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ULA Annual Conference 25 March 2015 - Resolutions

All resolutions below, were carried. 

Resolution 1

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference strongly supports the following proposed change to Rules and Standing Orders at the EIS-AGM 2015:

  • Proposed Change to Rule III 1 (Page 11)
  • Amend Rule III 1 as follows:

All members of the Institute with the exception of ordinary members on zero-hour contracts, life members, Fellows of the Institute who have retired, Associate Members and student members shall pay an annual subscription to the Institute.

Resolution 2

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference notes that despite recent improvements, the EIS-ULA membership application form is currently not fully fit for its purpose to make the joining process as straightforward and efficient as possible. This EIS-ULA Annual Conference asks the EIS-ULA Executive to implement a fully online (include payment) membership application process.

Resolution 3

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference notes the significant funds available in EIS-ULA reserves at a time when membersí pay and pensions have been under attack, their workload intensified and their faculties casualised.

This Annual Conference also recognises the need for the EIS-ULA Executive to plan and implement successful campaigns in order to mobilise membersí active support for EIS-ULA policy, increasing the likelihood of reform. Furthermore, Conference endorses the centrality of effective branches in doing so, particularly as a number of issues facing members are, if at all, the subject of local rather than national bargaining.

This Annual Conference therefore instructs the EIS-ULA Executive:

i. At the first EIS-ULA Executive meeting following each EIS-ULA Annual Conference, to set its campaigning priorities for the period up to the next EIS-ULA Annual Conference and establish an appropriately funded campaigning fund, as determined by the EIS-ULA Executive and accessible by branches with a Treasurer, to facilitate pursuance.

ii. To determine an appropriate mechanism for publicising the availability of funds, inviting and evaluating applications for funding, accounting for expenditure and reporting on impact of actions.

Resolution 4

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference instructs the ULA Executive to

  • Continue the campaign against the use of zero-hour contracts in Higher Education and coordinate its activities, tactics and strategy with other Unions campaigning with the same objective
  • Commission a research-based report that will identify the main determinants for the increased use of zero-hour contracts in the HE sector.
  • Commission a research-based report across the HE sector to
    • explore what zero-hours academics think about their work
    • investigate their needs, concerns and priorities vis-a-vis their academic work
    • find out how best the EIS can support zero-hours academics
Resolution 5

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference notes:

  • Workload has significantly increased in our post-92 institutions in recent years
  • Work-life balance has been negatively affected as a result, with many of our members working during evenings, weekends and holiday periods.
  • Negative health effects and in particular stress have resulted from the above.
  • Workload and work-life balance were named as the top priorities by ULA members at the last ULA Survey of members, who declared the issue as or more important than Pay.

This EIS-ULA Annual Conference instructs the EIS-ULA Executive to commission a research-based report into the working conditions of academic staff at lecturer grade at post-92 universities across Scotland, to be completed by March 2016.

The reportís specification will be as follows:

  • The methods of this report will include a survey of staff at lecturer grade, work diaries and case studies.
  • The analysis will include gender, age and ethnicity elements.
  • The main aim of this report will be to uncover the main factors behind the increase in workload experienced by our members and the negative impact on their health and wellbeing.

Resolution 6

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference instructs the EIS-ULA Executive to continue its campaign for the full implementation of the Von Prondzynski review on Higher Education Governance and its recommendations of stricter governance mechanisms, higher levels of transparency, accountability and democratic participation. That this campaign should involve:

(i) The EIS-ULA President asking EIS-ULA members to write to their MSP asking them to support the full implementation of the Von Prondzynski review and provides them with a template in order to do so.

(ii) The EIS-ULA executive organising members in order to lobby the Cabinet Secretary for Education & Lifelong Learning and selected MSPs of the Scottish Government to request the full implementation of the Von Prondzynski review by the Scottish Government.

Resolution 7

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference notes:

  1. The fall of around 15% (in real terms) in pay over the last 5 years for staff within Higher Education
  2. The continued strategy of arguing for a keep up (cost of living increase) coupled with a catch up increase (to deal with the historical fall) advanced by the EIS-ULA and its negotiators in this period
  3. The relative lack of progress at advancing this strategy at the UK negotiating forum: New JNCHES
  4. The appointment of a new Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance by the Scottish Government

In line with this the EIS-ULA Executive will approach the Scottish Government:

  1. Citing our concerns regarding the fall in pay in the HE Sector
  2. Request and lobby for a one-off independent pay review involving all recognised trade unions and HE employers to explore how much lecturers pay has fallen in comparison with senior HE staff, public sector employees and other professions.

Resolution 8

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference notes

  1. The conclusion of the consultation on a Scottish Higher Education Governance Bill in January 2015
  2. The publication of the Von Prondzynski report 3 years previously in January 2012
  3. The consultation included key factors supported by the EIS-ULA; elected chairs of court, trade union representatives on governing bodies and proper checks on managerialism
  4. The extensive and aggressive lobbying of Universities Scotland against the Bill the role of trade union representatives

The EIS-ULA

  1. Will support the proposed Bill including its provision for elections involving staff and students within each Higher Education Institution
  2. Along with other Higher Education trade unions will campaign for the introduction and passing of the legislation in the current parliament.
  3. This campaign will consist of meetings, petitions and a joint lobby of the Scottish Parliament.

Resolution 9

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference will strongly campaign on workload issues which remain one of the biggest issues facing our membership, including preparing advice to members on mitigating the effects of workplace stress and to seek to ensure that employers negotiate membersí workload allocation.

Resolution 10

That this EIS-ULA Annual Conference notes

  1. The continual scandal of casualisation of the Scottish and UK workforce which have made a zero-hours contract culture acceptable in huge swathes of the economy
  2. Recent figures show 84,000 Scots could be directly affected by this
  3. The Scottish Affairs Committee of the UK Parliamentís report of April 2014 that singled out Scottish Higher Education particularly for their use of zero hours staff
  4. The information uncovered by the EIS-ULA Freedom of Information request on these issues

In line with this, the EIS-ULA resolves

  1. To campaign strongly within branches and across Scotland against casualisation and zero hours contracts in all Higher Education Institutions.
  2. For local branches to use Freedom of Information requests to seek data on the use of zero hours contracts by our employers
  3. To lobby the Scottish Government for a complete abolition of zero hours contracts in Scottish Higher Education.