Boosting our campaign for fair pay

This conference will likely agree our union’s approach to pay negotiations for the coming year. Whatever the finer detail of our pay claim, if we are to be effective in making our demands, we need to place ordinary UNISON members and Higher Education workers at the centre of our campaign. From the very start of […]

Fighting for a £10 an hour minimum level of pay

Conference notes that there is a lot of money to be made out of Higher Education – just look at the expansion of obscenely high salaries for our Vice-Chancellors and executive managers, and the large reserves held by many universities. If you’re a cleaner, caterer, or receptionist however, you don’t get a fair share of […]

Fair Work convention in Scottish Campuses

Conference recognises that there is a commonality in the Scottish Higher Education system which has now been acknowledged by the Scottish Trade Unions (STUC), National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland and Universities Scotland with the creation of a forum where representatives from all three bodies meet to discuss issues of common interest. Scottish Higher Education […]

Inclusive workplace policies

Conference celebrates UNISON’s work over the past 25 years to promote women’s equality and participation and to tackle sexism and sex discrimination at work, in our union and across society. Like other service groups, the Higher Education Service Group Executive (HESGE) has a majority of women members and our rules and practices to encourage women’s […]

Supporting members with mental health problems

Conference is aware of the increasing need to support members who are experiencing either short or long-term mental health conditions. Despite the good work already being done by branches in enacting conference policies – such as encouraging employers to sign up to Time to Change, or become Mindful employers – there is a great deal […]

Higher Education Service Group Executive Pay Motion 2019/20

The continuing erosion of the pay of higher education support staff is a stain on the sector and flies in the face of assurances by employers that they value their workers. It is scandalous that the Government’s national living wage is approaching the bottom of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES) pay […]

University Sponsorship of Academies in England

It is a matter of public concern that as a result of the Education Act 2011 in the UK Parliament, we have witnessed the acceleration of the programme to convert local authority primary and secondary schools into academies. The failings of the academy project have been widely reported and at times have scandalised the notion […]

Campaigning Against the Marketisation of Higher Education in England

Higher education as a public service has been and is increasingly under threat from profit-driven vultures encouraged by an ideological obsession that dictates that private interests should always triumph over common ownership and cooperation. Attempts by the current and previous governments to introduce market forces and competition into the public services is nothing new to […]

Outsourced Workers in Higher Education Institutions

Conference notes that outsourcing in universities and higher education institutions is on the rise. While some see this as a money saving exercise, it is not. It is unethical, promotes bad and unfair working practices. Some research has shown that outsourcing can push up student fees, making it unfair on staff and students. The aim […]

Defined Benefit Pensions in WET sectors

Conference notes with concern the terrible situation faced by pensioners in Carillion’s pension schemes, following the collapse of the company with a huge pension deficit outstanding. Conference further notes that Carillion paid high levels of executive and director pay, and bonuses, and substantial dividends to shareholders, while not addressing the deficits in its pension schemes. […]

Potential impact on jobs in water, environment and transport of the Government’s 25 year environment plan

Conference notes the publication in early 2018 of the Government’s 25 year Environment Plan. Environmental stakeholders welcomed its publication, and the long-term vision which it suggested, but were concerned that there were very few concrete policy and legislative measures contained within it. Conference shares these concerns, in particular over the lack of measures that would […]

Automation, artificial intelligence and robotics in the Water Industry

Conference notes that water and wastewater companies will be including increased use of automation, artificial intelligence and robotics in their business plans for AMP7 (PR19) that they will be submitting to Ofwat. Surveys of senior executives in various industries show that organisations believe the combination of humans and machine intelligence will create a more effective, […]

Protecting members’ jobs through assuring good environmental standards following E U exit (Brexit)

Conference recognises that after the UK’s departure from the EU, the European Commission will no longer fulfil the vital function of overseeing and assuring the UK Government’s legislative and policy efforts to maintain and improve our environment. It notes that DEFRA Secretary of State, Michael Gove has proposed a new UK-based body to fulfil this […]

Use of consultants and day-rate contractors in the Water Industry

Conference notes that water and wastewater companies are increasingly using very expensive consultants and contractors – some on day-rates as high as £1,000 or more. This is especially prevalent in the run up to each five-yearly Price Review, the current one being towards PR19. The reasons given by the companies include: a. the low number […]

Stress in call centres and operational centres

Conference notes that many water, environment agency and transport (WET) service group members work in call centres and operational centres where they take calls from operational colleagues and customers. While most callers are reasonable, there is always a proportion that are unreasonable and some who are extremely abusive. In workplaces with generally high levels of […]