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October, 2020:

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

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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