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Motions passed at branch meetings

Motions passed by the branch

The newest motions are at the top of this page with the oldest at the bottom.

OU UCU motions passed by the OU Branch of UCU General meeting on 8 March 2017

This meeting believes that well managed change has always been and will always remain fundamental to the Open University’s success. However, this meeting is concerned that the University has recently undertaken too much change too quickly with negative consequences, and is currently vulnerable to risks from further imposed or badly managed change:

  • student support has already been threatened by the implementation of GTP, and any further dilution of the student-tutor link risks damaging the quality of our students’ education;
  • valuable expertise and knowledge has already been lost with the closure of the regional centres, and will no longer be available to support students through the unpredictable consequences of further fundamental change;
  • staff are at breaking point from excessive workloads, constant fire-fighting and change fatigue, and further fundamental redesign may impact their ability to respond;
  • 77% of staff surveyed have no confidence in the VCE.
  • re-design may threaten or further delay the much needed new contract for AL staff.

This meeting instructs the OU UCU Executive to take all necessary actions to ensure that the OU Redesign review is sufficiently thorough and well managed to avoid damaging students, staff and the University, and the quality of the education we offer. This should include, but is not restricted to:
  • demanding the protection of staff welfare as a key priority;
  • demanding the strengthening of the named-tutor-student link, as the fundamental cornerstone of student support;
  • demanding and negotiating substantial and comprehensive staff consultation to ensure the review recommendations are well-founded and incorporate a thorough assessment of both the opportunities and the threats to the University, based on the full breadth of operational expertise;
  • demanding and negotiating protection for staff terms and conditions and working conditions, and a clear and unequivocal commitment to a culture of respect and partnership between management and staff at all levels;
  • demanding that management confirm their commitment to a new AL contract as a key current priority and to avoiding further slippage in its timescale;
  • demanding complete transparency of the OU Redesign processes and all outcomes as delivered to management;
  • requesting the detailed brief provided to KPMG for the OU Redesign be made available in full, now, along with the KPMG response to the brief;
  • requesting details of all current KPMG recommendations to the university from current and recent consultancy processes;
  • requesting details of all expenditure to KPMG and other consultants currently employed on such "change" projects;
  • requesting that management agree there will be only one OU Redesign report, and that it will be delivered to management and staff concurrently.

Proposed by: Kate Servant, Bruce Heil on behalf of the UCU branch executive committee
Seconded by: Lesley Kane

OU UCU motions passed by the OU Branch of UCU General meeting on 8 March 2017
Motion 1 - a motion proposed for UCU HE Sector Conference
Covert variable hours contracts
Conference reaffirms the view of 2014 Congress that all contracts that do not guarantee minimum hours or a minimum quantity of paid work are zero hours contracts.

Conference also believes that minimum hours are not "guaranteed" if the contract allows the employer to reduce hours below the minimum without mutual agreement or a redundancy process, and that a minimum must be an ongoing minimum rather than a percentage of the previous year's hours.

Conference resolves that all purported FTE or fractional contracts containing clauses allowing the employer to reduce hours and pay should not be considered fixed FTE contracts, but should be judged against policy, guidance and criteria for variable hours contracts. They should also be considered zero hours contracts if there is no genuinely guaranteed minimum.

Conference asks the HEC to ensure that this is reflected in HE ratification checklists and guidance and make sure it is widely known.

Proposed by: Lesley Kane
Seconded by: Caitlin Adams

OU UCU motions passed by the OU Branch of UCU Annual General meeting on 16 November 2016
Motion 1
This Branch AGM deplores the way that management ignored the advice and warnings of staff regarding the impact of GTP and closure of regional centres.

The branch notes that as a result of the GTP implementation failure that staff throughout the university have had to take on extra workload to resolve problems to the benefit of students.

The branch meeting requests that Council instructs management to not engage in any future changes when Senate has indicated that the changes will result in damage to the student experience and the reputation of the OU.

The Branch further requests that a joint meeting of Senate and Council be called to discuss the recent leadership and policy failures and to agree a way forward for decision making in the institution that will ensure a failure like this does not occur again.
Proposed by: Bruce Heil
Seconded by Judy Ekins

Motion 2
The meeting asks the executive committee to collectively issue a statement about, and carries out a vote of no confidence in the current VCE, in relation to ongoing operational and strategic challenges in the Open University. The vote relates to the actions of the VCE which have affected the quality of tuition provision to students, have strained the goodwill of staff and damaged the reputation of the university

Proposed by: Chris Douce
Seconded by: John James

Motion 3
This meeting believes that events of the last 18 months indicate that a deep divide, which may be unbridgeable, has opened up between the leadership of the university and those who keep the OU functioning in the front line.
This meeting believes that decisions taken over Locations and the Group Tuition will continue to impact negatively on the university.
This meeting also notes that government policy and the HE Bill are likely to create further problems for the OU.
This meeting asks the incoming executive committee to take whatever steps are necessary and feasible to defend staff and prevent further damage.
Proposed by: Lesley Kane
Seconded by: Bruce Heil

OU UCU motions passed by the OU Branch of UCU branch meeting on 29 March 2016
Jeremy Corbyn and Education policy (intended for UCU HE Sector Conference)
Conference welcomes the election of Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leader. His victory represents a welcome shift in the UK political landscape.

We applaud Corbyn's contribution to UCU's third Cradle to Grave conference and to UCU's 2015 Casualised Staff annual meeting. In particular we welcome his commitment to education as a human right, and his opposition to zero hours contracts.

Conference reiterates that coalition and Conservative policies have damaged higher education, by seeking to turn it into a market commodity at the expense of equality of opportunity, and that this has especially impacted on the number of part-time mature students in HE.

HE Conference asks UCU to engage with Jeremy Corbyn and his allies with the aim of formulating policies to re-establish the right to Higher Education for people of all ages.

Conference believes that good quality Higher Education requires secure contracts and decent terms and conditions for all HE staff, and that these things must be part of any serious attempt to repair the damage caused to HE in recent years.
Proposer: Lesley Kane

OU UCU motions passed by the OU Branch of UCU branch meeting on 29 March 2016
No to Trident renewal (suggested for UCU Congress)
Congress notes that while the government pushes through austerity they are set to spend billions on Trident renewal.
These weapons of mass destruction could cause the end of life on Earth if used and come at a vast cost - an initial 20 billion but at least 100 billion over its planned 30 year lifespan.
Recently the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said Trident renewal could cost 167billion!
Congress believes that this is money that should be spent on vital public services like education, including ending tuition fees.
Consequently, Congress supports Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s stand against the use of nuclear weapons and the renewal of Trident.
Congress resolves to affiliate to CND.
Proposer: Lesley Kane

OU UCU motion passed by the OU Branch of UCU AGM on 18 November 2015
Motion 1 - a late motion submitted on the basis of recent events
This GM notes that Council will decide on November 24 whether to support Management's proposal to close 7 English Regional centres.
This GM notes that should that happen then a rolling campaign of action is planned by UCU members within the OU.
This GM urges the National Executive of UCU support the action of UCU members at the OU by calling for a national day of action, a lobby of parliament around the early day motion and an urgent meeting with the shadow HE minister to secure the support of the parliamentary Labour Party.
Proposed: Bruce Heil
Seconded: Lesley Kane

OU UCU motion passed by the OU Branch of UCU Branch meeting on 23 September 2015
This GM deplores the proposed closure of 7 English Regional centres with a potential loss of up to 500 experienced and dedicated staff. We believe this proposal if implemented will have a long lasting negative impact on the experience of students as the centres targeted for closure potentially haemorrhage experienced staff leaving new and inexperienced staff to pick up the pieces.

This GM calls on all OU UCU members to support the campaign to retain the centres.

This GM calls on the NEC and HEC to support the campaign and ask other UCU branches to provide solidarity support include, petitions, motions, letters to MPs, and delegations to OU centres threatened with closure.

This GM calls on the NEC and HEC to support a rally of members in Milton Keynes in November prior to final decision being made.

This GM authorises the branch executive to begin the necessary consultation with members prior to a ballot for action.

Proposed by Bruce Heil
Seconded by Lesley Kane

OU UCU motion passed by the OU Branch of UCU Branch meeting on 23 September 2015
This branch is conscious of the problems caused to our members, with portfolio careers, by the USS rule, which requires members to retire from all USS type work, before they can claim their USS pension. This affects our part time Associate Lecturer members, who have another employment contract within an HE institution, from which they wish to retire. In order to claim their USS pension, when they retire from their substantive employment, they are forced to give up their OU tutoring work. They cannot retire flexibly, as they would wish, by continuing with their part time OU AL work. This also similarly effects OU staff who have part time work with the OU or other HE institutions.

This branch calls upon UCU to negotiate a rule change with USS, to allow flexible retirement for members who have more than one HE employment contract, allowing them to retire from one employment contract and draw their USS pension, whilst continuing their other part time employment.
Proposed by Judy Ekins
Seconded by: Lesley Kane