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August, 2020:

Changes to working conditions and health and safety

Dear Members,
Please find a report on the changes in our work conditions that have been communicated to UCU members via internal comms (and perhaps in some staff meetings).  The report is based on the survey results from last week, the Branch meeting held on 16th July and correspondence with individual members. Events have moved rapidly so some of the issues raised by members have been covered by more recent communications from our employers. For example, in the Internal Comms 05/08 staff were informed that the guidance on changes to working hours,  ‘….will be regularly reviewed and will remain in place whilst the University continues to operate an extended teaching day due to the COVID-19 pandemic.’
However, there remains substantial issues around demands on our members time, lack of detail around keeping us safe on campus, and the manner in which decisions are made and communicated by our employers. Whilst UCU is sympathetic to our employer’s efforts to keep staff and student’s safe during a global pandemic, we are worried about the consequences of poor engagement with staff in key decisions. The next year is going to be difficult for everyone, both in terms of workload and risks to health. Good will, collegiality and reciprocity are likely to be a key factors in navigating the uncertainties and anxieties facing all of us working at the University over the next 12 months or so.  
If you have further concerns or questions, please feel free to  get in touch with your local UCU representative,  the Branch Administrator – , or Branch Secretary, Kevin Paulson, .