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Branch Hardship Fund information 2020

Please read the guidelines document and then complete the form below, completed forms with scanned pay slips should be emailed to ucu-hardship-applications@open.ac.uk.

Local Hardship fund guidelines – updated 19th February 2020

Local Hardship fund application form wave 1 – November/December 2019 action

Local Hardship fund application form wave 2 – February/March 2020 action

For the November/December industrial action deductions were (against our request) taken in one lot in January 2020 salary. Applications will be therefore open until April 2020 for this industrial action.

We are hoping to get the Feb/March action deductions split but if not anticipate them being taken in the April pay.

Members should look at the UCU Fighting Fund rules as well as the local scheme to determine what overall support may be available to them.

Indeed, we anticipate for someone making a claim for both funds anyone earning less than £40,000 a year your full gross deduction will be covered. If you feel you need help but not the full amount you are eligible for consider applying for only the national fighting fund, applying for less days or making a donation to one of the funds.

Donation information

If you want to donate to our Branch Hardship fund then please send an email to ucu@open.ac.uk pledging the amount you wish to donate, or you can make a bank payment to this account:
Sort code: 60 83 01 and Account number: 20392138

Or you can post a cheque payable to "UCU the Open University LA064 Hardship fund" to the UCU Office, Room 015, Wilson C Block, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA.

OU branch UCU Local Hardship Fund Q&A

Q. Will UCU be able to support me financially, if I take part in strike action and face hardship as a result?

A. Yes. With two waves of strike action of 8 and 14 days, the local branch and national UCU appreciates that for some members this is just not a financial loss they can afford to take in full. This branch is also strongly committed to giving financial support to prevent hardship for members taking strike action. Those who need financial assistance can access both a national UCU fighting fund, and a local OU branch hardship scheme.

Q. When should I expect the deductions to be taken from my salary?

A. For this second wave of action we are asking for deductions to be split over several months, however if not, we are expecting deductions to be taken in April.

Q. What will I be able to claim from the UCU national fighting fund?

A. The national fighting fund works as follows:
•    members taking strike action who earn under £30,000 gross per annum can claim up to £75 per day, from the second day of action taken (up to a maximum of £1100 over both waves).
•    members taking strike action who earn £30,000 or over gross per annum can claim up to £50 per day, from the third day of action taken (up to a maximum of £800 over both waves).

Q. What will I be able to claim from the local OU branch hardship fund?

A. Members can apply to the local OU branch hardship fund on top of the national scheme.  The branch hardship fund works as follows:
•    members taking strike action who earn under £30,000 gross per annum can claim up to an additional £75 per day, from the second day of action taken
•    members earning over £30,000 gross per annum can claim up to an additional £75 per day, from the third day of action taken

Q. What rules will apply to the both the national and local schemes?

A. For both schemes:
•    applications can only be made after the deductions have been made
•    evidence will be required in the form of a payslip showing the deductions
•    the total amount paid out across in the national scheme will be no higher than the deductions actually made for the days that funding is available (day 2 or day 3 onwards), for the local scheme is the total deduction made for all days.

For the local hardship fund, members are expected to have already applied to the national fighting fund first.

Q. Does the rule for claiming from day two/three apply to the second wave of action?

A. For the local branch if you took part in the action in Nov/Dec you will be eligible from day one of the new Feb/March action. We are waiting for clarification on this point for the national fighting fund.

Q. Is the funding from the fighting and hardship funds taxable?

A. No, the funding is not taxable, and does not need to be declared as income.

Q. What happens if the OU refunds strike deductions?

A. In this scenario as a branch we would ask that you return back to us any funds from the hardship fund within 3 month of the OU refunding strike deductions. You will not be required to return funding from the fighting fund but can choose to make a donation instead.

Q. What can I do now to make sure I am eligible to claim financial support?

A. Payments from both schemes are dependent on the member paying the current UCU subscription rate for their salary. If you think you might need to apply for financial support it is essential that you check as soon as possible that you are paying the correct subscription rate for the contract you currently have.  You can do this here at MyUCU: https://bit.ly/2Oz7YP.  In particular this may affect anyone who has changed their salary band or working hours since they joined UCU. This includes ALs, whose correct rate must reflect all modules for which they are currently contracted.  

Q. Who will be involved in handling claims to the local OU branch hardship fund?

A. All applications to the local hardship scheme will be anonymised by the branch administrator before being put before a UCU branch sub-committee, including the Treasurer and Equalities Officer, for decision. No personally identifiable details of any member will be made available to the sub-committee.

 

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