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important joint trade union document on working safely on campus

Dear Members,

This is an important joint trade union document on working safely on campus.

Principles for working safely on campus during the Covid-19 pandemic

The next branch meeting will be next Tuesday 9th June at 2pm, where this doc will be discussed. If you wish to add anything to the agenda please email Bryan.hawkins@canterbury.ac.uk.
Collaborate link details to follow later.

Best wishes,

UCU CCCU Branch Exec

Branch Update 29/5/20

Dear Members,

UCU CCCU is currently working hard on a range of important issues and we are communicating with Regional UCU on a regular basis.

I want to assure you that your Health and Safety and Well Being are priorities for us and are at the core of our actions as we move beyond the initial  phase of the CV19 emergency.

At the Branch Meeting the following areas were discussed:

Bryan Hawkins is taking EVR (Enhanced Voluntary Redundancy) from teaching but remaining as UCU CCCU Chair till the end of Academic Year 20/21 this has been negotiated with the approval of UCU Regional Officers and was endorsed by UCU CCCU Branch. UCU CCCU exec believe this decision will help UCU CCCU focus on the very important period ahead for our University and HE. The current Executive will stay in post during this period to ensure as far as possible continuity, clarity and stability in the period ahead.

From July an additional 0.1 of UCU CCCu’s staffing allocation will be transferred from the Chair (Bryan) to Chris Biela as Health and Safety Representative. The Branch recognised Chris’ excellent work and the need to prioritise Health and Safety as we move forward.The Branch will be seeking support from members and Regional and national UCU on this vital issue.

The issue of holiday allocation was discussed – UCU CCCU) have urged SMT to adopt a 20 day carry over and have raised the issue of workloads preventing holiday and damaging staff well being. These issues will remain forefront in negotiations.

UCU-CCCU  agreed to contribute to the HEC’s advisory Branch Delegate Conference UCU CCCU’s reluctant acceptance, in the current situation, of the offer from UCEA in the Four Fights with the understanding that UCU CCCU and UCU will continue to negotiate and campaign in pursuit of local and sector-wide agreements on the four fights.     .

There was detailed discussion of the Branch’s position as we move towards a phase two beyond the emergency structures set up in lockdown and towards new academic year. As a result of this discussion the Branch accepted the proposal that the complexities of the situation necessitated a clear and transparent set of principles that can feed into negotiations at all levels of decision-making. The statement below is drawn from this discussion covering the main points discussed:

the national and local situation

avoiding and resisting redundancies

prioritising health and safety

engaging issues of viability and sustainability at CCCU.

 

The following statement has been produced on this basis

UCU CCCU Statement

 

Given the extraordinary circumstances and challenges we now face UCU CCCU consider a clear statement is needed outlining the principles that will lead our actions, negotiations and campaigning and our commitment, wherever possible, to  a positive collaborative  problem solving approach as the uncertainties of phase two of the current emergency unfold. 

 

UCU CCCU will continue to seek to work creatively with SMT and the governance of CCCU for the benefit of staff, students and the communities of our University, for the communities that our University serves and seeking representation at all levels of CCCU decision-making.

 

UCU CCCU will work creatively, positively and in an open manner through problem solving and collectively agreed processes wherever possible.

 

UCU CCCU will follow UCU National policies prioritising avoidance of redundancies and the importance of the Heath, Safety and Well Being of all staff students and the communities of CCCU (see UCU five tests below).

 

UCU CCCU will enter into negotiations and expect to be involved and to contribute positively to the decision making processes of CCCU  including those concerning the financial viability and sustainability of the University.

 

UCU CCCU consider viability – the financial health of the University to be directly linked to and inseparable from sustainability  – the avoidance of financial short-termism through a positive commitment to the medium and long term maintenance of the University’s ability to thrive and meet the needs of its communities and region.

 

UCU Five Tests

  1. Low national and local numbers of Covid-19 cases.
  2. A national plan for social distancing
  3. A comprehensive, clear and effective testing regime
  4. A whole [University] strategy for health and safety
  5. Protection for the vulnerable.

 

 

 

This statement will be presented to Governors, SMT, the Project 20/21 Group and UCU CCU will seek to highlight it in all contexts of decision making at CCCU. 

 

Please quote this document fully and directly in any contexts you feel as Branch members it is relevant and refer any problems and issues that arise on this basis of this document directly to me. 

 

 

Please continue to send comments, questions for your Branch and SMT to us.

 

Best Wishes,

 

Bryan Hawkins

Chair UCU CCCU

 

 Full Branch Meeting Tuesday 26 May 11.30 a.m. -12.30 p.m.

Full Branch Meeting

Tuesday 26 May 11.30 a.m. -12.30 p.m.

Link to Collaborate (https://eu.bbcollab.com/guest/732a04ce7eae46e0a13fbd5e87ed6818)

 

Agenda

 

Chairs Report

 

Phase Two Update

 

The National Picture

 

The CCCU context

 

Resisting Redundancies

 

Viability and Sustainability

 

Discussion

 

Four Fights Update

 

AOB 

 

Branch Update 19/5/20


I hope you are remaining safe and well as we navigate these tricky times
beyond phase one of the CV 19 emergency.

At the Branch Meeting on 15 May we discussed the Project 20/21 initiative
that is replacing the earlier initiatives within which UCU CCCU negotiated
as fully as possible UCU CCCU representation at all levels of
decision-making.

*From all staff email : *

*- a new Project 2020/21 group is being created to prepare and position the
University for the successful delivery of academic year 2020/21, including
the future re-opening of our campuses and facilities, and ways in which we
can bring people physically back together. Planning will continue to take
account of national government policy and Public Health England advice. The
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen James will chair the group, which
brings together representatives from learning and teaching, faculties,
research, key professional services, UCU and the Students’ Union. Meeting
weekly, the group will take a solutions-focused, holistic and integrated
approach.*

The Branch agreed that UCU CCCU  will engage with The Project 20/21 and
related SMT initiatives, placing priority emphasis upon the safety of staff
students and the community of Canterbury, maintaining its previous
positions especially on workload, review and redundancies and following
national UCU policies. Additionally the Branch agreed that following legal
requirements the UCU CCCU Health and Safety representative Chris Biela
should be a member of the project 20/21 group.

*Questions to SMT CCCU*

The questions below have been constructed from individual members
communications and UCU CCCU Branch discussion.

*Please continue to send your comments and questions for SMT to *

*bryan.hawkins@canterbury.ac.uk <bryan.hawkins@canterbury.ac.uk>. *

*Next Full Branch Meeting*

*Tuesday 26 May 11.30 a.m. -12.30 p.m. *

*Collaborate Link and Agenda will be sent prior to meeting.*

*Please do contact your executive Team for support and assistance:*

Branch Update 13/5/20

Dear Member,

 I hope you are keeping well and managing the difficulties and extended workloads of the current situation.

UCU CCCU is maintaining  case work during this period. Please do contact us if you need support or advice.

You will have seen the all-staff e mail of yesterday identifying the re-configuration of the University’s management around the emergent national and local phase two of the CV19 emergency. The email states:

 a new Project 2020/21 group is being created to prepare and position the University for the successful delivery of academic year 2020/21, including the future re-opening of our campuses and facilities, and ways in which we can bring people physically back together. Planning will continue to take account of national government policy and Public Health England advice.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen James will chair the group, which brings together representatives from learning and teaching, faculties, research, key professional services, UCU and the Students’ Union. Meeting weekly, the group will take a solutions-focused, holistic and integrated approach.

So the Silver Group (with UCU CCCU representation) and Gold Group (without UCU CCCU representation) will now be disbanded. SMT continues without UCU CCCU direct representation at SMT meetings and UCU CCCU will continue to send your questions and comments directly to SMT and to negotiate directly with SMT the VC and HR.

I have communicated UCU CCCU’s willingness to engage with the P 20/21 group initiative and we will continue to negotiate improved representation of staff and UCU CCCu members within this new context and the new initiatives emerging and across the University. We will additionally negotiate and maintain important positions in relation to redundancies and the review process at CCCU.

The principles and protections we we will negotiate will be informed by yourselves as members and by national UCU contributions as they will be by the work of the broader Union movement. It seems unlikely at the moment that our government will supply the kind of guidelines that can guarantee a safe return to work for all; this underlines the importance of our collective efforts.

The situation is moving rapidly and we will aim to discuss the general situation and this report at the next full Branch Meeting:

Friday 15th at 1.30pm

the link to join us via collaborate is as follows

https://eu.bbcollab.com/guest/944f9264aa3f46d58e4fbcd626f2d19d

Agenda

Chairs Report (see above)

Phase two UCU CCCU response

Members Questions to SMT for this week

(currently –  holidays, promotion, communication, exam boards).

AOB

Please do communicate your views to me and join the Branch Meeting,

Thanks to all who are supporting UCU CCCU and helping us to support all staff, our members and our University at this time.

Best Wishes,

Bryan Hawkins

Chair UCU CCCU

Please see below the weekly questions from UCU CCCU (week ending May 1) and the SMT response.

UCU CCCU communication for SMT Week ending 1st May.

Whilst UCU CCU recognise the great achievements of staff in moving online members have communicated their concerns that:

the University is far from prepared and resourced for extended online operation

student and staff access technology and library resources are patchy and this represents a significant new dimension of inequality experienced by staff and students

any gains that might be predicted and projected onto a new normal for the University need to be treated with great caution, relief felt at managing the immediate emergency is not an indicator that any effective, fair and appropriately resourced extended online delivery can be achieved on this basis alone

there are worries that disabled staff and students are not being fully supported

members feel that have not been effectively involved in the development of teaching and learning initiatives to the extent that will be needed to significantly extend online teaching into next academic year and beyond current emergency provision.

Does SMT recognise and agree the points above ?

Staff will require some access some to their offices to facilitate planning are arrangements for limited access progressing ?

Staff recovering from CV19 have noted the importance of a period of convalescence, staff currently working online are experiencing  increased workloads and difficulties in planning leave. Are these problems and problems of burn-out and extra stress recognised by SMT?

What actions should be taken by staff in these cases and can the Well Being and Mental Health policies be amended in reation to CV19?

Can University managers please clarify, before any meeting, if meetings will be recorded and for what proposes any recording will be used ?

UCU CCCU  request that a joint Special Project with representatives from across the University and including UCU CCCU is established, as a priority to consider the principles and major actions that can establish the University as a Safe Working and Learning Environment.

SMT RESPONSE

Thank-you for your email which Margaret and I have discussed. We felt that your email was very constructive and we appreciate the willingness of the members of CCCU UCU to continue to work in partnership with us as we all work through this difficult period.

Thank-you for emphasising to your members about the FAQs as we will continue to update them.

Our HR colleagues will be issuing a briefing to staff next week which aims to set out the range of support which is available both in the FAQs but also the daily blogs; health and safety guidance for home working; online development support for staff and managers in terms of working remotely and support for staff wellbeing. We do recognise that this is a difficult situation for staff to be working in and that the longer this continues will make it more challenging for some. We do aim to do as much as we can to support staff and hope that the short  5 minute PLULSE survey on well-being that we are launching next week will help us in formulating future plans.   I hope the initiatives set out below will help address some of the points you raise.

Support for managers: We have been working with managers to learn the best ways to support them in their roles management roles.  The result is the attached one-page newsletter, Spotlight, with embedded hyperlinks to take you direct to the source.  We will share a similar round-up approximately every 3-4 weeks.

I attach a Psychology Wellbeing Toolkit, mindful that Mental Health Awareness Week is fast approaching, (w/c 18th May).  The toolkit  is for everyone, managers and teams alike, and will shortly be available as a download from the Work, Wellbeing and Covid-19 webpage.

In terms of the “special project re safe working environment” – we already have the Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework Group that Helen James chairs – which has representation from across the university including UCU. We would suggest that we use this Group as a forum to discuss these issues. A meeting is being planned for the end of this month.

We understand that staff at the university had to very quickly adapt to a new way of working and that in some cases resources etc have had to catch-up. We are committed to ensuring equality of access to services and opportunity for all of our staff and students and in terms of preparing for next academic year we are very conscious of the need to make sure that all students have an excellent and safe learning and student experience. We very much welcome any ideas you might have in helping us to do that.

To answer a couple of specific points:

Access to offices – We have agreed in the Silver Group this week that Heads of School can, with appropriate notice and agreement with Estates, give staff access to their office to pick up items they might need.

Consent for recording of meetings – I have asked for the FAQs to be updated to make it clear that consent must be obtained.  I am aware that some committee meetings have been recorded to help the minute secretary to write up the minutes.  But even in these cases the individual must inform and seek the agreement of the Committee.

Branch Newsletter 29/4/20

Dear Member,
We hope that you are well and safe.
Below are the items raised by members for this week.
We will circulate the SMT responses as soon as they are received.
Please send Issues Comments and Questions for next week by 5pm Saturday 2nd May.
 
Best Wishes,
 
Bryan Hawkins
Chair UCU CCCU
.
…………………………………………………………………………

Week  Ending 1st May –  UCU CCCU Comments, Questions for SMT 
UCU CCCU thank you for the answers and responses provided by SMT.
We will continue to develop this important initiative communicating weekly with SMT and providing comments, issues and specific questions raised by members. UCU CCCU members have been sent the answers and responses from you received 19/12
We  welcome your statement:
We are absolutely committed to dealing with all queries.  
 
and in relation to your comment
However some staff are simply not going to the ‘Advice and Guidance’ (FAQ) pages.  These pages are extensive and being updated daily.  We must encourage all staff to look at the FAQs first. 
UCU CCCU will emphasise to staff the importance you have attached to the FAQ’s and will continue to work towards improved communication,  full collaboration with SMT and full representation of UCU CCCU within University structures and decision making fora and groups.
UCU CCCU communication for SMT Week ending 1st May.
 
Whilst UCU CCU recognise the great achievements of staff in moving online members have communicated their concerns that:
the University is far from prepared and resourced for extended online operation
student and staff access technology and library resources are patchy and this represents a significant new dimension of inequality experienced by staff and students
any gains that might be predicted and projected onto a new normal for the University need to be treated with great caution, relief felt at managing the immediate emergency is not an indicator that any effective, fair and appropriately resourced extended online delivery can be achieved on this basis alone
there are worries that disabled staff and students are bot being fully supported
members feel that have not been effectively involved in the development of teaching and learning initiatives to the extent that will be needed to significantly extend online teaching into next academic year and beyond current emergency provision.
Does SMT recognise and agree the points above ?
Staff will require some access some to their offices to facilitate planning are arrangements for limited access progressing ?
Staff recovering from CV19 have noted the importance of a period of convalescence, staff currently working online are experiencing  increased workloads and difficulties in planning leave. Are these problems and problems of burn-out and extra stress recognised by SMT?
What actions should be taken by staff in these cases and can the Well Being and Mental Health policies be amended in reation to CV19?
Can University managers please clarify, before any meeting, if meetings will be recorded and for what proposes any recording will be used ?
UCU CCCU  request that a joint Special Project with representatives from across the University and including UCU CCCU is established, as a priority to consider the principles and major actions that can establish the University as a Safe Working and Learning Environment.
 

Branch Update 30/03/20

The UCU Executive and Regional Officers send best wishes to all staff and at this difficult time for us all.

Recent UCU CCCU efforts have been focused on:

  1. Gaining assurances for all workers at CCCU that all work scheduled prior to the CV19 crisis will be paid by CCCU. We have been given assurances on this verbally but we are not sure these have reached all parts of the University and we have experienced situations in which staff have been told by managers they are not required and with no further details

      2. Negotiating a pause in review and redundancy processes at CCCU.

There has been no movement on pausing the implementation plan for FAH. 

Regarding the FAH FEd merger the following has been offered by SMT but falls short of our full aims.

Here is the VC’s latest position and communication regarding the FAH Review:

 

  • We have extended the deadline to 30 April – this recognises that staff need time to transition to the new world of day-to-day work from home as well as responding to the consultation.  There are also lots of 1:1 and other technology facilitated engagements as set out in LT’s email.

 

  • We want SMT to consider the consultation responses and come to a decision by 12 May – this responds to staff feedback that they would like certainty about the new structure of the merged faculty asap

 

  • Any SMT decision would then lead to the implementation stage.  We need to move to this to enable us to slot and match many people where there is a 1:1 match – this then means certainty for the vast majority of colleagues by end May/early June

 

  • However a handful of colleagues may still be ‘technically’ at risk but we will not place them formally at risk or issue notices of redundancy until the Covid -19 crisis has calmed down – in the mean time we will use this time to see whether the EVR scheme or redeployment within other parts of the University can be effected.
 

3. Assuring UCU CCCU representation in the SMT CV19 crisis decision making structures.  

 UCU CCCU reps Bryan Hawkins, Antonio Sama (Change and Review) Chris Biela (Health  and Safety) have joined the Operational Delivery Group. However no invitation has been received to the Strategic Group. We are aware of groups being set up with Student Union representation but no UCU CCCU representation and there has been a resistance to the principle of UCU representation in crisis management groups. UCU CCCU are in regular contact with the VC and Head of HR and this will continue.

PLEASE SEND ME YOUR COMMENTS VIEWS QUESTIONS ETC RELATING TO THE NEGOTIATIONS  ABOVE.

A NEW UCU CCCU INITIATIVE 

Whilst we continue these efforts above we are setting up a new initiative  based on members perspectives concerns and priorities  We are asking for your questions for the VC and SMT.

This we hope and with your help will become an important way we can monitor, influence support engage with and where necessary challenge current policy and decision making during the crisis.

HOW IT WILL WORK

Send us your questions e.g.

How will SMT ensure all managers and staff are aware of the assurance and procedures so that all work scheduled before the CV 19 crisis will be paid ?

How can staff apply for IT equipment vital to support home working? 

What additional resources to ensure the mental health of staff will CCCU be providing ? 

Policy Workplace Questions to: bryan.hawkins@canterbury.ac.uk

Health and Safety related questions to; christopher.biela@canterbury.ac.uk and bryan.hawkins@canterbury.ac.uk

           

The questions fully anonymised will be raised in the Operational Group and will additionally be sent to the VC and SMT on a weekly basis.  UCU CCCU  will communicate the questions and answers and with UCU CCU Exec comments and Regional UCU comments to UCU CCCU members and attempt to communicate answers to all staff.

In this way UCU CCCU will seek to represent members and staff at CCCU .

BUT this initiative depends on YOUR  involvement. 

We need to work together on this and be assured UCU CCCU will follow up on any insufficient incomplete or inappropriate answers to your questions.

PLEASE SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS AT ANY TIME these will be brought to the OPERATIONAL GROUP MEETINGS Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and collated for sending ton the VC and SMY every Wednesday. 

All Best Wishes,

Bryan Hawkins Chair UCU CCCU

Branch Update 23/03/20

Dear UCU Members,
These are odd and difficult times. The pace of change in relation to our lives and workplace has been extraordinary and fast.
UCU CCCU have been involved in working positively  in supporting our members and in working closely with SMT.
Last week we were focused on engaging with the decision making groups set up by the University, securing assurances and agreement on key issues and on setting up alternative arrangements for communication within UCU CCCU as we move online.
UCU is represented on the Operational Delivery Group and as Chair of UCU CCCU I have had and will continue to have direct communication with Rama and Margaret Ayers head of HR. We have been seeking to work positively and supportively in line with PHE and Government guidance, UCU communications and communications from members.
During last week UCU CCCU negotiated  with SMT CCCU that no posts at risk would be announced or considered until the end of June this year. Additionally SMT have agreed that all  workers employed at CCCU (regardless of type of contract) will be paid for all work that would have been undertaken prior to the current emergency. UCU CCCU  expect that these  agreements as clear assurances will be sent to to all staff in the next few days. UCU CCCU will continue to monitor this situation.
These negotiated assurances are very significant and some Universities have not taken the positive stance adopted at our University. However UCU CCCU recognise that negotiations on behalf of our members will be an important element of our work over the coming months.
At the moment and for this week UCU CCCU contacts are:
workplace and Policy
health and safety
We will be setting up a Teams site for the executive and one for members and testing these during the week.
The University Online is an ambitious project and will effect all our lives.
Please continue to communicate with us and contribute to your UCU CCCU. There will be important aspects of UCU CCCU work such as information gathering, collecting of opinion and the monitoring of University actions and processes that will need to be supported by help from members.
Together we are continuing to make a difference.
Our best wishes to you, keep safe
Bryan Hawkins
Chair UCU CCCU
Exec UCU CCCU

Branch update 17/03/20

Dear UCU CCCU member,

 

My main aim over the last few days has been to get UCU CCCU more fully recognised and represented and active within the structures of decision making that have emerged in response to CV 19.

 

We have made progress – UCU are currently  represented in Operational Group one of the two University groups overseeing the current situation .

 

This group has now met twice and will from now meet online daily.

 

UCU CCCU are currently not represented on the Strategic Leadership Group which also  meets daily. UCU CCCU will be seeking to change this situation.

 

At the Operational Group meetings UCU has emphasised:

 

the importance of Union and staff involvement (Unison, Unite were not represented and academic staff were not well represented in this group)

 

the importance of clear guidelines and guidance to staff and students and clear forward planning matched by clear assurances to staff and students specifically on issues of keeping individual staff, at risk individual staff and their families safe

 

the importance of staff feeling confident in case of self-isolation and staying away from work to protect themselves or their families and confident that staff will be paid and supported by the University

 

the importance of assurances for staff on the myriad of contracts active and including zero hour contracts that they will be paid for work they would have done and given assurances allowing them to make decisions such as self-isolation  for the good of all at the University without risk to their roles in the future.

 

Assurances on these points have been made verbally and we are expecting further staff communications to confirm these points.

 

Additionally:

 

We have been reviewing the UCU communications infrastructure – more on this soon – but for the moment please continue to contact myself bryan.hawkins@canterbury.ac.uk for workplace and policy issues and christopher.biela@canterbury.ac.uk UCU CCCU Health and Safety Rep for all issues relating to Health and Safety and directly relating to CV19.

 

We are in discussion about the immense workload and strain staff are now under and the need to consider these issues across the short medium and long term

 

We are in discussion about the need to reflect on key UCU CCCU negotiations and University processes currently occurring (e.g. WLP DLP Review Processes) in the current context

 

We are in discussion about assessment and exam arrangements.

 

Please let me know if you thoughts on the position taken so far and on additional issues and concerns  to be taken up.

 

All Best Wishes at this difficult time,

 

Bryan Hawkins

 

Chair UCU CCCU

Further Strike Action 20th feb to March 13th across UK Universities

At its meeting last Thursday, the elected reps on UCU’s higher education committee (HEC) voted for 14 more days of strike action in both of our current national higher education disputes: our ‘Four Fights’ dispute over pay, workload, equality and job security, and our dispute over USS pensions. The action is scheduled to begin on 20 February and be spread over four weeks, ending on 13 March.

As with the 8 days of strike action which members took last term, the HEC decided that the 14 days will be taken in respect of both disputes where relevant. Whether a branch has a mandate for action in one dispute or in both, it is scheduled to take the same 14 days.

Why haven�t employers negotiated a resolution with us?

Our action has made employers more cooperative, but we haven’t seen the movement we need yet.

In the ‘Four Fights’ dispute, the employer representatives, UCEA, tabled and published an offer last week. The offer contains loose commitments to address casualisation and pay inequality, but very little in the way of a plan for reducing unsustainable workloads. Perhaps worst of all, employers have failed to improve on their offer of a 1.8% pay increase that fails to keep up with the cost of living. Because of this, the HEC voted to reject the offer and continue the dispute in pursuit of a better one.

What will it take to get a resolution?

No decision to accept any future offer and call off strike action will be taken without consulting you, the members. However, I have made clear to employers that they need to make firmer commitments, and put some money on the table, if they want to avoid further action.

Our employers have already forced us to take action, and disrupt our work and our students� education by doing so. Open-ended commitments to bring about change are not nearly enough. They need to acknowledge what they are putting us and our students through. They need to come back with proposals for meaningful investment in the staff that make the sector so successful.

What happens next?

If employers keep dragging their feet, our industrial action is only going to get bigger. The 60 branches that took action last term have been boosted by the addition of 14 branches that gained a mandate for action in their reballots. These are our best ever reballot results in a national dispute, and a testament to the skills and the resolve of our members and staff. There are now 74 branches in a position to take action. This increases our leverage and our chances of getting a good offer.

There is still time for employers to resolve this situation. We have 17 days before the strikes start, and 11 days before the next meeting of our higher education committee on Friday, 14 February. I will continue to update you on any talks and let you know if we see further movement in either dispute. In the meantime, your branch will be invited to send delegates to branch briefings where they will be able to get more information and discuss how to make the next wave of action as effective as possible.

As ever, please contact me if you have any questions.

Jo Grady
UCU general secretary