Democracy in the University – Encourage & Support

UNISON HE Conference Notes: a) That many universities have, or have had, elected staff positions on the “council” or board of governors / trustees. In Scotland, elected trade union reps are included in courts. b) That this small glimmer of worker democracy is relatively unusual compared to other sectors in the UK economy. c) That […]

Freedom of Speech is not an excuse for Hate Speech

Conference notes that the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act 2023 is seen as a tool to ‘safeguard’ free speech and academic freedom in universities. It places a responsibility on Higher Education Providers and Students’ Unions to actively promote freedom of speech, including making venues available to groups or speakers regardless of beliefs. This effectively […]

Reverse Visa Fee Increases

This conference notes that: On the 15th of September 2023, the House of Commons published a research briefing which explains that visas and related fees have risen significantly above inflation and above processing costs. Then, on the 18th of September, the Home Office officially announced 15-35% rises to visa fees, which took effect on the […]

Hormone/ Menopause Policy For Higher Education

Approximately 3.5 million women, trans and non-binary people across the UK workforce are going through the menopause. A House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee report published in October 2022 states that “51% of the population will experience menopause” and that “women of menopausal age are the fastest growing group in the workforce who are […]

A new start for Higher Education

Conference believes: 1)Higher Education is a crucial sector that can contribute to the wealth and happiness of all; 2)Solving the problems that confront society in the 21st century requires Higher Education to be funded and organised in the most efficient way; 3)Higher education should be well funded from general taxation with a public service ethos […]

Oppose Minimum Service Levels

Conference notes the passage of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023. Conference believes this Act represents a grave threat to unions’ ability to take effective strike action in the sectors of health, education services, fire and rescue, border security, and nuclear decommissioning. Conference notes the Government announced on 2 October 2023 that it intends […]

Organising young members in Higher Education following the age limit rule change

Conference notes the rule change passed at National Delegate Conference 2023 which raised the age limit for young members from all those aged 26 and under to all those aged 30 and under. Conference further notes that this roughly doubles the number of young members in UNISON, and is therefore a unique opportunity to build […]

Free car parking for disabled workers in higher education

Conference notes that disabled workers are entitled to reasonable adjustments to break down the barriers they face at work. However too many Higher Education employers continue to ignore requests for adjustments or to refuse them. Conference notes that case law has established that the provision of a dedicated car parking space can be a reasonable […]

Negotiating for mental health support

Conference notes that increased workloads in Higher Education, coupled with the impact of the pandemic, has seen an increase in staff experiencing mental health problems. Conference notes that workers with mental health problems which have a substantial impact on their normal day to day activities are likely to be disabled workers and entitled to protections […]

Fund our universities properly

Conference Notes: Public services have been systematically underfunded for years and Higher Education is not exempt from austerity and cutbacks. Whilst different funding systems operate across the four UK nations, delivering funding based on grants, tuition fee loans or both, what unites many Higher Education Institutions is that money is scarce and high inflation has […]

Bring outsourced services back in-house

Conference notes that On 1 August 2013, Ulster University outsourced its facilities services, i.e. cleaners, porters, security officers, mail room staff and all catering services which were transferred out to two companies, NOONAN Service Group and Mount Charles Catering. Staff were transferred to NOONAN and Mount Charles under TUPE. Anyone employed after 1 August 2013 […]

UNISON in students’ unions

Conference Notes: 1)UNISON in Higher Education represents staff in a range of roles and professions. This includes staff employed by Students’ Unions. 2)Students’ Union staff experience challenges of low pay, job insecurity and workload as much as any in the sector. 3)Students’ Unions, Associations and Guilds comprise a range of organisational structures which can create […]

Minimum Service Levels

Conference notes the continuing failure of the government to invest and maintain a wide variety of public services in the UK, with almost every institution showing signs of underinvestment in systems, infrastructure, and staffing. Most of the public services delivered by UNISON members are showing sign of this strain despite often heroic efforts to maintain […]

No Confidence in UCEA

For too many years now it seems that the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) are neither able nor willing to negotiate with the unions in good faith. It appears that perhaps UCEA is acting as an arm of the Conservative Government, representing year after year of increasingly austerity for staff working in Higher Education. […]

Fair Pay for Higher Education Staff in 2024-25

Higher Education pay has fallen behind. Since 2009 our pay has lost around 28% of its value as a result of successive below inflation cost-of-living rises, year on year. The extreme increase in prices during 2022 and 2023 has brought this to a crisis point, and UNISON members working in Higher Education are facing real […]