Our annual general meeting took place yesterday – it was great to see so many members playing a part in the democratic life of the branch.
Eight members were elected to the committee for the next year! We’ll be updating the website soon with the details of new officers and their roles. Committee officers sit on our committee, and take on responsibility for key areas in our negotiations and other branch activities.
You can still get involved!
We have a number of vacancies on the committee still including H&S officer, LGBT+ members officer and young members’ officer. You can also stand for election as a rep in your department. All of the reps in our branch hold their roles alongside their University roles – we all started by volunteering to give it a go! Full training is available as well as paid time off to do your UNISON role. Drop us an email to find out more.
The AGM passed three motions, determining the branch’s policy on a number of different areas:
- The government’s minimum service legislation – this anti-union law seeks to undermine the democratic rights of workers to withdraw their labour, by allowing government to unilaterally determine how many workers in industries are allowed to strike, as well as threatening dismissal if they fail to comply. Contrary to government claims, the law is one of the most hostile to trade unions in Europe and it has been condemned by European union leaders. The branch strongly voted to condemn the law and we will be publishing more information on how we can oppose it in coming months.
- The recent tragic train accident in Greece – in February a tragic train accident took place near the town of Tempi, Greece. 57 people died when a passenger train (carrying 350 people, mostly University students) collided with a freight train. The accident followed urgent warnings. Our motion highlighted how the accident can be linked to privatisation, and the prioritisation of profit over the lives of workers and passengers. We express our solidarity with unions, workers and rail passengers in Greece!
- UoB support staff pay claim – members decided that our claim for support staff pay in 2023/24 should be for a consolidated percentage rise to all salaries of 15%. Members heard how salaries at the University have decreased by more than 14% in real terms before this year, and that with inflation above 10% again this year, there’s a risk of another real terms pay cut. Further information will be published about the pay claim in the next few days.
A lively and inspiring discussion
A very lively, open and inspiring discussion took place around all of the items on the agenda. Points raised by members included:
- The massive increase in workload for support staff at the University – the voluntary leavers scheme in 2021, poor retention of new staff and increased student numbers have created a “perfect storm” of workload, with experienced and hardworking support staff more important than ever for the proper functioning of the University.
- The status of pay spine negotiations, with the University taking an uncompromising position and seemingly trying to sow division between union members and non-union members. We discussed how much of a risk accepting the current proposal would be, and that we need to get the message out to all University staff. Members heard how the committee remains ready and willing to try and resolve matters through negotiation, but that we should be ready to escalate to a strike ballot if needed.
- The very healthy financial position of the branch – we have better reserves than at almost any time in our history, and we are likely to be able to rely on more financial support from UNISON in any industrial action.
- Support available to UNISON members from UNISON welfare / There for you.
- Upcoming vital elections for UNISON’s national executive council.
- Other concerns from members about car parking charges, casualisation, working hours and cost of essentials.