UCU Equality Groups Conference 2019 – Report

UCU’s annual equality conference combines a joint equality conference for black, disabled, LGBT+ and women members as well as dedicated sessions for the four constituencies, joint sessions, various workshops and guest speakers.

The 2019 conference was held in Birmingham from 21 November – Saturday 23 November and included half-day conferences for each of the four equality strands, and a plenary session on ‘othering’ which marginalises and devalues people based on their protected characteristic or class.

Questions or contributions were invited to the guest speakers: Sam Heyes, who spoke on the need for trans inclusion and Michael Braithwaite who provided an emotive commentary on his work as a Windrush campaigner.

Michael Braithwaite

The conference also included a session on how to progress equal pay claims in the workplace and identifying pay gaps for different equality groups.

Over the three day conference various strands on the Members Standing Commitees (MSCs) voted on motions presented and members elections to MSCs .


Report by Louise Gooddy, UCU NW Regional Committee LGBT+ Rep.

UCU LGBT+ Members’ Annual Conference 2019 Report

The annual meeting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of UCU, took place during the annual UCU equality conference on Saturday 23 November.

The LGBT+ members’ conference was opened by the chair of the MSC, Ryan Prout.

Elections for the forthcoming committee and motions were voted upon before the guest speakers addressed members on Saturday 23rd November. Key themes and guest speakers were: Marc Svensson on ‘Emerging Non-Binary & Queer Identities’, Dr Matson Lawrence on ‘TransEDU’ and Eden Ladley, NUS Action on ‘Trans in Education.’

Dr Matson Lawrence

Eden Ladley

Members were invited to ask questions or make contributions to the speakers and panel.


Report by Louise Gooddy, UCU NW Regional Committee LGBT+ Rep.

Tackling Casualisation at Lancaster University

On the back of UCU campaigning on casualisation at Lancaster University the employer has finally recognises that insecurity caused by the use of fixed-term contracts and casual arrangements is bad for business.

UCU North West Regional Office and Lancaster University UCU Branch have negotiated an entirely new policy to combat casual and fixed-term employment. The new policy delivers for UCU members:

  • transferring current fixed-term contracts to indefinite
  • treating research staff with parity, and removing time-limited funding as justification for the use of fixed-term contracts
  • limiting the future use of fixed-term contracts to specific and exceptional situations
  • making clear commitments to pay GTAs and demonstrators for all the work they undertake
  • ensuring casual workers are provided with a contract, are paid on time, and that payment for ad-hoc work is made when the work is cancelled at short notice

This policy represents a significant improvement at Lancaster University, and would be a helpful exemple for other branches tackling casualisation in higher education. UCU branches can obtain a copy from North West Regional Office: henorthwest@ucu.org.uk

University of Liverpool withdraws redundancy proposals following UCU pressure

University of Liverpool has shelved plans to restructure the English Language Centre, safeguarding 23 lecturing jobs.

Following representations made by branch and regional officers, UCU is pleased to confirm that ill-conceived plans that threatened jobs and student provision have been entirely withdrawn.

The English Language Centre provides short-course language tuition and support for adults and international students studying at a UK university and needing a certain level of language. UCU members working in this important function of the University of Liverpool know how the centre can be more effective and provide better support; it’s now time they are listened to.

UCU secure recognition agreement with training pvoider Total People

UCU and Unison have signed a recognition agreement with the training provider Total People based in Nantwich.

UCU welcomed the agreement as an “important milestone” and said it would allow the union to engage in collective bargaining over pay and working conditions on behalf of almost 300 staff working at the provider.

Part of the LTE Group, Total People is a major provider of work-based learning across the UK, delivering a range of provision including apprenticeships, traineeships and short courses to over 6,000 learners.

UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said: ‘I’m pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement on recognition and bargaining rights for staff delivering training and apprenticeships.  This is an important milestone in our relationship with Total People which we now look forward to developing positively.’

At the same time as signing the recognition agreement UCU Branch officers Janet Farrar and Lesley Higginbottom along with UCU and Unison North West Regional representatives attended a Total People staff conference and Janet addressed the conference about UCU membership and the difference the union can now make for them at work. There was very positive feedback from lots of staff who deliver training and learning.