Goldsmiths' Local Association (GUCU)



Welcome to Goldsmiths' UCU Member Site

Membership is open to all academic and academic related staff. For general queries please email gucu-admin@gold.ac.uk. Application forms are available on the membership information page. If you are not a member you are welcome to browse the site. The links marked with * require password access.


GUCU Annual General Meeting (UCU Goldsmiths Branch)

The Annual General Meeting of Goldsmiths UCU will take place at 12.30 on Wednesday 15 October (room TBA). Please send any nominations to the Executive to d.freedman@gold.ac.uk.


Current Issues

INTO

Management's discussions with INTO have continued and, despite several requests, we have not formally been given any information about the details of any possible agreement nor have we been allowed to observe the negotiations. We have been told that INTO are set to publish their proposals in a week or two and we will write to you again when we have that information. In the meantime, we understand that INTO are likely to promise that INTO-Goldsmiths will eventually teach some 450-500 students PER YEAR with approx. 60% of them likely to enter into Goldsmiths programmes the following year. We have raised many many questions about the feasibility of such a proposal, the desirability of dealing with a company like INTO, the benefits of relying so heavily on overseas (especially Chinese) markets, and the dangers of selling off parts of the Goldsmiths estate. As yet we have not received satisfactory answers

Nursery

You may be aware that management have decided to put out to tender Goldsmiths nursery provision. It has been decided that it is not possible to sustain a viable nursery on-site and it appears that management have identified a local council nursery off-site that may provide an additional nine places. However, many questions remain unanswered about both process and provision: did management explore all options? Did they fully consult with all user groups? Will we have guarantees about fees and places from an external nursery? UNISON (whose members work in the nursery) has now launched a petition (that UCU is supporting) that calls on Goldsmiths' management to reconsider the future of the nursery. Copies of the petition are available in the Nursery and at the reception desks of the Richard Hoggart Building, the Library and Loring Hall. Please take a minute to go along and add your signature, and encourage colleagues to do the same.

Trust School Puzzle

We have just found out that Deptford Green and Addey & Stanhope schools in our area are in the process of forming a 'Trust' with the support of Goldsmiths. While Trust schools are not Academies, they would nevertheless not be in Local Authority control and would be accountable to the sponsors who are able to take a majority of places on the governing body. As far as we are aware, neither the Unions nor staff in the Education Department have been informed about these discussions so it is very difficult at the moment to say what the ramifications of Goldsmiths' involvement is likely to be. We will let you know when we find out.

Pay Framework Agreement

You should, by now, have received your grading under the new Pay Framework Agreement. If you have any queries about your post's grading or any of the other information supplied to you, it would be best to email (not telephone) the HERA team (hera@gold.ac.uk) so that there is a record of your contacting them. If you need any help from the union, please email Des Freedman (d.freedman@gold.ac.uk) in the first instance and he will assign you to one of our Pay Forum negotiators to help. They will then contact you directly, but will share information amongst themselves to ensure that all members will receive the best support possible.

A draft appeals form was presented at the last Pay Forum meeting. This will be put on the HERA website soon - once it has been agreed with both unions. We will notify you when this happens. There is a two-step process:

  1. You complete the form to make an informal appeal which will trigger a meeting with any or all of the following: you, a role analyst, the verifier,the Head of Department and a UCU representative. The form needs to be countersigned by your Head of Department, so you will need to discuss it with them first. It may be that errors of fact can be cleared up before even submitting a form.
  2. If this doesn't resolve things satisfactorily, you submit a second form with evidence, which a four member Appeals Panel (one UCU, one Unison and two College members) will assess.

You have twelve months to lodge an appeal from when you were notified of your grading.

PAY FORUM UPDATE

At the last Pay Forum on Wednesday it was revealed that Human Resources have received 43 queries and 11 appeals so far. They are still engaged in trying to mop up after the grading letters went out. In large part confusion has been created by the College basing the designation as green/white/red circled on the situation as it was in August 2006, rather than relating it to current (ie June 2008) pay. It seems in some cases grading has taken account of changes in roles 2006-8, where in others it has not. We have requested the figures for green, white and red circles based on the 2008 salaries not 2006, and alerted management to the need for the HERA team to look closely at these issues. Management state that red circling is down to 3% (25 individuals: white is put at 55% and green at 42%) but this may well change when the figures based on the current position are generated.

Departmental Administrators have long been identified as a group who would receive particular attention from management in relation to their roles, and any red circles that may apply to that group. Management have still not communicated this to those individuals, but have restated their commitment to this process, and said they would contact them in the near future.

There were some problems with publishing letters to Readers which we hope will be clarified next week.

Management also tabled a paper on Hourly Paid staff. The good news is they are looking to create fractional posts (not clear how many); and they are placing hourly paid staff on the pay structure. On the down side there is be some tough negotiation to come on the method by which the amount of work done is calculated (ie preparation and marking as well as contact time). What we don't want is to continue with the huge disparities that currently exist across college.



The UCU provides a variety of members' services including a free, confidential counselling service to all UCU members from trained nurses and counsellors, 24 hours per day throughout the year (the Stress Helpline), and two legal advice helplines: the Legal Helpline and the Intellectual Property Rights Helpline.