UCU: Saving Lives and Keeping Safe

Resolution of Official Dispute.

UCU at Anglia Ruskin University was the first branch in the UK to declare a dispute regarding the management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On September 8th the Branch Executive unanimously invoked the dispute mechanism, under the terms of our recognition agreement with the University (See notice of dispute here and associated correspondence here).

On September 10th members endorsed the decision at the largest branch meeting ever seen at ARU. 100 members assembled, while technological barriers meant that many more were unable to gain entry.

Our team of local negotiators were joined by our Regional Official, Lydia Richards, who provided outstanding leadership, support and expert guidance.

After a series of difficult but productive negotiations, further to escalation and the involvement of the Vice Chancellor, a settlement was reached on September 24th.

We were not able to get everything we demanded, notably the shift to online teaching for all courses where face to face teaching is unnecessary, but significant concessions were made by the University (See signed Agreement here).

We have a solemn undertaking from management that no member of staff should feel coerced into working in an unsafe environment and we have gained important additional safeguards for our members to shield them from undue pressure to return to campus. UCU members who are concerned have the right to be represented by UCU officers at all stages (Anyone who is concerned please contact the Chair of UCU). Furthermore, UCU has gained clear commitments from University management to release resources, increasing capacity to meet the additional demands presented by the pandemic.

The negotiations mark an important step forward in building better industrial relations. Although areas of disagreement remain, the ability of University management to accommodate our reasonable demands has been constrained by the failure of Government to provide the higher education sector with sensible direction to contain the pandemic and the necessary resources to manage the financial implications of pursuing a more virtuous approach to the management of risk to staff, students and the public.

UCU members are invited to a Branch meeting this coming Wednesday at 1pm (Details below. Please note, we have purchased an upgrade to our account, so that we shall have sufficient capacity to let everyone in. Apologies to those members who were unable to gain entry to our meeting on September 10th). Here, the negotiators will be able to answer questions that UCU members may have.

Anyone who has not got around to joining can do so by visiting the following link: https://www.ucu.org.uk/join, We encourage existing members to forward this link to colleagues, as well as the address of our new branch website (https://ucuaru.com).

Branch Meeting: Wednesday, September, 30th 1pm
Join Zoom Meeting – click here for link

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