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Minutes Branch Meeting


  • Welcome 
  1. 54 in attendance – meeting was quorate.


  • *Update on announced strike days


  1. Branch delegate meeting (BDM) met to discuss strike action. Divergent views on all strategies. National Higher Education Committee (HEC) chose imminent planned dates. Intention is to pressure institutions before USS pensions changes potentially imposed.  


  • *Motion for Striking Branches to Decide Industrial Action Strategy (see attachment).


  1. The member proposing the motion said it was intended to give branches more say in the strategy.
  2. Another member seconded the motion
  3. There was discussion about the procedural & strategic concerns raised by the motion
  4. Another member suggested that the motion shouldn’t be the focus so close to the strikes starting
  5. Branch President clarified that there will be a reballot & info gathering process by national leadership as disputes progress.
  6. Vote: 19 Against, 19 In Favour, 11 abstentions. Region confirmed that a motion needs a majority to be adopted. 
  7. Branch President thanked everyone for the discussion & said it demonstrated the interest in the issues, to which we will return.


  • Discussion of industrial action in 2022


  1. Agreed to keep planned picket times.
  2. Discussion of virtual pickets 
  3. Meeting agreed it was good to have physical pickets as much as possible.
  4. Some concern about early starts for those with caring responsibilities. Suggestion to make some days later slots as a compromise
  5. Considering a social.
  6. Support for some virtual events.
  7. Discussion of potential joint march with students & region’s advice to have strictly uncrossable picket lines.


  • AOB






  • Annual General Meeting on Wed 19 June 2019 , Agenda: Welcome & apologies, President’s Report (to include: TDC petition and Intellectual Property policy negotiations). Treasurer’s Report, Motions:

4a. Motion 1: Motion of boycott in support of outsourced workers at the central University of London (brought by branch committee)


This branch notes that outsourced workers at the central University of London* have been campaigning since September 2017 to end outsourcing and be made direct employees of the university. This campaign has the support of the vast majority of the outsourced workers at the University of London, demonstrated by the fact that in April 2018 they held the largest outsourced workers’ strike in the history of UK higher education.

This branch further notes that outsourced workers, the majority of whom are migrant workers or BAME, suffer from far worse terms and conditions than the majority white British colleagues that are directly employed by the university. They are also far more likely to suffer from bullying, discrimination and unlawful deduction of wages.

This branch further notes that the University of London has gone back on its initial commitment to end outsourcing,
with cleaners and catering staff being told that an in-house option will be presented alongside other commercial bids
when the contracts are up for tender in 2020 and 2021, leaving the possibility open for the university to drag the process on indefinitely.

This branch further notes that the university has ignored all calls by the workers to go into substantive negotiations with them and the union that represents the vast majority of the outsourced workers, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain. Consequently, the workers have been excluded from the University of London’s facilities management review, a review that would have a significant impact on the work they do and on their terms and conditions.

Rather than engage with the workers, the university has opted for strong arm tactics to try and break their campaign,
employing dozens of strike breakers and extra security, at a significant cost.

This branch therefore resolves to:

Actively support the UCU boycott of University of London central administration (including Senate House, Stewart House, the Warburg, the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Student Central) until the outsourced workers’ demands are met and they are brought in-house. The boycott will require members to not organise or attend events at these buildings. Inform members of the boycott and the reasons behind the boycott of University of London central administration (including Senate House, Stewart House, the Warburg, the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, and Student Central).

* comprising the central academic bodies & administrative functions based at Senate and Stewart House,
the Warburg Institute, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. the University of London Halls of Residence,
and Student Central BUT EXCLUDING the colleges of the federal University.


4b. Motion 2: (late motion proposed by the branch committee)

This University of Essex UCU branch deplores the recent compulsory redundancies in the UK Data Archive,
the Talent Development Centre, the Employment and Careers Centre, and the Student Counselling Service

* considers that restructuring decisions are in effect being made before consultation processes begin

* condemns the university’s disregard of the desires and expertise of the workforce when restructuring areas of work

* calls on Senior Management to recognise the disruption, disaffection and demoralisation among those staff who remain

* calls on Senior Management to put more effort, resources, and creativity into discharging its duty of care toward staff who are told that their jobs are at risk and are then eventually made redundant (e.g. the Unison branch chair, May 2019)

* calls on Senior Management to increase redundancy payments above the legal minimum, which adds insult to injury in the case of long-serving, loyal employees being discarded by the institution

  1. Secretary’s report
  2. Congress delegates’ report (including the interim Democracy Commission report,
    upcoming ballots onpay and pensions, national campaign to support for migrant members)
  3. Election of officers, ordinary members of the committee, and congress representatives.
    Approval of department rep list (see website)
  4.  AOB

Note: Re item 7: Please contact if you would like to represent UCU within your department. Many departments still do not have a UCU rep. Many departments probably need more than one rep to spread the workload.


  • GM 13 March 2019 in NTC1.01
  • Wednesday 17 October 2018 at 12-1pm in EBS 1.1: The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss two up and coming HE conferences : a Higher Education Sector Conference on 7 November to address the JEP/USS and the Pay and Equality ballot. Plus there is to be a day’s Recall Congress on 18 Nov to discuss motions 10 &11 from the Congress agenda  in May 2018 which terminated early. We would like to ensure our delegates to these conferences know the opinion of the branch (Cathy Crawford & Sherrie Green, our nominated delegates will be attending).
  • AGM Tues 22 May 2018 1-2pm in EBS.2.50 AGM agenda 22.5.18
  • EGM Tues 27 March 12-1pm in 2N2.4.16, SSRC, Col campus to discuss new USS proposal
  • Emergency General meeting: Wed 21 March 12-1pm, TC2.12 (Tony Rich teaching centre)

UCU national President Joanna de Groot joined us to discuss 3 proposals below and we discussed the next wave of the strike and the interim period, as well as sharing members’ views on what we’ve achieved and any concerns we have about tactics or negotiations.

1)Essex local branch of UCU join many other universities in rejecting outright the joint agreement put forward by UCU and UUK on Monday, 12th March. (Details of that proposal are  can be found on our local website:

  1. Essex local branch of UCU urge negotiators to reject any subsequent offer that called for the rescheduling of teaching events missed as a part of strike action.
  1. Essex local branch of UCU urge negotiators to enter the next round of negotiations dedicated to maintaining the USS funding and benefits position as it was at September 2017, without proposing any concessions at the outset

All passed.


  • GM/Strike meeting Fri 2 March 2018 12pm till 1pm, in 2N2.4.16, SSRC building, at the Colchester campus.

This motion was put forward to the branch: “International Women’s Day motion : The University of Essex branch of UCU deplores the gendered and racialised pay gap in Higher Education and recognises that this pay gap feeds into pension inequality in retirement. In recognition of International Women’s Day, UCU Essex branch will designate the March 8 USS strike day as a day in which issues that affect women and non-binary people, especially people of colour, will be highlighted. In addition, the University of Essex branch of UCU will make their strike action on 8 March focused on issues of gender and HE, and join the actions of the Women’s Strike on International Women’s Day in order to bring together staff and students around these issues” Submitted by Nicholas Beuret 

Passed with amendment to say “issues that affect women and non-binary and BAME people ”

  • GM Tues 7 Nov 2017 1-2pm in NTC 1.03 National UCU President Joanna De Groot addressed this meeting. Topics on the agenda included a USS pension update, gender pay, privatisation and casualisation. An Open Meeting followed this GM.see for full calling notice
  • Annual General Meeting:Tuesday 27th June 2017 at 13:00:Room 2N2.4.16 (SSRC), Agenda: Welcome & apologies, President’s Report, Treasurer’s Report, Motion 1:(proposed by the local committee)

Local subscriptions for our branch have not increased since 2012. We have been slowly decreasing our reserves but now must try to ensure we meet our forecast expenditure. Without this increase we will need to cut our branch administrator’s hours. With this in mind we propose that local subscriptions be amended as follows:

  • F0: for salaries which are £60,000 and above should increase to from £3.00 to £5.00
  • F1: for salaries which are £40,000 to £59,999 should increase from £3.00 to £4.50
  • F2: for salaries which are £30,000 to £39,999 should increase from £2.00 to £3.50
  • F3: for salaries which are £20,000 to £29,999 should increase from £2.00 to £3.25
  • F4: for salaries which are £10,000 to £19,999 should increase from £1.00 to £2.50
  • F5: for salaries which are £5,000 to £9,999 should increase from £1.00 to £1.50
  • F6: for salaries below £5,000 and Retired bands remain at nil

plus Secretary’s report,Congress representatives’ report,Election of officers, ordinary members of the committee and congress representatives. Approval of dep rep list,AOB

  • GM Tues 7 March 2017 1pm in 2N2.4.16
  • GM Tues 22 November 2016 1pm 2N2.4.16 (National UCU President, Rob Goodfellow will address the meeting. Items for discussion will include the ongoing dispute over pay, the importance  of continuing recognition of our local branch by the University,  and  the adoption of the new model branch rules)