Monday, 24 April 2017

UCU London Metropolitan University: academic boycott UPDATE

 Dear colleagues

I wrote to you last month advising of the protracted dispute at London Metropolitan University and the attempts made by the local branch officers in the last few months to negotiate a resolution.

I further advised that the higher education committee (HEC) had taken the decision in October to invoke the first stage of UCU’s agreed censure and academic boycott policy, in an attempt to get the employer to focus their efforts on negotiating a resolution to the dispute.

I also asked members to prepare to support an academic boycott if this proved necessary.

On Friday 21 April, the HEC considered the latest report from the branch officer and an evaluation in regards to the latest progress made in the dispute negotiations. The report and the evaluation were discussed at length, after due consideration of the seriousness of the situation and the failure to date in attempts to resolve the disputes, HEC decided unanimously to support the branch officers' evaluation and as a consequence move to implement an immediate academic boycott of London Metropolitan University.

This is a significant step for UCU and one that has resulted from the union following its agreed and staged process. This process allows for negotiation to resolve the issues that sit behind the dispute and to date insufficient progress has been made in a timely and meaningful way.

UCU branches and members should now observe the academic boycott in the following way:

Members should not:
·  apply for any advertised jobs
·  speak at or organise academic or other conferences
·  give lectures
·  accept positions as visiting professors or researchers
·  write for any academic journal which is edited at or produced by the institution in question
·  accept new contracts as external examiners for taught courses
·  collaborate on new research projects.
This decision is a serious one for both the university and UCU. The branch officers have today written to the vice-chancellor setting out the grounds on which focused negotiations should urgently take place with a view to reaching an agreement that will resolve the dispute and so lift the censure and academic boycott of the university.

To resolve the dispute we require management to:
1.    Negotiate a workload model (equivalent to the previous “AWAM”) that is in-line with implicit and explicit national contractual protections. Explicitly, this model will acceptably account for, and where agreed, imposes a limit on, all non-FST activities including scholarly time; ensure a minimum of 1.5 hours for preparation and assessment for every 1 hour of associated FST (as in the consolidated HPL hour); ensure reasonable and agreed FST reductions for all identified major roles and activities (PAT, course leader and module leader for example).
2.    Reduce casualisation by agreeing with UCU:

2.1 A 'freeze' on the recruitment of new HPLs other than in exceptional circumstances (for example sickness and maternity leave) and that new HPLs should only be employed if cover cannot be found via present HPLs or permanent lecturers;

2.2 Improvements to contractual protections and career opportunities for all HPLs including the implementation of an agreed scheme of transition to fractional roles which considers a minimum of years of service (4 years in line with fixed term regulations), the pattern of work, and equality legislation;

2.3 All HPLs will have at least two months’ notice of any variation to their teaching hours, and any such change to be subject to formal negotiation between the HPL concerned and management (with the right of union representation).

Please send the members and officers of the branch messages of support and solidarity and support the boycott.

Best wishes

Sally Hunt
UCU general secretary


UCU London Metropolitan University: academic boycott UPDATE

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