Here’s our weekly update.  If you would like advice and support, please contact us at unison@leeds.ac.uk.  Please note, the Branch Office is still closed, so we are unable to pick up telephone calls.

  • Mental Health and Domestic Violence Support – We have updated our website with information relating to mental health support and domestic abuse support and information.  We hope that you find these resources useful should you need to use them.
  • Annual leave carryover – you may remember from previous updates that we have been asking the University to clarify carryover of leave to all staff.  An update to this effect should be included in this week’s Internal Comms email update, usually sent on Fridays.  To confirm, the University’s annual leave policy has not changed and all staff can request to carry over 5 days leave to the next leave year with agreement from their line manager and/or Head of Service.  If you are still receiving messages from management to say carryover of leave is not allowed this year, please let us know at unison@leeds.ac.uk . You can find the statement from the University on annual leave and carryover here
  • Gen Sec Nomination – Ballot papers for the General Secretary election will be posted next week, so please make sure your home postal address is up-to-date.  You can make changes to your details at My Unison.  The Branch nominated Paul Holmes as a candidate for General Secretary and our 100-word statement on this nomination is as follows:

The Branch Committee voted for Paul Holmes based on his detailed candidate statement as well as the answers he gave at the regionally organised hustings, his current position as a lay member of UNISON as a Branch Secretary, his commitment to increasing the funding of Branches, his promise to only take his current working wage as his salary (£32,000) and his strong commitment to fighting for members.  We are supportive of the prospect of change that Paul can deliver within UNISON’s leadership and how this will positively impact Branches and members. (91 words).

  • Pay Offer– this year, the employer offered a 0% pay freeze to all staff in HE.  This isn’t just a freeze; it is a pay cut: bills will increase this year but our wages will not.  UNISON and other HE trade unions are unwilling to accept this “offer” and so you will be contacted in the coming weeks to consult as to whether you would support strike action to push the employer to make a better offer.  To put our pay offer in context, here are some figures relating to pay offers this year in other sectors:

262 national pay bargaining deals this year are getting a better pay rise than us. Just 42 are seeing a pay freeze (cut) and none employ anywhere near the amount the HE sector does.

Lowest paid at Dept for Education are getting 8.4%
Council workers are all getting pay rises at different rates – seems to be 2% with more for the lowest paid. Northampton council are getting 4% and 6.2% for the lowest paid
Sport England are getting 2% despite no one being allowed to play sport
Police – 2.5%
DWP – 2.5%
Dentists – 2.8%
Scottish public sector generally is 3% with up to 4.1% for the lowest paid

In the private sector Home Bargains staff have had a 15% pay rise staggered for the next two years
Tata Steel 6.5%
G4S staff 6% across the board

We believe all staff in HE deserve a pay rise this year, especially when we consider all the hard work that staff have put in to keep the University running, from security staff working throughout the lockdown period, maintenance staff ensuring the campus is maintained to a high standard, admin and support staff ensuring that students are receiving enough support and are able to register to their programmes, academic staff moving to online teaching and many more.  We all deserve more than a pay cut. No more lip service gratitude, pay us what we are worth: they need us.

  • Black History Month Talk – To mark Black History Month this year, we are delighted to host Tariq Mehmood, a member of the Bradford 12, and co-director of a recently released documentary film Ultraviolence, to talk to our members about our local history of anti-racist solidarity and working class organisation against fascism. The talk will be held at 15:00 on Wednesday, 28th October, on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and all members will be sent a link to the event. The talk will last around an hour, and there should be time for some questions at the end. If you are unable to attend live, we will be recording it and adding captions, and we will send out information about how to access this shortly.
  • Union Learn Petition – The TUC have launched a new campaign, Save Union Learning, to persuade the government to drop proposals to end the Union Learning Fund (ULF).
    Unions were told of the proposal to scrap the £12 million annual fund in a letter from the Department for Education.
    The TUC says it was ”stunned” to receive the letter as there had been no prior discussion or consultation on the future of the fund, it is achieving its targets, is supported by employers, and it provides a net gain to the Exchequer.  Union Learning is vital for branches, as it allows us to train our reps to support members.  You can sign the petition here.

As always, please do get in touch if you require support or advice at: unison@leeds.ac.uk and you can keep up-to-date by following our social media channels below.

Web:www.leedsuni-unison.org.uk Facebook:www.facebook.com/groups/LeedsUniUnison Twitter: @UoLUnison Instagram:www.instagram.com/uolunison/