Alternative Financial Strategy

The following motion on UoN Finances was passed at the branch meeting on 10 March 2021

This meeting notes:  

∙ The document by the UCU committee on UoN finances An Alternative Financial  Strategy: Establishing Sustainable Finances at University of Nottingham.  

This union branch believes:  

∙ That UoN’s ‘lean financial management’ with its focus on profitability and maximizing  annual surpluses has put the University at great financial risk, as evidenced by the  panic-driven cuts in response to the pandemic; 

∙ That UoN’s ‘lean financial management’ fails to live up to the requirements of a  public, charitable non-profit higher education and research institution;  

∙ That UoN’s ‘lean financial management’ has undermined staff’s working conditions  and students’ educational experience;  

∙ That the UCU’s proposal as set out in the Alternative Financial Strategy document  provides a concrete and feasible alternative.  

Therefore, this meeting resolves:  

∙ To demand that UoN abandons its ‘lean financial management’ and replace it with a  strategy based on careful, long-term borrowing for key infrastructure projects,  supported by broad consultation amongst staff and finalised in a democratic decision making process. This should involve the University agreeing a budget for 2021-22  that reflects the principles and approach set out in the Alternative Financial Strategy. 

This meeting asks the branch committee to develop a campaign strategy along the following  lines: 

∙ That immediately after this branch meeting: a) request a meeting with the 15%  savings group for a detailed discussion of the alternative finance proposal; b) request  a meeting with Council to present and discuss the UCU document An Alternative  Financial Strategy;  

∙ To campaign for the AFS among UCU members and the wider University staff  community. This campaign to include locally organised Town Halls and relevant  publicity materials. The campaign to also focus on explaining the case for the AFS to  Heads of Schools and Departments through specially convened meetings; 

∙ To work with the Students’ Union, and sister campus unions, to win support for the  AFS, and to organise practical campaigning activities jointly with the SU, Unite and  Unison;  

∙ Approach public stakeholders including local councillors and MPs in support of the  campaign;

∙ Acknowledging UCU’s commitment to work beyond the union’s membership, and to  provide everyone with an opportunity to show their support for the alternative strategy  being proposed, the Branch instructs the Committee to establish a ‘Statement of  Support’ for the AFS and to secure the maximum number of signatories among staff,  students and the wider community. 

∙ Finally, the branch instructs the committee to keep members fully informed of the  campaign and the progress of discussions with University management. At the  branch meeting on 14 April, the committee reports on the outcome of discussions  with management and plans to escalate the campaign should this be necessary.

Graduate Teaching Assistant’s contract

The following motion was passed at the branch meeting on Wednesday March 10th

This meeting notes:

●  That the University of Nottingham People and HR Committee has approved a new Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) model of engaging Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) in paid independent teaching work (e.g. preparing and delivering lectures/seminars, providing contact hours with students, marking assessments).

This union branch believes:

●  That all teaching work should be properly paid, and that PGRs should not be asked to volunteer for unpaid teaching work.

●  That all PGRs who teach should do so on direct contracts of employment with the University, which provide the basic rights afforded to all other employees, as is the case with the GTA model.

●  That the University should move away from the use of precarious, short-term “contracts for services” via UniTemps, instead moving towards more secure forms of employment for all staff, which includes use of the new GTA model.

●  That any form of short, fixed-term contract used to engage PGRs in teaching work should not be used to engage other post-doctoral, full-time, or part-time members of staff, who should all be offered more secure forms of contract

Therefore, this meeting resolves:

●  To call on University management to roll out the use of the new GTA contracts as a matter of urgency, replacing all previous PGR Teaching Affiliate roles engaged on a “contract for services”, whether via UniTemps or otherwise.

●  To ensure that PGR Demonstrators (or any other directly supervised teaching roles occupied by PGRs) are not used for independent teaching work unless they are engaged via the new GTA contract, or a contract with equivalent terms and conditions.

●  To call on University management to move all forms of work, including PGR Demonstrators and administrative roles, away from precarious UniTemps engagements and towards direct contracts of employment.

●  To demand that the University end all unpaid teaching work, and to ensure that all teaching work that PGRs engage in is fairly paid.

This meeting asks the branch committee to:

●  Continue to work with the Student Union to ensure that the University widely and effectively implements the new GTA model.

●  Use press releases and social media to publicise this development and our related demands.

●  Inform all UCU representatives at Faculty and School level about these developments and our related demands, and ask that they communicate these to their Faculty and School management until such time as they are met. 

Solidarity with the Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar

This Motion to Congress was passed at the branch meeting on Wednesday March 10th

Congress notes: 

  1. That the military in Myanmar have seized power and are conducting mass arrests of activists across the country. 
  2. That part of the Civil Disobedience Movement is organised from university campuses, involving student-led protests and strikes by academics. 
  3. That the military is brutally suppressing this resistance, arresting at gunpoint a union leader at Yangon University, Professor Arkar Moe Thu, on 2 March 2021.

Congress resolves:

  1. To extend our solidarity to the Civil Disobedience Movement, and to demand the release of Professor Arkar Moe Thu and others held by the regime. 
  2. To negotiate for students applying from Myanmar to be allowed to use alternative criteria to the IELTS exam due to internal restrictions in the country. 
  3. To demand that universities audit their investments and partners to sever connections with organisations and individuals that are linked to the Burmese military.