Last updated 27 October 2010
27 October 2010: News Update No.1 2010-11
Welcome to the October 2010 branch update. This is our first update for 2010-11, which we hope you will find useful.
Please remember, our local website is updated regularly as news breaks www.umucu.org.uk
18 January 2010: News Update No. 4 Rutherford, Coggon Report, RPE, Dignity at Work, Pay and Grading, HE Special Sector Conference
A great deal has been happening in the University and HE sector over the last couple of months and we have been fighting hard to represent your interests over these matters. Countless members are strongly opposed to the University’s Research Profile Exercise and how it is being carried out. We’ve pushed hard over this and our position was expressed once again recently in the Times Higher. Your branch has just submitted a union response to the Coggon report about radiation and other health and safety issues in the Rutherford Building. The University’s new Dignity at Work policy and procedure, which UCU contributed to, will have to be tested and developed in this its first year but we think the University has done quite well on this one. (Do look at UM’s excellent 2010 Diversity Calendar, and please print it off and use it.) Regarding the Pay and Grading local negotiations, we are probably close now to putting a draft to the membership, and we will report more detail about that shortly. There is also the dismal question of our national pay rise - a mere 0.5% national increase in our pay packets at end of January, backdated to 1st Aug 2009 (arrears to be paid in Feb 2010). Overshadowing all this is the impact of recession, the massive threat to the public sector from all three main political parties and Mandelson’s pre-Christmas announcement of yet more cuts for HE! The position of the pubic sector unions in this country is clear: neither public sector workers nor those who depend on public services should be made to pay for a crisis that has been created by the greed and recklessness of bankers on fat bonuses, and who are now largely employed by us, the public. The UCU HE sector special conference meets on 11th February. Watch this space! On our door step, Manchester Met University is already facing 127 compulsory redundancies for its admin and ancillary staff, and UCU is fully supporting Unison and GMB unions at MMU (public meeting, Thurs 21st Jan at 5pm, MMU John Dalton building, opp. BBC). And bitter battles are being fought by unionised workers in the private sector too: in response to Manchester TUC, we have declared UM UCU’s support for the on-going Fujitsu dispute. Further details about all these matters can be found at the web links listed below:
8 October 2009: News Update No. 3 Rutherford, Coggon Report, Annual Review
A great deal is going on in the University that is of much concern to UCU members and your union is working hard to engage in these issues. Last week the Coggon Report was released, which addressed major and very disturbing questions concerned with radiation, mercury and asbestos in the Rutherford Building . UMUCU is directly involved with regional and national UCU officials and advisors with regard to Professor Coggon’s findings and also with what we think are very serious broader questions about the University’s approach to health and safety . In recent months the branch has made significant progress regarding fixed term contract workers’ rights . We are close to securing agreement on a new dignity at work policy that addresses problems of harassment and bullying in the workplace; and we are keen that you know about the progress your UCU branch is making with its personal casework . However, it has to be said that the protracted negotiations on pay and grading have been much more difficult, with our employer adopting an intransigent attitude to say the least; yet, we are determined to fight on with this issue and not let the University off the hook. Last year’s branch president, Wendy Olsen, provides you with a brief overview of the last 12 months. Further details about all these matters can be found on the UMUCU website, with the links as below.
University and College Union
University of Manchester Branch.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." (Martin Luther King)
UCU Branch Website Links to News Updates on these Issues:
1. Coggon Report, radiation and health and safety: http://www.umucu.org.uk/ucu/UMUCU_Update_Coggon_3.10.09.pdf
2. Fixed term contract update: http://www.umucu.org.uk/ucu/UMUCU_Updates_FTCs_3.10.09.pdf
3. Dignity at work: http://www.umucu.org.uk/ucu/UMUCU_Update_DAW_3.10.09.pdf
4. Pay and grading: http://www.umucu.org.uk/ucu/UMUCU_Update_PandG_3.10.09.pdf
5. Personal casework: http://www.umucu.org.uk/ucu/UMUCU_Updates_Casework_3-10-09.pdf
6. Past branch president’s overview of 2008-09: http://www.umucu.org.uk/ucu/UMUCU_Updates_PresReport_3.10.09.pdf
1 October 2008: NewsUpdate No. 2 - RUTHERFORD BUILDING/RADIATION, NEW DEVELOPMENTS
No doubt you will have seen last week the UMUCU News Update No.1 on this issue. As planned, the union's national health and safety adviser, with UMUCU branch officers, attended a meeting with University representatives last Friday. Whilst the University is committed to an inquiry into this whole matter, it is with considerable regret that the UCU does not believe - in light of Friday's meeting - that the University is fully and unreservedly committed to a joint approach. These are the opinions of national officials within the UCU, who have asked to be kept fully briefed on the issue. We will be registering this view formally with the University very shortly, and UCU is working vigorously to establish comprehensive and automatic provision of information to, and consultation with, the recognised trade unions with regard to this matter.
UCU fears have been confirmed today by the University's unilateral decision to appoint the chair of the inquiry - and to release this to the press this week without UCU's knowledge or agreement, in spite of our deep concerns expressed about this at last Friday's meeting. It is the process here that is critical. Similarly, we have insisted that the inquiry's terms of reference be negotiated with the recognised unions and that was agreed at last Friday's meeting - but we are yet to receive the University's draft of these. If it takes unilateral action on this as well, then UCU believes that the inquiry will be in difficulty from the outset.
24 September 2008: NewsUpdate No. 1 - RADIATION IN THE RUTHERFORD BUILDING
As many of our branch members will already be aware, there is currently extensive coverage in the media that raises the question of whether there are links between several tragic deaths from cancer of former employees and the use of the University's Rutherford Building in the past for activities connected with radiation. Following coverage earlier this month in The Guardian, the Manchester Evening News, regional TV news, last night's M.E.N., today's Independent and other papers are covering further developments.
Both branch officers and national UCU officials are fully engaged in doing everything we can to represent the interests of members and former members of our union over this matter. UCU's General Secretary, Sally Hunt, spoke to the press yesterday. The unions is also taking legal advice and making full use of its national health and safety officer. The latter, with your branch officers, will be attending a meeting with the University this Friday and we will be demanding as first steps a robust, urgent and independent inquiry that addresses both the questions that relate to the tragic deaths and to the broader issues; and that the University identifies exactly what measures it intends to take to identify further potentially affected individuals.