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No 1 Autumn 2010 IN THIS ISSUE: Chair‟s Welcome: “Who are we?” Report on UCU Congress 2010 Spread the Message! National Dispute Update – UCU Outsourcing United Role Profiles Revisited Defending Your Pensions Performance Management Funding Cuts - Ramblings from the Academic Related Staff and Green back office Campus management Dorothy Wright Remembered Reasons to be cheerful . . . Chair’s Welcome: “Who are we?” This is the first Academic Related (AR) For more on the important role that we play, Newsletter and as Chair of the Academic take a look at our Academic Related Related Staff Committee I am very proud to Manifesto: be able to contribute to this first edition. www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/d/b/ucu_a crelmanifesto.pdf Who are we? We are University Administrators, Librarians and IT In many Universities we are no longer called Professionals and the make-up of our AR Academic Related but have acquired other Staff Committee reflects this. Members are names as we have been neatly slotted into elected at our AGM from each of those areas „job families‟. We are now called AR, APM in equal numbers. (Administrative Professional and Managerial), MPA (Management, More specifically we fill roles such as alumni Professional, Administrative); Professional officers; archivists; brand managers; careers Support Staff or Support Staff. officers; computing staff; editors; environmental officers; estates managers; Since UCU was formed the AR Staff faculty managers; housing officers; committee has achieved the following: international officers; lab managers; learning facilitators; librarians; planning officers; Produced a Manifesto; regional development managers; safety Won the right to introduce motions to officers; student advisors; student union Congress; managers; technical services managers; Won the right to have 2 fully voting transport managers; web team managers. delegates from AR Staff Committee In other words our Universities do not attend Congress; operate without us. Academic related NEWS Autumn 2010 1 Won the right to send someone to be The year ahead will be tough one for all in part of the UCU delegation to TUC the public sector and in particular for staff in Congress. Higher Education, which faces the biggest This year, 2010, we submitted 4 motions cut of all. We have yet to realise the full and 4 amendments to Congress and HESC. impact of the Comprehensive Spending The majority of the motions had been Review or the Browne Report on our written by, or had serious input from one of Universities. We have yet to realise the very the AR Staff Committee‟s Vice-Chairs, real threat to our Pensions. Dorothy Wright (picture below), who died suddenly before Congress. Members of the Watch this space! AR Staff Committee and those from the wider Academic Related community ensured Patricia Hulme, Chair, Academic Related that our motions were heard (I would not Committee say properly debated) and agreed at Spread the Message! Congress. Dorothy continues to be a great loss (see back page for a separate tribute to Please pass this newsletter on to other Dorothy). academic related members (or potential members). Encourage them to join or get more involved! To join UCU see: www.ucu.org.uk/2283 To be added to the Academic Related mailing list or if you have any questions on Academic Related matters contact Stefano Fella, National Industrial Relations Official (with responsibility for academic related matters), email@example.com See also the UCU webpages on academic What next for AR Staff? I find myself writing related matters: www.ucu.org.uk/2097 this as we face the most difficult period for colleagues in Higher Education for over 20 Annual Meeting for Academic Related years. The Coalition government has a Staff, 16 March 2011 reckless zeal to ensure that efficiency savings will be secured by attacking our jobs It is time to start planning for the and pensions. Many AR colleagues are in forthcoming annual UCU members meeting the invidious position of making staff for Academic Related staff. This will take redundant or facing redundancy themselves. place on Wednesday 16 March 2011 at UCU AR Staff are probably at the most risk, facing Headquarters in Carlow Street, London NW1. job losses through restructuring, the loss of It will take place at a critical time for the departments and the loss of libraries. IT is union, and will provide an opportunity to threatened as more and more of it is debate the challenges facing the union in „outsourced‟. Never forget, AR staff are the general and academic related members in „back office‟ staff whose contribution to our particular, such as the impact of the Universities is invaluable but who the spending cuts and the government‟s reforms politicians believe to be expendable. Academic related NEWS Autumn 2010 2 to higher education; strategies to defend we would ballot for strike action and action jobs and build the union; and fighting the short of a strike early in the New Year. twin threats of outsourcing and de- professionalisation. UCU will continue to talk to the national employers to try and resolve the current Put the meeting in your diary now and also disputes but members should start preparing remember the following dates: for action to defend our jobs, defend our pensions, and to defend education. Deadline for motions - 23 February; Deadline for registration for the Meeting and We want academic related members to play nominations to Academic Related Staff a full part in the dispute and would be Committee - 2 March. interested in your views as to the specific role academic related members could play in Report of 2010 annual meeting industrial action. If you have ideas and comments, please contact Stefano Fella, Last year‟s meeting held on 10 March 2010 firstname.lastname@example.org heard reports on the work of UCU in relation to academic-related staff and discussed For more on the national dispute and motions submitted by branches and local updates see: www.ucu.org.uk/4505 associations. There were also a number of prominent national speakers and workshops UCU Fighting Fund on outsourcing, and fighting redundancies, as well as plenty of opportunity to network Although taking strike action is a last resort, with colleagues. All motions passed at the sometimes it is necessary to do so in order annual meeting can be found here: to combat intransigent managements. It's always tough to lose a day's pay, and so http:11//www.ucu.org.uk/media/docs UCU has set up a fighting fund to support /g/p/acrelannual2010_motions.rtf members facing difficulties as a consequence of supporting the union's actions. National Dispute Update – UCU United For details on how to donate to the UCU At the special HE Sector Conference in Fighting Fund see: www.ucu.org.uk/3756 Manchester on 25 November, UCU delegates noted that for the second year running UCEA Defending Your Pensions has: The employers have been seeking to force Refused to negotiate a nationally agreed through proposals to 'reform' the USS approach to improve job security and university pension scheme. While UCU defend provision; negotiators have accepted that there is a Failed to act to address equality matters; need for change and have put forward Offered a real-terms pay cut. alternative and sustainable proposals to do this, the employers seem determined to Delegates agreed that if the employers press ahead with their divisive plans, with continued to refuse to talk to us about the aim of reducing what they contribute to measures to improve job security, and if the scheme. they continued to attack our pensions, then Academic related NEWS Autumn 2010 3 For more on the employers proposals and times were tough. This time hard funded our response see: posts are at risk. What we don‟t know yet is www.ucu.org.uk/4598. whether real academic posts will be cut, or See also the piece on the Edinburgh whether it‟s the Academic Related/ University UCU website produced by professional support (or whatever they call academic related member, Mike Holmes. you now) staff that will bear the brunt as has https://www.wiki.ed.ac.uk/display/UC so often been the case. UEdinburgh/USS+Pensions+Response In my mind we‟re damned both ways. Either Management representatives blocked we‟re going to be selected for redundancy proposals for an all-member referendum on using some unintelligible system that is these proposals, and hired a pension neither fair or transparent; or the academic communication firm to conduct a far less workforce is going to be cut and the robust consultation which presented only workload for everyone, Academic and their side of the argument. Very few active Related will reach new and even more mind USS members have responded. boggling levels. Given the failure to consult properly, UCU At least it was an Academic colleague (all be staged our own national referendum – open it a well trained one) that reminded HE to UCU members and non-members alike. Sector Conference that if they‟re coming for The results of the referendum released on 14 Academic Related staff first, where are they December showed overwhelming opposition going to go next? I must buy him a pint the to the employers‟ plans. Out of 31,000 votes next time I see him. In a time when every cast 96.3% voted against the employers‟ institution is looking for the illusive (and proposals. possibly meaningless) „excellence‟, management get rid of those of us who are Funding Cuts - Ramblings from the primarily responsible for enabling them to back office achieve it by broadening the student experience of education. “It‟s going to be bad isn‟t it?” is about the most optimistic assessment I‟ve heard of That‟s those of us with no career plan, and how the new Con-Dem government is going often no hope of ever identifying one. Those to cut HE. As if that wasn‟t bad enough at of us who they continue to outsource, even my institution the management have after the numerous disasters that have become incredibly reasonable of late. The resulted in contracts being expensively more sceptical of us are suggesting that they abandoned and services needing to be re- are trying to soften us up for what‟s ahead. established in-house after the original, As somewhere that hadn‟t really been faithful, expertise is long gone. I generalise I affected by the cuts of the previous “new know, but this is a warning to management Tory” government, they probably have good that will probably go unheeded. cause. The other comment I‟ve frequently heard (often from well established academic Maybe it‟s not all bad news though. The colleagues) is that this time it‟s different. In government may be trying to help the past it‟s been the fixed term, contract universities reduce the number of staff that have been in the firing line when redundancies needed to meet their austerity targets. The impending devaluation of the Academic related NEWS Autumn 2010 4 USS pension scheme is likely to result in a with over £120 billion of tax avoidance and number of senior (in many senses of the evasion. word) staff, some of whom may have once called themselves Academic Related, seeking A week later, on 24 November, students to retire sooner, rather than risk what protested in equal numbers in their towns they‟ve earned in the hope of a decent and cities culminating in a wave of University retirement. Rumours from those who have Occupations not seen for generations – friends in personnel at my institution have many of these are still ongoing as we go to mentioned a steady trickle of enquiries. If press. The protests continued on 8 and 9 true this might mitigate the cuts at the other December to coincide with the House of end of the scale that the Tories are going to Commons vote on raising tuition fees to be forcing onto the sector. Surely only a £9,000, and there are more in the pipeline... cynic would put that in writing though? Lesley McGorrigan, Leeds University, Dan Arthur, LSHTM, Academic Related Academic Related Committee Committee (co-opted) Reasons to be cheerful . . . … there might be a bit of pessimism in the back office but November saw over 50,000 students and staff march in London against the trebling of fees, withdrawal of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and the whole of the Tory cuts package that will destroy UK education as we know it. Thousands of young people, the supposedly apathetic children of Thatcher, the IPod Report on UCU Congress 2010 Generation, took their message loud and clear right to the belly of the beast at Tory The 2010 Congress in Manchester was HQ. historic for the Academic Related Staff Committee as it was the first one to which For the rest of Britain‟s workers and the poor we could send two independent voting - those facing redundancies, cuts to delegates. pensions, public services and benefits – the students can be a beacon. They represent The Committee submitted four motions in the start of the fightback for all those who total, two to Congress and two to HE Sector. asked „Why aren‟t we like the French and The two Congress motions covered: i) De- the Greeks?‟. Students have struck a chord professionalisation of services which support as Cameron tells us „we‟re all in it together „ learning, teaching and research (motion 5) whilst his cabinet stuffed full of multi- and; ii) Outsourcing of IT and data privacy millionaires lowers corporation tax, the (motion 82). The HE sector conference heads of the FTSE 100 have given motions covered: i) Promotion and themselves a 55% pay rise and professional development for academic multinationals and the super rich get away Academic related NEWS Autumn 2010 5 related staff (motion HE21) and ii) Hidden those motions that AR Staff Committee could and mental health discrimination (HE41). amend but she died sadly before Congress and we did (and do) miss her. All motions were successful and carried with a healthy majority. I would like to thank the members of AR Staff Committee and wider AR Staff In addition we submitted amendments community who „stepped up to the plate‟ to (again successfully adopted) to other ensure that all the motions and amendments motions related to points based immigration had a speaker and that they were carried. (Congress 61); attendance at work during inclement weather and travel disruptions Patricia Hulme, Nottingham University and (Congress 92); and staff reductions and Chair, Academic Related Committee protection of workloads (HE23). Outsourcing For full texts of motions adopted see: www.ucu.org.uk/4412 Outsourcing of key university services, including library services and IT, is of As in previous years the Committee hosted a continuing concern to academic related staff fringe meeting, this year our topic was in higher education. This affects our staff “outsourcing and privatisation”. Our primary directly and also poses serious risks in terms speakers were Professor Dexter Whitfield, of cost (often outweighing short term gain), Director of the European Services Strategy data protection and privacy (particularly in Unit – who has written extensively about relation to IT services) and a general de- Outsourcing and Privatisation - and Jonathan professionalisation of work of vital White, Deputy Head of Campaigns at UCU. importance to the academic team, resulting Even though we were vying for delegates often in a decline in the quality of services with high profile fringe meetings it was available to staff and students. A UCU survey incredibly well attended. Delegates earlier this year highlighted the extent to attending the meeting were not necessarily which outsourcing is impacting on the AR staff, given that more and more HE staff sector. We would welcome more examples are becoming concerned with issues around and case studies from academic related outsourcing and privatisation. members on how outsourcing has impacted on your institution. Please send any Personally I would like to thank all the examples, cases studies and information to committee members who spoke to motions, Stefano Fella, email@example.com and assisted in the fringe meetings. UCU staff also worked well to ensure smooth Role Profiles Revisited running over the three days and are due a great debt of thanks. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many university role profiles for academic-related I cannot complete this piece without paying staff do not adequately describe new tribute to Dorothy Wright (London School of technology roles, i.e. those for computer and Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), one of the e-learning staff. And that staff in these areas Academic Related Staff Committee Vice- have difficulty getting adequate recognition Chairs. Dorothy played a large part in for the complex and detailed knowledge getting our motions written and in spotting these roles require. Many have reported Academic related NEWS Autumn 2010 6 being under-graded with often unsuccessful have any such examples of where efforts to get re-graded on appeal. performance management systems are University HR appear to have great difficulty impacting on academic-related staff in your understanding what the roles encompass. institutions, please send them to Stefano Considerable work has been done elsewhere Fella, Secretary to the Academic Related which could be used to update role profiles Committee; firstname.lastname@example.org to reflect actual roles eg SFIAplus (Skills Framework for the Information Age) in Academic Related Staff and Green conjunction with the British Computer Campus management Society (BCS) - see www.bcs.org/server.php?show=nav.78 The UCU Environmental Conference was held 49. SFIAplus levels have been Hay on 18 November 2010, and was an evaluated. opportunity for activists to discuss ways of promoting sustainable development and The Academic Related committee would carbon reduction at the sector, national and welcome feedback and comments from international level. A workshop on promoting members who have experienced problems or carbon reduction on University campuses successes in this area. Please email me highlighted the need to work together with directly at Angela.Lamb@ed.ac.uk student representatives and influence management. We have a number of Angi Lamb, Edinburgh University, Academic academic related members (or potential Related Committee members) working in estates, facilities and environmental management, who can make Performance Management a direct impact on the ground and also contribute to our environmental work locally A number of institutions have introduced and nationally. If you think you can make a policies on Performance Management – contribution or have ideas and best practice particularly in relation to research to share, please contact UCU‟s performance – that we regard as environmental co-ordinator, Graham unreasonable and detrimental. Following a Petersen at email@example.com. previous request for information we have received a number of examples of such See also the UCU environment webpage for policies in relation to research performance, more information on our work in this area and also a few examples of teaching and for our conference report: performance management. www.ucu.org.uk/3386 These performance management regimes also affect academic-related staff, both indirectly and directly. Indirectly because it is often the academic-related staff that have to collate the data and statistics used to monitor the performance of academic staff, and directly because academic-related staff are also being made subject to performance management regimes themselves. If you Academic related NEWS Autumn 2010 7 Dorothy Wright Remembered despaired of ever winning anything significant or achieving contentedness in Occasionally, very rarely, one meets work, the union or life in general. She just someone whose enthusiasm, energy and could not bring herself to play out a role. commitment to a cause can be honestly described as `absolute`. Dorothy Wright She put this limitation down to her was a case in point. Asperger's syndrome, a condition which also had the positive effect of inspiring her to I worked closely with Dorothy on the campaign on behalf of people with Academic Related Staff Committee and more disabilities, in particular hidden ones. In generally on academic related matters for private, she would regularly question herself. many years, and during that time it seemed Not her fundamental beliefs, which were that she grew immensely in confidence, to unshakeable and invariably based on a the point where her forceful and articulate deeply-felt sense of humanity, but her ability contributions to Congress and other union to make progress toward actualising those conferences as well as her determined, beliefs, particularly worrying about her focussed and thoughtful contributions to the ability to `understand people`. Underlying work of the Committee often played a major her `in-your-face` personality was a role in driving forward action on behalf of vulnerability which arose from the mismatch academic related staff. She also built the between her ideals and beliefs and the world union at the London School of Hygiene and she had to deal with. Tropical Medicine, and played an active role in UCU‟s London Region. This made it difficult for her to accept or believe how significant her contribution was, She would often be frustrated by the barriers and I don‟t think she had any idea how much she felt she (we) faced, sometimes that contribution was appreciated by her perceiving deliberate obfuscation by `union colleagues. bureaucrats`, and often confronting managers head-on, often disappointed to the Even when she was at odds with someone in point of distress when progress was difficult an internal union debate, at the same time to achieve because of real or perceived as fighting her corner (which was almost entrenched interests. She would never always the right one!) she would often hesitate to take on any issue about which express her dislike of having to argue with she felt strongly, and those responsible for someone she liked on a personal level. This her frustration or anger would have to be depth of humanity was something many prepared to face the consequences, and had people around her admired, even found better be able to justify themselves. inspirational. Sadly the ideals on which it was based were something she mistakenly However, in dealing with people who could believed she couldn‟t live up to herself. be manipulative and downright nasty, but were outwardly successful and content, she Nick James, Academic Related Committee refused to stoop to that level herself and so (with thanks to Geoff Williams) Academic related NEWS Autumn 2010 8
"IN THIS ISSUE Devaluation"