Motion to Reading UCU: Branch Democracy

RUCU (representing grades 6 and above in collective consultation) is the recognised trade union that can come to agreement with the University in relation to the proposed cuts. We are concerned there have been serious breaches of process within RUCU, that undermine democracy because they present members with misleading, incorrect and incomplete information on which to base democratic decisions. We present some such recent breaches, in good faith in the expectation that their exposure will allow the serious democratic deficit to be rectified.

This branch thanks and supports branch negotiators and recognises their appointment under local rule 7.4 “Where there is one Branch/LA in the institution, the committee shall elect (from among its own members) a Negotiating Committee to conduct negotiations.”

This branch notes that management have previously presented misleading modelling as the basis for the consultation and recognises the need for extended consultation to avoid premature changes to pay, terms and conditions. In a couple of months, student numbers for 2020/21 will be known. Members wish to be kept informed of different viewpoints, discuss these viewpoints and help inform the progress on negotiations. In the past, when meetings were in person, informal discussions often began before, and continued after, the official meeting had taken place and this was a good thing for democracy and building consensus.

The University management is at an advantage while staff are working from home and have no forum for communication and discussion. Online meetings should be used to increase the ability for members to discuss amongst themselves.

This branch requests that

1) Branch meetings are held on a fortnightly basis and negotiators should report on progress of negotiations. There should be sufficient time and information provided to members ahead of these meetings.

2) The timing, duration and agenda of such meetings should be determined by the committee as a whole.

3) During the summer period, any decisions that may be taken by committee should be reviewed by the branch meeting.

4) Members have an opportunity to speak during all meetings to question as part of an open discussion. They are also entitled to make suggestions to amend motions.

5) The chat function should be available to all members at all branch meetings, including the current one.

6) The Zoom meetings should be open to members for informal discussion for half an hour before and half an hour after the official meeting slot.

Proposed: Cherilyn Elston

Seconded: Rachel Newton