Motions

Meeting Date – 09/07/20

Motion 1: Carried

Motion 2: Carried

Full details below.

Motion 1 – Financial analysis working group report

This branch notes

1. Members responded to the branch call on 12 May 2020 for members to contribute to a financial analysis working group

2. The financial analysis working group produced a detailed report using public information which has been published on the grassroots website Vision for Roehampton on 16 June 2020

3. The report refers to: high pay for senior managers; diminishing value of staff pay in real terms; rapid investment in building projects; predicted impacts of pandemic on university income; possibilities for long-term sustainable futures

This branch believes

1. The financial analysis working group report is carefully evidenced using public information, and its arguments supported through reference to the branch petition against staff cuts, and the amended motion passed by branch members on 3 June 2020

2. The financial analysis working group report is relevant and useful for understanding management proposals to make cuts to staff and pay

3. Enhanced access to university financial information and updated accounts would be useful for future analyses

This branch resolves

1. To support the financial analysis working group report.

2. To circulate the financial analysis working group report to all Roehampton UCU members using the branch email account as soon as possible.

3. To enhance visibility of the arguments against cuts by publicising the report using Roehampton UCU social media accounts as soon as possible.

Carried

 

Motion 2 – Clarification of the terms of the dispute to be called with the university

This branch notes that:

1. Management rejected the proposal from staff of a loan from staff salaries with accompanying conditions;

2. Management’s failure to seriously consider alternative approaches to the University’s financial position;

3. The resolution passed on 24 June mandated the branch officers to enter into a local dispute with the University over pay cuts;

This branch believes that:

1. The threat of pay cuts is only one of a number of threats faced by staff at Roehampton as a result of the University’s cost-saving measures in the 2020-2021 academic year;

2. Any further reduction of posts or deterioration in working conditions threatens the University’s future by further reducing the ‘student experience’ and staff morale;

3. The branch should also go into dispute on these other and existing threats to jobs and working conditions.

This branch resolves that if management refuses to reassure branch officers that there will be no further attacks on job security or terms and conditions of employment, branch officers will declare a dispute over the following issues:

1. Further pay cuts;

2. Future use of redundancies as a response to the university’s financial situation;

3. Worsening terms and conditions.

Carried

 

Meeting Date – 24/06/20

Motion 1: Carried

Motion 2: Carried

Full details below.

Motion 1: Implement Reasonable Financial Adjustments for BAME Academic Staff in the Time Limited Pay Reduction (TLPR Proposal) (24/06/20)

The branch notes that:

1. Senior management has invoked an equal pay-cut model to be applied to all academic staff above Grade 7, and without considering the adverse impact this measure would have on BAME academic staff, with protected characteristics, who represent 20 % of the workforce in relation to white academic staff in the University.

2. Because BAME academic staff are underrepresented at senior and professorial levels and are over-represented in junior posts at Roehampton, the Time-Limited Pay Reduction (TLPR) proposal impacts only 52.5% (104) BAME academic staff in the University.

3. BAME academic staff stagnate in junior positions, without timely promotion, and do not progress on par with white colleagues because they face widespread discrimination and unconscious bias in the diverse teaching, research, professional development portfolios of diverse Departments in the University.

4. In 2018, the University College Employers Association (UCEA) published a national report titled’ ‘Caught at the Cross-Roads? An Intersectional Approach to Understanding Gender and Ethnicity Pay-Gap in HE,’ and explained how Black/Asian academic staff grapple with double race/gender discrimination in the UK HE sector.

5. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), warned that racial harassment is a common occurrence for many students and staff in British Universities and requested a national response from UK Universities in 2019.

6. Roehampton University responded to the EHRC initiative by updating its Equality and Diversity vision, including its Anti-discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimization policies, under the aegis of the new administration, in 2018-2020.

7. The University and College Union, responded to the national initiatives by organizing national strikes in 2019-20 to address BAME and gender pay gaps, noting that BME academic staff suffer a pay gap of anywhere between 9%-14% compared to their white colleagues, although Roehampton has consistently refused to publish the race pay-gap data.

The branch believes:

1. That the equal pay-reduction model, calculated on the bases of Grade-Bands, is unacceptable because it fails to consider current inequities in pay-gaps between BAME and white academic staff and inflicts further financial disadvantage by denying these inequities.

2. The TLPR proposal is indirectly discriminatory because it fails to recognize  race, ethnicity and nationality as protected characteristics and also the ‘protected characteristics provision’ known as (PCP), which stands at the heart of the Equality Act 2010 and informs decisions on employment matters, including discrimination, casualization, pay cuts and redundancies.

3. Section 19 of EqA 2010 clarifies that ‘indirect discrimination occurs where an employer applies a provision, criterion or practice equally to everyone, but which puts those with a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage and the employer cannot justify that disadvantage. In order to justify a disadvantage, the employer must show that the provision, criterion or practice is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.’

4.  To prevent unlawful discrimination, every employer is enjoined to make reasonable adjustments for groups, with protected characteristics, as failure to do so inflicts unjustified group disadvantage and fails to advance equality in employment decisions.

5.  Since the BAME academic staff will be indirectly discriminated against through the invocation of  equal pay-cuts, it would be appropriate to make reasonable adjustment and proportionate reductions in pay cuts for BAME academic staff in the RU07-RU10 Grade and upwards into the RS03 Grade, and in accordance with the EqA 2010 and Roehampton’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) policies.

The branch resolves:

1. To ask negotiators to demand a wider consultation on pay inequities between BAME and white academic colleagues through collaboration with BAME network and demand that this data is made available to UCU, the BAME network and HoDs of Departments in the University.

2. To ask negotiators to urge HR to collaborate with HoD’s of specific Departments and appoint a BAME Equality/Diversity officer, from within the Department, to critically re-examine all matters relating to research, teaching and professional development, identify impediments that stymie the career advancement of BAME staff, encourage them to avail of equal opportunity, progress to promotion and then, to close the staff attainment gap in a fixed period of time.

3. To demand the creation of a BAME academic staff data base, and the publication of a handbook of diversity rules to be used within Departments to record micro-aggressions and  create a culture of equality that supports the University’s Equality and Diversity strategic vision plan for 2020-25.

Carried

 

Additional Clarification on UCU BAME Motion, titled ‘Implementing Reasonable/Equitable Pay Reductions for BAME Academic Staff in Roehampton University’s Time-Limited Pay-Reduction Proposal (TLPR).

Overview

On June 4, 2020, Roehampton University published its Time-Limited Pay Reduction (TLPR) and the Equality Impact Assessment (EDI) proposal on the University’s staff portal, with a closing date of June 22, 2020.

On June 24, 2020, a BAME motion was presented to the membership of the University College Union (UCU). The motion challenged both the EDI and TLPR proposals for failing to consider the disproportionate impact pay-cuts would have on 109 BAME academic staff, who represent 20% workforce in the University.

Although UK Universities recognize that BAME academic staff will be impacted adversely in this current period of financial crisis, it is regrettable that Vice Chancellors and HR managers have failed to articulate public policies to protect BAME academic staff, disproportionately impacted by pay-cuts, job redundancies, and mental health issues caused by Covid-19.

The BAME Motion

The UCU BAME motion questioned the flat ‘equal pay reduction policy’ articulated in the EDI and TLPR proposals as being unfair because both documents ignore widely acknowledged BAME race and gender pay gaps, which range from 9-14%, and inflict further financial disadvantage on BAME staff by denying these inequities.

Since meaningful equality is not achievable without equity, the BAME motion urges recognition of BAME status in the EIA and TLPR proposals and the publication of a revised BAME specific time-limited, pay reduction scheme that would acknowledge current race and gender pay gaps, while also considering the adverse impact a one-year pay- gap will have on BAME staff, disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic of Covid-19.

The BAME motion believes that it to be important to articulate a BAME specific public policy on  matters relating to pay-cuts and redundancies as fair and transparent public sector policies can provide support to BAME staff and establish benchmarks that can be deployed by UK Universities, who are members of the Race Equality Charter (REC).

The BAME motion also extends beyond TLPR and EDI proposals and provides three specific resolutions to advance Race equality initiatives at Department and School levels of the University.

 

Motion 2: Call for a dispute on the Time Limited Pay Reduction (TLPR Proposal) (24/06/20)

This branch notes:

1. Senior management has rejected the proposal which the majority of Roehampton’s UCU members voted for at a members meeting on 3rdJune, 2020.

2. Senior management has contacted all staff on grade 7 and above asking them to individually accept (or not) a FTE/pay reduction

3. The UCU Roehampton branch held an electronic consultation with members (between Friday 19thJune – Monday 22nd June), the anticipated outcome of which  is a rejection of the University’s “Time-Limited Full-Time Equivalent and pay reduction for staff employed on grade 7 and above”

This branch believes:

1. Pay cuts will be detrimental to staff morale and to the students’ learning experience

2. Roehampton is the first institution in the UK to implement pay cuts of these proportions

3. That other solutions to the university’s financial instability, suggested by the negotiators, have not been sufficiently explored.

This branch resolves:

1. To demand that the branch executive committee call a local dispute over pay cuts.

2. To demand that the branch executive committee immediately writes to the General Secretary Jo Grady and asks her to present the recommendation that the Higher Education Committee declare our local dispute a “local dispute of national significance.”

Carried

Meeting Date – 03/06/20

Motion 1: Carried as amended

Motion 2: Falls

Full details below.

Motion 1: A ‘Trust but Verify’ Stakeholder Model of ‘deferred payments’

This branch notes:

  1. management’s financial predictions for 2020-1 and 2021-2
  2. that the University of Roehampton spends less on staff as a proportion of income than almost every comparable university and has fewer staff than equivalent institutions.
  3. that management’s solutions focus heavily on cuts in the number of staff and in pay while increasing workloads for staff
  4. that the previous hasty spending on new buildings constrains the University’s ability to respond to concerns about lower student recruitment

This branch believes:

  1. that although the Covid-19 crisis will cause problems, part of the current financial difficulties lie in past financial decisions, particularly over senior pay and rapid construction of new buildings
  2. that there has been little oversight of either of these and that the University is too top-down, resulting in poor decision-making and implementation
  3. that drastic cuts will damage morale and will be detrimental to student learning
  4. that the University should adopt a plan that prioritises staff and students over other budgets
  5. that the lowest-paid staff can least afford to sustain cuts to their income and so any measures should not affect staff under grade 7
  6. that casualised staff – the most vulnerable at the University – are important members of the University community and should be protected
  7. that if staff are being asked to make major sacrifices to ensure the University’s survival, there should be full transparency and an opportunity to contribute to decision-making.

This branch resolves:

  1. To mandate negotiators to explore an approach that sees staff as stakeholders. Any reduction in pay should be in the form of a ‘loan’ or deferred pay to be repaid when finances improve or at the end of the financial year whichever is the earlier. The sums generated by this loan to be held as a distinct fund in the reserves and drawn down only under conditions agreed by staff in advance.

Conditions for the loan should include:

  • A review in January /February 2021 when student numbers are known
  • Staff, through their representatives, should decide on the triggers and methods for repaying that loan and whether the necessary financial criteria have been met
  • Staff representation of at least 40% on all committees including Council, Senate, and any committees set up to address the University recovery measures.
  1. To demand an end to restructuring until the finances have improved and a freeze on recruitment (except to fill existing vacancies) until that staff loan has been repaid in full.

Carried as amended

Motion 1 Amendment

Delete: stated conditions

  • A review in January /February 2021 when student numbers are known
  • Staff, through their representatives, should decide on the triggers and methods for repaying that loan and whether the necessary financial criteria have been met
  • Staff representation of at least 20% on all committees and other University fora

Add (under ‘Conditions for the loan should include’):

  1. Conditional on staff remaining within the national pay and negotiating frameworks
  2. Conditional on financial necessity (i.e. only to address any immediate problem of net liquidity)
  3. Conditional on transparency, including open financial books (with the exception of defined commercially sensitive information). Triggers and methods for paying and repaying loans (including interest which accounts for inflation), and whether the necessary financial criteria have been met, will be consulted on with all staff, and negotiated with union representatives
  4. Conditional that there will be no compulsory redundancies
  5. Conditional on immediate changes to governance structure: new governing bodies (at levels of Senate and Council) will include all categories of professional and academic staff (across career progression and upholding equalities standards). Members will be elected by staff – with the exception of student representatives and any College representatives as stipulated by agreements relating to university estates. The governing bodies will review and subsequently appoint senior management posts after a one year transition period
  6. Conditional that those employed on casual contracts will be made permanent where possible, but will otherwise not be disadvantaged by status as ‘non-stakeholders’. Permanent members of staff will not be asked to cover work previously assigned by casualised staff whose contracts have not been renewed: staffing must be fair, equitable and sustainable
  7. Conditional on 1:6 maximum pay ratio
  8. Conditional on fair workload, research allocation and sabbatical access to be agreed with staff unions prior to the academic year
  9. Conditional on a policy on intellectual property of online resources agreed with staff unions prior to the new academic year, including time limited use, conditional on consent for re-use, prohibition of use of materials made by staff who have previously been made redundant, and penalties for mis-use
  10. Conditional on sustainability policies (including carbon neutrality, ethical investment, and staff health and wellbeing) to be fully consulted on with all staff and negotiated with unions
  11. Conditional on protected minimum 30% workload allocation for research or professional development time for all staff with academic responsibility
  12. Conditional on meeting standards of equality within one year including: eliminating the gender pay gap, advancing de-centred teaching and research (such as BAME staff innovations), minimising casual contracts, and providing paid professional development time for all staff including those on fixed term contracts
  13. Conditional on defined autonomously managed budget for each department for innovation in teaching and research

Carried

Substantive motion

Motion 1: A ‘Trust but Verify’ Stakeholder Model of ‘deferred payments’

This branch notes:

  1. management’s financial predictions for 2020-1 and 2021-2
  2. that the University of Roehampton spends less on staff as a proportion of income than almost every comparable university and has fewer staff than equivalent institutions.
  3. that management’s solutions focus heavily on cuts in the number of staff and in pay while increasing workloads for staff
  4. that the previous hasty spending on new buildings constrains the University’s ability to respond to concerns about lower student recruitment

This branch believes:

  1. that although the Covid-19 crisis will cause problems, part of the current financial difficulties lie in past financial decisions, particularly over senior pay and rapid construction of new buildings
  2. that there has been little oversight of either of these and that the University is too top-down, resulting in poor decision-making and implementation
  3. that drastic cuts will damage morale and will be detrimental to student learning
  4. that the University should adopt a plan that prioritises staff and students over other budgets
  5. that the lowest-paid staff can least afford to sustain cuts to their income and so any measures should not affect staff under grade 7
  6. that casualised staff – the most vulnerable at the University – are important members of the University community and should be protected
  7. that if staff are being asked to make major sacrifices to ensure the University’s survival, there should be full transparency and an opportunity to contribute to decision-making.

This branch resolves:

  1. To mandate negotiators to explore an approach that sees staff as stakeholders. Any reduction in pay should be in the form of a ‘loan’ or deferred pay to be repaid when finances improve or at the end of the financial year whichever is the earlier. The sums generated by this loan to be held as a distinct fund in the reserves and drawn down only under conditions agreed by staff in advance.

Conditions for the loan should include:

i. Conditional on staff remaining within the national pay and negotiating frameworks

ii. Conditional on financial necessity (i.e. only to address any immediate problem of net liquidity)

iii. Conditional on transparency, including open financial books (with the exception of defined commercially sensitive information). Triggers and methods for paying and repaying loans (including interest which accounts for inflation), and whether the necessary financial criteria have been met, will be consulted on with all staff, and negotiated with union representatives

iv. Conditional that there will be no compulsory redundancies

v. Conditional on immediate changes to governance structure: new governing bodies (at levels of Senate and Council) will include all categories of professional and academic staff (across career progression and upholding equalities standards). Members will be elected by staff – with the exception of student representatives and any College representatives as stipulated by agreements relating to university estates. The governing bodies will review and subsequently appoint senior management posts after a one year transition period

vi. Conditional that those employed on casual contracts will be made permanent where possible, but will otherwise not be disadvantaged by status as ‘non-stakeholders’. Permanent members of staff will not be asked to cover work previously assigned by casualised staff whose contracts have not been renewed: staffing must be fair, equitable and sustainable

vii. Conditional on 1:6 maximum pay ratio

viii. Conditional on fair workload, research allocation and sabbatical access to be agreed with staff unions prior to the academic year

ix. Conditional on a policy on intellectual property of online resources agreed with staff unions prior to the new academic year, including time limited use, conditional on consent for re-use, prohibition of use of materials made by staff who have previously been made redundant, and penalties for mis-use

x. Conditional on sustainability policies (including carbon neutrality, ethical investment, and staff health and wellbeing) to be fully consulted on with all staff and negotiated with unions

xi. Conditional on protected minimum 30% workload allocation for research or professional development time for all staff with academic responsibility

xii. Conditional on meeting standards of equality within one year including: eliminating the gender pay gap, advancing de-centred teaching and research (such as BAME staff innovations), minimising casual contracts, and providing paid professional development time for all staff including those on fixed term contracts

xiii. Conditional on defined autonomously managed budget for each department for innovation in teaching and research

2. To demand an end to restructuring until the finances have improved and a freeze on recruitment (except to fill existing vacancies) until that staff loan has been repaid in full.

Motion 2: A Progressive Pay Cut Model

This branch notes:

  1. that management are proposing ‘time-limited cuts to pay’ which they claim will be progressive with higher-paid staff losing a higher percentage of their salaries

This branch believes:

  1. that if there is to be any form of reduction to salaries in 2020-21, it must be transparent, fair and progressive.
  2. the lowest-paid staff can least afford to sustain cuts to their income and so any measures should not affect staff under grade 7
  3. That management should commit itself to putting staff and students first, making all possible cuts that do not cost jobs or cut salaries before asking for further staff sacrifices, nor should they apply to hourly-paid staff at any grade.

This branch resolves:

  1. to mandate negotiators to explore proposals similar to the principles of the income tax system, with bands on which different percentages are levied (e.g. no cut on salaries under £35,000 / year; 5% on all earnings between £35,000 and £45,000; 10% on earnings between 345,000 and £55,000 etc.) as a fairer, more progressive approach
  2. to send members a costed proposal to vote on at a future meeting.

Falls