General Meeting, 26th November 2013

 

1.    Strike on 3rd December

2.    Motion re. closure of ULU

3.    Motion re. campaign for outsourced workers at UoL

4.    Action short of a strike: working to contract

5.    Any other business

1. Strike on 3rd December

Unions are holding further talks with employers this week.

The reason given for holding a one-day (not two-day) strike is to coordinate with the other unions involved in strike action.

We need people on the picket line from 8am to noon – there will be a Doodle poll about this circulated soon so that people can sign up to attend at a particular time.

Query as to why we picket 8-12 and not all day— we do this symbolically so there are more people to cover the picket lines.

Des: we need to plan for strike.

Publicity:

Link to problems with fees – it’s not just about pay problems. Pay is a critical but there are other issues.

College made nearly double the projected surplus recently.

Ideas for drawing attention to strike: comparison between Warden’s salary and the salary of the lowest paid member of staff. Highlight disparity.

Suggestion: branch writes a letter to local media to congratulate warden on his recent pay rise. John to draft letter.

Put out publicity about the wrecking of the student grants (Des to follow up).

Suggestion: a campaign from students to ask where their money is going, e.g. video clips about what people value in HE, as opposed to ~£5million spent on a new lobby. Highs and Lows: show spectrum of how people budget, e.g. Warden on one end, student on the other.

Hardship fund and declaring participation:

Query as to whether visiting lecturers will be able to apply to the hardship fund. Get in touch with our administrator about this.

Reminder: No one needs to tell HoD they are striking ahead of time.; send form directly to Payroll afterwards if asked.

We are obliged to tell our line manager we were on strike IF they ask AFTER the event.

Comments from floor that it would be better if GUCU administered the hardship fund directly rather than the College docking pay and then contributing it to student hardship.

Query- can GUCU hold the documentation about who took part in the strike, rather than it going to College admin?

Action: hold an open Exec meeting to discuss this further, after the strike. In the interim, no one to respond to any requests for information about strike participation. We do not respond until we have come to a collective decision at a later date.

2. MOTION re: closure of ULU union and subsequent arrests, with ban on protesting.

This branch notes the following:

1). On May 3rd 2013 the University of London’s collegiate council decided that ULU – Europe’s largest student union, representing over 120,000 members from UCL, King’s, LSE, SOAS, Queen Mary, Goldsmiths and a number of other colleges  – should be closed and its Bloomsbury headquarters placed in the university’s hands;

2). This decision was taken without any consultation with ULU or any other student bodies;

3). In July 2013 the University of London enacted a policy that bans student protest from Senate House, the cloister entrance and the East and West car-parks. In a letter to ULU, the University of London threatened to prosecute students for trespass if they were found to be in violation of this policy;

4). In July 2013, a student was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage for writing a slogan in chalk on the pavement in front of the ULU building;

5). On November 14th, 2013, ULU President Michael Chessum was arrested under section 11 of the Public Order Act. His bail conditions stipulate that he is prohibited from attending any demonstrations at the University of London.

This branch unreservedly condemns the decision by the University of London to cut funding to ULU, and urges the University of London Collegiate Council to rescind their decision.

This branch further queries the legal and moral basis for the ban on protest in Senate House, and notes its concern for the violation of the rights to freedom of assembly and association this ban presents.

This branch condemns the use of heavy-handed policing and the legal prosecution of members of ULU who are exercising their democratic rights in protest of a University decision that imperils their ability to effectively represent and protect student interests.

This branch urges Warden Pat Loughrey to condemn the legal prosecution and use of force against students, and further, in his capacity as a member of the Collegiate Council to work to revoke the decision to close ULU.

Motion passed.

3. MOTION re: campaign for outsourced UoL workers.

Notes:

1. The University of London (Central Administration in Senate House/Stewart House/Intercollegiate Halls of Residence) outsources its cleaning, catering, security, postroom, and maintenance services to Balfour Beatty Workplace and Aramark.

2. Most of the outsourced workers do not have sick pay, do not have a pension, and have fewer holidays than people who work directly for the University of London. These are the 3 areas (or 3 cosas) of the campaign.

3. The University of London’s outsourced workers, members of the IWGB union, have balloted for industrial action and are considering strike action this term.

Believes:

1. That outsourcing is designed to cut labour costs by creating a two-tier workforce, and should be resisted by the trade union movement.

2. That all workers at the University of London should be entitled to the same sick pay, holidays, and pensions policies.

3. That the University of London is responsible for the ethical practices affecting all workers at the University of London.

Resolves:

1. To publicly support the 3Cosas Campaign, whose goal is to achieve the same sick pay, holidays, and pensions policies for all workers at the University of London.

2. To contribute support to the 3Cosas Campaign through publicity – including on the branch website and email list – and mobilising members to support the campaign.

3. To contribute £200 to the strike fund of the IWGB University of London branch.

4. To mandate the branch to write a letter of solidarity with the 3 Cosas Campaign to University of London management.

Motion passed.

4. Action short of a strike: working to contact.

Query as to whether we should have a position as a branch on whether we attend weekend Open Days when working to contract.

Action: email to be sent out from GUCU to say members are under no obligation to work outside of normal working hours, with specific mention of Open Days.

Comment that Michael Young’s target of 3 week turnaround on marking is not contractual- query if we can move towards a collective decision on that.

Action: Tom to talk to SU about marking.

 

5. Any other business

South London People’s Assembly Against Austerity invited members to attend their Assembly to be held at Goldsmiths on 7th December, 10am-5pm. One person from the meeting invited as an affiliated participant.

The UCU office at 32 Lewisham Way is moving. It will remain in the same building but one floor above its current location.

Recruitment: request that members talk to visiting tutors in their department about UCU membership and also about contracts (moving from old to new contracts).