HEC met at a crucial time in the HE disputes with a marking and assessment boycott due to start in just over a week. To avoid undermining the dispute by revealing sensitive information to the employers, we cannot divulge details of the motions discussed and the results of the voting. However, members should not expect any outcomes from HEC which decisively alter the present situation.
What is still required is that the full range of decisions passed at the SHESCs is implemented without further delay. We need strike dates to be notified to the employers for branches that intend to use their mandate for a marking and assessment boycott. Without these in place we have no defence against punitive deductions. We urgently need the circulation of detailed instructions and guidance on how to carry out a marking and assessment boycott. And we need a campaign of fundraising in branches without a mandate to support members whose pay will be docked.
If this doesn’t happen, it will be clear that the General Secretary and the full-time officials are trying to undermine the possibility of action taking place this term, against SHESC policy. We know that the General Secretary believes that we cannot win our disputes at the present time. Having lost the argument for a lengthy pause in the action, she is now trying to achieve the same result through delay, confusion and demoralisation.
Branches that believe they can successfully implement a boycott should renew their demands on the HE officers and the officials at HQ for strike action to be notified, indicating their chosen start date. They should demand the guidance on marking and assessment boycotts that we are told is being prepared. And they should seek assistance on twinning with branches not taking action so that the raising of funds can begin.
The Left on the HEC argued that it would be disastrous for action to be called off. Taking no action this term would demoralise members and embolden the employers. We need to avoid this happening.
We also note that the incoming HEC and NEC will have a different make-up, which may mean different decisions are taken at these committees in future.
But we also need to ensure that reballots take place over the summer to enable us to hit the induction periods at the start of the autumn term. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past when the ballot timetable allowed us to take our first action only a few weeks before Christmas.
Annual Congress and Sector Conference is coming up on 1-3 June. We would encourage branches to submit late motions to HESC on implementing the results of SHESCs, further strike action, re-balloting fundraising and the fighting fund. Motions which refer to events and decisions which took place after the deadline should be accepted as late motions.
UCU Left will host a meeting to discuss the Congress agenda on Monday 23 May, 6-7.30pm. All delegates and non-delegates welcome. Register here: bit.ly/UCUL-CongressPreMeet.