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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 (

Antonio Sama (

by Tuesday 6 October 12noon.

Best wishes


Bryan Hawkins


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


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



Branch Meeting Dates and Times.


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


October 2020

November 2020

December 2020

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

Is it safe to reopen universities and colleges?

Watch the discussion here

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 







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 




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,




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.



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



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



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



Best Wishes,


Bryan Hawkins



UCU CCCU Update Health and Safety Issues

Health and Safety is a UCU and UCU CCCU priority.


Currently meetings and discussions across the University are engaging important aspects of planning for the 20/21 Academic Year and for Semester One.


The following is an  update regarding Health and Safety in these contexts.


No UCU CCCU member or member of staff should return to face to face on site teaching or to any campus site until they feel safe and have received and agreed a risk assessment appropriate to their specific  tasks and location.


The above is the responsibility of the University  


UCU CCCU  will support individual members and staff groups in this process. 

CCCU UCU  has been active in informing, working with, and where necessary challenging  management to ensure that any return to campus is managed in a way that  considers the health, safety, risks and hazards to all employees. There is a wealth of information available on Staff Net under FAQ’s on the current situation as the university prepares for a partial re-opening. However you may like to know where CCCU UCU are in relation to the ongoing discussion regarding some of the more central aspects of this .


As such the following have now been discussed. 


  1. Guidance regarding safe distancing is at this point in time an ongoing issue at CCCU. UCU’s and the T.U.C’s national position is that a distance on no less than 2mt should be adhered to at all times, and that 1.3 mt (to achieve 1m around a person) in many situations is insufficient. The issue of going to 1.3mt with mitigations on Campus (called 1m+ by the government) and particularly within a classroom environment has been discussed but at the time of writing not agreed by CCCU UCU,  however this may change over the short term as additional measures are considered.
  2. Risk assessment principles and practice for on-site working have now been drafted and made available. These have been based on the Government’s ‘ Working safely during Coronavirus‘ guidance. The CCCU-wide COVID-19 H&S guidance and risk assessment were updated and approved by Project 20/21 on the 18th June and published here –
  3. Note: Before any employee returns to work on campus

Best Wishes,


Bryan Hawkins Chair UCU CCCU

Chris Biela Health and Safety Officer UCU CCCU

Outcome of Branch meeting July 6th

Dear Members,


Thanks to all who attended the Branch Meeting.


A difficult phase in the ongoing negotiations with SMT has been completed.


Yesterday’s Branch  meeting (6 July 2020) has agreed to start the process for e-ballot on the Temporary Agreement agreed by JNCC.


This will allow all members, following circulation of the agreement, to vote to accept or reject the Temporary Agreement..


Best Wishes


Bryan Hawkins Chair UCU CCCU