Newsletter 16 December 2020

ULA Bulletin

Dear Member

On the run up to Christmas, EIS ULA has been actively representing you in many ways. This has been a difficult year for our members and for students. However, we have worked hard to try and protect jobs amidst a poor financial landscape in the sector and seek as safe a working environment as possible for EIS members. We recognise these are extremely challenging times for everyone and we are working to keep you safe.

Pay 2020/21

After submitting a pay claim to New JNCHES in March, Management came back with an “offer” of 0% on pay. Further discussion took place in November & December, but no improved offer has been made. EIS ULA will be formally rejecting the offer but has no current plans to ballot members. Our attention is on defending jobs and the 2021/22 pay round which will commence in March. You can download UCEA’s “Final Offer.

Covid-19 & Return to Campuses in Jan 2021.

The EIS has made extensive representations to Scottish Government over the handling of the Covid crisis in HE. Safety for staff and students during this pandemic remains number 1 on our agenda. Updated guidance has (sometimes at very short notice) been subject to consultation with us, and while it cannot be said that it is perfect, it has been improved by our representations on your behalf.

The summary of the guidance for the return of students in semester 2 is as follows:

  • The return of undergraduate students to university will be staggered over six weeks. Testing will also be in place as part of the return.
  • With only very limited exceptions, undergraduates should initially plan to restart their studies at home and only return for in-person learning and term-time accommodation when notified to do so by their universities.
  • To minimise the risk to themselves and others on their return to their term-time household, we are asking students to voluntarily reduce their social mixing for two weeks before and two weeks after returning to university. This means going out only for essential reasons including learning, food shopping and exercise.
  • Universities and student accommodation providers should actively consider as a priority additional measures to reduce density of student residents. For instance, serious consideration should be given to dividing shared bathrooms and kitchen facilities in corridor flats and open halls to ensure a lower density of students who need to use those communal spaces.
  • Universities and accommodation providers are expected to support students through this process. Where applicable, we encourage students to work with their accommodation providers to come to an appropriate resolution of issues around tenancy agreements. Accommodation providers should treat students sympathetically and take student's circumstances into account so that they are not disadvantaged.

You can read the full guidance document here: Scot Gov Students Returning Home.

New guidance on face covering and guidance on ventilation is being consulted upon and expected before Christmas. Once these are published, they will be available on the EIS website or direct from the Scottish Government website.

In Solidarity

FELA

Your further education colleagues currently face a serious threat to their profession. Some colleges have already downgraded lecturing staff to “Instructors” and some have simply replaced lecturers with “Instructors.” These instructor posts are paid much less and have worse terms and conditions. You can find out about the FELA dispute on our website and you can support them by tweeting #CollegesNeedLecturers or signing their petition.

NUS Scotland Students

NUS Scotland has today launched a call on Scottish Government to compensate student renters for costs of accommodation that they cannot use due to Covid. You can support their campaign using the hashtag #StudentsDeserveBetter

Next Year!

Next year will see a roll out of vaccinations against Covid and hopefully a slow return to more normal living. However, please remember, we are yet many months away from Covid being in the rear-view mirror and we all need to play our part in ensuring the safety of our families, friends, colleagues and students. We hope you have a great Christmas, but most importantly a safe Christmas.

If you have any questions, please direct them to dshepherd@eis.org.uk

Merry Christmas!

Deborah Shepherd
National Officer Further and Higher Education





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