New Bargaining Guidance – Workload Protection in FE

UCUBAN/FE6   18 November 2016

Workload Protection in FE

The bargaining guidance, has been developed in response to the findings of the UCU survey on workloads which was conducted in February this year. Over 18,000 members participated in the survey from across the HE and FE sectors confirming the high priority members are placing on tackling workload issues. A special thank you to the 1000’s of members working in FE who took time out in their busy schedules to participate in UCU’s workload survey 2016.

The main findings of the survey were astonishing:

  • staff are working an average of more than two days unpaid every week;
  • workload is unmanageable and unsustainable for the majority of academic staff and lecturers;
  • staff are taking on more responsibility and administration;
  • student expectations have increased;
  • professional and career development is suffering as a result of increasing workload pressures.


Bargaining for better workloads in the FE sector

UCU is determined to tackle the problem of increasing work intensification to improve the lives of members and urges branches to bargain locally to address the issues.

The bargaining guidance is organised around the following national strategic objectives which UCU’s Further Education Committee has set:

  1. To strengthen the bargaining power of members by collecting industry and institutional data that can establish a pressing case for workload reform at both the industry and local levels;
  2. To encourage local branches to marry health and safety laws to the collective bargaining process;
  3. To increase the number of local collective agreements that regulate and improve the working hours and workloads of staff and which also address the problems highlighted in the UCU workload survey findings;
  4. To equip members with the skills and knowledge required to successfully manage their own work plans;
  5. To promote the effective enforcement and continual monitoring of collective agreements, policies and contracts that provide for rights and entitlements around working hours, leave and work allocations.

Data available to support branches

Several branches have been requesting the release of the UCU workload survey results for their institution. Results can now be downloaded on the UCU website: Please note that the results are only accessible to members.

UCU’s bargaining and information system (BIS) contains important data on the financial state of FE institutions. The latest data is being entered into the system. Branches will be able to request a report from their regional offices in early December. The bargaining guidance contains information on what can be included in the BIS report.

Andrew Harden Head of Further Education

The Gender Pay Gap in Higher Education: Open meeting with Helen Carr – Cambridge Thursday 24 Nov

open to members and non-members

12.30-1.30pm, Thu 24 Nov

Nihon Room, Pembroke College Cambridge, CB2 1RF


Cambridge UCU are pleased to welcome Helen Carr (UCU’s National Head of Equality and Participation) to speak and lead a discussion on the gender pay gap in Higher Education.

Equal pay legislation has been in place in the UK for 40 years. But even now in many cases, people doing the same job, or work of equal value don’t get the same or equal pay. The gender pay gap in Britain remains the highest in the European Union of 16.4%. In higher education, for all academics the gender pay gap is 12.6% nationally. In Cambridge, the gender pay gap is 17.4%, significantly higher than the national average.*

There are many reasons for the gap. But whatever its complexity, it presents HE institutions with a fundamental problem. Some institutions have made bold though problematic steps to deal with the issue. Essex, for example, recently bumped pay for female professors to close the gap. Closing the gap is a campaigning priority for UCU and was one of the key demands of our industrial action this year.

This meeting – open to members and non-members alike – will provide the basis for a Cambridge campaign that will working with and supporting existing frameworks like Athena Swan. For more on the pay gap in HE:



*Source: Times Higher Education Pay Survey 2015


National Recruitment Week – final preparations

National Recruitment Week Countdown – 21-24 Nov – final preparations

 The first National Recruitment Week of this academic year is nearly here. This is a final call for your branch plans for recruitment activity during the week. Please let us know what you will be doing and please send us pictures on the day (to

 If you need help with your event on the day, please let your link official know or email the regional office on

 We are looking to highlight branch plans around region on our blog (which features our guide to recruitment and organising) and you can find a host of good ideas on the national Build the Union site.


Good luck!


UCU Response to new Immigration Rules on English Language

UCU response to new immigration rules on English language

4 November 2016

More investment in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses is needed if the government is to achieve its aims for integration and social cohesion, UCU said today.

The union was responding to an announcement on Thursday by the immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, that those wishing to remain in the UK on a long-term family visa will now be required to undertake a more rigorous English language test.

UCU said that the government had cut ESOL budgets by over half in recent years, and said the new policy highlighted a need for further investment to support language learning.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘Learning English is a crucial step for anyone trying to integrate into UK society. However, the government has more than halved the ESOL budget in recent years so it’s now much harder for people to access the learning they need.

‘If the government really wants to achieve its aim of better integration and social cohesion, it needs to invest properly in ESOL and ensure that all who want to learn English can do so.’

NRW Countdown – Face to Face Recruitment

Approaching non-members can be a challenge but it’s also a very successful way to promote UCU membership and to get them to join. It can also be way to get a handle on the issues which people face at work and obviously boost the profile of the union in the workplace.

Where is best to target with a door-knocking session or staff room tour and when is the best time? Will staff be around to speak to? Set yourself a target of contacts in the time you have available and have a backup plan if people aren’t about.

  • Work as a team – working pairs or small groups will enable you work faster and cover more ground. It also makes it less challenging and more fun. Why not run a recruitment session after a branch exec meeting?
  • If you can target non-members using a membership list, so much the better. It can be an opportunity to speak to members too, but don’t forget that your focus is on recruiting non-members.
  • If you are approaching non-members where they work, it may be obvious whether they are eligible to join.
  • Think about the reason for calling – could you run a simple survey on a local issue (“what concerns most at work”) or could you just say that you are speaking to staff in the department about a particular issue? The most direct approach is that you are asking people to join UCU.
  • As with any recruitment conversation, have your opening line ready and follow this up with some of the key benefits of joining – the Why you Should be a Member leaflet is a good start.
  • If you’ve got a local issue running, can you run a petition or have a briefing ready to give out?
  • Be bold and smile – the worst that can happen is that people are busy and don’t want to talk. Most people will be glad to see you, happy to talk and hopefully, happy to join.
  • If you can get them to join online or over the phone there and then, it will take about 5 minutes. If they can’t sign up straight away, or they haven’t got time to talk, ask if you can call again.
  • Leave a calling card – whether you speak to a non-member or not, always leave something behind which shows that you have called.

Don’t forget to keep in touch with us about your plans for National Recruitment Week. To order recruitment materials, use the online form here.

If you need help with your event on the day, please let your link official know or email the regional office on

We are looking to highlight branch plans around region on our blog (which features our guide to recruitment and organising) and you can find a host of good ideas on the national Build the Union site.