Important Update on Hourly Paid Staff at Goldsmiths

Hourly paid and fractional teaching staff play a vital role at Goldsmiths – they lead a substantial number of undergraduate classes and are regularly called on to mark essays throughout the year. Many HPLS are active members of our UCU branch here at Goldsmiths.

Goldsmiths UCU is proud to have negotiated perhaps the best agreement in the sector that assimilates the pay and conditions of HPLs with those of permanent staff. This has helped to correct the huge variations that marked the hiring and payment of HPLS across the College.

We recognise that this has pushed up the HPL budget. Of course it has – many casual staff were underpaid and subject to very unpredictable conditions – but the College has always insisted that they set aside enough money to pay for Assimilation. No Departments are going to go bankrupt – indeed the College was confident enough recently to offer staff a £300 bonus because of our collective hard work. We think that the new deal will reward HPLs for their work and help to make Goldsmiths a better place to work for part-time and temporary teaching staff.

We are now currently engaged in several consultations where Departments are seeking to restructure teaching provision and to change the way they recruit HPLs. They are all quite different: some involve the proposed redundancy of permanent fractional staff, some involve simply offering fewer hours to HPLs and some involve the possibility of part-time staff acquiring permanent status.

In response to these developments, management and the unions agreed to set up a cross-College ‘managing change’ committee to meet regularly to discuss these consultations. This group has met once but its second meeting, due to take place last Thursday, was cancelled because there was apparently ‘no business’.

The previous day, UCU was presented with a consultation document from one particular Department which proposes to make redundant five permanent fractional staff and to hire new PhD students in their place. The deadline for applying for these ‘replacement’ posts was last Friday, two days after we received notice of the Consultation.

In our view, this makes a mockery of the whole managing change policy which states that the unions must receive documents at least two weeks before the start of a consultation. How can the College advertise posts that will exist only if the redundancies, which are the subject of the consultancy, actually go ahead? Not only do we doubt the legitimacy of the proposals under employment law but it also raises concerns about the College’s commitment to proper consultation in the first place. We have requested that the whole recruitment process be frozen until we have had an opportunity formally to discuss these issues.

We are communicating all this to you because there are likely to be further consultations affecting members across the College and because we wanted to rebut the idea that the Assimilation agreement will have a negative impact on Goldsmiths.

We are also sending this to you because we believe there is still much to be done. The Assimilation agreement has helped to equalise pay and conditions but it has done little to address the fundamental insecurity faced by many HPLs. We recognise that many HPLs are PhD students whose teaching opportunities are linked to their participation in a doctoral programme. But this does not mean that they should not expect full professional development and at least some opportunity for progression.

That is why your Executive has written to SMT calling on the College to discuss two simple requests:

1. That HPLs should normally (subject to their academic and teaching performance) expect three years of employment, starting as a Graduate Trainee Tutor in their first year of teaching. This is designed to maximise opportunties for professional and career development (as provided for in the VT assimilation agreement) and to ensure the continuity of the student experience.
 
2. Departments should follow best practice by informing HPLs of their teaching duties in June of the preceding year. This is to enable all staff to plan ahead and better organise their teaching and other activities for the coming year.

We will keep you informed of management’s response and in the meantime, please do let us know about any questions about these issues.

 

Anti-Casualisation Day of Action

***7th of May UCU Anti-Casualisation day of action today***

The branch is supporting the day of action today, with a stall outside the library and a campaign meeting from 2pm in the Stretch.

The call from UCU is: 
* to recruit new members who are on casualised/insecure contracts
* to encourage more members to be involved in their union
* to campaign in support of negotiating improvements.
Action will be based around UCU’s Build The Union campaign and our Continuing Professional Development resources. The aim is to recruit, involve members and raise awareness of job insecurity in post-school education.
 
At Goldsmiths we’ve decided to interpret this in a more creative way. Last year we built a giant iceberg to highlight the amount of casual work going on below the surface. This year we are building a display to show the difference in pay between the highest paid in the college and a GT. The difference is so large that a GT would have to teach over 100 seminars a week earn the same amount (yes even with the 2% pay rise!) The display will be interactive and provide an opportunity to engage with students and staff to build the campaign. 
 
After the stall we are holding a campaign meeting. This is an opportunity for casual staff to discuss the future direction of the campaign and plan further actions. All welcome!

The rep. for part-time and hourly-paid staff is Jamie Woodcock, j.woodcock@gold.ac.uk. If you’d like to be involved in local action for casualised staff, please get in touch.

 

Assimilation of Hourly-Paid Staff onto the Pay Spine: Ballot Overwhelmingly in Favour

The branch has voted overwhelmingly for the agreement to bring hourly-paid staff onto the single pay spine.
Many thanks to everyone who voted, and again our congratulations and thanks to our negotiators who have worked hard on this agreement for so long.

If you still have concerns or queries about how this agreement will affect you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk

Ballot: Assimilation of Hourly-Paid Staff onto the Pay Spine

After many years of negotiating, UCU and the college have reached a draft agreement on the assimilation of hourly paid staff onto the single pay spine. This will be subject to ratification by UCU nationally and will go out to ballot of all Goldsmiths UCU members next week, with the ballot opening on the 8th of July and closing on the 22nd of July. At this time, members will be able to email their vote to goldsmithsucuballot@gmail.com. Votes will be checked by the Goldsmiths UCU Administrator and an independent Returning Officer.

The agreement aims to bring hourly-paid staff, visiting tutors and fractional staff into alignment with the Framework Agreement that brought all staff onto same pay spine in 2008. If you weren’t able to make the last branch meeting, in which Ben Levitas discussed the agreement, you can read the minutes at http://goldsmithsucu.org/content/general-meeting-minutes-11-jun-2013 (item 2).

There will be a special meeting discussing the agreement at 12pm on the 8th of July in the RHB Cinema. If you’re unable to attend the meeting but still want to discuss the agreement before voting, our representative for Part Time and Hourly Paid Staff, Brendan Donegan, has also set up a secure online discussion forum (see below for details on how to access the forum).

The final agreement, with a note explaining the key points, will be circulated to all members by email.

To access the forum:
1. Set up a crabgrass account at https://we.riseup.net/account/signup
2. Search for the group “Goldsmiths Staff Forum” (you will find it if you search for groups and look at “Recently Added”).
3. Send a request to join.
4. Once you are added, click on “Discussions” on the left-hand side, and then select “Discussion on fractionalisation agreement”. This should make it possible for you to read what others have posted, and to post comments yourself.

If you have any questions about the forum, email Brendan at brendandonegan@hotmail.com

General Meeting Agenda: June 11, 2013

AGENDA

Goldsmiths UCU General Meeting 11 June 2013

National pay claim 2013
VT assimilation negotiations
Updating of staff files
Congress Report and discussion on subs
New Executive
Delegates for People’s Assembly, 22 June
AOB
Academic Staff Recognition and Development, HEA and UCU presentations
Multiculturalism and Education in the Age of Austerity day at UCU: Report from Deirdre Osborne (if present)

Notes:

1. Pay Claim

UCU have noted their disappointment at the pay offer of 1% and the substantial loss of pay, 13% over 5 years. HE Sector Conference delegates have voted to endorse rejection of the pay offer along with other HE unions and to prepare to ballot for action in the autumn.

2. VT Assimilation

After many years, we have finally able to report that we have reached a draft agreement on the assimilation of hourly paid staff onto the single pay spine. This will be subject to ratification by UCU nationally and will go out to ballot of all Goldsmiths UCU members in the summer.

4. Congress report and subscription rates discussion

Nationally (though not at Goldsmiths) UCU has accrued a £2 million deficit due to losing members. Instead of sanctioning a budget that may involve compulsory redundancies, Congress delegates voted for an integrated strategy of cost reductions, recruitment campaigns in low density institutions and raising subscriptions over two years by up to 5% above inflation as necessary.

7. i) Academic Staff Recognition and Development : HEA and UCU presentations

There will be a presentation/discussion session 2-4pm Friday June 14th NAB 314 on the topic of Academic Staff Recognition and Development.

Guest speakers will be Richard Brawn from the Higher Education Academy and Michael MacNeil, National Head of H.E. for the UCU.  The focus will be on the recognition of excellence in academic teaching and how we can best support H.E. teaching practice.

Queries to m.c.halvorson@gold.ac.uk

Next General Meeting: Assimilation of Hourly Paid Staff

There is a very important general meeting at 1pm next Tuesday, 11 June, in RHB150.

There are a number of local and national issues that we need to discuss.

1. After many many years, we have finally able to report that we have reached a draft agreement on the assimilation of hourly paid staff onto the single pay spine. This will be subject to ratification by UCU nationally and, crucially, will go out to ballot of all Goldsmiths UCU members in the summer. It has taken an enormous amount of work to get this far and we are aware that members – especially those who are hourly paid – will have many questions about the new scheme.

2. UCU Congress took place last week and there are two major issues to report. 

  • The first is that the HE Sector Conference delegates voted to endorse rejection of the pay offer of 1% (along with other HE unions) and to prepare to ballot for action in the autumn. Delegates were acutely aware of the substantial loss of pay – some 13% over 5 years – which has accumulated in recent years.
  • The second is in relation to a projected £2 million deficit at UCU nationally arising from the loss of members over the last  two years (not at Goldsmiths we would like to add!). Instead of sanctioning a budget that may involve compulsory redundancies, delegates voted for an integrated strategy of cost reductions, recruitment campaigns in low density institutions and raising subscriptions over two years by up to 5% above inflation as necessary. This was not taken lightly but is much more preferable than being complicit in a compulsory redundancy policy for UCU staff at a time when local branches are opposing precisely such a policy.
  • Branch motions to Congress on opposing redundancies amongst Initial Teacher Education staff and supporting the national People’s Assembly on 22 June were both passed overwhelmingly.

Please do join us at the meeting on Tuesday 11 June to discuss these extremely important issues.

 

Meeting for Part-Time and Hourly Paid Staff, 23/4/13

iceberg

The Iceberg-Carrot group, made up of postgraduate teachers at Goldsmiths, have put together a survey for part-time and hourly paid staff. A group will be meeting tomorrow (23rd April) at 2pm at Loafers and distributing leaflets promoting the survey around the college. Any volunteers are welcome to join them.

If you are a part-time or hourly-paid staff member, please take some time to fill in the survey at http://belowtheiceberg.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/goldsmiths-part-time-and-hourly-paid-staff-survey/ – and please do pass it on to other staff members.

Anti-casualisation annual meeting

We are looking for two delegates to represent the branch at the annual meeting of the very important Anti-Casualisation committee that represents hourly-paid and sessional staff. The meeting takes place at UCU HQ on Friday 9 March from 10am-4pm. Please go to http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2751 if you want more information, and contact gucu-adminATgold.ac.uk if you’re interested in going.