance, to help get new caseworkers started. Josh Robinson (member of Executive, special concern for hourly-paid staff) submitted his resignation from the Executive, as he would be taking up a post in Berlin. MC thanked Josh and the meeting wished him all the very best for the future. unapproved minutes of CUCU Extraordinary General Meeting, 29 June 2007