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Minutes of Branch Meetings

Minutes of Cambridge University Branch Meeting 01/03/21

Unconfirmed Minutes of Cambridge University Branch meeting.
Held on 1st March 2021 at 1 pm via Zoom.

Present: Will Smith (Secretary), Vernon Schlegel, Cathy Salkield, Robert Arrowsmith, Arsalan Ghani, Brendan Nightingale, Ian Miller, Mark Hurn, Saira Law, Emily Perdue, Trevor Littlewood, Lori Klimaszewska, Theresa Jones, Paul Stokes, Gavin Ross.

Will Smith (WS) Chaired the meeting

Emily Perdue took notes

Apologies: Roger Tattersall, Andrew Moss.

Minutes and matters arising from previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting are not available.

National/Regional matters

Pay dispute: Apologies from Andrew Moss (AM) who would normally discuss pay negotiations. These are linked to UCEA and other unions. In light of COVID-19, Universities are saying there will be no pay rises for this year. This comes after years of no pay raises. As of now, the union is still in dispute, which was registered in 2020. Imperial College was the only University to enter localised negotiations, resulting in a 2% pay rise. Unite will survey all members in response to see where to go from here, regarding pay and related issues (equal pay, conditions of work, etc). WS encourages everyone to respond to help direct future action.

Branch matters

Correspondence

No correspondence received.

Training

Reps are encouraged to take up an offer of online training.

Organising

AM is retiring as Branch Chair in July 2021. WS called for anyone interested in participating to get involved and put their name in for Branch Chair. Elections will take place in July. WS thanked AM for his work, and noted that AM was the President of the Association of Cambridge University Assistants (ACUA) and had managed the merger between ACUA and the Cambridge University Branch of Amicus, which later became Cambridge University Unite the Union. WS also said that the branch is looking for people to become active in other ways such as safety representatives, teaching representatives, and equal opportunity representatives

Campaigns

Cambridge Housing Development

There is a new housing project being proposed by the University in the Laundry Farm area on the southwest boundary of town. WS invited members to read the news in light of the way that the Northwest development has come along in terms of affordable housing: see https://uniteuoc.org.uk/housing-news/

Bullying

The HR Division are soon to launch the new Mutual Respect at Work Policy. Unite has been very involved in its creation. It is hoped that the new policy will help to address the high level of bullying within the University which was identified in the 2016 Mutual Respect Survey.

Health and Safety

A quick survey was recently carried out to see who was working on site and from home. Roughly two-thirds of attendees responded that they were working from home. Many are working partially on-site and at home.

Ventilation

A number of members had raised concerns about adequate ventilation of rooms in light of the COVID pandemic. The University Safety office has produced a simple to use Tool Kit guideline to enable staff to evaluate ventilation in a room.*

Vaccines

A quick survey was carried out to see who has been vaccinated thus far and roughly half of the group responded yes. Lateral flow testing kits were recently offered by the University and nobody attending had used the tests which worked by testing for the COVID-19 antigens. On Friday, it was learned that the University is no longer carrying out testing due to the relatively low accuracy of self-administered tests. It was noted by several members that students and parents may still be expected to use these tests themselves when school is re-opened.

Job Evaluation

No news

Social Media

Branch thanked Rob Arrowsmith and Mark Hurn for the sterling work they have put in to create a new website ( https://uniteuoc.org.uk/ )and to maintain the branch twitter account @unite0775M. Branch also has a new email account: [email protected]unitetheunion.org

Questions from the Floor

Annual Leave

In response to a question from a member about being pressured to use leave, there was a discussion about clarifying the University’s policy on deferring annual leave. HR in some departments have been seeking out ways to encourage staff to use up their annual leave during lockdown believing that when travel is possible, staff will be tempted to all use their leave at the same time. To prevent this, some departments are forcing staff to take one out of every seven working days as a leave day. Unite has suggested a compromise proposal to ensure everyone books a specified number of days leave by a certain date. Work or family commitments may mean that this is still inappropriate for some members. Members are advised to seek assistance and support from the union if this is the case.

Forthcoming Workplace Action Group Meetings

Reps Meetings every Wednesday 12.00 – 13.00

Safety Reps meetings every Thursday 12.00 – 13.00

Social Media meetings every Friday 12.00-13.00

These meetings are via Zoom and are open to all branch members

Motions:

None received

AOB

No other business

Date of next branch meeting April 12th 2021

Meeting closed 2.15pm

With thanks to Emily Perdue

WHS 17/3/21


Links:

https://www.unitetheunion.org/