Excessive Workloads

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2014 Higher Education Service Group Conference
8 November 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that in this current climate of Government cuts resulting in a reduction to services and jobs, professional support staff are experiencing many challenges within the workforce.

Since 2008 government funding cuts have become more savage; ministers have publicly called for more to be done for less across the entire public sector and specifically in higher education.

Higher Education has suffered waves of redundancies, and re-structures attributed to the funding cuts leaving the fewer staff that remains to do more.

There has probably never been a time when excessive workloads and working hours in higher education has been a bigger or more relevant issue to as many UNISON members as now.

Conference we can only assume that the pressure on members to accept onerous, excessive, and un-safe workloads will grow even more.

Conference believes that the workload problem is responsible for a rise in stress related illnesses amongst professional support staff.

Excessive workloads are the single most common factor that members reported making a very high contribution to unacceptable levels of stress.

Universities already rely heavily on the good will and commitment of its staff, and we take pride in delivering a good service. Furthermore, we all have an interest in seeing the universities live within its means, but that should not mean forever taking on more work to help universities out of difficulty.

Conference therefore instructs the Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) to:

1)Investigate the extent to which workloads are increasing and the causes of these increases and to come forward with proposals to support members to reverse this trend.

2)Liaise with the NEC to raise awareness of the problems and provide advice and recommendations on how to deal with the overloading of work that is requested by line managers;

3)Make Regional Higher Education Committees and Branches aware of the issues;

4)Find examples of where branches and regions have successfully challenged attempts to increase workloads, and disseminate this ‘good practice’ to the membership.