‘Unofficial’ Branch Delegate Meeting 2pm 29 June

London Region and Newcastle and LJMU UCU branches are inviting delegates and observers from HE branches across the UK to attend an ‘unofficial’ Branch Delegates Meeting (BDM) on the JNCHES pay and conditions (Four Fights) dispute.

This meeting will be held at 2-4pm on Thursday 29 June.

This is intended to allow branches to form a meaningful collective assessment of the balance of forces and provide input to Friday’s meeting of UCU’s Higher Education Committee (HEC).

We are at a critical moment for the union’s industrial action, centred on the Marking and Assessment Boycott (MAB) and backed up by strike action in many universities. Some branches face indefinite pay deductions, but universities are learning that very many students are unable to graduate or progress.

Please discuss this invitation with your committee and consider sending up to two (2) delegates per branch.

As we explain below, this meeting is not intended to supplant any official BDM (were one called). However, unless one is called, there will be no opportunity for branches to collectively discuss the current situation ahead of Friday’s HEC meeting. 

Questions for consultation with members

HEC members need to know: 

  1. How effective is the MAB in your university? Do you have an estimate of how many students will not graduate or progress? If not, how quickly will the impact be known? 
  2. What is the position regarding deductions in your university, and is the branch able to support members facing them? 
  3. Has your employer reached out to attempt to resolve the dispute? If so, what are they offering?

How to participate

Branches who are taking action in the JNCHES dispute are invited to send two (2) delegates to this meeting. Branches excluded from JNCHES pay bargaining are also encouraged to send delegates.

We will also invite as observers:

  • Members of Higher Education Committee
  • National negotiators
  • UCU officials

Register on Zoom

Note that you can also send a message to HEC members via the UCU’s Send a message to an NEC member webform.

Our intention is to organise this meeting on a similar basis to conventional BDMs and to take soundings from branches.

Before Congress, London Region UCU called two unofficial BDMs ahead of HEC meetings. Following Congress, Newcastle UCU and LJMU UCU called weekly ‘unofficial’ BDMs, which have been gaining support from branches. 

UCU London Region HE committee added their name to this call at its AGM on Saturday. Other supporters include UCU HE branches at Greenwich, Westminster, Durham, Bristol, Imperial, Oxford, Ulster, York St Johns, London Met, Brighton and Royal Holloway.

All BDMs are advisory in nature. But if HQ call an ‘official’ BDM, we will encourage reps to attend that meeting in preference to this one.

We are at a critical point in our dispute. Let us make sure we win it.

Sean Wallis London Region UCU secretary
Matt Perry Branch Chair, Newcastle University UCU
Saira Weiner Branch Secretary, LJMU UCU

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