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December, 2016:

Bath UCU AGM 2016 Policy Motions

Members voted on four policy motions at our quorate AGM on Wednesday 14th December. The motions, detailed below, covered a range of topics: Welcoming Refugees to Bath, boycotts of the NSS and TEF, the loss of confidence in the Remuneration Committee over VC Pay, and affiliation to ‘Bath for Europe’. All motions were discussed and passed.

Motion 1: International students & Refugee Scholarships [Passed]

Bath SU has recently adopted a policy of support for international students in the form of scholarships for refugees who wish to study at Bath. Bath UCU expresses its full support for the SU policy. The policy includes an action for “SU Officers on University Senate submit a proposal and request a vote that ‘refugees are welcomed to the university through provision of scholarships'”. The branch will encourage members of UCU sitting on Senate to support this motion. The policy also references plans by students and staff to launch a crowdfund with the aim of opening up access to Higher Education for refugees. The branch encourages all members to contribute to the fund and will match the first £500 of contributions from members.

Motion 2: Boycott of the TEF and NSS [Passed]

In agreement with national UCU policy on supporting NUS opposition to the TEF and NSS, the local association offers its full support to Bath SU in its policy of joining twenty other students’ unions in supporting a boycott of NSS and the TEF. These measures are detrimental to higher education and staff and students are united in opposition to them. We encourage UCU members to support Bath SU in practical measures to end TEF and NSS and to take part in national action in support of these aims.

Motion 3: Fair Pay & University Remuneration Committee [Passed]

The local association notes the policy position taken by the University of Bath SU on transparency and fairness in staff and senior management pay, in particular the policy of rejecting use of Zero Hours Contracts, limiting executive pay to five times that of the lowest paid member of staff and the expression of no confidence in the remuneration committee. Staff have also lost confidence in the committee. We offer our full support to the SU in working towards the objective of transparent and fair pay for university staff and senior managers. In order to restore confidence, the remuneration committee must include democratically elected staff and student representatives and should be required to publish proper minutes and a list of Key Performance Indicators used to justify executive salaries.

Motion 4: Bath for Europe [Passed]

Bath UCU still believes that some form of membership of EU institutions is crucial for higher education and the success of Universities such as Bath. It therefore agrees to become an associate member of Bath for Europe (BfE) which is affiliated to Britain for Europe: a federation of local groups campaigning for the UK to remain in, or close to EU membership. The link with BfE will entitle UCU representatives to attend BfE events and propose its specific concerns for inclusion in BfE campaigns. In return, Bath UCU will keep its members informed of news, developments and events led by BfE. https://bathforeurope.com

National Student Survey – UCU supports NUS boycott

At our AGM this week, members of Bath UCU gave unanimous support to Bath Students’ Union which has joined the growing move to boycott the National Student Survey (NSS). The background is laid out below in the branch motion and a message from our General Secretary. Branch Officers will now invite Officers of the SU to discuss how members of Bath UCU can best support the student boycott.

UCU has prepared resources, including posters and an FAQ for members. These are available from the national union website.

Bath UCU AGM 2016 – Motion 2: TEF and NSS [Passed]

In agreement with national UCU policy on supporting NUS opposition to the TEF and NSS, the local association offers its full support to Bath SU in its policy of joining twenty other students’ unions in supporting a boycott of NSS and the TEF. These measures are detrimental to higher education and staff and students are united in opposition to them. We encourage UCU members to support Bath SU in practical measures to end TEF and NSS and to take part in national action in support of these aims.

Message to members from Sally Hunt, UCU General Secretary

As many of you will be aware our ally the National Union of Students (NUS) has called a boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS). The boycott covers all institutions where NSS is distributed and includes higher education (HE) courses that take place within further education (FE) institutions. The NUS boycott will begin in some institutions from 6 January 2017.

The NUS boycott is in furtherance of their policy that the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which itself uses NSS data, should be decoupled by the government from any increases in tuition fees.

Like UCU, NUS has a long standing policy of raising concerns about the NSS both in terms of its positioning of students as passive customers and in its use for internal performance management.

UCU is working closely with NUS, reflecting our longstanding relationship. In line with our own policies we will give full support, within the law, to NUS’s campaign. I have agreed a joint statement with Malia Bouattia the president of NUS

The practicality of how and when the boycott is to be implemented may differ between student unions. UCU and NUS have therefore agreed that our branches and local unions should seek to reach a joint position on the campaign locally in order to maximise support.

We are working closely with NUS on materials both for students and staff in support of our joint work and these will be available for download in this Friday’s campaigns update email.

You can view the NUS campaign page here.

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts have posted a further explanation of the NSS boycott strategy on their website.