Annual General Meeting

The RHUL UCU Annual General Meeting has been scheduled for 28th October. This had to be postponed from April. The election of members of the Committee will take place at the AGM. If you are interested in joining the UCU local branch committee, please download the nomination form. This contains all the details of how to nominate yourself, with the support of two UCU members. Please do get in touch if you would like any further information about the election process or what the roles entail.

The position of recruitment and membership officer was vacant this year. Please do get in touch if you would like to take on this role and our Branch Organiser can give you more details about what’s involved..

The local branch rules can be found here.

Get involved with the branch for 2019-2020!

Members should have received an e-mail with nomination forms for elections to the 2019/2020 RHUL UCU branch committee.  The elections will take place at the Annual General Meeting on 29th May 12.00- 14.00. Please note this date in your diary.

The timetable for nominations and the election is as follows:

Request for nominations sent out on or before Wed 17th April 2019

Deadline for nominations (28 days before the election to allow time for a ballot, if necessary): Wed 1st May 2019

Annual General Meeting and Election: Wed 29th May 2019

Committee to arrange hand over during June/July 2019

New Committee take over August/Sept 2019

Completed nomination forms are due to the Branch Organiser, Penelope Smith, by 1st May.

Not sure about serving on the committee but still want to get involved with supporting the union and your colleagues? We are always on the look-out for new caseworkers! Caseworkers support their colleagues and protect themselves, and there’s excellent training on offer. Here is what one caseworker has to say:

I became a caseworker because I was grateful to the caseworker who helped me when I first started asking questions about equal pay at Royal Holloway. Casework involves supporting members who are facing difficulties in the workplace, helping to ensure they are being treated fairly, equitably and reasonably in what can be very difficult and stressful times. Caseworkers gain skills, knowledge and expertise particularly in areas of employment policies and law. They are backed up by regional officers. But beyond the good citizen aspect, caseworkers learn how to protect themselves and their colleagues when the going gets tough. And that is increasingly useful in tough times.

I have found it very rewarding that so many of the people for whom I have been a caseworker, have gone on to help others by becoming more active in the UCU or volunteering for assessment panels where they can help to promote equalities. Many of them keep in touch years later.

If you’d like to find out more, please drop Penelope a line at Penelope.smith  at rhul.ac.uk.

Report of the branch AGM 2018

The 2018 AGM of the Royal Holloway branch of UCU was held on Wednesday 23rd May. The meeting covered some important issues facing the branch, and discussed some of the possible ways forward.
The chair’s report of the last year’s activities emphasised that the biggest challenge the branch currently faces is the intransigence of HR, who seem unwilling to negotiate or discuss important issues; this leads to unnecessary conflict that could have been avoided through discussion and compromise. A lively discussion ensued about the current proposals around the appraisal process, and we will post more details about these very shortly. Discussion has continued with HR about the appraisal process and we await a formal response. In the meantime, the branch recommends that members engaging in appraisal before this issue has been resolved continue using the old form which will be provided to members shortly. If members are pressured to use the new form please contact the Branch for advice.
Casework has continued to be an important part of the branch’s work, with much of it focused on colleagues who are on fixed-term contracts, but also with a worrying number of cases concerning bullying. A number of cases also arose from the recent restructuring of Professional Services. While some cases need a low level of support, the branch is seeing an increasing number of complex cases; some of those which were opened in September are still continuing. There is an upcoming casework training day that members should be aware of.
The meeting heard a report on the strike action, which has highlighted the high levels of active branch members on campus, and the will to do more going forward. We have the potential to be a campaigning branch taking a more proactive stance on the range of issues which the strike showed were important to members. We also now have a well-established strike fund, which has so far made awards to twenty applicants, half of whom were hourly paid colleagues.
The issue of anti-casualisation is one which has become particularly pressing both at local and national level; as part of the elections to the committee, the meeting elected Dan Elphick to the position of Anti-Casualisation Officer, and the branch hopes to be doing much more on this front in the future. The meeting also elected the committee for 2018-2019; you can see the updated list of members here.
The meeting discussed both the scheduled review of the effectiveness of academic board, and the recent merger of Maths, Computer Science and Information Security into a school without, it seems, due consultation of either the branch or the academics concerned. More will be reported on these issues in due course.
Financially, the branch is stable; local subscription rates will remain as they are, and national subscription rates will shortly be agreed by UCU national.
The meeting also discussed equality and diversity issues faced over the last year, not least the recent suspension of the branch’s Equality and Diversity Officer, Jeff Frank. It has been a difficult year for equalities at Royal Holloway; the college’s position as fifth from the bottom in the sector gender pay gap league table is a symptom of wider problems the college faces in all areas of activity. Despite some fleeting interest in hearing the branch’s views on tackling  these problems, the college has not moved forward on them.
The AGM shows us that there is much to do; the strike has shown us we have many hands to do it. Watch out for a blog post soon about ways you can get involved in working for an environment that represents the shared values of our community.

RHUL UCU Annual General Meeting

The branch committee have decided to cancel the Extraordinary General meeting that was to be held on 9th May. After consideration the Committee felt that this meeting would be too close to the Annual General Meeting which was already scheduled for the 23rd May.

You are therefore invited to attend the RHUL UCU Annual General Meeting on 23rd May at 12.30–2.30pm in the Moore Annex Lecture Theatre. The agenda for this meeting will be circulated soon. The elections for next year’s committee members will take place at the meeting.

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