Monday, 7 August 2017

Meeting to discuss University of London International Academy (UoLIA) QSG Review – 12:30 pm Thursday 17th August 2017 (Venue TBC)

As you may be aware, the University of London has decided to review the Quality Standards and Governance Department in the University of London International Programmes.

UCU and UNISON have been involved in discussion with Mr. Craig O’ Callaghan and Dr. Mary Stiasny and we are aware of the proposed reviews for Marketing, Executive Office and Global Engagement departments in UoLIA.

The review has been requested by the University’s Member Institutions to find out whether they are getting value for money.  Our understanding is that this is not a cost-reduction exercise and there is no suggestion of staff redundancies.

UCU and UNISON will work hard to ensure that these reviews are transparent and fully involve the staff in these departments and ensure that they have the opportunity to submit evidence.

We will not accept the validity of any review which fails to respect these core principles. Above all else, we will oppose vigorously any compulsory redundancies (if these are proposed at any stage).

We would like to hear from you.  Please come along to the meeting ( venue to be confirmed) or if you have any concerns that you want to discuss before the meeting, please contact UNISON and UCU  

UNISON/UCU Senate House.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Joint statement from Unison and UCU Senate House branches


We note with concern the ongoing dispute between Cordant and its security staff.  As always, Unison and UCU's long held position is to strongly oppose the outsourcing of workers in all circumstances.  We are formally approaching the University to re-visit the issue of outsourcing with the aim of returning all staff in house.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Still just a bit of banter? UNISON survey on sexual harassment

UNISON are launching an initiative on sexual harassment to complement a survey already undertaken by UCU a few months ago.

In light of the recent TUC report “still just a bit of banter?”  it would appear that we still have some way to go on this issue.

In order for us to be effective in our efforts we need to know more about how this issue affects you.

If you could find the time to complete the following survey we would be very grateful. It will only take 10 minutes to complete and will be open until Thursday 22 June.

It will give us an insight into what is happening right now for you our members and it will inform the action that we need to take on this issue.

Please don’t suffer in silence. Your Union is here for you.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Information and Consultation (ICE) Negotiations Concluded

On 18 May negotiating representatives met to discuss information and consultation arrangements at the University.

At this meeting the two IWGB representatives indicated that they were no longer willing to negotiate, which has therefore meant that the negotiations have collapsed. This is despite us offering a means of ensuring fair and proportionate representation for staff at levels 1-6 in every department across the whole organisation. Nonetheless the IWGB claimed that they wanted to see the implementation of the standard provisions as produced exactly within the regulations, although they were unable to articulate what aspects of the deal on the table for negotiation deviated from the standard provisions.

In refusing to continue to negotiate, the IWGB representatives have left us in the position of allowing the employer to exploit the standard provisions which are set out in the regulations as, in many instances, aspects of the regulations are underdeveloped and provide considerable scope for interpretation. Indeed, their insistence on spending much of the opportunities for negotiation in arguing with the University over the issue of recognition (which is not covered by the negotiations and is a matter for the University to decide) has prohibited discussions on real and meaningful improvements for staff, which could have been achieved had they focussed on the issues at hand. We are therefore disappointed to report that the whole exercise has been a missed opportunity in many regards.

It now remains to seen how the University interprets the regulations, which will now be imposed given that negotiations have failed.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

General Election 2017 - Register to Vote

General Election 2017 - Register to vote
The snap general election which has been called for the 8 June has huge implications for all UNISON members. In order to make sure your voice if heard we are strongly encouraging all members to register to vote. You can register to vote online here

The outcome of the General Election is likely to have a huge impact on the future of the services in which we all work and we would encourage all members to keep abreast of developments on the union's website here. You can also read the UNISON response to the Labour Party manifesto here.

Relating to this, and following a request from the branch, the University of London has undertaken to advertise the means to register to vote to both its students and those resident in University Halls.

Image result for general election 2017

Higher Education Pay Claim
UNISON, in collaboration with UCU, UNITE, GMB and EIS, has been negotiating with UCEA over the 2017-18 Higher Education pay claim. The employers have now made their final offer, which amounts to a pay increase of 1.7% to all pay spine points, with higher increases for those on the lowest pay. The Higher Education Service Group has issued a statement to the effect that the offer is the best that can be achieved through negotiation.

The branch is disappointed that, once again, the employers have made an offer which is below the current level of inflation. This means that, once again, the real terms value of our pay will be reduced for yet another year. Members will be consulted on the offer from 19 May - 30 June 2017 so watch this space.

Health Education England - CSR Consultation
Those University employees deployed to Health Education England who are currently affected by the consultation to cut staffing costs by 30% should contact us should they have any concerns. Much of the negotiation regarding the proposals is taking place at a national level, with the national UNISON Health team heavily involved but we will be submitting a local response to the consultation, so we would welcome your views.

We would encourage all affected members to keep abreast of development via HEE Connect.

Other news
In other news, the branch is undertaking a joint review of the University of London Change Management Policy with the employer. This is due to serious concerns we have in relation to last year's Student Central restructure and we are therefore looking to ensure much greater protection for staff and greater transparency from the University when undertaking restructures.

This year we will also be looking to engage the University around Brexit in requesting that they provide enhanced level of support to staff from the EEA in securing the right to remain in the country and in employment of the University.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

VOTE YES on Monday 17 October

See our flyer here

All members of UoL staff will be asked whether they wish to accept the proposals that the University is proposing following negotiations with the employer around information and consultation (ICE) arrangement for all employees of the University. Your ICE reps worked hard to pull together proposals and put forward arguments that meant we got the best deal for all UoL staff. UCU and UNISON recommends that you support the proposal by voting YES.

We will be able to act as a conduit for all members of staff who wish to be a part of the information and consultation process. Would you like to know more about the University’s financial situation? Would you like to see changes to the flexible working policy? There will be regular open meetings as well as and an online forum where all staff can submit questions and receive a response. We are looking forward to our new role as an opportunity to continue to hold the University to account and ensure that everyone can be involved in the process.

UCU and UNISON welcome the opportunity to enhance our ability to represent all staff and are delighted that the University has agreed to our proposals to set up an online forum and hold regular open meetings with all staff.

If you are a union member it obviously makes sense to vote YES, but if you are not, here’s what UCU and UNSION has already done for you on your behalf recently.

1. Increasing in London Weighting, which will be fully implemented by 2018 at £3,500
2. Increasing in leave for L01-L06 from 25 and 27 days, with a further push to make it equal for all staff in the future.
3. Locally representing staff on the following general issues
  a. Health and Safety
  b. Information and Consultation, which we already undertake
  c. Restructuring and redundancy
  d. Staff policies (e.g. compassionate leave policy, leave carry over policy)
4. Negotiating nationally on pay and pension issues. This is a purely national issue. We do not negotiate the annual uplift locally
5. Supporting HEE employees on UoL contracts during a major department restructure, negotiating successfully with senior managers to avoid compulsory redundancies

Our work on the above issues have benefitted you, whether or not you are a member of the union. It is true that members of the union do get more enhanced support from the unions in the form of trained representatives, such as Angela, Sam and myself - and get a say of the decision making process within the unions locally, regionally and nationally.

However that does not detract from the fact that we treat all members of staff equally when discussing collective matters with the University. The new arrangements simply formalise and facilitate our existing role.

So, we ask you to support us and vote YES on Monday 17th.

Friday, 30 September 2016

PGMDE Integration, Management Response to Unison’s Proposals

Following close of consultation on 7 September, HEE management, after negotiations with the Branch,  provided their response  to the consultation included an amended set of proposals, yesterday, 29 September, which we set out below.

Please note, these proposals are subject to certain assumptions about VR rates which cannot be guaranteed (as VR applications are a matter for individual employees, which they are free to withdraw should they so wish) and therefore we cannot provide an absolute guarantee that provisions below will take place. However, given the current number of VR applications (75) and resignations (15), we are optimistic that we can achieve the following key outcomes:
  • No compulsory redundancies will be made
  • No selection process will be required for the vast majority of staff. Most staff will be slotted into the new structure.
In addition the following provisions have been made:
  • The revised proposal will be subjected to an externally conducted Equality Impact Assessment
  • Current part-time and flexible working arrangements have been guaranteed
  • The timeline for implementation has been extended until September 2017
  • Secondments will be reviewed and evaluated as whether they can be considered as a ‘permanent’ positions for the purposes of post-matching
  • Technology solutions will be subjected to rigorous testing, and an evaluation of their capacity to provide efficiency savings will be undertaken. This will take place prior to the reduction in staffing which will be achieved through VR
  • A stakeholder engagement exercise will be undertaken
Given the above, we believe that we have secured the majority of provisions which we sought as part of our response to the consultation.

The exceptions to the ‘no selection’ provisions are likely to be staff being considered for posts at Level 8a, who will be required to demonstrate competency tests. We have secured assurance from senior management that affected employees will be supported through training and development should these not be met, and will be provided with in-job training and trailing. We therefore believe that ultimately all those affected wishing to continue at this level will be able to do so.

There is also a possibility that a very small handful of staff currently employed between levels 5 and 7 may have to be subjected to a selection process. This will be purely for the purposes of determining post allocation. Ultimately we hope that this does not need to take place. 

Finally we wanted to speak about VR. The current number of applications is 75, which exceeds the numbers of WTE post reductions. This number is in addition to a number of resignations and it will therefore not be possible for the organisation to approve all of the applications that have been made.

We are aware that some members had queries surrounding their VR applications following the HET bulletin which was circulated recently. To clarify: if you have special extenuating circumstances pertinent to your VR application which you have either not detailed on your application, or which have arisen since you made your application, then you will be afforded an opportunity to do this following the release of the management response to consultation. You are welcome to do this immediately, if you so wish, by contacting HR. If you would prefer it if we did this on your behalf then we are happy to.

We believe that the undertakings that we have secured from senior management provides an acceptable way forward that means that no-one will be made compulsorily redundant and that most members will not be subjected to a selection process. Our requests for additional measures around the timeline, technology reviews, equality impact assessment and protection of part-time and flexible working have also been incorporated. 

The deadline for us to provide any additional comments to management is next Thursday (6 October) and so we would welcome any thoughts that you may have on this which we may be able to pass on.

We also understand that members may have queries about their individual circumstances given the information we have provided in this correspondence. We are, of course, more than happy to answer any such questions you may have. Please email us on

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