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Branch meeting Wednesday the 22nd (13:15 in 3E 3.5) January 20 @ 13:15 – 14:15

Branch meeting Wednesday the 22nd (13:15 in 3E 3.5)
January 20 @ 13:15 – 14:15

A meeting has been called for Wednesday the 22nd (12:15 in 3E 3.5) and is already in your Outlook Calendars. You will be able, here, to hear from (and question) Theo and Mesar who were our delegates to the USS Special Conference and Michael who sits on the HEC itself. Alongside this, I will also be circulating a basic questionnaire to members at the start of next week that will provide a means via which we can collect and collate feedback to form the basis of the representation to HEC.

If you have any specific questions, please if possible attend Wednesday’s meeting. For further information on the ongoing disputes see the correspondence from the General Secretary in recent weeks, which can be found HERE. I do recommend reading through the reports.

Further information below:

A special meeting of the Higher Education Committee (HEC) will meet on January the 30th to discuss in relation to ongoing and future industrial action. The elected reps who make up the HEC have three key decisions to make and the purpose of this email is to initiate a process of consultation with members so that we can provide feedback ahead of this meeting that is representative of branch members’ views.

In December, a special USS conference was held, which passed a series of motions (these can be found HERE – of key importance is Motion 4). This conference proposed a further 14 days of strike action, starting from the 20th of February (the proposed dates are 20,21, 24, 25, 26 of Feb and 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of March) if no conclusion could be reached in the current dispute and further industrial ballots in all USS branches, should there be no conclusion to the current dispute within the current six-month window for industrial action (thus extending the mandate till October). Any reballoting would coincide with the start of the strike action.

These strike dates and the possible reballoting have not been officially decided at this point, as both are incumbent upon the decision of our elected reps on the HEC at the January 30th meeting. The HEC is the only body that can officially call industrial action. When making their decision, the HEC will obviously have to take very serious regard to Motion 4, linked to above, because it presents them with a mandate to call the aforementioned actions on USS. They will also, of course, consider developments that have taken place in negotiations over USS since the sector conference met, such as the JEP2 report and response.

At this meeting, HEC will also consider whether to schedule further action on pay, and if so, when and how much. There has been no equivalent meeting of sector conference for this dispute and therefore HEC does not have a comparable direct mandate provided to it as with USS. There has also not been any formal mechanism for members and branches to have a say about the scheduling of action.

The period leading up the 30th of January is therefore an important opportunity for the branch to consult with members on the ongoing disputes, planned actions, and current status of negotiations. In doing so, the aim would be to form a collective opinion that can be communicated to the HEC with the aim of helping them make their decisions in two weeks time. Formally, such a representation to the HEC could be simply based on the collective view of the branch committee, however, at this week’s committee meeting there was agreement that any representation should be reflective of the branch membership as a whole.

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