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Branch Bulletin – Nov 2022

UCU Rising – strike action and ASOS


Members will have received notification of the outcome of the UCU national ballots on pay and USS pensions. UCLan UCU members were balloted on pay only. The result of the national pay ballot was as follows:

Are you prepared to take strike action? Yes: 81.14%, No: 18.86%

Are you prepared to take action short of strike action? Yes:88.75%, No: 11.25%

Turnout: 57.71%


Following a meeting of the union’s Higher Education Committee on Thursday 3rd November, the decision was made to take strike action on 24th, 25th and 30th November, followed by action short of strike action commencing Wednesday 23rd November (see below); and a marking and assessment boycott commencing in the new year (the timing of this has not yet been specified). It is now up to the employers to signal their intent to engage with the union and enter into meaningful negotiations to prevent escalation of the dispute and the disruption that would inevitably follow. The Branch Committee calls on – and expects – all members to heed the call to take strike action on the days specified.


Important: You do not need to notify Management of your intention to take strike action and you should not reply to any communication asking you to do so.


Pickets: We shall be picketing University buildings on 24th and 25th November. Please gather near the entrance of the Engineering Innovation Building (adjacent to Adelphi Square) at 09.00 on those days. A UCU national demonstration has been called for 30th November, so we will not be picketing that day. We are awaiting news as to whether there will be transport organised from the North West. Plans are also being drawn up for a Regional Rally in Manchester on Friday 25th; look out for an email from the NW Regional Office.


Action Short of Strike (ASOS) Guidance


The following are the UCU instructions and advice on ASOS, commencing 23rd November, adapted to the local circumstances at UCLan and approved by UCU Regional Office and where necessary Head Office.

  • Don’t undertake duties that aren’t on your workload plan and that can’t be reasonably understood to fall within some more general item on the workload plan.
  • Don’t reschedule classes and lectures cancelled due to strike action unless your workload plan has been modified to include this additional task.
  • As always, don’t accept a workload plan that doesn’t match reality or that is over maximum hours.
  • Your line manager may revise your workload plan by convening an appraisal meeting with you to agree revisions to it. The process of agreeing proposed revisions should involve considering any objections you might have, and your reluctance to weaken the force of ASOS is a valid consideration. If your line manager insists on certain revisions to your workload plan despite your objections, and you are reluctant to accept your line manager’s demands, don’t just refuse them but rather contact UCU for advice and support.
  • Do not upload or share materials related to classes that have beencancelled as a result of strike action. Remove uploaded materials (related to classes that have been cancelled as a result of strike action) if and only if they have not already been shared with students.


For further information, please see the ‘Taking Strike Action’ FAQs here .


Redundancy Prevention

As members were informed at the Branch General Meeting in October, Management has proposed a plan to address what it claims is over capacity in areas of declining student recruitment in the Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries (FCCI). UCU has met with all subject and course teams affected by Management’s proposed reduction in staffing in FCCI and has also been representing and advising individual members that are affected by the proposals. Branch officers are meeting with Management every week to try and find a way forward that addresses the problems of falling recruitment in some areas whilst ensuring both that no UCU member’s livelihood is jeopardized and that the staff concerned are properly consulted and have the opportunity to scrutinize and challenge Management’s proposal and suggest their own solutions. The primary objective of the branch committee is to ensure we do not end up repeating the scenario we had in FCCI in 2019 where members were threatened with compulsory redundancy. The next step is that Management will reconsider and revise their proposals in the light of the discussions with UCU and the responses from the affected subject teams and their members, including any requests for VR or redeployment.



Academic Organization Restructure

Members will have seen that the Management have proposed yet another restructure, the second in two years. The unions have not yet been consulted or fully informed about the plan. In response to union concerns about possible implications for members’ jobs, Management have assured us that there will be no job cuts below Management grade. However, history tells us that following a major restructure, some schools may undergo ‘rationalisation’ which may entail job losses, and UCU is committed to protecting the livelihood of every member, including those on management contracts and in management roles; we therefore remain vigilant, and have demanded that the unions be consulted.


Course Leader Role

For many years UCU have been attempting to work with Management to get the proper definition of the Course Leader role properly documented and to bring university practice in line with the proper definition; the discussions with Management are ongoing but are at Management’s usual glacial pace. Even though the role definition remains inadequately documented, UCU have always held a very clear position about what the definition is. Management have recently sent Course Leaders what appears to be an instruction to organize and conduct elections among students on the course for the role of student rep. This is not a legitimate instruction. Firstly, it is not part of the CL role. Secondly, there is a standing university agreement that academic staff will not be required to undertake duties that are not inherently academic and so do not by their nature inherently have to be done by academic staff; organizing student elections is not an inherently academic duty.


Target annual hours

For non-SPH academic staff, your target annual hours should be reduced as follows:

* In recognition of the extra bank holiday for the royal funeral, 7.4 hours (pro rata) for staff on academic contracts and 7.25 hours for academic staff on professional services contracts;

* 2 hours (not pro rata) as a special Christmas allowance (to be used, if possible, for attending a team Christmas celebration);

* 1/365 of your initial annual target (1581 pro rata) per day of industrial action; for full time staff, this is a reduction of 4.33 hours.


Teaching Preparation

UCU are aware of a number of unilateral attempts by various school managements to allocate amounts of preparation time that are in breach of the agreement with UCU that for every contact hour there will be at least one hour of preparation for that teaching event, with marking hours separately allocated per student, provided that across all non-studio-based modules on a given workload, contact hours will be no more than two thirds as many as the hours allocated for the preparation and marking associated with those contact hours. (Where more than one hour of preparation per contact hour is required, more should be allocated on the workload plan.) If you’re aware of any such breaches, please bring them to UCU’s attention. Additionally, UCU advise you to refuse to agree any workload plan, and to seek the support of a UCU caseworker, if your line manager is asking you to take on a teaching load in which contact hours (i) are more than two thirds as many as the hours allocated to the preparation and marking associated with them or more than the hours allocated to the preparation for them and (ii) are not higher than 60 hours per 20 credits.


UCU Branch Committee


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  1. Denise Hanson says:

    is there a generic out of office email for UCU members to use during the strike?

  2. Mike Eslea says:

    Hi Denise, Yes we usually use something like

    Thank you for your message. I am away from the University on [date/s] taking part in industrial action: see for more details. Messages sent during this time may not be responded to. I will be back at work on [date].

  3. Denise Hanson says:

    Thanks Mike

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