At a branch meeting on the 21st July 2021 the branch voted to adopt the following four motions:
Vote Number 1 – Subs Increase
This motion set local subs rates for the year. Please contact any of the branch officers for details.
Motion 2 – Against Victimization of UCU reps
- Senior management have victimised Kent UCU reps in the past.
- The basic requirement not to victimise reps also applies to all UCU members and is a condition of membership. National UCU Rule 13: procedure for the regulation of conduct of members: members must ‘refrain from conduct detrimental to the interest of the union’.
- To stand shoulder to shoulder with our reps, who undertake a difficult role in fighting for members within the University.
- To promote a zero-tolerance policy on victimisation of our reps.
- Where necessary, to seek protection of our reps through national UCU, which ‘takes discrimination against union members and representatives seriously and will actively pursue protections under law’.
Motion 3 – In Support of UCU Leicester and UCU Liverpool
- Staff at the University of Leicester have been threatened with over 100 compulsory redundancies.
- The long-running dispute has led to UCU greylisting the University; UCU members have also begun a marking and assessment boycott, and, having seen no meaningful engagement from the university, are engaging in full strike action.
- Management of the University of Liverpool, are attempting to sack 21 members of staff.
- Having already begun a marking boycott, around 1,300 UCU members at the university went on strike for three consecutive weeks from Monday 24 May to Friday 11 June.
- The University of Liverpool has now refused to meet with UCU, or to allow Acas to mediate between UCU and management.
- The UCU has also greylisted the University of Liverpool.
- To boycott all activity with the Universities of Leicester and Liverpool until their industrial action is resolved.
- To write to the the University of Leicester’s president Nishan Canagarajah, and vice-chancellor Gary Dixon, and the University of Liverpool’s vice-chancellor Janet Beer, to explain why we have withdrawn our interest and association.
- To donate £100 to each branch’s strike fund.
Motion 4 – Against the Non-Democratic Adoption of the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism at Council
- Antisemitism, like all forms of racism, must be strongly opposed whenever it occurs.
- Like all definitions, the IHRA definition of antisemitism is contested, though is notably subject to strong political support and opposition.
- As part of a growing tendency towards government intervention in Universities, the Minister for Education, Gavin Williamson, has pressured Universities to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. This political pressure was recognised in the letter to Council proposing the motion to adopt the IHRA definition.
- The University of Kent surveyed both its staff and students regarding whether or not it should adopt the IHRA. With some exceptions, the staff survey largely rejected the adoption of the IHRA definition in favour of the Jerusalem Definition, a position which attendees to JSNCC reinforced to management.
- At an extraordinary meeting of the Senate on 28 April 2021, the Senate voted 25-0 (with 3 abstentions) ‘to recommend to Council that the University endorse the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism as a more appropriate working definition than the IHRA.’
- In particular, staff reported that the IHRA definition conflates antisemitism with legitimate criticism of Israeli foreign policy and would thus prohibit academic research.
- Nevertheless, on 25th June 2021, Council approved the IHRA definition with the proviso that the JDA should be used as a guiding principle.
- To condemn the anti-democratic practice, employed by Council, of adopting policy that is rejected by the majority of its staff base.
- To write a letter to the Head of Council requesting,
- a full account of why the University is substituting democratic principles for submission to Government’s pressure.
- that changes to Council’s operating principles are brought forward so that Council acts in accordance with democratic views, when they are put forward.