Update on MAB response, and Call for nominations to join Branch Committee AGM 7 June

Dear Kingston UCU Members,

Thank you for your support throughout the year and in our current marking and assessment boycott (MAB). We write to you with an update on this current action, what we’re doing locally, and how you can respond to requests for MAB participation. We also hope to see you all at our Annual General Meeting at 3:00pm on 07 June 2023.

Please see all details below, and join us on Slack to stay informed and support Kingston UCU.

Kingston UCU MAB Response

Branch Committee have been contacted by members across KU expressing serious concerns regarding their treatment by line managers and other senior members of staff. Last week we wrote to our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Human Resources (HR), outlining our concerns regarding their behaviour, restating the Union’s position in support of its members, and requiring that the University meet with us to discuss how best to resolve these issues.

As UCU members, you are not obligated to declare your future intentions regarding participation in the MAB. Members are free to enter (or leave) the MAB at any point after 20 April 2023, and should only state honestly what actions they have taken in the past, if asked directly by HR or a line manager. If you would be marking to a deadline for return of marks, for example, then this would be the date the Union considers that you would enter the MAB. Up until this point, an agreement could have potentially been reached in our ongoing negotiations, and the MAB ended, thus providing members the natural opportunity to complete and return all marking and assessments.

Requests for staff to declare any future intentions specifically regarding MAB participation are viewed as intrusive and intimidatory, and where it appears that our members are being singled out, this has the potential to constitute discrimination against a trade union member – an issue that we take extremely seriously.

We therefore advise you to respond to requests for declarations of intent ahead of any deadlines, or similar requests / assurances regarding meeting marking deadlines, with the following:

I/We are aware that the Kingston UCU branch committee has on Friday 12 May 2023, written to the SLT & HR requesting a meeting to address the issues raised in your request and other issues relating to industrial action. I/We support Kingston UCU in expressing concerns over the behaviour of management towards staff, which in many cases is causing stress and anxiety, and is counterproductive towards the long-term sustainability of a fair and collegiate working environment. 

I/ We therefore have decided that any further response to you will come as a result of the meeting between Kingston UCU and SLT. Kingston UCU branch committee represents its members through lawful, democratic decision making processes and actions. I/We ask that you respect their collective authority and refrain from requesting further declarations of intent at this time.

MAB Support

Kingston UCU are holding daily support meetings on Zoom, Monday to Friday 10am, to help members with specific concerns, and to share ideas and information. You can join using the link on our Linktree page, where you will also find more information about the MAB. Or use the Zoom link here:

Please also join Kingston UCU on Slack, to ask questions and stay up to date with branch activities and resources:

Support and information is also available from UCU central. We welcome the recent announcement of UCU’s central defence fund of £250,000, which you can read more about here. In addition, UCU central has further guidance, tools, and templates for the MAB here.

Kingston UCU Annual General Meeting & Call for Nominations

With the higher education sector still under threat of redundancies, unsafe workloads, casualistion, and devalued pay & pensions, our resolve to address these issues has never been stronger. Please join us to discuss these and other issues affecting our members. We will hold our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 07 June 2023, 3pm on Zoom.

The agenda for the AGM is as follows:

  1. Branch committee nominations
  2. Update on current MAB, and future industrial action
  3. Finance report and local hardship fund
  4. Branch communications
  5. AOB

Our Kingston UCU branch committee members are committed to supporting you in fighting for equality. We know that members are being adversely affected both by events outside the University such as the ongoing cost of living crisis, as well as changes within the University such as the Townhouse strategy. To support our members with these challenges, we want to continue to build a strong and effective branch, reflecting our membership and its range of skills and experiences.

You can play a part in this by joining the Kingston UCU branch committee! In advance of our AGM on 07 June 2023, we are now inviting nominations to the Kingston UCU branch committee. There are a range of committee positions available, all of which have facilities time attached. These are funds which you can use to buy out teaching, through discussion with your line manager. See below role descriptions.

Role sharing is welcome, where members would like to split roles. You are also welcome to propose new roles. Suggestions, nominations, and self-nominations are welcome for all roles:  Nomination Form 2023

All nomination forms should be returned by 5pm on Friday 02 June, to the Returning Officer, Maggie Gray at m.gray@kingston.ac.uk.

We would love to have as many people as possible involved in the branch committee! If you have any queries about the roles or the process, please drop us an email, or join us on Slack.

Best wishes,

KU UCU Branch Committee

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