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No Compulsory Redundancies! Stop Course Closures! Defend the Contract!

Bulletin 19

Holiday reminder (see Standard Holiday Year)

 Next week is a holiday week as per your contract. The South Bank Agreement says:

 

“1.25    The holidays are:

a)  35 days, plus

b)  statutory Bank Holidays, plus

c)  local discretionary days, plus

d)  days when the University is closed in  the interests of efficiency.

Local discretionary days are usually the Tuesday after Easter Monday plus the four days after the Spring Bank Holiday.”


South Bank Agreement (available for download via the 'Important Documents' link).

Your contract is under threat. UCU will be campaigning to defend your right to fair workloads, and proper holidays, which managements up and down the country want to do away with, along with decent pay, conditions and pensions. Only your participation can make UCU campaigns effective because you are the Union.  


Stephen Hackett

Has anybody seen or heard from Stephen recently?


See you all after the holidays – enjoy your leave.



Bulletin 18

Dear members,

Course closures

Amidst all the other bad news about threats to our contract, the treatment of PLs, the new role competencies to manage individual performance, we now know there are plans to close courses in Health and Social Care and Business. Alongside changes in administration it appears a ‘revolution’ is underway and it is tearing up established practices.


Grievance by the chair against LSBU    

Russell Caplan has received the VCs decision on the outcome of his grievance against LSBU. Unfortunately the matter is not resolved and raises an issue for all staff. We will be reporting in more detail soon.


Closing down?

It was reported that Pat Bailey told staff at a School meeting that the best option would be to close LSBU down for six months and start again, but this can’t be done.


Your Career Matters series

The next ‘how to survive LSBU’ training session is called “Building Your Resilience and Managing Stress”. It is in the Techno Park tomorrow at 9-30am.

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Bulletin 20

South Bank Agreement negotiation meeting.

 UCU with our Regional Official met management on Thursday. We discussed the new role descriptor for the Associate Professor role. This has been substantially amended (and simplified) after long discussions between management and UCU and it is expected that a final version will be available this week.

 

We also discussed management's proposed Grade 6 Assistant Lecturer. It is the cheapest grade for academic staff. Management were keen to assure us this is not a cost cutting measure nor designed to undermine L & SL jobs, but is purely to help people get started. UCU rejected this as proposed and management is considering a revised proposal. We haven’t heard the last of management plans for grade 6.

 

South Bank Agreement

 Management is seeking changes to 9 areas of the SBA, part of our contract.  

 

1.      Number of scheduled teaching activities – normally 15 hours a week less tariff.

2.      The number of weeks in the teaching year – presently 36

3.      Weekend working  - presently voluntary with overtime

4.      Overtime

5.      Academic Management and Planning (e.g. Course Directors) currently by agreement

6.      Staff and Institutional Development activities - currently by agreement

7.      SMSA - targets and output linked to LSBU objectives

8.      Obligations to be “on site”.

9.      Five Local Holiday Days

 

We expect concrete proposals shortly and that any changes must be negotiated as it is part of a collective agreement.        

 

Health and Safety Reps

 UCU needs H&S reps. It is vital that we have a full complement. Please contact Allan Gopal if you might consider it and he will provide you with the details.

 

Institutional Bullying cases

 UCU campaign against IB will continue. We will keep you up to date on the Jenny Husbands and Russell Caplan cases in the near future.  


Website

We now have a website and the link is http://www.lsbucu.org.uk



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Bulletin 21

Negotiation on Associate Professor Role

 UCU met management today and mainly focused on the Associate Professor role. More info will be circulated by Pat Bailey in the next 24 hours. There will be a draft document on guidelines for general post descriptors for academic staff. We will need to discuss this with members before further negotiations.

 

South Bank Agreement negotiations

 We raised the issue of non-compliance with the South Bank Agreement and made the point that until it is changed management must abide by it. Management agreed and asked for any evidence of non-compliance. Academic staff must not be put in the invidious position of having to complain that the contract is not being adhered to. It could be evidence of management bullying.   

 

Find attached a copy of the South Bank Agreement. Please READ this and make sure your rights are being respected. Please let us know of any examples where it is not being complied with. 

 

UCU has received a draft of proposed changes to the contract and we will be discussing this at the next branch meeting.  See attached and link below


http://www.lsbucu.org.uk/ewExternalFiles/SOUTH%20BANK%20AGREEMENT.pdf 

Marking

 It is custom and practice (and therefore an implied term and condition of our contracts) that we have 20 working days to return marked worked to students. This also applies to exam marking and UCU members are reminded that they may take the full 20 working days if it is not practicable to get the marks in earlier. Members will be interested to know that according to a recent UCU survey about 55% of universities operate a policy of returning feedback to students in 20 working days, and about 45% have a policy of 15 working days.

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Bulletin 22 (Update on Bulletin 20)

Dear members,

 

As we promised in bulletin 20 we are updating you on the Branch Chair's case concerning bullying at work. See letter to the VC below.  We are aware of further developments in the Chair's case which we will be reporting more fully soon. [Jenny Husband's case is going to an Industrial Tribunal.]

 

"Professor David Phoenix

Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive 

London South Bank University

 

21 May 2015                                                


Dear Professor Phoenix


This is a response to your letter on 2 April 2015, regarding the outcome of Russell Caplan’s Grievance Hearing on 3 March 2015.


Having read your letter carefully, UCU does not accept your findings are a fair or reasonable  judgment on the facts of the case. In addition there are fundamental issues at stake for all staff and it is these matters that UCU wishes to highlight.


1.          The central issue is the manipulation and fabrication of student complaints. This is a matter of great concern for all teaching staff who recognise that any teacher can become a victim of this.

 

2.          The manipulation and fabrication of student complaints does not occur by accident. It is often motivated by those engaged in the harassment, undermining and bullying of staff.

 

3.          UCU has raised the issue of institutional bullying in the past. Institutional bullying is the abuse of power built into a management culture where the duty of managers is to support each other as far as possible. UCU has complained about this over many years under different Vice Chancellors.

 

4.          In Russell Caplan’s particular case LSBU has continued to refuse to accept that he has been a victim of bullying and deliberate attempts to undermine him. Managers have continued to minimise or excuse unacceptable behaviour rather than recognise the facts and apologise to him.     

 

5.           It has been stated that at LSBU staff rarely if ever win a grievance case. The unfair treatment of Jenny Husbands, who worked in the Faculty of Health and Social Care, is a recent example.


What is at stake here is the functioning of LSBU as an academic and collaborative institution, when there is a break down in trust between staff and management. It is easy to break trust, which can be done very quickly, but it is very difficult to restore it once it has been lost. 

 

Yours sincerely

Dr Adrian Budd

LSBU UCU Secretary"

Bulletin 27

Tomorrow’s branch meeting

 

Wednesday 1 July at 2pm in K505

 

Institutional Bullying

UCU has been concerned about this for many years.  Recently we discovered a report this branch made to London Region on 9 June 2007 on Bullying and Stress. It said “Two current pieces of case-work suggest an institutional problem regarding stress, work-loads and bullying”…. and notes evidence in “a recent staff satisfaction survey”. “In particular, where management sees a relatively clean bill of health, UCU is disturbed by widespread references to bullying, some of which is reported to have a racial or ethnic component”. That was then and this is now. Is the situation better or worse today?  

 

Getting ready to Ballot

UCU has taken our first steps to get the ballot machine moving. We will report progress to the branch meeting. 

 

Academic Staff need a real Holiday

Members have been discussing the situation on the holiday front. Many feel there is too much stress at LSBU and it has been increasing significantly. At the same time holidays are increasingly seen negatively, as if you are absent without leave. It is part of the growing 24/7/365 culture. Perhaps UCU should campaign to bring back holidays as a glorious celebration of life, family, friendship and liberation?

 

Stephen Hackett  

We keep getting queries from members about what happened to Mr Hackett. We have to report some ignorance on our part. So apologies. We will keep trying and if anybody knows anything let us know.   

 

Branch meeting Agenda

 

     1      Report back on negotiations last week

     2      Course Closures and compulsory redundancies

     3      Institutional Bullying

     4      Preparations for ballot for action

     5      Update on Grade 8 Job Descriptors and South Bank Agreement 

Bulletin 26

Bulletin 24

Branch Meeting

 

UCU branch meeting, as previously notified, will be Wednesday 24 June at 2pm in K405. UCU members are facing the most serious threats to our security for many years and it is important to discuss how we will be affected and what can be done. 

 

Renegotiating your South Bank Contract

 

There is a meeting at 10am on Wednesday 24 June (Room to be announced) to examine the management proposals on changing our contract, originally called for the School of Business, it is now open to other members.  

 

Course Closures and Redundancies

 

UCU met Management today on the issue of their proposed course closures. Management have now begun the 45 day notice period before redundancies are declared. This affects three course areas 

 

·        MSc Public Health and Health Promotion

·        Bioscience courses

·        Career Guidance –  Masters in Career Management, Post grad Diploma and Certificate in Career Management

 

The Management presented their case. UCU made our initial response (see next bulletin)


Renegotiating your South Bank Contract

 

There is a meeting at 10am on Wednesday 24 June Room LR 246

 

Change of UCU officers 

 

At the Co-ordinating Committee on Friday it was agreed to reconfigure our three branch officers, pending our autumn AGM. Steve Freeman is now acting chair, Russell Caplan is acting branch secretary and Adrian Budd is acting membership secretary. This is for the branch meeting to confirm or ratify after discussion.  

 

UCU response to announcement of course closures

 

UCU officers were dismayed by the presentation of course closures. It has become clearer that UCU members are facing multiple threats. These are now merging together. The chair identified these as - the dangers of institutional bullying (as shown in the Jenny Husbands and Russell Caplan cases), the threat to the South Bank Agreement which will entail extra responsibilities and workloads, and the threat to job security which is widely felt.  

 

No consultation with academic staff and students 

 

UCU did not accept there was any consultation with academic staff and students in affected areas. The issuing of the 45-day ‘Death Warrant’ may be the legal timetable for discussing with trade unions, but this is already too late for any real or serious academic or student input. 

 

There has to be a much longer process of consultation with staff, some of whom may not be union members (and students who may have valuable inputs to contribute). This should begin a year before the 45-day proposal is issued to trade unions. 

 

Threat of Compulsory Redundancy

 

UCU reminded management that we are opposed to all compulsory redundancies and would seek approval from UCU for a ballot if compulsory redundancies were possible or likely.  

 

Pre-emptive Action

 

Management has not waited for consultations on these course closures to with UCU to begin. They called a halt to student recruitment which has undermined the possibility that anything other than sacking staff was possible. This is an act of bad faith and a self-fulfilling prophecy, adding to the general lack of trust in the motives of LSBU management.  

 

Adjournment

 

UCU requested that management withdraw these proposals so that genuine consultation can begin with staff and students. The forty five day ‘Death Warrant’ should be suspended. The Management block on recruiting students should be ended immediately. Management should produce a credible plan to ensure there would be no compulsory redundancies. The meeting adjourned for management to consider our proposal  

 

Management rejected our proposals

 

When we met again it soon became clear that:

 

a)  Management rejected our call for real consultation

b)  Management rejected our request that recruitment of new students for September continues.

c)  Management confirmed there could be compulsory redundancies. This is highly likely given that management has no credible plan to avoid them. 

 

Branch Meeting

 

The UCU branch meeting will hear more details, on Wednesday 24 June at 2pm in K405.

Bulletin 23

Branch Meeting

 

UCU branch meeting as previously notified will be Wednesday 24 June at 2pm in K405

 

Cocomm met today and discussed issues facing the branch including negotiation on Associate Professor role, talks over the management plan for the South Bank contract and possible restructurings.

 

It was agreed we would need to restructure the UCU Co-Ordinating Committee and the officer positions. We will be acting on an interim basis until the branch meeting.  We will need more members to join the Co-Comm.

 

South Bank Agreement negotiations

 

There is a meeting planned in the School of Business for next Wednesday at 10am to examine the proposals from the management to change. Your existing contract the South Bank Agreement can be found at the link below. Please READ this.   

http://www.lsbucu.org.uk/ewExternalFiles/SOUTH%20BANK%20AGREEMENT.pdf 


Bullying cases


UCU does not accept the grievance procedure has resolved complaints about bullying and undermining of staff. This has become a big issue over a longer period. We have complained on a number of occasions about a deliberate attempt to undermine the branch Chair by fabricated complaints and the unacceptable treatment of Jenny Husbands.

Something has got to be done. It is not just the rejection of valid grievances. It is shown up in the Staff Survey. Most victims of bullying don’t complain but end up leaving. UCU is considering organising exit interviews.

Bulletin 25

Branch Meeting and Motion

 

We had a well attended meeting on Wednesday. After a full discussion the branch passed the following motion unanimously. 

 

“This Branch notes a variety of issues causing concern including:

        course closures

        the threat of compulsory redundancies

        institutional bullying

        management proposals to change the South Bank Agreement

        new grade descriptors

        the proposed introduction of grade 6.

 

The Branch instructs officers to take all necessary steps, working with the UCU Regional Official, to prepare for a ballot for industrial action as a matter of urgency”.

 

UCU officers discussed the above resolution with our Regional Official. There are issues of timetable and the need to pin down the actual issues we are taking action over. At present the lack of proper consultation, the decision to halt recruitment to targeted courses and compulsory redundancies are the front runners.

 

Consultation over Course Closures

UCU met with management in the Joint Negotiating and Consultative Committee (JNCC) at a meeting scheduled to discuss new grade descriptors and the South Bank Agreement.

 

At first we continued to complete negotiations around the Associate Professor Grade 9. However when that was completed UCU explained to management about the crisis of confidence that had developed among staff and was expressed in the branch meeting and the resolution. We told management that we were not prepared to continue any further negotiations when they had pre-empted consultation over course closures by blocking student recruitment.

 

Student recruitment reinstated

The meeting adjourned while management considered what we said. During this time we discussed in detail with our Regional Official how to get our ballot plans moving. The meeting reconvened. Pat Bailey told us that on further consideration they would reinstate recruitment to the courses in the School of Health and Social Care. [We were told there was a different situation in Applied Science]    

Negotiations on Grade 8 were then to be resumed but we ran out of time.

 

Next Branch Meeting

We will need to hold another UCU meeting next week to update members and consider our next steps. More information on date and time to follow.

Branch Meeting

 The next UCU branch meeting is on Wednesday 1 July at 2pm in K505

 

Agenda

 

     1      Report back on negotiations last week

     2      Course Closures and compulsory redundancies

     3      Institutional Bullying

     4      Preparations for ballot for action

     5      Update on Grade 8 Job Descriptors and South Bank Agreement  

 

Last week’s negotiations  

As a result of our discussions with management the decision to halt recruitment to courses targeted for closure has been changed.  Deputy Vice Chancellor Pat Bailey sent out the following message “As we are currently in discussions with the staff concerned about the future of those courses, I would like us to re-open those courses to applications, and continue the marketing of them, with immediate effect”.

 

UCU agreed in response to continue talking about Grade 8 (Senior Lecturer) and the South Bank Agreement. This has had an immediate impact on the Careers courses which are now going to continue until January 2017. These courses may be relocated to another School. It seems they are now out of the firing line and a Non-UCU representative of the course thanked UCU for this change in their fortunes.    

 

Course Closures and compulsory redundancies

We are not out of the woods however. We are making a list of those UCU members who are highly likely or almost certainly to be made compulsorily redundant. In Public Health and Health Promotion this will be Senior Lecturer, Russell Caplan, our former chair and now branch secretary, and Senior Lecturer, Sandra Lask. We have not yet identified the equivalent in bio-sciences.  

Bulletin 28

Wednesday 8 July 2015 at 2pm Borough Road   BR G06


 

Academic Staff need a real Holiday

The start of UCU’s campaign for a real holiday to humanise LSBU and relieve staff of stress has been well received by members.  


Greece Solidarity

A draft resolution has been submitted to Co-Comm for consideration at the branch meeting   

 

1. This UCU branch extends our solidarity to the Greek people resisting the imposition of anti-social austerity        measures and the neo-liberal ‘reforms’ imposed on Greece and its elected government.

 

2. We agree to invite a speaker from the Greek Solidarity campaign to address the next branch meeting.

 

3. As an act of solidarity we call on all members to take a long summer holiday in Greece in line with the Standard Holiday Year – beginning from Monday 20 July until Tuesday 1 September 2015 when the period of Self-Managed Scholarly Activity begins.

 


Standard Holiday Year

We attach the Standard Holiday Year previously circulated many months ago and on the website for your information. Members are reminded that we have not done Leave Cards since they were invented.


Summer term and Admin week ends on July 17 and the period you can take holiday begins on Monday 20 July. Most sensible people have already booked their holidays and will be jetting out of the country straightway.


Getting ready to Ballot

UCU has taken our first steps to get the ballot machine moving because of the compulsory redundancies facing Sandra Lask and our secretary Russell Caplan as well as the Bio-science team. The ballot process takes a while so we need to get moving so we are ready for action in September and October.   


 

No news to report on Stephen Hackett  

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