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July 13th, 2021:

UCU Congress 2021 – Motion Results

https://www.ucu.org.uk/Congress2021

UCU Congress 2021 took place over the May Bank Holiday and into half-term. Thanks to Marianne O’Doherty, Bea Gardner and Denis Nicole for representing the branch alongside Claire Le Foll and Lucy Watson. Again, it really was a team effort.

In full conference (29th and 31st May) 270 delegates were sent a unique voting link. 231 delegates voted. In HESC (2nd June) 191 delegates were sent a unique voting link. 164 delegates voted. The Conference was held online, but this time there was added security and the webinar mode was used. This meant that no spontaneous interventions could occur, and all speakers had to be invited in. Although we understand the challenges of holding such large meetings online and the UCU staff and elected officers chairing the meetings did a fantastic job, it must be acknowledged that managing conference in this way stifles debate and makes for a very ‘dry’ experience for delegates. There is also the added complication that voting is not synchronous. Separate voting links for amendments and motions were sent out after the close of conference.

Our branch was able to canvass members’ view in advance on the key issues surrounding the Four Fights dispute and USS, and we had extensive discussions within executive committee around the more controversial motions, including ones which focused on the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. All delegates voted in accordance with the views of the branch where there was a clear steer from members.

Congress motions

Delegates voted for most motions which carried, except for the IHRA motions (12, 13 and 14) where these motions appeared to contradict each other. Delegates voted against 13 and 14 but for motion 12, with 12A.1. Motions 12 (as amended) 13, and L3 carried and 14 was remitted to be considered at NEC. Motions 13 and L3, carry references to BRICUP and thus, to an Israel boycott.

A full report of Congress motions may be found here:
https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/11576/Congress-Motions/pdf/Voting_report_Congress_29and31.05.21_1.pdf

HESC motions

The motion on electronic voting was lost. The motion to reject the UCEA offer for 21-22 (HE3), enter into dispute, and ‘organise towards the possibility of balloting’ passed. The motion to develop a timetable to ballot for industrial action over the unfinished ‘four fights’ campaign (20-21 claim) (HE5) passed. A number of USS motions were passed, some of which cancel parts of the others out, and some of which may or may not have much of an impact (replace USS as trustee; initiate legal action against USS). The key one which passed and was mentioned in the branch AGM (23rd June) is HE12, which commits branches to a summer ballot for escalating industrial action in the autumn if employers won’t join UCU in calling on USS and the pension regulator to cancel the 2020 valuation. Since then, HEC have agreed to hold a special conference on the 9th September where important decisions will be made about the future of the campaign. We will contact members with more details when we have them.

By a margin of 62 to 56, HESC also carried motion HE13 to scrap two of the principles for negotiation on USS from the report accepted in HE11 (explore conditional benefits and additional covenant support); this also instructs negotiators to focus on demands to set aside the valuation and preserve members’ benefits and contribution levels. HESC also voted to declare all current industrial disputes to be of national significance (HE 21), remove requirements for consultative ballots before industrial action, and allow academic Boycott and Censure to be declared immediately on request of the branch.

A full report of HE Congress motions may be found here:
https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/11578/HE-Motions/pdf/Voting_report_HE_sector_conf_02.06.21_2.pdf