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Branch Semiautonomous Working Groups

Dear Members,

 

As part of the UCU CCCU framework to enhance its strategic and operational capacities for monitoring the implementation of the TA, the STW and the WLP a series of semiautonomous working groups (SAWGs) have been recently established. The primary task of these groups is

 

To monitor CCCU policies and activities of strategic and operational relevance for UCU CCCU and to contribute to inform and shape branch’s position, strategy, and plan of actions in those areas 

 

The initial SAWGS are

Workload/Blended Learning

Protected Characteristics/Disabilities

Casework and Hardship

Childcare

Campaigning

Each group will be facilitated by a Convenor, who will be member of the Convenors’ Group (coordinated by me in my role as Branch Secretary). The Convenors’ Group will meet monthly.

 

If you are interested to join one of the initial groups, please contact:

Announcements about the other SAWGs will be done in due course.

 

If you are interested in initiating yourself a SAWG please contact meo (antonio.sama@canterbuyr.ac.uk) for an initial conversation.

 

BW

Antonio

 

Antonio Sama

UCU CCCU Secretary

====

UCU CCCU MEMBERS UPDATE 16/10/20

Dear Members,

 

As I am sure you realise these are important and vital times for the future of our University, Higher Education and the health of our communities.

 

The UCU CCCU EXEC have been working and negotiating to support staff across our University as UCU nationally has been working to support Staff in HE and FE Nationally.

 

UCU CCCU’s agreed local priorities are:

 

Health and Safety

 

Workload and The Temporary Agreement

 

Currently UCU CCCU are further prioritising and emphasising important areas in relation to which SMT need to act urgently and communicate effectively to staff.

 

The next UCU CCCU Branch meeting will be on 21 October 1-2pm (link https://eu.bbcollab.com/guest/db2cb8e4c39d40f7bd318de87ce0cd4a)

 

The below is the text of a UCU CCCU email sent today to SMT.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

Thank you for accepting the need for prioritisation of issues within SMT UCU CCCU discussions at the current time.

 

I do realise you are very busy and particularly pressurised and UCU CCCU thank you for your ongoing work across our University.

 

UCU CCCU wish to avoid unhelpful confrontation and the breakdown of collaborative efforts within the TA.

 

Prioritisation will I hope help us to assure members and staff they are being heard and allow us to move on to clear the backlog developing in relation to the delivery of the TA (Temporary Agreement) and in relation to issues raised within P2021 (Project 20/21).

 

As mentioned yesterday the following points are communicated not as new issues but as implementation priorities by UCU CCCU and as areas where decisions have already been made or where we feel there is or should be consensus based on recent extensive discussion and negotiation.

 

The points below are in addition to UCU CCCU’s expectation of a Review of the Temporary Agreement in relation to the current CCCU student numbers and financial situation. 

 

I would like to be able to report back positively on these points to the UCU CCCU Branch Meeting this coming Wednesday 21 Oct .

 

The priority points are:

 

The assurance and communication of actions to ensure the safety of front-line staff and particularly academic front line staff in connection with Covid cases and outbreak control.

Assurance and communication should as a minimum:

 

Provide clearly defined guidance on actions to be taken in outbreak scenarios that are made available and accessible to both staff and students

 

Ensure that all staff and students in the case of a confirmed Covid case within a teaching group where staff have been teaching f2f on site know what to do and what to expect of others and CCCU

 

Ensure All members of any teaching group with a confirmed Covid case will be immediately informed and requested to self-isolate and certainly whilst any investigation as to distancing and other issues occur.

 

Provide guidance on the safety procedures (and as above) that will be given clear and high profile on staff and student portals and in website design

 

Updating on Covid: clear daily updates for staff and students are vital to ensure confidence in CCCU leadership and to respect the commitment and professionalism of staff. 

 

Updates should:

 

Be daily and include weekly totals

 

Follow the Bath model

 

Be high profile on staff and student portals and in website design

 

WLP planning guidance needs to be simplified and communicated more effectively

The current guidance is confusing and submerges collaborative SMT/HR/UCU CCCU guidance. Evidence from across the University suggests WLP is creating anxiety and tension for staff and is not working effectively for managers.

 

UCU CCCU urge that in line with recent discussions:

 

‘Parked’ details on WLP process for future consideration are removed from guidance and websites for the duration of the Temporary Agreement

 

Clear and uncompromised access to the agreed SMT/HR/UCU CCCU guidance for staff is established

 

The agreed SMT/HR/UCU CCCU Guidance is given a clear and accessible profile in website design

 

The agreed SMT/HR/UCU CCCU Guidance is communicated directly to managers and staff as the basis for WLP conversations and WLP review.

 

Please note UCU CCCU will discuss at our Branch Meeting 21 Oct the issue of UCU guidance in relation to online teaching in relation to the current local and national situation and in relation to the CCCU and SMT actions and assurances currently and urgently requested here as priorities.

 

Best Wishes,

 

Bryan Hawkins

Chair UCU CCCU

UCU Covid Dashbord

UCU Covid Dashbord Link to Information on UCU’s response to the Covid-19 emergency and a live list of updated cases across all Universities.

https://cccumedia.siso.co/index.php

 

Your Stories

In preparation for next week Branch meeting (Wednesday 7 October 1-2pm) we have been collating evidence of problems experienced by staff and students.

Please can you send us a brief outline (one or two paragraphs) of problems and issues you have experienced in the first week of term on

  • AWLP
  • Health and Safety
  •  other areas.

Please send your email to:

Bryan Hawkins (bryan.hawkins@canterbury.ac.uk)

Antonio Sama (antonio.sama@canterbury.ac.uk)

by Tuesday 6 October 12noon.

Best wishes

Bryan

Bryan Hawkins

UCU CCCU Chair

UCU CCCU Newsletter 29.09.2020

 

Dear Member,

 

UCU CCCU wish you well with new academic year and hope that you managed some kind of break and rest this summer.

 

Overall the situation nationally and even locally is changing by the hour.

 

Amidst the chaos of government guidance and planning and the problems of HE and our University and community UCU your Union and Branch remain active and working for staff and our communities.

 

I will keep comments here brief but please come to Branch Meetings to contribute and engage and please make contact with us to share your views and experiences so that we can represent you more effectively.

 

It is particularly important in these difficult times that UCU CCCU know where and what the problems are so that we can support individuals and groups and identify significant issues and areas for union work and intervention.

 

Contacting us doesn’t lead to un-agreed actions, it can be a simple one-off conversation, your confidentiality is assured and any specific support or actions will be negotiated and agreed with you – issues can be taken forward in relation to individuals and/or as more general concerns.

 

The Temporary Agreement and Workload Planning

 

Some recent communications have not been clear, some WLP has been problematic, some actions have threatened the integrity and principles of the Temporary Agreement.

The TA is not a one-off financial deal signed off and done.

The TA initiated – not a simple financial permission – but a process involving mutual UCU and UCU CCCU and SMT commitment to principles, actions ongoing review and monitoring of a complex set of factors.

Working with SMT UCU CCCU have produced a set of guidelines for implementation that focus on

providing guidance and support for line managers and staff and individualised support for members.

This document is attached.

It aims to map process and review WLP’s simply with links to relevant information.

It does not, of course, solve all the related problems but gives guidance and a framework that can accommodate a degree of customisation and flexibility but which importantly defines the WLP conversation as a place to solve problems and as open to review and if needed mediation with UCU CCCU Branch support.

UCU CCCU and SMT have agreed to monitor and adapt and change the guidance in the light of experience and feedback.

 

Additionally UCU CCCU have:

negotiated previously proposed changes to definitions of post-graduate teaching as ‘not’ teaching be parked for 20/21.

established that the (FTE) 550 teaching hours are a maximum figure not a target figure

established clarity that teaching is not excluded from short time working calculations and WLP conversations

created provision for review of WLP’s

established a problem-solving mediation route where WLP’s are not agreed

provided a framework for review and consideration of WLP’s that have happened

and

now provide a structure to support those many WLP’s that haven’t happened or haven’t been completed meaningfully.

 

Health and Safety and Semester One

 

The UCU position/trajectory is moving from emphasising online to teaching fully online and UCU CCCU will follow the National Line.

 

Currently UCU CCCU will support any member who feels anxious and/ or at risk from the return to teaching and we will not accept

any coercion of staff or the imposition of compulsory face to face on site teaching that is against members wishes.

 

We are currently arguing for caution in the first weeks of semester one and for decisions regarding face to face on site  and online to be made by staff and line managers/HOS’s in the light of experiences of modules staff and students and changing circumstances.

 

We are seeking to negotiate a position so that face to face on site teaching will be considered in the short term and temporarily non-essential.

 

Members of staff who find room allocations being exceeded will be supported to protect themselves and students by simply and immediately cancelling the session and by deferring organisation and administration to an online context.

 

 

Please keep us informed of your experiences and working environment.

 

UCU CCCU are here for members and will discuss the possibilities of individual support and/or Branch actions with you more fully on request.

 

See you at the Branch meetings !

 

Best Wishes

 

Bryan Hawkins

Chair UCU CCCU

 

Branch Meeting Dates and Times.

 

All Branch Meetings will be on Wednesdays 1-2pm on the following dates:

 

October 2020
7
21

November 2020
4
18

December 2020
2
16

Is it safe to reopen universities and colleges? – Video of UCU talk

Is it safe to reopen universities and colleges?

Watch the discussion here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDwAZFX_bZQ&feature=emb_logo

UCU CCCU Newsletter 1/9/20

Dear UCU member,

 

I hope you are managing to find time and space away from CCCU.

 

The work at hand for the Branch Executive has not stopped and currently is focused upon the implementation of the Temporary Agreement and the planning for 20/21.

 

Additionally UCU CCCU recognise there are now urgent issues arising from the implementation of the TA.  

 

The Supplementary Information/ Guidelines in relation to the TA begin:  

 

This document is a work in progress aimed at providing a set of guidelines for supporting the implementation of the TA. It is shared at this stage as evidence of the joint work UCU CCCU and SMT are developing to support the implementation of the TA as well as being an additional set of information. 

 

There is very considerable and growing staff discontent with the current situation and the implementation of the TA. 

 

There is an urgent need to re-establish the collaborative UCU CCCU SMT approach on which the integrity of the TA now rests. These issues are currently concentrated in relation to the following points:

 

the AWLP document circulated as Appendices to Support AWLP for STW has not been agreed by UCU/CCCU and now marks both a break in the progress and work developed in the UCU CCCU/SMT WLP group and in relation to the implementation of the TA. It has been described to me by a member as reflecting ‘bad faith’ on the part of SMT and is as step back from the principles asserted in the TA.

 

UCU CCCU in the absence of co-operative work on the TA, Guidelines previously agreed and giving notice of the risk to the TA  this creates, will work to maintain its responsibility to members and the TA and continue to independently develop the TA Guidelines to address existing and developing problems with implementation

 

the Health and Safety of staff, students and our communities and the WLP 20/21 (within STW and the Pandemic) remain clear UCU CCCU priorities around which there is considerable staff concern – this now calls for actions beyond the existing working groups.

 

The possibility and the frameworks of effective collaborative work exist and I hope we can improve on the current mutual problems for the sake of the University. The alternative will be individual and collective grievances challenging the University and TA and its implementation.

 

A JNCC or special meeting is now urgently needed to address these issues.

 

Please contact us regarding any problems and issues and especially in relation to WLP for 20 /21.

 

Below is the draft of the additional TA Guidelines previously circulated and for which UCU CCCU are awaiting a response from SMT.   

 

Best Wishes,

 

Bryan Hawkins 

 

Chair UCU CCCU

 

 

A FRAMEWORK FOR WORKLOAD PLANNING 20/21

 

Effective WLP is at the core of the integrity of the TA in 20/21 and will define vital elements of its success or failure in terms of staff and student experience, Health and Safety and Well-Being.

 

CCCU SMT and managers must urgently and fully take on the implications of the now agreed TA and STW and Guidelines and support staff in this context revising existing WLP’s where relevant and ensuring reductions in workload rewqured under thyec TAS.

 

WLP must deliver the commitments  made by SMT that balance the sacrifices made by staff in the TA.

 

The TA Guidelines published on StaffSpace go some way to support the TA but clearer direction and more detailed guarantees of fairness of process and support for staff Health and Well Being and security of staff are clearly needed.

 

It is all staff and managers responsibility to protect collective and individual Health and Safety and Well Being by ensuring that STW produces less not more work for staff involved in the TA.

 

 

Audit of Workload 

 

A sense of what hours are required at Faculty, School, Programme, Module  and Individual Planning levels in 20/21 are needed as starting points for all WLP and as the basis for individual WLP’s and STW reductions in workloads.

 

A clear, ongoing and transparent calculation of workload against available staff hours must exist at Faculty, School, Programme and module levels and inform WLP discussions. Clear information on STW reduction can be only be established on this basis. 

 

Problems arising at the points above  must be urgently reported and solved by SMT and not or passed down to staff.

 

The audit of workload should additionally include:    

 

Audit of School and Programme Workload including a transparent calculation the hours  for all staff roles and responsibilities to be allocated

 

Audit of Key School ‘across the board’ and School Programme and module Workload Reductions

 

Audit of Individual Staff Pre-Covid Workloads

 

Audit of Individual TA Workload Reductions.

  

Individual staff positions within programmes, modules  and individual workloads must be established and agreed via WLP’s.

 

Preparatory work undertaken for teaching should be included in teaching/contact hours calculations  

 

Staff must have agency an active role and recourse to mediation in relation to decisions made in WLP’s.

 

Lack of clarity regarding student numbers in 20/21 suggest that the WLP process will be delayed. 

 

On this basis all current Semester One and Two WLP’s will be provisional.

 

Risk Assessments 

 

Risk assessments must be established  prior to the finalising of WLP’s and reflected in WLP negotiations and documentation.

 

WLP’s should directly engage  the conditions for a safe return and the Health and Safety and Well-Being needs of individual staff. 

 

It must be accepted by managers that some staff will only be able to deliver their contact hours/teaching online.

 

It must be accepted that Risk Assessments and thus WLP’s will need to change, and  possibly at speed,  to accommodate changing conditions.    

 

Teaching and STW – 

 

An agreed and transparent formula for module group sizes and multipliers must be agreed across Faculties, Schools and Programmes

 

No individual member of staff should be allocated less contact/teaching hours than are involved in the actual delivery of modules.     

 

Reductions in contact/ teaching hours are potentially part of any individual WLP. 

 

The TA does not protect any area of staff workload from reduction within WLP negotiations. 

 

Staff must actively involved and have agency within WLP negotiations including the opportunity to request mediation and to dispute with representation elements of their WLP’s that emerge unagreed by staff and LMs.

 

Staff must feel able to suggest and define areas for reductions of workload  that reflect their individual situations and professional, career and personal contexts and these elements should be reflected in WLP’s  

 

The revised notion of contact hours/teaching hours  must inform all WLP’s. 

 

Contact/teaching hours include:

 

face to face on site contact/teaching

 

synchronous/face to face online contact/teaching, 

 

non-synchronous/student directed learning and feedback contact/teaching

 

The above activities considered in total are the contact/teaching hours to be fully included in existing and revised WLP’s.

In the context of STW they should be subject to reduction by negotiation in WLP discussions.

 

Some staff (and some students) will not be able to provide face to face on site teaching within their contact hours

The considerations of BAME network should inform WLP and WLP’s.

 

No member of staff should feel unsafe or unfairly treated as a result of their WLP and clear routes to Mediation through HR and UCU CCCU and Union representation will be highlighted by Line Managers without prejudice in such cases.    

 

 

Protected Characteristics –  

 

These must be considered and reasonable adjustments made within Risk Assessments and within WLP’s

 

Review and Mediation

 

All WLP’s will be subject to review as the academic year develops.

 

All WLP negotiations experiencing difficulties will have access to a clear route to balanced and open mediation provided by HR and if relevant UCU CCCU and Union support.

 

Monitoring of WLP’s 

 

Individual staff and Line Mangers have a responsibility to record the actual workloads experienced and delivered in 20/21.

Differences between WLP’s and actual delivered workloads need to be addressed within WLP reviews and be mediated by HR and/or UCU CCCU and Union representation.

  

 

Bryan Hawkins 

 

Chair UCU CCCU

 

UCU CCCU Update 16/07/20

Dear members,

 

As agreed at Branch The eballot on the Temporary Agreement will start on  the 17th of July and end on the 28th of July at 4pm.

 

UCU Head office are organising this and will be contacting you with full details of the balloting process and the Temporary Agreement and Guidelines for Implementation.

 

Please find attached ( in recent email ) an equality analysis document produced by HR.

 

Please continue to contact me regarding this update or issues relating to previous communications.

 

Best Wishes,

 

Bryan   

 

UCU CCCU Update Workload Planning 20/21

The current situation has put into sharp focus the centrality of Workload Planning (WLP).

The Pre Covid WLP structure was problematic and UCU CCCU believe not fit for purpose for managers and staff. This was the rationale for setting up, at the start of this academic year in collaboration with HR, a working group to review WLP.

Currently the situation regarding Planning for 20/21 and consideration of Short Time Working (STW) is complex and problematic

The Covid19 emergency has added an extra dimension to existing difficulties.

UCU CCCU continue to negotiate – within the Guidelines that will be attached to the Temporary Agreement (TA) and that will form the package members will vote on in the eballot – a workable structure for WLP under STW.

UCU CCCU have commented recent documentation on Blended Learning and LTEU documentation

Additionally below are some negotiation points being developed by UCU CCCU in relation to Project 20/21 and LTEU.

LTEU emphasise keeping it simple and this is vital and challenging – complexity needs to be resolved by CCCU leadership and not merely passed down.

LTEU and Blended Learning documentation should be live an flexible

WLP in the context of Covid and STW must be addressed realistically and directly.

In relation to individual staff

staff must feel that WLP is a valid process defining limits of workloads and protecting staff WLP cannot be  a fantasy” activity un-related to real workloads and work experiences

staff must have agency and involvement in the structuring of their WLP

staff must feel  supported by the WLP process so contact or engagement hours are real, reviewed and functioning boundaries marking limits of workload

staff must be aware of and understand a  process by which schools and programmes address WLP and which are open to review

staff must be aware of a meaningful process by which problems arising in phases of WLP (school, programme individual) can be listened to and addressed

In relation to Current UCU CCCU Negotiations, Documentation, LTEU and Blended Learning

Defining Terms is Important

The Document is a live document presenting developing guidelines for implementation of teaching in 20/21

Contact hours are in recent QAA documentation reframed as ‘engagement hours’. UCU CCCU believes this offers CCCU an opportunity to creatively re-frame and re-consider teaching workloads for 20/21. 

 

UCU CCCU believe engagement hours should include and limit:

Face to face on site teaching (this will not be an option for many staff and students)

Synchronous live on-screen teaching

Asynchronous teaching activities within a defined time period not synchronous.

Preparation / feedback time.

 

Complexity

The situation is complex but CCCU leadership must mediate the complexity not isolate managers and staff within wicked problems that produce an impossible task

 

Keeping it simple suggests to UCU CCCU:

Mediating the complexity of issues not passing complexity down

Structuring terms and principles as key elements of documentation and allowing academics agency in curriculum construction and design

Empowering pedagogy – technology follows pedagogy not vice versa

Not overloading documentation – recognising resources and additional information as such and as additions/supplements to documentation

 

Manageability

This applies to managers and staff and is dependent upon:

Identifying key areas for implementation of teaching and learning – before complex developments

Keeping technology do-able

Not adding to workload technology should decrease workload wherever possible

Recognising learning demands on staff

Weakest technological link (staff and students) will define efficacy

Recognising STW impacts as a vital component of planning

 

Key elements of Negotiations

CCCU Documents and communications must be user friendly distinguishing key definitions of terms and principles from additional materials (resources etc) and should communicate light touch and accessible materials  in live documents – e.g. “ways of starting’ ‘some ideas’ ‘resources and help”

Resources and Support must be available to staff (hardware and software support) 

 

WLP and Blended Learning must empower not overwhelm staff

 

Complexity needs to be mediated

 

WLP and Blended Learning must allow academics to have autonomy over delivery and implementation of Principles

 

Planning for 20/21 must facilitate a learning and developmental approach– with built in review

 

CCCU must avoid ‘technologism’ – the over-valuing of levels of technological aptitude as performed by staff – at all levels

 

Staff must feel able to prioritise pedagogy over technology

 

We welcome your comments on the above.

 

Best Wishes,

 

Bryan Hawkins

 

Chair UCU CCCU

UCU CCCU encourages all members to engage with this survey, 

UCU CCCU encourages all members to engage with this survey, 

 

Reminder: staff pulse survey on transitioning back to campus working closes on Sunday

 

The staff pulse survey on transitioning back to campus working, closes on Sunday 19 July.

 

Your survey responses will help us to understand your thoughts about coming back to campus, and any concerns about this transition, as well as hear of positive experiences of returning to campus that could be maintained, shared, or from which we could all learn. Your responses will contribute to ensuring the University is providing the support you need for a safe and healthy return to working on campus, and will help us to learn from our collective experiences.

 

The survey, which takes just a few minutes to complete, can be found here. Please be reassured that your answers are anonymous, you will not be required to enter your name in the survey, and any demographic questions are asked so that we can understand if particular groups of staff have a different experience.

 

If you have any questions or concerns please contact people.development@canterbury.ac.uk.

 

 

Best Wishes,

 

Bryan Hawkins

 

Chair UCU CCCU